We Don’t See The World As It Is, We See The World As We Areby Robert Meagher on 12/03/19
I want to share a recent, personal experience that made it clear to me that I don’t see the world as it is. I see the world as I am. This great spiritual teaching is echoed throughout many traditions and could be simplified to share that the world we see outside of us is merely a reflection of our inner state of being. On a deeper level, perhaps, the teaching is rooted in the law of cause and effect. The majority of people may think that something is happening outside of them (i.e., a war, an atrocity, an argument, etc.) and that they are affected by this thing that is happening outside of them. Said another way, how I am affected (influenced) is an effect (result) of what I perceive as the cause (i.e., a war, an atrocity, an argument, etc.). In truth, however, I am the cause and what I see outside of me is the effect (result). Everything I see is the result (the effect) of my thoughts (the cause). And my thoughts originate from me. I am the cause. What I see (the effect) is a physical manifestation of my thoughts (the cause). Allow me to share how this law of cause and effect can work with a recent, personal experience.
I had come out of a meeting feeling a myriad of emotions—mostly frustration and irritation. Frustration and irritation, however, are merely flavors of a more insidious feeling—anger. I ruminated on my anger until I uncovered what I was truly angry about. Check!...I got that out of my system, right? The residue of my feelings remained for another hour or so, so I decided it was best I go for a walk to further contemplate my feelings in the hopes of expunging my anger over the past events.
As I approached a busy downtown intersection, a pickup truck was moving through an intersection at a snail’s pace, due to heavy traffic at this intersection. The pickup truck was forced to stop without having progressed all the way through the intersection. As a result, the truck was blocking the pedestrian crosswalk. A pedestrian, frustrated at the truck blocking the crosswalk (impeding them from crossing the street), decided to take their frustrations out on the truck. The pedestrian started to hit and kick the truck. Loud bangs could be heard as the pedestrian struck the truck with their hands and feet.
The driver of the truck, startled by the sounds of something striking the truck, climbed out of the truck to realize a pedestrian was hitting and kicking the truck. The unfolding exchange between the pedestrian and the driver of the truck quickly escalated until the pedestrian and truck driver got into a fist fight in the middle of the busy intersection. As the fury on display escalated, a small crowd of people gathered to cheer and jeer, depending on the person whose ‘side’ they were taking. Traffic was now stopped in all directions.
As I watched the scene unfold, a great peace came over me. I was being shown my anger; all its fury and ugliness was on display for me to witness. It had never been more clear to me that my outer world was merely an expression of my inner state of being. Because I felt a great sense of peace, I blessed the scene and all its participants, as I gently walked away.
The anger I had felt from the meeting earlier in the day was the feeling I was carrying around with me. The anger manifested itself as an outward expression of anger between a pedestrian and truck driver. The pedestrian and truck driver were simply the mirrors on myself, and the teachers who chose to show me in that moment the ugliness of my anger.
Robert Meagher has been ordained as an Interfaith Minister and certified as a Sacred Attention Therapy (SAT) Therapist. Robert is the Founder and Spiritual Director for Spiritual Guidance and Co-Founder of the Center for Human Awakening.