I was making my routine jaunt around the park near where I live and was observing the lush foliage that surrounded me. It made me ponder something…do others perceive the trees as I see them? Yes, our eyes have basically the same components that produce our vision: the retina, cornea, lens, iris and pupil. These components allow us to depict the greens of the leaves, the browns of the bark, the colors of the flowers…but on a different level…on an emotional level, do we perceive things the same way?

Have you ever recalled a time when you are feeling really good, life is glorious, you feel in complete alignment with what you feel is your life purpose? How do you perceive things around you? Have you ever noticed how much crisper the greens are on the trees, how more textured the bark is, how much richer and vibrant the colors of the flowers are? Why is that? What makes things seem to pulsate with life so much more? Could it be that you are seeing things through a clearer vision, one that isn’t clouded by filters of your own thoughts or preconceived notions, based on your own experiences? Perhaps you are seeing through a vision beyond what the mechanical processes of your human eye perceives. Perhaps you are having a glimpse of how life is when you have complete clarity of “what is” and not “what your mind thinks it is.” Is it that you are seeing through the eyes of Spirit at a soul level, where everything is crystal clear?

Well, this time of introspection as I made my exercise round along the paved path led me to another question. How different are our perceptions of others…all those we encounter in our lives, whether it’s a passing stranger or a loved one? What causes us to have such different views of people? Granted, just like the trees and flowers, we are all made up of flesh and bones, but we may have a different skin color, or hair or eye color. We may be of a different nationality or different race. We all have our own individual personalities, our own interests, our own lifestyles. We are all at different levels of consciousness. So why is it that I can perceive a person as one way and someone else might perceive her as a completely different human being? Is it that we have our own individual filters through which we see the world…ones that have been colored by our own personal experiences, our own thoughts and emotions, our own level of consciousness, all that which we’ve been taught? Do we find ourselves judging others because they may not conform to what we perceive as good or right, or are not of our caliber…whatever that may be? How can we manage to live in harmony when we may see things so differently in the world?

I would like to share a story that brings light to this seemingly Divine Dichotomy (read about this in my book Zesty Womanhood at 40 and Beyond) of attempting to live in harmony when there are so many differences. First I would like to ask you: have you ever put yourself in someone else’s shoes and tried to understand why they may think or act a certain way? What does it feel like? It may feel very uncomfortable to you, or it may be very exhilarating, depending on the life you “perceive” this person lives.

I recall the first time I drove through the impoverished neighborhood of my family’s housekeeper. We were going for a visit. While trying to find our way to her home, I immediately felt such a sense of discomfort…a sense of hopelessness, despondency. Where was that sense coming from? Was it the energy of the neighborhood that I was sensing or was it an inner energy that bubbled up from my own perceptions of poverty, or could it have been both? And then I arrived at our housekeeper’s home. It was like a beacon shining, giving hope to all those around it. Our rotund housekeeper, Elnora, who had been with our family for 25 years, was, by our society’s standards, very poor, and yet, to me, to my family and to the other family for whom she worked and to all those in her intimate community, she was one of the wealthiest women alive. Her richness came from the love and nurturing she extended to all around her. Certainly, she had very few material belongings, just as it was with all in her neighborhood, but she was a woman of stature that far exceeded any woman who could easily flaunt her material wealth. And this was reflected in the service that was given when she passed away. My mom, my oldest son who was six years old at the time, and I attended her funeral. But what we experienced was certainly not a service of mourning of death. It was a celebration of life, of her life and what she brought to all those she encountered.

This experience has left a lasting imprint in my mind that I have carried and will continue to carry throughout my life. Yes, Elnora was poor on a material level, but the abundance in her heart that she carried was overflowing. So I ask you, if you saw Elnora in the grocery store or some similar plump woman waddling down an aisle in a slightly tattered dress and worn shoes, what would your first impression be? Would it be one of compassion, one of disgust, one of pity? You might want to think about where your perception is coming from. Is it possible to begin trying to clear your mind from the mental chatter that prevents you from seeing things as they might really be…to wipe the lens of your own opinions, your own thoughts, your own experiences? Can you put yourself in her shoes and imagine what her life may be like? Do you think that would give you a different perspective of the type of person she might really be deep down inside…not just what your “human” eyes envision or what your mind creates?

I close this article with this…open your heart, open your mind so you may see things more clearly through the lens of your perception. You may be surprised how vibrant everything becomes and how disparate perceptions begin to harmonize with one another.

Author's Bio: 

Erica Tucci is a corporate manager, business owner, licensed massage therapist and a Reiki master/instructor, certified life coach, former ballet dancer and a pianist, the mother of two beautiful young men, first degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do and an author of three books: Moms and Their Young Spirited Boys, Anything is Possible and Zesty Womanhood at 40 and Beyond: Second Act, New Role. She devotes her life to her writing and her great desire to help others, primarily women, to create the radiant lives they deserve. She has committed to reclaiming the Divine female within herself and wishes to help other women do the same. You can reach her at http://www.ericatucci.com.