I guess beauty is indeed in the eye of the beholder. While walking across the street this morning, I saw what I thought was a beautiful round white stone shining in the sun. I walked towards it, wanting to pick it up and hold it, maybe even keep it. I had a feeling of peace, gratitude, joy at finding such a lovely object on a sunny spring morning.
As I got closer, I felt confusion as my brain scrambled to recalculate what my eyes were looking at. It was not a beautiful round white stone. It was a round white plastic cap.
Oh. Now it did not seem beautiful. It was ugly. It was not a treasure I wanted. It was trash to be disposed of. I did not feel peace and gratitude and joy. I felt irritated at the person who littered the street with this plastic cap. I felt dismay at all the plastic congesting our beleaguered planet.
That poor little cap was just sitting there in the street minding its own business and I managed in the span of ten seconds to go from loving and wanting it, to disliking and rejecting it. I had two completely different reactions to this single little item that remained unchanged by what was happening in my mind. Wow.
What a simple and revealing example of how we engage with the world around us. There is a stimulus of some kind. I label it, correctly or incorrectly. Based on the label, I have an emotional reaction to it, positive or negative. I might tell myself a story about it. Now I am engaged with my story. I am living in my story. The original stimulus is long forgotten.
Something to think about….
Note: I wrote a similar post a while back about thinking that a rat was a squirrel. Apparently this is a lesson that needs repeating.