I’ve written many times before about perspective and how we perceive the things around us; our perception truly does color our entire existence. You can walk outside into a nice, warm sun and think, “Wow! What a beautiful day! I’m lucky to be alive,” or in the same circumstances think, “Ugh, there’s too much sun on my face. I hope I don’t burn. It’s going to get too hot too fast.” While these types of perceptions are our choice in the end, they are also brought forth by years of experience, conditioning, and the circumstances of our lives. So, it’s important to understand that negative thoughts—while often the result of many years of trauma or pain—are not conducive to goals like healing and growth and need to be worked through. But already I digress.
I’ve been thinking a lot recently about perspective and how it fits into the realms of science, our daily lives, and our experiences when we explore consciousness studies at facilities like the Monroe Institute. Comprehending the concept of perception and how we tend to perceive things can help us better understand the world around us and inspire us to strive for a better future across the board.
Perspective in science
The hardest part of any scientific research, in my opinion, is keeping a literal and factual mindset. When we get factual details, our mind wants to fill in the blanks with our own perceptions, which may color our results by allowing us to see what we want to see or making us blind to details that don’t fit in with our personal picture. If we care enough to conduct an experiment or truly research a topic, don’t we owe it to ourselves and the work to provide the exact details down to a ‘t’ without preconceived notions or our own perceptions put into the mix? To my mind, that’s the first and most important step.
It’s important to understand that negative thoughts—while often the result of many years of trauma or pain—are not conducive to goals like healing and growth and need to be worked through.
Only after all the details are laid out before us can we go back and look at the trends and put forth our ideas based on the evidence provided. I find that with anything in life, if given enough distance, information begins traveling as if in a game of telephone. One person tells a friend it was a nice, sunny day. That friend tells someone else that it was the most beautiful day seen in years. Suddenly, it becomes an unbelievably exquisite day—too extreme, perhaps. Was there something else at play? The more we diverge from just listing the facts, the more the details of a story get colored by perceptions from person to person. After all, we all perceive things very differently, so my perceptions can’t be measured as equals to yours. We have different ways of experiencing the world, and therefore, it’s not a reliable variable.
I’ve just noticed how much everyone relies on perspective and perception recently, and it’s had me questioning many of the sciences I’ve seen laid out as fact before me. This is where perspective can get just a bit dangerous.
Open discussions that allow people to provide their viewpoints can help us to grow, evolve our opinions, and break free from stale, preconceived notions—a very powerful tool for change.
Perspective at the Monroe Institute
On the other hand, perspective throughout programs at Monroe can be a valuable tool to help us see our experiences in a different way. I may have a very specific meditation story that I choose to share with my group in one of our group circles. I may perceive the facts one way, and someone else may respond with an entirely different perspective. When that happens, I see it as a fertile opportunity. Being able to share my experiences with a group and hearing back their thoughts and ideas provides me with insights I never would have thought of on my own. Different perspectives and personal opinions can be incredibly valuable when it comes to creative and subjective topics. Open discussions that allow people to provide their viewpoints can help us to grow, evolve our opinions, and break free from stale, preconceived notions—a very powerful tool for change.
I guess where I’m going with all of this is that perspective is a very important consideration in our lives. It can help us to see the world in all its wonder and live in a beautiful and imaginatively curious way. It can also be dangerous if we train ourselves to see only one side of a thing, or use habitual perspective as a way to fill in gaps. I consider perspective a hot topic for conversation in the modern world of consciousness studies, and it’s something I plan to delve more into as I continue my journeys at Monroe.