Missed Perceptions: Challenge Your Thoughts Change Your Thinking acknowledges that our individual openness to a broader perspective is the means of living a fuller life. Each essay is followed by a Perception Challenge-a game, a quiz, an activity, a discussion-that encourages readers to rethink their usual approach to life.
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Missed Perceptions: Challenge Your Thoughts Change Your Thinking is a book that will shift the way you look at the world. Written in individual essays, it really poses just one question - How large can you be? It focuses on expanding perception in all directions.
Each time we hold on tightly to what we think is the only answer, we miss perceptions that aren't within our current frame of reference.
When we question our long-held thoughts and understandings, we challenge our perceptions and encourage experiences that broaden us, awaken us, and ultimately enlarge the space in which we live.
Our individual openness to a wider perspective is the gateway to a more satisfying and creative life.
As a writer, I am given society's encouragement, perhaps mandate, to look at things in unconventional ways. If a helicopter passes overhead and I happen to mention how like a dragonfly it is, I get indulgent smiles from my companions. Only a writer would think of that, they say. When I said the same thing as a pre‑writer teenager, I was told; “You’re weird”. It was evident that I didn't, and probably never would, belong to the right group, the one whose members were destined to own the world. They saw the helicopter as a machine that rose vertically and carried troops or medical supplies or, better yet, the executives who ran the companies they planned to run themselves one day.
Back then I wished desperately that my perceptions could be their perceptions, that I would fit in. But I saw the dragonfly. The rotor noise was the sound of its giant wings as it flitted from one landing space to another, exploring each but attached to none.
Over the years, I have come to value the image of the exploring dragonfly, to admire its freedom. Indeed, I have spent the better part of my adult years exploring philosophical systems that view reality more as a function of how we see than what there is to be seen.
A tree, after all, is not just a tree. It is a maple tree or an oak, a poplar, a fir, or a paulownia. It is barren or leafy, a welcome shade provider or a shedding nuisance. It is a decorative feature or an obstacle. It is a danger in a storm but a planetary life support system. A tree is a living, breathing interactive part of a universal community or a hunk of wood. If we were to see a tree merely as a large plant with branches and leaves and look no further, then we might feel free to cut down rainforests without regard for the earth's oxygen supply and to decimate old forests for new condominiums.
This book really poses just one question ‑‑ How large can I be? It focuses on expanding perception in all directions. Our world is moving too fast and becoming too interwoven for me, or any of us, to confine ourselves to narrow perspectives. When we question our long-held thoughts and understandings, we challenge our perceptions and enlarge the space we live in. Is it not preferable to limit our boundaries rather than our sight? Each time we hold on tightly to what we think is the only answer, we miss perceptions that may help us live our lives more fully.
The fuller the picture we create, the more enriched our lives become. There is joy to be found in unexpected places. Our capacity for love expands as we do. We become healthier, whole. And because we all see things from different perspectives, as we widen our views and connect with each other there is the potential for an abundant and harmonious existence. Not fitting in is merely a fixed state of perception, for we fit in wherever we are as long as we remain open within ourselves.
These are some of my thoughts and questions but they are not the only ones possible. At the end of each essay is a challenge to look at a concept in a new way, to seek that perception that we might have missed. As we each embrace ever-larger concepts, there are always greater ones to explore. Writers needn't be exceptions to society's unspoken rules of perception. If we give ourselves permission to go beyond the obvious, to observe from an inner sight, we can all see dragonflies in helicopters, find possibilities in the seemingly impossible, and rediscover the creative spirit that flourishes in our universal existence.