"To the frog who cleans the doors of his perception, Irwin, everything will appear as it is...infinite!" That was a lot for me to take in before I'd even had one swallow of tea. "But Dharma," I replied, "My doors and windows are always clean! You know I don't like a dirty lily pad." "Oh Irwin," he said sadly, as he shook his head," I'm not talking about real doors and windows. I don't think you're awake, Son. Go ahead and have some tea...and while you're at please pour me a nice big cup." I did as I was told and then the Wise One explained that he was referring to the doors in my mind, the ones that open onto my perception of the world around me. "I think your's are getting a little smudged," he stated. "It's time to do a little mental housekeeping, Tadpole, before your perception gets any worse." OK, so maybe I wasn't seeing things as clearly as I usually do. I mean, afterall, I did get pretty wound-up over an appointment yesterday. The Dharma Frog sensed that I was ready to begin my lesson in earnest this time, and went to explain how perception colors every aspect of our lives...from the simplest little things to the great big, grandiose events in our lives. Things can be either black/white/grey...or in beautiful 3-D color. The choice is up to us.
How we perceive and interpret events, as well as other external stimuli, colors how we interact with people and with life, in general. Dharma went on to say that if we let our egos...our false sense of self...dominate our thoughts, we will never see things as they truly are. Unfortunately, it becomes more difficult to remove a falsehood (one of those negative perceptions) once it has settled into our mind and we have given ourselves a rationale for it...even when that rationale is erroneous. Frogs, and humans alike, will retain their invented explanation because our ego is unwilling to consider the possibility that it might be WRONG! This happens, even after the ego's erroneous explantion of and event or circumstance has been thoroughly disqualified. It seems, according to Dharma (and other noted researchers) that it is far easier to create a new belief than it is to change an old, worn-out exisiting one.
"So, Wise One, how do I clean my mental doors so I can see more clearly?" My teacher thought for a moment, then slowly replied, "It's easier, Irwin, to not have misperceptions to begin with, than it is to change your old ones. Changing your perceptions isn't easy, Little One, but with desire and a little fortitude it can be done. You must first decide to be in charge of your life. YOU are in charge. Not your life. You have to set reasonable expectations for yourself. You have to forgive yourself when you faulter. And you will, from time-to-time; afterall, we are only frogs. Then, start talking back, very forcibly in necessary, to that little inner voice inside your head. Everytime it say, 'I cant' you must tell him, 'I can!' Irwin, we all have good and bad in our lives and it's so important to focus your attention on the good, rather than the bad. Perhaps it'll be hard at first. But start off with being happy and positive about your morning cup of tea. Find joy in the sunrise...you get the idea. Start off small. Too, you need to start acknowledging the all the good qualities you have. For some, that won't won't be easy. Self-hatred is debilitating and clouds our perceptions; that can mean digging pretty deep. But for those you are willing to look, lots of good qualities can be found and appreciated. And, lastly, my young student, don't settle for anything less than feeling happy. If you take care of yourself, it will help everything else fall into place. Do you understand?" "I sure do! This has been a very helpful lesson. Thank you, Dharma."
As my friend and mentor hopped away, I felt as if a great weight had been lifted off my tiny frog shoulders. I CAN see things clearly. All I need to do is to wash my mental "door and windows" regularly. And that will be easy for me to do. I am, after all, a very tidy frog. I want my mind to be as spic 'n span as my little lily pad.
Our personal perceptions color our world. I know I don't like living in beige, brown, grey, or black. I LOVE color. It makes me happy. It's good to know that all I have to do is give my perceptions a good daily clean. Then I can clearly see all the beautiful and vibrant colors that really do exist out there. And they are infinite.