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May the world be kind to you, and may your own thoughts be gentle upon yourself. - Jonathan Lockwood Huie

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Friday, January 9, 2009

Anais Nin: We don't see things as they are, we see things as we are.

We don't see things as they are,
we see things as we are. - Anaïs Nin
See that large animal chewing its cud and saying moo... the black and white one, or maybe the brown one. What do you see? Perhaps an object of religious veneration? Perhaps a friend to be decked in flowers and led through the streets on parade? Perhaps a source of milk? Perhaps tonight's pot roast? These are all the same animal, the difference is in our seeing.

What we see is more a function of our parents, our childhood, our family, our friends, our church, and our community than it is a direct result of the object or action before our eyes.

Moreover, we see what we ASSUME we will see. If you believe the world is evil, you will see evil. If you believe the world is good, you will see good. To change how life looks, change how you see life - change your expectations of life.

16 comments:

  1. this is AWESOME, and a very timely reminder..

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  2. I love this quote... it has guided me towards feeling a lot better as of late!

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  3. I also believe that how we see ourselves becomes the lens by which we 'see' others and respond to life's situations and relationships. If I have a negative, judgmental view of myself, then most everything outside of me will receive that same attitude or judgment.
    Self acceptance is the key to right relationship with everyone and everything. That is where we must begin.

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  4. I agree with what anonymous stated. If we can not start with acceptance of our selves, respect of our selves and love of our selves how can we give this to others? We can not if we know not.

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  5. Dear Jonathan, Thank you for sending me your Daily Inspiring Quotes. It has been Guiding me and able to see things differently, and I feel I've found something very Valuable for me, which I thought I've lost. I feel greatful to you and please accept my Humble Thanks.
    Sincerely, parameshwari.

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  6. Jonathan, this is the very true and this is what I struggle with every day. I feel that my parents have pushed their views on me and right now I am trying very hard to make up my own mind. I suppose we are meant to be who we are but I am hoping to see things as they really are and not as I am. But how do we know what is real or just our minds playing tricks on us?

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  7. this is the very... Great question. Like most people most of the time, you have gotten trapped by the assumption that there IS a certain way that things REALLY are. Explore the idea that there IS NOT any particular way that things are...

    Consider the cow I talk about in the article. How is a cow REALLY? I contend that there is NO way a cow REALLY is. Someone in authority may tell you that a cow is REALLY to be worshiped, or REALLY to be eaten, or REALLY to be released back to nature far from humans. But that is still just someone's opinion - someone's point-of-view.

    So what to do? Do what works. When you can, experiment with your own ideas and choose those that make you happiest. However, often we have to follow the authoritative point-of-view or face unpleasant consequences. That we should pay taxes is merely a particular point-of-view, but I strongly urge you not to exercise your own point-of-view, refuse to pay taxes, and get thrown in jail. Neither the rightness nor the wrongness of taxes is real, but jail is very real.

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  8. Sometimes merely believing something does not make it so. While I am a true believer in the power of positive thought and I am thankful that most of mankind is "good", I cannot make the evil in our world disappear with my positive vibes. I can affect my own little world, but realistically can do little to change the ugly realities of the big picture. The evil I see IS evil. I don't know any other way to see it.

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  9. Everyone believes that their beliefs are the right ones -
    that is why they are called beliefs.
    - Jonathan Lockwood Huie


    Each of us is very sure that our way of viewing the world, especially our view of morality, is the right way - the only right way. Next consider two people, or two countries, each of which is very sure that they are right. What comes next is not an attempt to understand each other, but anger, hatred, and in the case of countries, war.

    Read http://blog.dreamthisday.com/2009/10/perspective-on-tradition-open-mind.html

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  10. I do not agree that "evil" actions are necessarily a disagreement over views of morality or belief systems. For example, I do not for a moment believe that Sadam Hussein believed he was acting in a morally correct way when he tortured his people,carried out mass killings, etc. His actions were intended to create a stifling fear so that he could control and seize power. I do not for a moment believe him to be a stupid man who felt he was behaving in a morally correct way that was misinterpretted by me because my belief system differs from his. It doesn't always work that way. I wholeheartedly believe that he knew his actions were morally reprehensible.May I ask...what answers did you arrive at when attempting to understand him so as to not be angry with him for his unspeakable behavior ?

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  11. not agree that "evil" actions...

    You ask two very important questions, which are essentially unrelated to each other.

    1. WHAT was Saddam thinking? I have absolutely no idea what Saddam was thinking. He may have been thinking that he was creating the greatest good for the greatest number of his country-people in the long run, as Abraham Lincoln did when he ordered his army to kill millions of fellow Americans. Or he may have delighted in the agony his actions caused. I have no way of knowing. Whatever his motives, certainly many suffered and died as a result of his actions. But it is also true that millions of people, both Northerners and Southerners, suffered and died in the Civil War, regardless of one's opinion of the morality of the cause.

    2. Anger. As the Buddha says, "Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned." My anger hurts only me. My anger would not cause Saddam to suffer, even if he were still alive. Choosing not to anger (which is a constant battle with myself - for I am certainly inclined to anger) is a self-protective action on behalf of my blood-pressure and my peace of mind.

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  12. Historical accounts tell us that Lincoln agonized over his decisions, yet I have not heard such acoounts regarding Hussein or others, such as Hitler. It is far easier for me to let go of anger in my personal life, in my little corner of the universe, for I have learned that it is So true...it hurts me far more than anyone else. I guess the nurturing, protective side of me cannot let go so easily when the unthinkable pain inflicted is directed at those who are more of an abstraction to my world. By the way, I have learned MUCH from your thougfhts and wisdom and thank you for sharing each day.

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  13. thank you for feeding my soul everyday with inspiring words... :)

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  14. The problem is "to be" or "is" or "are" or "am"

    When reducing the use of that verb in my language or thought, "I" and "problems" cease.

    Thankyou.

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  15. Jonathan, you have been abundantly insightful, i thank you for sharing your intelligence.

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