Perception, it’s all in the mind!

Every drop makes an ocean
Every drop makes an ocean

Richard Bach had written in his book Illusions that ‘You’re always free to change your mind and choose a different future, or a different past’. As an 18-year-old I never quite understood what he meant and I shelved it as one of those mystical sayings that are so deep that you float! Today 18 years later I have finally understood what he meant, or in Richard Bach’s words, I already knew it, I just happened to remember. It finally dawned on me that your past is just a memory, yes the events were real and many times painful which is why some events are etched in our memory like stone, which even the waters of time cannot erase. I always thought that forgiveness, like our Lord Jesus preached could change our past and present and definitely our future. Perhaps this is what Richard Bach was trying to imply in different verbiage?

Apparently not, imagine any event that shattered you emotionally (dramatic effect) or even a simple one but something that created a ripple effect in your life. For a bit of drama, imagine Spiderman (yes I love spidey, this is the second time I have mentioned him in my posts.) he chooses a path of the vigilante because a criminal he refused to stop ended up killing his uncle. The latest version spins a new tale in which the criminal was not the killer but an out of luck dad trying to save his critically ill daughter.  Has his past changed? YES.

For a less dramatic version imagine a little girl whose best friend steals her favourite doll then lies about it. She grows up with trust issues and turns into an introvert, years later when she moves to college her parents renovate her room. One of the builders hands over a dusty old doll that they found when moving a heavy wooden cupboard. This little girl is shocked at the discovery and yes her past has changed. Hopefully she makes up with her friend and overcomes her trust issues.

The point I am trying to make is that reality is how you and I define it. The exact events have nothing to do with it. What might seem like absolute, irrefutable truth can in fact be a lie and vice versa. The only permanent feature is our own interpretation of the events, which then translates into emotions, giving rise to either good or bad memories. These memories then shape our personalities, our beliefs, our ideologies and invariably our present, which soon becomes our past.

Lets look at natural childbirth, it is considered as the most physically demanding and painful experience in life. Yet, since the beginning of time women have happily volunteered for it and in many cases undergone more than one in their lifetime. Why? If only the ‘real’ facts were to be taken into consideration, which are intense physical trauma, excruciating pain, copious amounts of blood, loud screams that can curdle your blood, need I go on? For the record, I had three elective caesareans, and in no way lay any claim whatsoever to these multitude of brave women. The entire concept of childbirth is looked upon as a very natural and even beautiful process involving the birth of life through the selfless love of the mother.

Perception, is the difference between trauma and celebrated; routine and ghastly; torture and edification; not reality. So next time life, an event or a person breaks your spirit ask yourself how does nature trick mankind into forgetting the pain and glorifying the end and do the same. Go forth and change your past into whatever you want it to be!

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Gangnam style is it the harbinger of doomsday?

Nostradamus_by_Cesar

There is a new doomsday prediction floating around cyber space, which has arrested my attention. After the Gulf war way back in 1991, Nostradamus had been revived by doomsday predictors and it remained a hot favourite especially after 9/11 when one of his predictions that

The sky will burn at forty-five degrees latitude; 
Fire approaches the great new city

(The two brothers will be torn apart by chaos was an imaginative interpretation of the actual text), piqued the interest of many.

Gangnam style follows suit with a Mayan prediction that the world will end on 21/12/2012, A Nostradamus quatrain that predicts the world will end when

From the calm morning, the end will come When of the dancing horse The number of circles will be 9”.

The translation goes thus, Psy of Korea, the morning calm; the end, Mayan prediction of the end of the world 21 December 2012; Gangnam style, the dancing horse; 1 billion views, circles will be nine. Needless to say that the previous prediction post 21 December 2012 is now that it has begun, with dead fish washing up ashore and with North Korea declaring war is eminent, they have believers.

As a kid I was intrigued by predictions and end of the world predictions, I remember making a bucket list of sorts to do before I turned 24, because the world was supposed to end in year 2000. Well into 2000 they said that because of a numerological error it would be 2012, today is 2013. The rapture did not happen, no rain cheques for all the people who sold/donated their possessions and are sitting alone in a cave somewhere.

The most intriguing aspect of all these predictions and the ones that will come after they have long been forgotten, is that each one claims to have predicted or base their theory on a line of reasoning that HAD predicted all that has happened. See the funny part about this logic is that it doesn’t take a genius to manipulate data (alphabets in to numbers, numbers into alphabets, vague quatrains of Nostradamus’s predictions etc.) to read into what has happened. The future is another ball game altogether.

Tell me what will happen tomorrow without disclosing it to anyone else and if it does, you’ll have a believer. The irony about predicting the future is when you disclose it you tend to influence it into happening, and that is NOT the same as predicting it. If anyone should know about the ludicrous aspect of predicting the future, it is me. I am a mild psychic of sorts and ever since I was a child I could see into my future in bits and pieces but nothing clear enough for me to make sense of until it happened. I still made the very mistakes I had been warned about making and just because I evaded one didn’t mean I escaped it all together, complicated is the least that I have inferred. The truth is that the future is not set in stone, it is a result of a multitude of choices that we make. Each choice leads to a multitude of options and just like the fluttering of a butterfly on one side of the world can cause a hurricane in another (do not agree with this notion but the underlying principle is correct) the collective choices of the entire planet weaves our present.

A beggar child that begs for alms moves the heart of a man rushing to work and because he stops to check for loose change misses his bus, that explodes a few seconds later. As he escapes his death he goes home a reformed man and starts to spend time with his family, more importantly his troubled daughter. With this extra attention and unconditional love of her father this child, who was earlier destined to fall into drugs and quit school, grows to be a renowned scientist and discovers a cure for cancer. Millions are saved, but they wouldn’t have if that beggar child had not stopped that man on that fateful day. Incidents like this abound in our lives that make us take complete detours in our life. Very few detours are as obvious as in the story mentioned above.

Every time we click accept on an FB friend request or the opposite, we have changed a timeline. As a writer every thought that I pen down and every post that is read changes mindsets or reaffirms one, fate is challenged. Many of the stories I read as a child has shaped me into the adult I am today. Would I be the same adult with the same thoughts and ideologies if those great writers, C.S. Lewis, Jane Austin, J.R. Tolkien, Isaac Asimov, Jules Verne, Roald Dahl, Rudyard Kipling, Enid Blyton, Agatha Christie, etc. had failed to pen even one of their legendary works?

How I bring up my children is a direct result of a conscious decision made by every one who has influenced my life starting from great literary writers, to teachers who instructed me, my role models who inspired me, my parents and even the insignificant billboard I happened to read.  The list is endless, every kind gesture, rude encounter, heart break, failure, achievements etc. shapes whether I turn right or left at the next cross road of life. This is just me, there are 7 billion more out there who contribute in some way or another to the fluid, dynamic, concept we call the future. Then how can one be so blasé to claim that they can predict the future? How more foolish are we to believe such a claim?