Why You Don’t Really See What You Think You See


Human eye. Español: Iris de un ojo humano. El ...
Human eye. Español: Iris de un ojo humano. El ojo recibe los rayos de luz que provienen del exterior y los transforma en impulsos nerviosos en la retina, formada por las células de la visión conocidas como conos y bastones. فارسی: چشم انسان Français : Œil humain Italiano: Occhio umano. ქართული: ადამიანის თვალი Русский: Глаз человека Türkçe: İnsan Gözu 中文: 人眼 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


This past summer, I got hooked on a show called, “Perception“, and the main character is a professor of neuroscience. In a lecture, he was explaining, “the blind spot.” He said when we look at something,  light is reflected through our retina to image receptors which project them to our brain and our brain interprets the images. But, there is an area in the retina that doesn’t have receptors and doesn’t reflect images to the brain. It’s called, “the blind spot.” The brain compensates by constructing the rest of the missing picture as it thinks it should appear.


What does this mean?


It means that we don’t see our world as it is, but as we THINK it is. Our mind fills in the blanks. This means that two people can see two different things while looking at the same thing because of their different experiences.


We like to believe that our view of the world is reality. The truth is that we are all living within our own reality in a view of the world based on our mind’s interpretation of what we see. This means that everyone is right. Or, if you’re a pessimist, you may think that everyone is wrong. The glass is actually half empty and half full.


“One has not only an ability to perceive the world but an ability to alter one’s perception of it; more simply, one can change things by the manner in which one looks at them.” – Tom Robbins 


When something happens in your life, you can feel like you are seeing your world as it is for the first time. It can be the end of a relationship, the loss of a loved one, a job loss or some other significant moment in your life that shakes up your view of your reality. We can move through life on cruise control and our mind fills in all the blind spots with what we expect to see. It can be a familiar face, your morning coffee shop or waking up to your spouse. Then one day, you turn around and it’s no longer there. It can be jarring. Suddenly, you notice all the other things in your life that you’ve missed.


This may be unsettling, but it also offers a chance for you to choose your perception of your reality. Think about it. Your mind decides what it is that you see, but you decide what it is that you focus on. You can see a loss as an ending or you choose to focus on it as a new beginning. If you were sleepwalking through life, you are now being awakened and your eyes are seeing the truth of your reality. You have an opportunity to hold on to that truth and to fill in that blind spot in a way that makes your view of the world more vibrant and in living color.


We don’t actually lose anything in our blind spot. It’s merely a part of the picture we create in our minds. The power of the blind spot is that we can choose to view it as deficiency or a possibility.You can spend your life mourning the one spot in your life you can’t see or you can take the paintbrush and paint that section of the picture as you like. The next time you find yourself in an argument with someone about what you see, remember that their reality is not the same as yours. And, the next time, you are sure you know what you are looking at, remember that there is a hidden area that is beyond your sight. This means that there is always something in your life that you won’t completely understand or know. If you can become comfortable with this knowledge, it can be the first step to seeing the world through the eyes of others. Uncertainty is the gift of the Universe where possibilities live and understanding thrives.


  “Your opinion is your opinion, your perception is your perception–do not confuse them with “facts” or “truth”. Wars have been fought and millions have been killed because of the inability of men to understand the idea that EVERYBODY has a different viewpoint.” – John Moore


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