This morning on my walk I saw a worm on the road ahead of me. It was an ENORMOUS worm, longest I’ve seen in a while. It had just rained last night, but the sun was out, so I was surprised it was still on the road.
After a few steps closer, however, I recognized it for what it truly was: a twig! A harmless brown twig.
Have you ever had an experience like this, a transmutation of your visual reality based on an imagined reality? This is actually a physical function of your BRAIN, where it references past experiences to define what is unknown in the present moment, to keep you safe from danger. My “worm” was a combination of visual stimuli and MEMORIES that my brain used to CONSTRUCT an explanation of what was in front of me.
The conditions outside of me were similar to ones I had experienced before: it was a warm, muggy morning after a long summer rain, and I was walking on the asphalt along the edge of the road. In the PAST, my eyes have seen many worms coming out to escape the rain absorbing into the ground. So the twig, which was approximately the right size and color to be a long worm, was interpreted immediately as a worm.
If I had not LOOKED more closely, I may have forever gone on BELIEVING that I had seen a gigantic worm! I may never have questioned this reality.
This is the kind of shit our mind does EVERY DAY, with every aspect of our EXPERIENCE, including emotions, sensations, things we see, smell, hear, and even touch. Our brains were designed to scan the environment, identify danger (based on past experience), and take evasive or protective action.
Isn’t it amazingly MIRACULOUS how well this function works? Aren’t our bodies the most EXTRAORDINARY systems??
In addition to this awesome function, we also have a hardwired need for CONNECTION and COMMUNITY, which keeps us safe in groups against the wild life and elemental threats.
So, it stands to reason that one of our first reactions to a PERCEIVED reality would be to corroborate it with others. We look around us for EVIDENCE that other people also AGREE with what we are perceiving. This is why we often feel AFRAID to do something DIFFERENT from what everyone else is doing, even though we know it might be of benefit to us.
Our primitive brains require us to stay connected to the group, lest we go off and do something crazy that causes us to get eaten by a hyena.
All this is to say, our bodies are amazing pieces of machinery that work every day to keep our cosmic SOUL safe from the unlimited unknown that faces us on Earth. (And that’s something we can be dazzled by and grateful for!)
Also, our realities today are very different from our realities millennia – even centuries – ago. What scares us today is often exactly that which will move us FORWARD, and not get us killed. The guts to stand out from the crowd, for example, is what makes a LEADER, an INNOVATOR, an ARTIST… Yet in our bodies, standing out from the crowd feels VULNERABLE and even threatening.
When I see a twig that looks like a worm, I am reminded of this miraculous machine that is my BODY. And also of the very real fact that I can create my own reality. This is what motivates me to practice, every day, an AWARENESS of the perceptions that are automatically created by my brain. I know that if I can identify a thought or perception in the MOMENT that it occurs, I can consciously CHANGE that thought and therefore get a DIFFERENT outcome.
What I perceive can be up to ME, and not my fears.
I recognize (and my life is proving!) that this is a JOURNEY and a dedicated PRACTICE. But I know with all my SOUL that this is the way toward human evolution.
The next stage of EVOLUTION for us as humans is to RECONSTRUCT our perception of what is dangerous vs. what is necessary to THRIVE.
More and more people are awakening to this understanding and taking steps to OPEN and ALIGN with their higher WISDOM…
taking steps to live out their own different difference.
You were born to make an impact here that no one else can make. Are you ALIGNED with what you KNOW or what you PERCEIVE?
Do you see the TWIG or the WORM?