Two days ago I had an interesting conversation with a man whom I had just met. This man was a thinker, a man who not only read, but also thought a lot. Since such thinkers are rapidly becoming endangered in our world, I did not want to miss the chance of a quality conversation. The subjects I offered was reality and truth and, after only a few moments, another subject sprang to life – perception. As we talked, we reached to a conclusion that, it is often our perception of the reality which gives birth to our personal truths. But, as we all know, our perception of the reality can be very different from the true reality, and although the reality is only one – that, which surrounds us – many of us live in their own reality, something born out of their own perception.
A child, afraid of the dark, afraid of the other kids and of being alone. A young girl, refusing to go to any celebration, any party, for fear than all the other girls will look better than her. A succesful middle-aged man who, after being betrayed by his wife, never opens his heart to pursue another relationship. Pain and sorrow. Loss of heart. And, as we know, things never stay the same in life, they change, either for better, or for worse…
And so there they are…a young man – secretive, withdrawn, haunted by unseen torments, a loner, doomed to a life in the shadows. An old lady, gnawed by bitterness and sorrow, living with a man she had married not for love, but for fear of being alone forever. A grave, visited by no son or daughter, because a heart that was pierced once, had chosen to bleed and die alone.
Reality. Perception. Truth.
‘I`ve got my truth and you have yours,’ is what we often say, in order to be, or appear more understanding and, sometimes simply to avoid confrontation.
‘If I see you on the street,’ said my companion, ‘I might think you are a very nice man. Another person, however, might dislike you. In both cases, that opinion has little to do with you and a lot to do with the person who perceives you, through the prism of their own mind, their past experiences and opinions.’
He was right. Dead right. And here is where I must ask the question – are there really that many truths, or are there simply many different people, with many different ‘lenses’, shaped by life, through which we see all we look at? As most of us will agree, the world is far from what we would like it to be and we are therefore, all affected by a heartbreak, to a lesser or greater degree. If people are then damaged, why would not their perception of what is truth, be damaged also? If we are to see through their eyes, we will perceive unspeakable horrors, in the case of the boy, a world of people next to whom we are nothing, as the girl did, and a life where no real love exist, as the middle-aged man deeply believed.
For decades what I saw in myself was weakness and inability. I was filled with unbelief and bitter sadness when, sometimes, others spoke, quite unexpectedly, of the strength and ability they saw in me. Alas, for nearly three decades I did not know that to be true and, therefore, did not live from my heart. Rather, I shrank back, into the familiar darkness where, although unhappy, I was relatively safe. Aren`t most of us still doing that? Living for safety. Living small. Living with our own truth.
It is death.
A truth that bears such fruits cannot be true, it must not be true. Indeed, if we, who are living in our own reality, take that reality to be the ultimate truth about life, the world and ourselves, then we must either believe in many, often opposing ‘truths’, or else be divided and cut off from each other, each human being its own universe. It is not hard to see then, why most of us prefer the first option. If then, our own very perceptions are marred, how will we ever know what really is truth?