Not What It Seems To Be

icebergsYesterday I put my foot in it. I made one of those blunders you continue to think and blush about. It was a moment of sheer surface perception and I’m still chastising myself for it. For the umpteenth time I learnt the lesson that things are just not what they seem to be.

Pondering on this I realized again that all visible things have a surface – the part that first appears to us; and to look at this part communicates only what things seem to be. That was my downfall. I was guilty of the very shallowness I decry.

To respond to things as they seem to be invites only conflict, disappointment and embarrassment. Lets face it, truth is more below in the depths than in the surfaces. That goes for people, situations, and things.

And so this morning as I write this post, I’m far more humble and far more committed to penetrating below the surfaces. I want to respond to what things really are. Is this possible? Well, that’s another question. But this I know, to see with depth certainly brings us closer to what really is.

Advertisements

About Don

I love life. Sometimes it makes sense, other times not. Discerning its underlying patterns and beauty always provides great reward and meaning and is a passion I ineptly follow. I feel deeply attached to nature and love the sea with its distinct moods and colour and find walking along its beaches wonderfully inspiring. Writing, sketching and photography is a sheer joy for me and the blog is one of the places I am able to express these pursuits.
This entry was posted in Contemplation, inspiration, Life, Poetic Imagination, Spirituality, wisdom and insight and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

26 Responses to Not What It Seems To Be

  1. ladyfi says:

    So true. My 11-yr-old daughter and I were talking about this only the other day… How we shouldn’t judge people or jump to conclusions straightaway as we can’t/don’t always see the underlying truths.

    Like

    • Don says:

      Fiona I have read of how the mystics work and maintain a kind of contemplative distance from things before they actually engage with whatever these things are, a kind of discerning space. I like that. It’s what you say, they just don’t jumped to conclusions straightaway but seek to see the underlying truth. Thanks for sharing your comment. Appreciate it.

      Like

  2. Theo Coggin says:

    I still blush and chastise myself for a silly comment made when I was a cub reporter in Durban. It was a salutary lesson. I suspect I have made the mistake, sometimes without realising it, many times subsequently. Forgiving oneself and trying to learn, again and again, help.

    Like

    • Don says:

      You know Theo it’s the making of those mistakes, as you say, without even realising it – a disturbing thought. But you’re right, you’ve just got to forgive yourself and move on. Thanks for your comment.

      Like

  3. I should imagine this rings true for everyone reading this blog. It is incredibly difficult to always see below the surface. One has to consciously think about it all the time.

    Like

    • Don says:

      I think it takes place in a growing kind of attitude. Some say it’s natural to us and that we have simply lost the art and as we find it, it once again becomes natural to us. Like you I’m not so sure. Thank you for your comment.

      Like

  4. I had an opposite situation recently, i.e. I read too much into something, looked too deep if you will. Mirror image of your situation but the same embarrassment I guess.

    Like

    • Don says:

      Very interesting. You pose a good question – is it possible to look too deep? Do illusions flow from both shallow and too intense looking? Thank you for this alternate view.

      Like

  5. Healthy A-Z says:

    There is so much truth and heart in what you say, but I want to share another perception…
    Sometimes our first (surface) impression is exactly what we need to start with and as we listen to (or look for) the rest of the story, we realize our rather silly first impression was way off base…and that is the basis for a great belly laugh and true entertainment. This is what great comics count on!! So, be easy on yourself and laugh a little. Sending a hug…

    Like

    • Don says:

      Yes I go with you on that. We have to start somewhere. I suppose its also true that sometimes our first impressions can be pretty accurate, a kind of an intuitive thing.

      I really like your slant on laughter.and have actually seen a funny side to the experience. Thank you for that and I will start being easy on myself. Thank you for your comment.

      Like

  6. nrhatch says:

    Great image for these well expressed thoughts. Sometimes we see things clearer AFTER we take a giant step back.

    Like

  7. Oh how that chimes with me just now. I made a foolish (and possibly hurtful ) comment on Monday evening and I can’t get it out of my head. I shall have to deal with this with my friend. It was really so unlike me… Why do we do this sometimes? Healthy A-Z seems to have the right idea – go easy on ourselves – but for me only when I have apologised!

    All the best to you 🙂

    Like

    • Don says:

      “It was so unlike me.” Those words resonate. That’s exactly the way I felt. It’s as if someone else pops up in you. I agree with you about the apology. My problem is that the person is gone and I’ll probably never see him again. But as Healthy A-Z says, I have gone easy on myself. Hope it all dissolves in to peace for you. Thank you for sharing.

      Like

  8. Kathy Marsden says:

    This is such a valuable experience, crunching and crushing as it is. I have done this so many times, and it’s no less uncomfortable when the opinions are secretly thought and not said! We can dismiss these , but then the value of the cringe is lost. Richard Rohr turned all my thinking upside down – and probably the right way up – in Falling Upwards. We need these experiences, Don. In my cross cultural work it has helped me to journal about the assumptions that have formed my perceptions and become words, that once they are out can’t be unsaid. I have to deal with the source – my thoughts and feelings, and my journal is a good friend. In a meeting the other day, a colleague hit me with “You are seeing things from your world view. Don’t impose this on us” Crunch. But not crushed! He was right. More to learn and it’s ok. I’d much rather be aware.Thank you for sharing your experience. It’s encouraging when teachers don’t stop learning!

    Like

    • Don says:

      Love the way you speak of the value of the cringe Kathy. So good and as you say in cross cultural settings one is especially vulnerable to these experiences. Thank you for your insightful comment. “More to learn and it’s okay” as you say.

      Like

  9. Shweta says:

    Another nugget of life experiences:) Thank you Don. Sometimes assumptions, judgement and shallow & intense thoughts do hide the underlying picture for us and we remain unaware of it.

    Like

  10. What a gracious attitude you are encouraging all of us to embrace. Thank you, Don, for being real and teachable – may we follow your example.

    Blessings ~ Wendy

    Like

  11. katy says:

    The iceberg fits perfectly with your post. So clever Don! I have to say my experience is mostly opposite of yours and its taken me years to trust my surface perceptions. A while ago you spoke of “that complative”distance and that is such a good thing to do before passing judgement and speaking unkindly or rashly. (not that I always heed that advice, I confess and I still have many “cringe”moments.

    Like

    • Don says:

      I think you’re right Katy. In spite of what i said in the post, sometimes, I believe, that our surface perceptions can be more accurate than the ones of depth. It does have to do with momentary intuitive thought. if we’re living and engaging life I don’t think we ever stop having those cringe moments. Love your comments – thank you.

      Like

  12. josna says:

    Thank you for this, Don. It brings back so many times when I thought I knew what was going on and had no clue; or where I knew I didn’t know but plunged blindly ahead as if I did, both times doing harm. I have to keep reminding myself to pause and put myself in the other person’s shoes, to slow down and be attentive to non-verbal cues, and to take the time simply to observe and to introspect, not to feel that I have to speak or act at all times.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s