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Perception

VIEWS: 4 PAGES: 18

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                                  PERCEPTION
                                      LEN BLANK

  Our experience of life results from our perception, which creates our reality. The truth
is that life is nothing but a result of our perception. The following is how we create
perception:
    1. As children, from primary caregivers, we learned how someone or something
        should exist for us.
    2. Our past experience with anyone or anything imprints specific thoughts that we
        attach ourselves to and believe.
    3. Finally, things we learn as a child as a result of Religion, Race, Ethnicity,
        Language and Nationality to Color and Beliefs of society flavor how we perceive
        the world.
   We act as if the perceptions we have are true, but they’re only perceptions that can
change as we change our thoughts (mind), or stories, about them. Perceptions we get
attached to, though critical to our experience of life in the present, come from the past.
They actually have nothing to do with the present. The more we are at the affect of others,
or give our power away, the more our perceptions are colored by what is outside of us.
Remember the universe always rearranges itself to accommodate our Perception of
Reality.
   What is real? Most of us can agree to what exists, however, our personal experience of
what we see creates our personal reality i.e. someone is sitting on a chair which most of
us can observe, since we have agreed that there is a chair and somebody to sit in it. Most
of what we agree to as the ‘truth,’ is only a result of consensus reality i.e. we agree that a
floor is a floor, a wall is a wall, a color is a particular color etc. A baby or an alien would
not have this understanding, so they would initially not see these things in the same way,
that is until they learned what reality is. There are also those in society who are
considered retarded, insane, crazy, or as a result of having a mind-altering experience
with drugs, who might not see any of the above either. Rather, they might, for instance,
see the wall as the floor, red as blue, and a dog barking on the ceiling.
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   Though most of us would agree there is someone sitting in a chair, or observe the floor
as a floor, the ceiling as a ceiling and the color as blue, that someone or something
depending on how they were individually perceived, we would each have a somewhat
different experience with and about them. If for example that someone were black, female
and obese, depending on our personal history e.g. age, social, ethnic, cultural and
traditional background, education, upbringing, personal experiences, religion, and belief
systems, would be perceived according to those personal references we each had about
blackness, women and obesity. Those of us who have had similar experiences or
background with blacks who were obese and/or female would react more similarly then
those who have had little or no experience with those qualities in others. An obese black
woman looking at that individual would probably not experience her in the same way as a
southern, white, middle-aged man. The perceptions of that person would create their
reality. There is no other separate from us, since the other which we create, through our
perceptions, comes from our personal life experience. It’s the perception we have about
anything in our lives that creates our reality. Therefore, anything outside of ourselves is
only a mirror, a reflection if you will, which exists to show us who or what we are at any
particular time.
   Since our perceptions create our reality, when we are at the affect of the world our
perceptions result from our values in the world. Thus, we have to look, dress, act and feel
in the way the world we live in determines how it ‘should be.’ These values are created in
our lives through life experiences, our nature and the influences of parents, relatives,
peers, religion, television, movies, books, magazines, newspapers and personalities who
are advertised and made prominent through that media. An example in our culture of this
phenomenon is the commercial success of a product like Nike sports gear is measured by
the degree to which we will purchase and identify with that product mainly on how
visible its logo is on our apparel. Through the constant appearance of Nike’s logo on the
uniforms of athletes, promoted through the media, it has become fashionable to wear that
logo as a personal mark of identity. Being at the affect of the world and its values, we are
happy to purchase a commercial product with its accompanying logo, and to provide free
advertisement to that company. We seem to be vulnerable to commercial, social and
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political trends because of our need for acceptance from the world, and our need to
belong to it first rather than to ourselves.
   Another example of a common occurrence in most of our lives is the strong
identification we have, for instance, to anything associated with where we live i.e. to
support individuals, groups, including sports teams because they represent ‘our’ city, state
or country, or nationalism in general. Again, because we need what’s outside ourselves, it
becomes sometimes an issue of survival to support, in every way, that person, team,
name, lifestyle, dress, symbol, etc. What is real about our association, however, is that we
actually have nothing to do with the success or failure of that which we are identified.
Yet, it feels like we live or die based on that identification, because we are identified so
personally closely with these, and thus live at the affect of the world.
   In being other-referred, or giving our personal power away through not loving
ourselves, exacts a tremendous toll on the quality of our lives in terms of Consciousness,
which is the awareness and practice of living in non-separation and non-attachment.
Another common example of this phenomenon is how women make themselves appear
the way the culture and the media, in particular, portrays what it believes a woman should
look or act like in order to be ‘acceptable’ as a woman and/or to be ‘appealing’ to men. If
that woman doesn’t love herself, she’s vulnerable to those specious images, which have
nothing to do with essentially who she is. Perhaps, the almost obsessive need that women
have to alter their appearance through, for example, face lifts, breast implants, body
sculpting, using makeup, dying hair and removing fat, might lose its importance when
they have a loving relationship with themselves.
   Similarly, men are affected because they, too, believe that is also what a woman
should do to look a certain way in order to be appealing to them. Men today in increasing
numbers are altering their appearances in similar ways as women do. The result of this is
that we tend to feel more separate and alienated from ourselves and can become lost in
knowing and accepting who we are.
   Because we have given our personal power away for so long, resulting in the above
perceptions, we feel comfortable and enthusiastically support these images, as we
continue to invite them into our lives to fill up the ever-present emptiness. Since life’s
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clock is inevitably ticking for each of us, no matter what we do, the signs of physical age
eventually, sooner or later, dawn upon us followed by death. So, what is our perception
about facing our own death, which is probably the most important question in this life to
ask?
    All perceptions begin in our thoughts, so we have to be very mindful of firstly our
thoughts, and secondly how those thoughts result in perceptions that manifest our
attitudes and behavior. A good example of this is the relationship we might have with
say, an ant. For most of us, an ant is just a nuisance and our reaction, frequently, when
they show up is to kill them. However, if we were isolated somewhere, wanting
desperately to relate to some form of life and only one ant showed up, what would we do?
Possibly, we would begin to observe the life of this single ant by noticing how it moves
and relates to its environment, and might project some personal qualities on this lonely
ant like give it a name, think if it has a family, how old is it, and is it male or female?
   And we might become so fond of the ant that we would adopt it as a pet. We would
most likely, as we often times do with our pets, begin to project human-like qualities in
order to be able to relate to them. Actually, having started a personal relationship, might
we find it impossible to kill the ant? Why? Most likely, like with human relationships, we
give the ant a face, a way in which we can relate to it. As we begin to personalize that
relationship we see the ant perhaps wanting to live and continue its existence on Earth,
which would make us now a killer having no right to take its life, as well as being the one
who decides if it lives or dies.
   We are capable under certain circumstances to relate to inanimate objects in the same
way as the ant, as portrayed in the movie, Cast Away with Tom Hanks. He was working
for an Air parcel delivery service when his plane crashed. Having survived, he found
himself stranded on a deserted island. One of the parcels on the plane that floated ashore
was a soccer ball that became his best friend. He gave it a name and other human
qualities that enabled him to feel comfortable, secure and safe, as the ball now had a
“human” face through which to relate. This was necessary for his sanity, since he created
something that gave him a sense of a human connection in what prior to that had been
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experienced as a completely inhuman, unfamiliar, hostile environment. This relationship
also helped him come to terms with his potentially life-threatening situation.
   Is it any different from how we relate to those who matter in our lives? What usually
causes us to feel strongly about them is the fact we have personalized, for instance, a
family member or even a friend through our perception of them arising out of our
thoughts. What creates that kind of bond is the perception of the importance, through
memory, of a blood relation, past personal history with them, and cultural imperatives i.e.
family, language, religion, race, community, country. Whereas, with a stranger, or a
perceived enemy, notice the names we give to that which we feel separate from; we have
provided no space inside ourselves for them.
   We could just as easily treat the “stranger” and the “enemy” like the ant, which is a
nuisance who, under most circumstances, can easily be squashed or stepped on. A good
example today of this is the label we use to identify a “terrorist,” which makes those who
fit that description sub-human and necessary to kill, only because we refuse to recognize
they are human beings doing the best they can, like us, and believing, like us, in a cause
that they’re willing to defend and even die for.
   For instance, this is a reality that has occurred many times in the past, and even
throughout the twentieth-century, including the following: The German nation cooperated
or participated in the near extermination of 6 million Jewish people. More recently in
Yugoslavia, friends and neighbors took up arms against one another, and what followed
was a blood bath of epic proportions that split a nation and uprooted millions of people’s
lives. Rwanda, a country in Africa, experienced over 700,000 humans being slaughtered
also by their neighbors and friends. In order to rationalize their actions, one group in that
holocaust considered the other “cockroaches,” which helped justify their behavior of
wiping the other out just like the wretched insect they considered them to be. What fueled
this behavior in all cases were past historical wounds that never healed, which waited for
and then found a “reason” for outrageous aggression toward their fellow country men,
women and children. And it all began in our stories, through our thoughts, that are
capable of creating any reality.
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   To demonstrate this point, think of the most happy, peaceful experience you have
either ever imagined or experienced. Bring it up into your awareness. Notice how you feel
when that thought sits in your mind. Now, bring up the most sad, frightening experience
you can either imagine or have experienced. Notice the feelings around that thought.
What is the difference between the two? In each case, all you did was have a thought,
neither ever existed in your present reality, yet each most likely had a profound affect
upon how you now felt. This is the power of thoughts in affecting our reality always.
   To actually kill another or murder, is one place most of us would either deny or refuse
to acknowledge exists in us, though few of us have never had a thought of either killing a
person or other life-form. However, if you asked the average German, Yugoslavian or
Rwandan, before they either condoned or directly participated in the human carnage that
they participated in some way, if they believed they could condone and/or kill in that
manner, they might very well answer, No! The truth is, under the right circumstances, our
thoughts are capable of creating any reality, and we never know what’s possible in order
to believe whatever action we take will ensure our survival.
   In taking a position in that regard, consider our attitude in going after a mosquito, fly
or possibly an ant that’s bothering us. At that time, is it not possible the energy arising in
us for killing another is present? Have you ever considered the energy it actually takes to
kill a mosquito and the amount of force we apply in our sometimes desperate need to
attack and kill it? That force is probably thousands of times greater than what is
necessary, and in fact I would suggest if the same attitude and force we direct at the
lonely mosquito were directed at a human, murder might be the outcome. I’m sure we’ve
all had the experience of hitting ourselves while desperately trying to kill a mosquito or
fly, especially at night when it’s dark and our sleep is being disturbed. Though we
frequently miss it, we can make quite a painful impression upon ourselves.
   The truth is that under certain circumstances, we’re all capable of killing, or doing
anything else for that matter. If we provide enough space in ourselves to allow all that is
to exist, if nothing else we can have a clearer perception and understanding of all
possibilities since they already are recognized and exist in us. In that recognition we are
able to tap into our compassion for others knowing we can allow the space for that part to
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live inside us too. This is Consciousness, that is the awareness of living in non-separation
and non-attachment, which is living a life of inclusion, not exclusion.
   The following are other examples of labels we use to depersonalize and separate
ourselves in order to justify and rationalize the acceptance of human beings dying in an
unnatural way. In war we call them soldiers, marines, fighter pilots, insects, or if we
happen to kill innocent people, the common term expressing that reality is “collateral
damage.” An accepted generic name for the rationalization of aggression toward others is,
“the enemy,” who we think or believe prevents us from having freedom or is a threat to
our existence. Through these labels, we foster a negative attitude toward others by not
giving ourselves permission to reach out to connect in order to understand and relate in a
similar way we did through “humanizing” the lonely ant above.
   In the more recent past, George Bush, the President of the United States stated that
three entire countries (Iraq, Iran, North Korea) were, in his words, “the axis of evil.” Of
course, “evil” connotes the work of the “devil” and therefore any action taken against it is
acceptable, since God hates evil and therefore the devil. In our cowboy scenario, America
is the “good guys,” the soldiers who defend God’s interests. In believing this, by making
the “axis of evil” bad and wrong, we now wear the white hats. And besides, we don’t
have to reach out and understand in any way why these countries behave the way they do,
since they wear the black hats who must be defeated in God’s name.
   This is how all old time cowboy movies were scripted, as good conquers evil, and
once again the “good guys” save the day. Is there essentially any difference in what’s
happening today in the Middle East with fighting terrorism? These so called “terrorists”
also believe they’re doing God’s work to defeat the “devil,” the United States? In their
minds and hearts, without getting into how and why they believe this, they are wearing
the white hats and America wears the black; it’s all about perception.
   As we depersonalize ants, other insects and Nature in general in our lives we also, as
described above, can and do that with human beings. Historically, this has happened
through religious beliefs, color, race, gender, place of origin, culture and tradition. Again,
it boils down to Consciousness, which is living in non-separation and non-attachment.
The moment we separate ourselves from another, or anything in Nature, we become
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potential injurers and destroyers of life. Look at how we treat and relate to our
environment as a result of seeing ourselves separate from it.
   Perhaps, the most pervasive perception that is literally resulting in the rapidly
diminishing freedoms of United States citizens is that “terrorism” is an imminent threat to
their safety and survival, but is it true? Having been put into place by the events of 9/11
seems to have sealed the fate of this reality taking hold in the society. However, the
groundwork was laid much before that when in 1913 a deceptive act was perpetrated by a
few corrupt politicians who were bought off by powerful banking interests. The result of
this directly continues to affect the American people, in which today the population as a
whole is still living under that illusion. First lie: The U.S. government has a right to
collect personal income tax. This was never actually ratified, as the Constitution
demands, which is the law of the land. Therefore, no one has the authority to do so.
   Second lie: The Federal Reserve System, created also in the year 1913, is actually a
privately owned, non-government institution that sets the standards for policy related to
money, and which prints and controls the entire supply for the country. The owners are
large banks, the names of which remain a secret until this day. What most Americans
don’t realize is the taxes they pay actually are received by the Federal Reserve and then
loaned to the U.S. Government to pay back, with interest, for war or whatever else the
government needs money. Obviously, to these individuals war is good for business. With
this arrangement we can see how it’s impossible for the nation to ever get out of debt.
   Thomas Jefferson, the main author of the Constitution, warned that those who control
the money supply control everything else, and that’s why the framer’s were very specific
about where, how and in whose hands money would be held and used for the benefit of
its citizens. They knew it was essential to keep any individual or institution from having
too much concentrated wealth, and that’s why they put in checks and balances in setting
up the government. Obviously, the bankers had other ideas, and their greatest allies and
support ironically turned out to be the people that lose the most from this activity. They
continue to feed the Federal Reserve with their tax dollars because of a perception that
was put in place in 1913.
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   What has kept this scam going for nearly 100 years are the people who have a
perception that it’s all legal. Over time the precedent of this has become so established
and ingrained in the minds of most, there is no discussion either in the main stream media
or with politicians. Yet, few of them are not aware of this. They, too, remain silent
because if they bring it up, they can be accused of lying, if not crazy, and therefore losing
their credibility with the public. They may also be personally financially benefiting by
remaining silent, while the bankers continue to steal tax papers money. The result is the
people who suffer most from these lies actually support it by what they have come to
believe, through their perceptions, is true.
   Besides the silence on the part of those who could alert citizens to the reality of this
truth, fear and intimidation through bullying tactics continue to be used by the
government to make sure everyone knows the painful consequences of, for instance, not
paying their taxes. America is one glaring example of what governments around the
world do to keep their citizens believing lies and deception as a result of the perceptions
they create on a daily basis. Since most people depend on the main stream media for their
information, and are afraid of the government, what they are fed continuously to support
their perceptions are lies and deception.
   Unfortunately, the consequences of this attitude, through our perceptions, have
resulted in how we now sit on the precipice of destroying all life on the Planet, as we
know it. In creating this chasm of separation, through putting ourselves outside of our
basic deep connection with Nature and more importantly with ourselves, if we don’t wake
up soon to that fact and begin to take responsibility for our lives by changing our
relationship to ourselves and Nature, there will be little to wake up to.
      Let’s look at, perhaps, a more personal situation concerning individuals in our
lives. Because of new information we have heard, learned or been conditioned to believe,
the feelings we have toward them changes, and sometimes dramatically. What we’ve
learned may either not be true or partially so, however, what frequently changes is the
perception of the other, through which we always relate, that is colored by information
possibly having no basis in truth. What often times enables this to occur are the doubts
we may already harbor about that individual, or possibly not trusting ourselves enough
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while looking toward others to confirm or deny what is real about our relationship to
them. In any case, sometimes even a small seed of doubt that’s planted inside us can
result in a dramatic change in perception in our attitude and behavior toward another. If
you say a lie long and loud enough, eventually it becomes the truth., and it’s all a result of
perception.
    It’s been said that all human knowledge and experience results from perception and
reality is created by us through our perception. Since perception is the cause of our
reality, how does perception happen? It occurs through our senses as a result of four basic
elements in life, and when these elements are in place in us, a perception results. If these
elements are experienced consistently the same, our perceptions in life will remain the
same. Thus, it becomes necessary for us to first be aware of these four elements, and then
to practice changing any one, or all of them, in order to experience a difference in
perception and, of course, reality. I would like to offer a metaphor of a flower to share the
four elements. The flower is our life, which sits atop a stem, through which it receives
support and nourishment to sustain its life. The S.T.E.M. in this metaphor are the
following four elements: Space, Time, Energy and Mass.
   If we change any one of the four elements, perception is altered and of course reality
changes. If we bring up a story in our mind of someone who we perceive causes us a lot
of pain, notice that the story in our minds eye is very prominent. Similarly, any story we
bring up in our minds-eye that feels positive, like ‘falling in love,’ will directly affect how
we perceive reality. In fact, we can observe that the more space a story takes up in us, the
more attention we must give to it. If we change, for instance, the spatial relationship to
that story, our experience of it changes also. In fact, when we change any one or more of
the elements, the other elements automatically change. When we bring up that story in
our mind, continue to put Space around it until it disappears into the Space we have
created.
   Notice what our experience of the person is now that they take up little or no Space.
As long as we can change the spatial relationship of the story about the person, or
anything else, we cannot have the same experience. We can do this with Time also by
first experiencing the time frame of the story in our minds eye, and expand or reduce that
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time i.e. slow it down or speed it up. This can also be done with Energy by bringing our
story up and seeing the energy as fast or slow moving, heavy or light. Lastly, we can
change the Mass of the story by seeing it as having more or less density, mass and weight.
    Most of us have had the experience of ‘getting over’ or letting go of someone or
something in our lives with whom we are in relationship. Recall how difficult, painful
and sometimes impossible it’s been because we created a habit by having a routine in
relation to a need for that person, object or thing. Since habit results from our thoughts,
which are fixed in memory, we continue to bring up the same thoughts in our mind
through the relationship we have with whomever or whatever. Perception is the result of
our thoughts, or stories.
   Thus, what supports mostly the perceptions we have about our lives are the stories we
tell ourselves. They are the fuel which feed the feelings that drive our needs. Pay attention
to the stories running in our minds, for those stories reflect our self-worth and self-love if
we are telling the truth to and about ourselves. We make them up to feel better about
ourselves. Stories are powerful and they feel real, but they are not true. They have been
created to support a belief in the way we survive. Since we created the stories, we can
also change them. So, if we feel someone is doing something to intentionally ‘hurt’ us,
change the story to, for instance, ‘they are doing the best they can but are unconscious in
their behavior.’ Notice if we feel differently when telling a different story to ourselves.
   If we continue to tell the same stories over and over, we only keep the space, time,
energy and mass fixed. Changing our story(s) changes these elements. The result is that
we have choices, because the stories we tell have endless possibilities. Why not create
stories that serve and support us? Always ask, in regard to our stories, “Are they true?”
“Can I really know they are true? What do I get out of holding that thought or belief?;
Who or what would I be without that thought or belief?” The stories we tell ourselves can
never be true now, since they all happened in the past. What is true is what we do now.
Because the stories are not true, they are beliefs derived from thoughts. Now, turn the
stories around and see that they are really about us, not any other, since they come from
our thoughts.
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   An example of the turnaround is the following: If we feel whomever or whatever is
doing anything to us, the turnaround is the acknowledgment that we are doing it to
ourselves i.e. “Mom or Dad think I'm stupid”; Turnaround: “I think I'm stupid.” The
turnaround enables us to see that we create our reality. Only then are we able to change
that belief, since we, and not others, are the source of that belief.
   For what is happening and true for us is always in the present. The one present for us
in the moment is us, so it’s only possible we create reality always in the present. It’s
possible to determine the emotional/psychological state of any one of us by the way we
relate to our stories. A neurotic person thinks the stories they tell themselves are true in
the moment. A psychotic person knows the stories they tell themselves are always true,
and therefore they live in and act through each one as their reality unfolds. A healthy
person perceives they are stories and clearly sees the difference without having to act
them out.
   Can we now see how powerful we are? We can create reality by essentially changing
our mind. Change our thoughts and stories, which create our perceptions, and reality
shifts instantly! It’s said that time heals, and for most of us that’s true. This is because
frequently over time we change our stories and perception of the reaction of ‘hurt’ inside
as a result of creating more Space, and/or changing the Time frame of the experience,
and/or increasing or lessening the charge of Energy around the situation, and/or feeling
lighter or heavier inside in regard to the Mass or weight of the experience for us. When
we don’t change these elements i.e. hold on to a feeling by experiencing these four
elements the same as when we were actually in the experience, these feelings stay the
same which can last a lifetime. As we can see, however, our feelings are determined by
how we experience the four elements, which result always in our perception of them
   As the mind (adult) develops, our experience of perception evolves. Rather than being
at the affect of our perceptions, we can change them in our mind. The child in us lives
very instinctively; it is the development of our mind (adult) which allows us to reflect in
order to look at or give perspective to our experiences in life. This enables us to see and
change our perceptions. Otherwise, the child in us perceives only by direct experience
where, if we allow that part of ourselves, we are completely at the affect of whatever we
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experience through our senses. Thus, there is virtually always an adult in the child and a
child in the adult, in degree.
   Example: A young child learns through experience that fire is hot, and it can burn. The
adult can perceive of fire being hot and burning by recognizing it in the mind, which
actually results from the presence of the child (heart and feelings) and the adult (mind and
thoughts) within. Perception in the adult results from changing the four elements (Space,
Time, Energy, Mass) in the mind. Naturally, animals and particularly young children,
because their minds and life experience is always limited, need to have the experience
directly in order to have a perception of a change in the four elements. Later, as the adult
(mind) in the child develops, they have greater access to understanding, and that’s when
you can reason with the child. Also, until the child reaches about eight years, they don’t
have a very good grasp of thinking, which includes reflection and considering options.
   Imagination comes from both the adult and child. Infants and animals don’t imagine,
for they experience everything directly. Only when they have an experience is it real to
them. The adult can imagine because they can reflect, or give space to things. Children
naturally don’t separate who they are from what they do; they are their doing. It requires a
mind (adult) to know the difference. That’s why those who remain eternally children
through limited mental development or through Consciousness have no filters or choose
not to have filters (Consciousness), and therefore express everything directly in the
moment.
   Jesus said, ‘Unless you become like a child, you cannot enter the kingdom of heaven.’
I understand that to be that when we become conscious or awake can we enter the
kingdom of heaven (oneness with all that is). He said ‘like a child,’ no separation, not ‘a
child’ who can never know the difference. We have to know the child and the adult nature
in us fully, and then bring them into balance to become whole and atonement. Then, we
can atone (at one with) and be alone (all one). This happens when we are in balance with
our true nature i.e. our child and adult energy inside. Otherwise, we remain lonely or feel
separate through the polarization of our inner-child and adult.
   Reality is only a result of perception, through our senses, which comes from how we
experience the Space, Time, Energy, Mass of a person, object, idea or thing. So, if we
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wish to change our reality of anything, we have to PRACTICE changing these elements.
Though we can address them separately, Space, Time, Energy, Mass will shift in
proportion to how much each, separately, is affected. So, when we change the Space
around anything in our lives, the Time, Energy and Mass will change, too. The result is a
different perception and of course the reality of what that thing is in our lives. We have
learned to survive by having the four elements remain the same, so we have to be willing
to take the risk of practicing changing these elements if we expect our lives to be
satisfying, in balance, and flowing.
   What feels real for us is what we attach ourselves to. When we let it go, it no longer
feels real e.g. when we go to a movie, at the conclusion we usually let it go and it no
longer feels real. When we end a relationship, however, we may continue to hold on to
the thoughts of how and what the relationship meant to us, and so we experience that
relationship as still ‘real.’ What’s real is what we do in the now, of which we must let go
in every moment. Anything we hold onto is a result of our thoughts from the past.
Thoughts, therefore, are not real. Clearly, holding on to anything is not real. Though it
feels real, if we change our thoughts about that which we are thinking, we will no longer
experience it as real for us.
   When we are attached, we have no choice but to do business with whomever we are
attached. As a result, most of us spend our lives doing business with one another. The
accepted, most widely used expression is to say we love and care for another, when in
reality we are only doing business with another. Because of the attachment we feel to
another, a need for them exists. So, we make spoken and unspoken agreements that serve
to insure that we receive adequate compensation for the efforts made in convincing others
how much we “love and care” for them. The place where we mind others business most is
in our head. How frequently do we tell stories to ourselves about others with no
awareness that we are, in fact, only telling those stories to ourselves believing they’re
about others?
   To understand what perception is in relationship to our lives, if we use the metaphor of
viewing a movie, we see there are three elements which create that experience—the
projector, the film, and the screen. The projector is myself, the film, the perceptions we
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have that originate from our life experiences; and the screen, the world. The screen is a
mirror that reflects back to us only what’s projected onto it by our film, through the
projector. When we change the film (perception), we change what is projected onto the
screen (the world). The world is everything we experience outside ourselves. So, the
world is nothing but a mirror that reflects back to us what we perceive it to be and
therefore creates our reality. Imagine if we recognized this truth about ourselves as a
result of taking full responsibility through telling our truth, taking care of ourselves first,
and paying active attention to our body’s responses, we would experience Self-Love.
Then, what a wonderful world this could be.
   Joe Vitale, well known author, talks about an experience he had not long ago with a
psychologist in Hawaii. The following is a story about how Perception, through loving
yourself, can not only change our lives, but others too. It sounds amazing, so hold on
tightly for the ride that follows:
   Two years ago, I heard about a therapist in Hawaii who cured a complete ward of
criminally insane patients--without ever seeing any of them. The psychologist would
study an inmate's chart and then look within himself to see how he created that person's
illness. As he improved himself, the patient improved.


When I first heard this story, I thought it was an urban legend. How could anyone heal
anyone else by healing himself? How could even the best self-improvement master cure
the criminally insane? It didn't make any sense. It wasn't logical, so I dismissed the story.
    However, I heard it again a year later. I heard that the therapist had used a Hawaiian
healing process called ho 'oponopono, which is part of Huna, a very ancient spiritual
tradition that teaches how to live in balance with Nature and oneself. I had never heard of
it, yet I couldn't let it leave my mind. If the story was at all true, I had to know more. I had
always understood "total responsibility" to mean that I am responsible for what I think
and do. Beyond that, it's out of my hands. I think that most people think of total
responsibility that way. We're responsible for what we do, not what anyone else does--but
that's wrong.
   The Hawaiian therapist who healed those mentally ill people would teach me an
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advanced new perspective about total responsibility. His name is Dr. Ihaleakala Hew Len.
We probably spent an hour talking on our first phone call. I asked him to tell me the
complete story of his work as a therapist.
    He explained that he worked at Hawaii State Hospital for four years. That ward where
they kept the criminally insane was dangerous. Psychologists quit on a monthly basis. The
staff called in sick a lot or simply quit. People would walk through that ward with their
backs against the wall, afraid of being attacked by patients. It was not a pleasant place to
live, work, or visit.
    Dr. Len told me that he never saw patients. He agreed to have an office and to review
their files. While he looked at those files, he would work on himself. As he worked on
himself, patients began to heal.
    “After a few months, patients that had to be shackled were being allowed to walk
freely,” he told me. “Others who had to be heavily medicated were getting off their
medications. And those who had no chance of ever being released were being freed.” I
was in awe. “Not only that,” he went on, “but the staff began to enjoy coming to work.
Absenteeism and turnover disappeared. We ended up with more staff than we needed
because patients were being released, and all the staff was showing up to work. Today,
that ward is closed.”
   This is where I had to ask the million dollar question: “What were you doing within
yourself that caused those people to change?”
   “I was simply healing the part of me that created them,” he said. I didn't understand.
Dr. Len explained that total responsibility for your life means that everything in your life,
simply because it is in your life, is your responsibility. In a literal sense the entire world is
your creation.
    Whew! This is tough to swallow. Being responsible for what I say or do is one thing.
Being responsible for what everyone in my life says or does is quite another. Yet, the
truth is this: If you take complete responsibility for your life, then everything you see,
hear, taste, touch, or in any way experience is your responsibility because it is in your life.
This means that terrorist activity, the president, the economy or anything you experience
and don't like--is up for you to heal. They don't exist, in a manner of speaking, except as
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projections from inside you. The problem isn't with them, it's with you, and to change
them, you have to change you. I know this is tough to grasp, let alone accept or actually
live. Blame is far easier than total responsibility, but as I spoke with Dr. Len I began to
realize that healing for him, and in ho 'oponopono means simply loving yourself. If you
want to improve your life, you have to heal your life. If you want to cure anyone, even a
mentally ill criminal you do it by healing you.
   I asked Dr. Len how he went about healing himself. What was he doing, exactly, when
he looked at those patients' files?
   “I just kept saying, 'I'm sorry' and 'I love you' over and over again,” he explained.
   “That's it?” I said.
   “That's it.”
   Turns out that loving yourself is the greatest way to improve yourself, and as you
improve yourself, you improve your world. Let me give you a quick example of how this
works: One day, someone sent me an email that upset me. In the past I would have
handled it by working on my emotional hot buttons or by trying to reason with the person
who sent the nasty message.
   This time, I decided to try Dr. Len's method. I kept silently saying, 'I'm sorry' and 'I
love you,' I didn't say it to anyone in particular. I was simply evoking the spirit of love to
heal within me what was creating the outer circumstance. Within an hour I got an e-mail
from the same person. He apologized for his previous message. Keep in mind that I didn't
take any outward action to get that apology. I didn't even write him back. Yet, by saying 'I
love you,' I somehow healed within me what was creating him.
   I later attended a Ho'oponopono workshop run by Dr. Len. He's now 70 years old,
considered a grandfatherly shaman, and is somewhat reclusive. He praised my book, The
Attractor Factor. He told me that as I improve myself, my book's vibration will raise, and
everyone will feel it when they read it. In short, as I improve, my readers will improve.
   “What about the books that are already sold and out there?” I asked.
   “They aren't out there,” he explained, once again blowing my mind with his mystic
wisdom. “They are still in you.” In short, there is no out there. It would take a whole book
to explain this advanced technique with the depth it deserves. Suffice is to say that
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whenever you want to improve anything in your life, there's only one place to look: inside
you. When you look, do it with love.
“Forgiveness is the fragrance left by the violet on the heel that crushed it.” (Mark Twain)

								
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