A brand new decade beckons...
Posted on 2nd January 2020 at 08:30
There are some traditions which never seem to change, with the making – and breaking (!) – of New Year’s Resolutions being a seasonal example of this. It’s a topic we cover every January, albeit from various different angles, and, if you want a quick reminder, here they are:
For the madness behind New Year’s Resolutions and why they simply don’t work, click here.
A suggestion to ditch your New Year’s Resolutions and do something more powerful instead, click here.
An easier way to make – and achieve – your New Year’s Resolutions, click here.
A suggestion for an easier way to start the New Year, click here.
And, finally, Inspiration versus perspiration, click here.
So, we thought it was about time for a different start to this bright new shiny year and decade (!). It’s a simple question that’s designed to get you thinking and, fingers crossed, will also give you a different perspective on life.
Are you ready? Then here we go.
Where do you experience the world, inside or outside?
And, if this sounds like a strange question, bear with us, it’ll all make sense in a minute. Yes, it will!
Talk to people about their lives and they’ll always do so in terms of what’s happening “out there”. With the people or events in their lives. Perhaps in the wider world around them. And, to reinforce whatever they’re talking about, their words are usually accompanied by various gestures to the people – or things – concerned.
But is this really the case?
That everything happens externally. In the world around us.
Our experience of life comes from our five senses. You’ll remember them from biology lessons at school. Sight, sound, taste, touch and smell.
Every second, a huge amount of data is collected by them. It’s then processed in the Brain and used to form our view of the people and world around us, as well as our place in it.
But have you ever thought about what this actually involves? Well, since your days at school.
And, more importantly, what it means for how you experience the world?
Let’s take a quick look – no pun intended (!) – at what actually happens. As sight is our dominant sense – as well as being the one that’s easiest to understand – we’ll use it as our example.
So, here’s a picture of roses as a reminder that the days are already starting to lengthen – we’re ever the optimists (!) – and summer is just around the corner…
Anyway, before we digress too far, when you look at this picture, what actually happens?
Well, the simple answer is that your Brain converts the light signals bouncing off the picture of the roses into an actual image of them. This information is then projected outwards to give the image of the roses you see.
If you’d like a more detailed answer, here it is. Light bounces off the picture and enters your Eye through the Cornea, the thin clear layer protecting the front of the Eye. It then passes through the Pupil – the small dark circle in the centre of the coloured Iris – on to the Retina at the back of the Eye.
The Retina is made up of photoreceptors called Rods and Cones, which convert the light into electrical impulses. These are then sent to your Brain via the Optic Nerve. Here, it’s decoded in the Visual Cortex to form an image of the roses. Finally, this information is then sent back along the Optic Nerve, where it’s projected outwards for you to experience as the picture of the roses.
All this information is processed by the Brain in incredibly short periods of time, giving us a real time experience of the world around us. But here’s the twist. While the five senses give us an experience of the world outside us, this process happens inside of us. In our Brain. This means that we each determine exactly what we experience and in our own unique way.
Let’s just repeat that again, in case you missed it.
All the information collected by the five senses is decoded inside us to give us the external sensation of sight, sound, taste, touch or smell. This information is then projected out through the same sense organs – the Eye in this example – to give us the external experience.
In other words, what we think of being “outside” of us is, in reality, happening “inside” of us.
To start with, this different perspective can feel rather strange. How can everything be happening inside us rather than outside?
However, there’s an easy example to make this strange new perspective easier to understand. Continuing with sight, think about what happens when someone is blind. The picture of the roses is still there. The light still bounces off it and enters the Eye. However, for many different reasons, it can’t be decoded by the Visual Centre of the Brain.
So, what happens? Well, nothing.
There’s not an external reason for the picture of the roses not being seen, it’s an internal one. In other words, the electrical wiring and processing – for want of any better words (!) – going on inside each of us determines how – and what – we experience in the outside world.
Goodness, that’s a completely different perspective on the world! What we thought was happening “out there” was really happening “in here.”
Instantly, it explains why we each see – and experience – the picture of the roses slightly differently. How we’re much more subjective than we’d ever realised. And this applies regardless of how “objective” we like to think we are. After all, if we’re each responsible for processing the information coming in, then it’s no surprise that we each have a slightly different experience of it.
Even if there’s a consensus about how the picture of the roses looks – with many people experiencing it in a similar way – there are always going to be subtle differences. And that’s without the myriad of different medical “labels” which can be put on any of the five senses to explain how they differ from the “norm”, whatever that may be (!).
Having made this observation to many different people over the years – clients, as well as family and friends – we’ve noticed that it invariably opens up a potential Pandora’s box of questions. Particularly those who consider themselves highly objective in their approach to life…
Not least, about how we process and interpret all the information coming into our heads – our Brain (!) – every second of our lives. Whether there are lots of other things going on we have no idea about. Or, perhaps, have completely mis understood.
The uncomfortable answer to both of these questions, as we’ve so often hinted at in this Blog, is undoubtedly “yes.”
We appreciate that this very different perspective on how we experience life may feel rather strange to start with. It certainly was for us, the first time the implications hit us.
By realising that our experience of the world is much more subjective than we’d ever realised, we’re being given a great gift. A much greater ability to control how we experience everything that happens in our lives than we’d ever thought. And it goes far beyond whether you’re a “glass half full” or “glass half empty” person.
It’s about how you can turn whatever happens in your life in to a positive experience – yes, you really can (!) – as well as having much more control over what actually happens in the first place. The problem is that we have to be aware of these abilities to be able to use them. And, sadly, the majority of people are still completely unaware of this...
Now there’s much more we could say about this but we’re going to stop there for today. Not least because the Little Monster in your head probably has a lot to say about this new perspective. But, please, don’t automatically dismiss it out of hand. Mull it over, let it sink in and then decide for yourself. Or, if you’re not sure, sit on the fence for the time being…
Having started this brand new decade with a completely different perspective on life, we’ll be continuing this theme over the coming weeks. Taking a look – no pun intended (!) – at some of the other things going on in your head that you may never have been aware of. Let alone stopped to think about.
As always, the choice is yours.
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