As the saying goes, “perceptions are nine-tenths of the law”. And I have always seen this to be extremely true in our society. But we also have the expression of “don’t judge a book by its cover”, which is of course the converse of this type of thinking.
Unfortunately, I think most of us fall into the trap of judging by our perceptions far too often. Even finding that someones accent can lead us to believe whether they are smart or not. For instance, a British accent might make us perceive a person as sophisticated and intelligent, while a Southern accent might lead us to assume lack of culture and intellect.
I’m sure you can see that these are both delusional and ignorant (avijja) assumptions. But how often, and in how many other ways are we allowing our perceptions to get the best of us?
This morning I watched a YouTube video of someone who made a satire out of Buddhism. I watched it, and laughed out loud at how funny it was. But I also immediately realized that my view and perception is not especially the view that others may have. (I will post the video at the bottom)
I realized that there could be so many perceptions of this video, depending on your own mind. For someone from another religious background, they might laugh and think how this shows the ridiculousness of the Buddhist practice. While some Buddhist’s may see this and feel highly offended at the vulgarity and inaccuracy of what is presented.
Then I thought about posting this video on my personal Facebook page, to share the laugh with friends and Family. But it occurred to me that this could be disturbing to some people and cause negative perceptions to arise in them. So I questioned if I should care about this. Since I am not in control of your mind and your thoughts, why should I concern myself with perceptions that may arise in you?
This video, and this experience I am having right now, is a wonderful lesson in mindfulness for me. I am thinking of Right View, Right Action, Right Mindfulness, Right Intention. They are all coming into play over this silly video I watched. How wonderful!
Having then spent some time in meditation this morning, I came to the conclusion that writing about this here, was the most mindful path.
More and more I see opportunities in this moment to be mindful and let go of perceptions. Being present and open enough that I can be free of judgements and criticisms. And while I am aware that this is a work in progress, I also feel it is such a rewarding path.