Imagine you have a meeting or a date. On your way, you get stuck in a traffic jam. You start to become more nervous with every minut that you stand still. Your blood rushes through your veins and you start yelling: “Why me? Why now?!” Slowly, the cars start to move. You pass the accident and see that one car upside down, with not far away from it, a scene where doctors are doing everything they can to rescue a stranger. You know it’s critical, because there are people holding up a screen to cover the scene. Suddenly you calm down, your anger vanished as fast as it came up, you continue driving towards your meeting.
Your behaviour changed from one moment to another. Why? Because something changed inside you. Your perception of the traffic jam changed from being a personal obstacle into something that reminded you how precious life really is. This article is about the influence of perception. How you see things, results in how you experience the world and as a result how you (re)act to this.
There are 4 ways of being that have their own typical perception with their specific advantages and disadvantages. Please note that any state of being has its extreme sides and as with all extremes, it’s not always the best situation to be in those extremes for a longer period of time.
1. Seeing things from a physical level
Seeing things from this worldly view means that you notice things that are coming at you, without you having much influence on it. You mainly experience the world through your physical senses. It’s when you are travelling and seeing the differences in landscape, culture, people, …
This way of being is the mother of beings. It’s directly experiencing the world around you, creating emotions without filters in between. Nowaways, this is hard to imagine, because our brains are almost always at work, filtering and colouring our experiences. But now and then, you can experience this state of being, and in most cases, it will overwhelm you with emotions.
It’s seeing a magnificient landscape when you have climbed the highest mountain in your neigbourhood, it’s getting struck by the beauty of nature… But it’s also getting caught by the death of one of your dearest friends, it’s the moment where thoughts don’t get a chance to make it to your head, it’s when the heart speaks directly to you via emotions.
Experiencing with the physical senses is a passive state. It will give you emotions that will urge you to recognize them and letting them flow right through you. But when those emotions are overwhelming you and you can’t let go, they get caught inside you, stored into your physical body. When this happens too much over a longer period of time, you find yourself caught in an emotional rollercoaster, going up and down, without any control over it. Your brains will connect each situation in the physical world with the feelings that you have stored inside you, so you can re-experience and let them go.
In extreme form, when you find yourself experiencing the world almost entirely from this point of view, you either become a slave of the circumstances, making you go from one place to another, which you don’t actually want. Or you can become totally disconnected from everything, because you stopped caring about the things that matter for you.
Being in this state, makes you vulnerable for emotions that aren’t actually your own, those emotions are being projected on you. Think about all the marketing that is going on nowadays, think about the emotions that society is projecting on you to be perfect according to their standards.
2. Seeing things from a mental level
When being in this state of being, you still experience the world with your senses, but you perceive the world through your mind and less with your bodily senses. That means that the emotions you feel are constructed by your own mind, in opposition with the emotions that are directly felt when being in a physical state.
When you see things from a mental perspective, you are thinking about what comes in. You know that you have the power to change the physical situation that you are in and are also willing to do so.
In opposition with being in a physical state, this mental state allows for action. Action means that the emotions generated by your perception, will be released in the form of physical action. When you are in this state of being, you are charged with energy, ready to go at all times.
This mental state of being, happens a lot in the business and sports environments. It’s where results count and can be physically measured by putting a number on it. Every new situation or experience is a new starting point to go further to reach a new (and maybe even better) goal.
This state of being allows you to no longer be dependent on your circumstances. It’s where you create plans, new tools to improve circumstances. This state of being allows to have a vision and to work (successfully) towards it. A plan is but an idea without action, so this state of being puts you in action modus.
With you being in action modus, the energy that is required has to come from somewhere. The emotions that you get, are constructed by your mind, urging you to do something about the situation. It’s about physical results that can be noticed by the senses. Those results will be the main source of energy that you rely on to keep going.
And this is the major pitfall of this state of being. When you go to the extreme and experience the world almost entirely from this perspective, you might risk getting mentally and physically exhausted. You can’t control the results at all times. Results depend on so many things that even you, can’t do anything about it: such as the persons involved and the ever changing circumstances in itself.
‘Failing’ once or twice can be overcome, maybe even more times than that, but the wall is coming closer with every obstacle in your way, asking energy from you to overcome it, no matter what. Living life in the fast lane, where the actions are happening, can lead to a physical and emotional burnout.
Another consequence can be that you might get stuck in your head too much. Overthinking everything, you get paralyzed by too many analyses. You might end up with thinking too much, dreaming away the day, thinking too big, which all leave you actually passive in stead of active. When you do, you keep creating emotions inside you without being processed. They build up momentum to explode whenever they get a chance to get to the surface.
3. Seeing things from an inter-acting level
The first two states of beings are mostly self-centered. Enter the next stage, which changes your focus to others around you. You recognize how nature actually doesn’t work on it’s own, but includes the cooperation of many factors at the same time.
When being in this state, you are looking for some help from others, so the work is no longer resting on your lonely shoulders. You notice that somebody perceiving the world from a more passive state can be easily influenced with some power. And somebody who is already in active state, can be triggered by touching the right buttons.
You are inter-acting, using emotions to trigger the environment into change. You accomplish change through help by others by communicating your intention.
This is actual a state of being that nature shows us that works best. It allows to make changes on a bigger scale. It allows groups to be formed and whole social networks to thrive. It’s how big numbers of people can be mobilized for contributing to a cause.
What’s the down side of this state of being? This state of being can be easily changed into an extreme form of influencing, where you start to project emotions and your wishes on your environment, but only to serve yourself. You might forget that the ones involved in this, are having their own intentions as well, resulting in a search themselves.
What if their search isn’t in line with your goals and they still get caught in it? It’s like fishermen catching fish in their nets that aren’t supposed to be there. There might be some collateral damage that can have big and far leading consequences for the environment.
A second down side might be a personal one. You know exactly which chain of action and reaction you have started. Your own brain might become your worst enemy, giving you a mindset or a view that everyone is consciously influencing the scene for their own profits, making you lose trust and honesty in yourself and others: “there’s always a hidden agenda”.
4. Seeing things from all levels
This last state of being, is where you are conscious of the three previous states of being and transcend these. That doesn’t mean that you won’t be in these states of being anymore, however, it allows you to choose between the states that you want to be in that benefits you AND your environment at that moment without any collateral damage (as in the previous state).
You can be amazed by the beauty around you when you choose to be in a physical state.
You can choose to be in an active state when work needs to be done.
And you can use the power of emotions when a greater purpose than yourself needs to be realized. You make your intentions clear and transparent so the one involved gets a choice to go along with you or not.
When you are in a certain situation, you can switch between perspectives and also merge those perceptions into one big perspective, taking them all into account. It allows for open communication, being transparent about your intentions. You no longer have to ‘act’, but can actually be yourself, which is the most effortless way of being. It allows for flow to happen.
The downside of this state of being is that it is hard to communicate about in words. It’s truly a state of being and no longer a role that you play. It requires self-knowledge, especially in knowing your own intentions that you have and that you project in your environment, and making sure that your own intentions are not negatively influencing others around you. It’s a state of harmony with yourself and the environment.
This state of being allows you to be yourself at all times, which means that you are OK with who you are and where you are at this moment. It will give you the power to say NO to things, actions and situations that you don’t want to be involved with. It will make you polarized in such way that you will attract the right persons and will push away those that are not aligned with your intentions.
Try to observe yourself as much as you can, and notice that you can go from one state of being to another, resulting in different behaviours. Whenever you feel resistance or some difficulties, check your perception of how you are looking at the world or the situation that you are dealing with. Chances are that you are in a state of being (and having a perception) that doesn’t benefit you and the ones involved.
Please note that one state of being is no better than the other. It’s just different and it makes your life easier or more challenging, depending on the situation.
In the next article to come, I will make the connection between these states of being and the way they work out in real life fields, such as personal relationships, business and marketing.