The mind seldom chooses; it judges. I was in the park this morning, walking and thinking a lot. There were sporadic moments where I caught myself thinking where I brought myself back into the moment. It happened a few times and suddenly it dawned upon me that I was making a judgment out of my thoughts rather than making peace with it. To switch myself abruptly back into the moment already indicated that I was favoring the “now” rather than the thoughts. Favoring make specialness out of anything and in specialness there is sure to be of likes and dislikes – judgments. The switch is not done from the space of wisdom but rather an old idea that it is “wrong” to engage in thinking, hence the grasping of wanting to be back into the “now”.
But what is truly in the “now” is the conflict I am going through; not the park, the trees or the fresh air of the morning. A lot of times my perception of the now is about where I am, visually, rather than what the mind is experiencing.
When we talk of wisdom, we talk of what we have learnt from a situation, not the situation itself. The situation is merely the storyline, the learning is the lesson gained from understanding the situation, which usually ends itself in the mind. Back to the case of my morning walk – the situation of that point is my dwelling in thoughts. With wisdom I would have chosen to step back and learn why the mind was dwelling in thoughts rather than forcing the mind back to the walk. But when wisdom is not around, the only way the mind knows is through ignorance – judging the situation and forcing it to another.
You have and will experience this pattern of ignorance occurring throughout the day. For instance, your boss scolds – you are hurt by it.
Ignorant way of handling – you see your boss as wrong for scolding, or you may justify his scolding as appropriate. Either way is a judgment. You judge the situation and make a conclusion out of it. This becomes a wrong perception – a perception based from judgment rather than understanding.
Wisdom way of handling – recognize the hurt. Learn what caused the hurt, not from the external but rather from the internal – the ideas that brought about the judgment. You work on the cause rather than the effect. This is true learning, and hence the result that is derived from this is right perception – seeing things as they really are.
When a repeated albeit new incident is to occur in the future, say your boss was to scold you again, your past perception will readily appear to address the issue. If you have experienced wrong perception from the past, the only thing you can expect is judgment arising from that instant; whereas if right perception or wisdom is what you have gained, then you will look at the situation with understanding, probably with compassion or even love.
Many a times we experience rejection, abandonment or heartbreak – these are ancient pains that we have not fully understood or learnt and hence being presented to us in a situation to choose again – either we start taking responsibility of those emotions and look into the ideas that we are holding on to or fall back into the ignorant trip and expect it to arise again in the future.
Each moment is a calling for us to choose again from the space of wisdom.
Wrong perception is the wish that things be as they are not. The reality of everything is totally harmless, because total harmlessness is the condition of its reality. It is also the condition of your awareness of its reality. You do not have to seek reality. It will seek you and find you when you meet its conditions. Its conditions are part of what it is. And this part only is up to you. The rest is of itself. You need to do so little because your little part is so powerful that it will bring the whole to you. Accept, then, your little part, and let the whole be yours.
A Course in Miracles, Healing as Corrected Perception, 2. pp158