Monastic Mom

Perceptual Interference - Clouding my own mind

I've had one 'perfect' relationship in my life - the kind where you believe you've met your soul mate. This relationship ended, I thought, due to factors in life beyond my control. I spent years working to overcome the factors and yearning for a return to that relationship. I believed somehow, someway, a relationship that was so right would eventually work out. But what I failed to realize was that it was perfect from my perception alone. It took me years to accept that if the relationship had been perfect in the eyes of my partner, then we would have worked together mindfully and the relationship would have survived the roller coasters of life. That's what love is really about - the willingness to see it through. That would have been the perfect relationship both willing to solve the problems.

Too often our desires become perceptual interference for us. We desire a certain outcome and can only see it as perfect. We refuse to accept that our perceptions don't coincide with those around us. When perceptions clash, instead of working to align our perceptions we tend instead we make excuses and believe the excuses of other which only adds to our perceptual interference. For instance, when someone says this relationship isn't going to work out because of this and that, what they are really saying is this relationship isn't for me so I don't want to find a way around this and that. Our desires cloud our understanding of this, our perceptions persist and we suffer. We can also then perceive that everything around us is going wrong because it's not leading us to what we desire. Suffering increases and prolongs.

Following the dharma can help us uncloud our minds, drop our desires and rid ourselves of perceptual interference. It's not always easy. Sometimes when the skies are cloudy for days, we perceive the sky as always gray and think that it can only be sunny beyond our reach. We need to accept that cloudy skies are a part of life and enjoy the break from the intensity of the sun. Living in the present moment allows the clouds to drift and the skies and our perceptions will clear. Once our perceptual interference drops, we can see a cloudy day or a sunny day as just another perfect day - a present moment at which to smile.

April 2006

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