It is no secret that in today’s world we are surrounded by opposing views, opinions, and attitudes towards a great many things – from politics, freedom of choice, cultural diversity and many more – these are tumultuous times.
Everyone has a view or opinion that they have formed based on their assessment of the facts. These include the facts they have been exposed to, the beliefs they have grown up with, the experiences that they have had that support or reject these facts and experiences, their personality, and in some schools of thought their soul path or journey.
Neuroscience tells us that the human brain is bombarded with thousands of pieces of information at any given time, far more than our brains can process or handle. The way our brain copes with this enormous amount of information is to filter out what it deems as unnecessary, untrue, or unhelpful.
In simple terms this can look like identifying the cars on the road as simply cars – or at best a Toyota, rather than say a red 1993 Toyota Camry hatchback.
We put information into groups to help us process. We also filter out information. For example, anyone who is looking at buying a green car (or who recently purchased one) knows that suddenly everywhere they go they see the same colour car – and yet two days ago they had never noticed this colour car on the road.
In the same way as this over simplified example works, so do our perceptions of reality, and life. If we have grown up in an environment of conflict, stress or suffering our brains will filter out our positive experiences and focus only on the negative – to ensure our continued safety and survival.
Alternatively, if we have had a positive childhood filled with love, and adventure and support we will filter out the negatives in our life and focus on the positives. Thus, we create our reality – or at least our perception of reality. And as they say – perception is reality. Or is it?
Sometimes we can become very rigid in this reality and refuse to see anything outside of this reality. Solutions may be on offer, but our fear or anxiety may prevent us from being open to seeing or experiencing them.
Sometimes our reality might stem from cultural or ancestral conditioning. “You must have a job to survive”, “You must be obedient to your husband”, “you must fulfil your role in society”, “you must not cry” or “you must be the provider” if you are a male, or “you must be submissive and look after the home, be a good cook etc” if you are female. These are programs that we have all had experience to in society – in different levels depending on our age and culture.
Similarly, if we have a fear of abandonment or rejection, we will see the world and those around us as potential rejectors or abandoners. This can affect our relationships where we might start being overly controlling or manipulative to keep someone in our life – and in so doing we push them away and create a self-fulfilling prophecy. At its extreme this can look like domestic violence.
Sometimes life offers us an opportunity to re-write these filters, patterns and programs and allows us to ‘open our mind’ to other possibilities. This I like to call evolution. Where before we may have been stuck in a negative mindset, now we can be open to the positives in our life. (A gratitude journal is an excellent tool to help with this transition).
As we open our minds to new possibilities, we can start to see the pointlessness of this polarity thinking. By which I mean thinking our reality is the only true and correct ‘truth’ or reality. Where we might be so set on a certain perspective that we would be willing to denigrate another in support of this truth. Where we would rather be at war with those around us than to accept that everyone’s perspective is true for them, based on their experiences, perception, and reality.
When we can come to a place of understanding, compassion, and acceptance of differing views, and allow others to be free to choose as suits their reality, we can take a huge step towards peace and harmony. This does not mean we should embody their truth as our own, or even concede to it, but rather acknowledge it as their truth, and using our own intuition, guidance and self-reflection choose what is our truth.
We are so bombarded with people telling us what we should and shouldn’t believe that it is becoming difficult to find our own truth in the noise. By stepping out of this idea that there is ‘one truth’, and that we need to listen to the right person to get it, we can recognise that there are many truths. We then can give ourselves the freedom to find the clarity of our own reality, truth, and experience.
This my friend is freedom. Freedom to choose our beliefs, and truths, and consequently our path based on what is right for us, not what is imposed upon us by another’s reality.
It is also freedom to let go of others’ opinions of ourselves, or others, and to simply be ‘us’ in our own truth and reality. It allows us to let go of judgement and condemnation of others – as we can look with kindness, and compassion on their journey and the experiences that led them to their reality, and look on ourselves with kindness and compassion or our journey and the experiences that led us to our reality. Thus allowing everyone the freedom to choose their path.
And herein lies the gift of unity. Of bridging the gap between ‘them’ and ‘us’ and allowing each voice to sing its own tune, creating a harmony of voices in the choir of life.