Pay Attention... and See Reality
"Never try to fool
They expect nothing and therefore see everything."
-- Harry Houdini
I love this quote by Harry Houdini in the movie "FairyTale:
A True Story". It doesn't matter to me whether these words were actually
spoken by the world-famous master magician, known in his time as the 'Man
No Chains Can Hold'. What I find important about this quote is the idea
that those who have the fewest expectations and pre-existing assumptions
are best able to see the world most clearly.
This point of view challenges the assumption that wisdom
always comes from experience, and that the more we know about things, the
better we will understand the world. Swiss psychologist Jean Piaget
described that young preschool age children (two to seven years of age) go
through a phase called, "magical thinking", in which they have what Piaget
considered to be a magical, illogical, intuitive view of the world in which
the relationship of objects in space and time is not understood and effect
is not clear. Piaget's developmental model described this phase as the
pre-operative stage of intellectual development... a stage that we all pass
through and outgrow.
What if magicians are right, and those with the fewest pre-existing
expectations see most clearly? If we wish to perceive our world as it
really is instead of how we have been conditioned to believe it is, we need
to find a way to drop the beliefs and assumptions that get in our way.
How can we see the world
Zen meditation masters have long described the importance of
regaining "Beginner's Mind", the state of mind in which one does not
interpret reality according to previous experiences, but instead is able to
observe in this present moment what is actually taking place. This notion
of beginner's mind points to our original, pure nature and the value of
approaching each task as if we had never done it before. The advantage of
being fully in the present is that we are not misled by what cues and clues
and triggers to memories from the past, so we are more fully able to
respond to our present circumstances from a fresh, pure, and probably much
more appropriate perspective.
More specifically, the world seems full of whatever we are focusing our
attention on. When we think of babies, we see babies everywhere we go.
When we see things that trigger memories in us (pleasant and unpleasant),
we typically overlay those old experiences directly on top of whatever is
happening in the here and now.
What happens when we see the
with a beginner's mind?
One of the first things I've found that happens is that
situations that previously would have been upsetting to me are de-fused,
because I am not overlaying expectations of difficulty on top of what is
really going on.
For example, this morning when I met a woman who was exhibiting signs of
extreme stress and not radiating compassion at all, I practiced being in a
state of love. Instead of feeling rebuffed by her brusqueness, I radiated
my feelings of being blessed and divinely fortunate. These feelings
radiated out from me, and seemed to affect the entire room I was in.
People who had been engaged in disagreements suddenly seemed more
congenial, and the stressed-out woman almost smiled, which I'm certain she
would not have done otherwise!
A beginner's mind allows me to see reality shifts as they occur. I have
seen things appear, disappear, transport and transform right in front of
me, simply by being open to witnessing such things occurring in my
I've felt Time Slow to a Stop, I've seen Materializing Keys, and I've seen a Lady Appear... Twice. I've seen many other real-time
reality shifts as they occurred, and have also witnessed the results of a
shifted reality, such as the time
My Grandmother's Liver Cancer Vanished.
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