It is hard to tell what is true in this crazy world. We see biased news reports, hear facts that suggest competing narratives, and we have to navigate it all through our own experience and belief systems.
And then there is the annoying reality that people disagree with us, which makes us instinctively want to dig our heels in even more.
A lot of times it seems like people talk about their perspective as an objective, observable truth. But even if you are right about everything (which is unlikely), this is not the truth. Our perspective is not just shaped by the things we see but the way we see them. And our vision is influenced by a lot of factors.
At the end of the day, however, perspective is a choice we make. It boils down to each of us having to discern, decide, and commit to a way of viewing the world.
At times, it seems as though the circumstances and influences around us are dictating a perspective to us. Especially when we disagree with what is suggested, we feel as though “they” or “it” is trying to control us. This is true when we agree as well, but that bothers us less.
Nobody is controlled by their circumstances. Not fully. There can be some major barriers, but if anyone is controlled by circumstances or narratives it is because they have made the choice to allow it.
Perspective (along with choosing action and whom you trust) is one of the three things you can control. That means perspective is up to you. you are not a victim of the perspectives around you. They are loud and they have an influence over you. But, you always have a choice. Perspective is a choice you make.
The challenge, of course, is figuring out how to choose well. Which facts do you focus on? Which narratives do you reinforce? Which influences do you trust?
It can be overwhelming. It is overwhelming.
We want to make the right choices; we want to know and be aligned with the truth; and we want people to like us – to affirm us and give us a place to belong. Plus, we have patterns that have developed from our personal experiences that are important pieces of data and need to be added to the equation; but those data points are so personal it is hard to figure out how to give them their proper weight – no less and no more.
We like to say, “truth is an acquired taste”. The reality is most people have given up on using truth as their anchor. Whether consciously, subconsciously, or self-deceiving, we are aiming toward a different goal. Something like fame or power. Most of us, if we are honest, just want everyone to worship us. And that informs what we decide to perceive – our minds throw tantrums and vilify others when this desire drifts further and further into oblivion.
The only guide for our journey of perception is truth. We need to be committed to it, no matter where it takes us. We have to accept its complexities – that things are rarely all one thing or the other. And perhaps most elusive of all, we have to understand that the truth is not one final answer – it often leads to more questions. It is not a thing that shows up and eliminates mystery, makes us feel good, and annihilates all of our enemies/suffering/uncertainty. Exploring truth is an exploration. It is not a problem-solver, but a way of life. A way of perceiving.
And the choice is yours.