Here is an exercise in perception I’ve been playing around with while walking down the street. This is a little glimpse into my mind. Feel free to try it for yourself next time you find yourself walking somewhere.
This experiment came to be because I decided to test the premise that what you see inside of you is reflected on the outside.
The way to test this is to walk in the streets of your city where there are many people. You don’t talk. You just think. And while you walk you observe your thoughts and how you feel during the exercise.
In the first part, every time you get near someone or look at someone you have to judge that person as quickly as possible and has harshly as possible. You have to find something wrong with them. Something that needs to be fixed. Something you don’t like. Do this for 5 to 10 minutes.
In the second part, every time you cross someone or look at someone you have to find something you like about them. Something that makes that person beautiful. Don’t overthink it, just make it positive. Again, you can’t talk. You only get to observe your thoughts, how you feel and how your perception changes. Do this for 5 to 10 minutes.
Here were my results the last time I did this:
In the first part, everything gets dark quickly. Nobody is friendly. They look like they’re all judging me. I feel insecure. What do I look like? Do they even like me? I could never talk to that person. I just want to hide. This is uncomfortable. Why the hell am I even doing this? There is tension in my whole body. I feel like I have to be aware of everything around me because something bad is about to happen. I can’t relax. Wait, is that person talking about me? Are they pointing at me? Ouf, that wasn’t for me, it was for that other person. It feels like I’m the center of the world. It feels like everyone is judging me and or ignoring me. I feel alone with so many people around me. This feels horrible. It feels like I have to get somewhere to get away but I don’t know where I have to go or what I’m trying to get away from. The feeling keeps staying with me wherever I go. Perhaps I’m trying to get away from myself? But I can’t do that. I’m screwed. I’m in Hell, in eternal damnation.
Then I switch to phase 2 of the experiment; finding things I like:
At first if feels kind of weird to switch to this kind of thinking. Then it quickly feels like relief. I feel light, like I’m having fun again. Everyone is on my side. Everyone is my friend. We are all flowing around doing our own thing, each in his own world in the same world. Like busy bees tending to their tasks. There are no threats. Those people are beautiful. I’m enjoying myself. It’s effortless to smile and wink at the girls. I’m curious about everyone. There is no rush. I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be. I don’t have that sense of a pressing need for anyone or anything in particular but I feel an assurance that my needs will be met. I don’t need to know what’s going to happen next. Things happen exactly as they are supposed to. Not everyone is a good fit for me but there are those that are. Those are my tribe. I have a quite confidence in me. I see what others don’t. I see Beauty.
This little exercise is surprisingly effective. When you realise that your thoughts create your reality in a matter of seconds, that you actually get to choose how you see the world it is both a bit scary and amazing. It is super empowering. This doesn’t mean you start avoiding negative thoughts by thinking positive ones. It means you can observe what’s going on. You can choose to change the way you see things.
You can either make your experience a literal Hell on Earth, or you can choose to make it fun, alive and joyful. It depends only on how you choose to see the world.
If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change. — Dr. Wayne Dyer
Feel free to go ahead and try this for yourself.
You get to choose what you see. I choose to see beauty.
What will you choose?