We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are.
I took my car in for service a few months ago – just the regularly scheduled maintenance. What’s nice about it is that they wash the car as part of the service, and I’m not one to wash my car very often. I enjoyed the time in the waiting room, reading a good book and sipping a cup of hot coffee. Before I knew it, my car was ready. Nice and clean. I was pleased - at least until later that day when I was driving towards the sun. With the light coming from a certain angle, I realized that the windshield was really dirty. I tried to clean it with the windshield wipers but that didn’t accomplish anything. I was really angry! What the heck did these people do to my car? I was home by this point and figured I’d clean it some other time.
For several weeks, at certain times of day when the sun was at a certain angle, I would again notice the dirt (or whatever it was) clouding my vision. Sometimes I’d get mad. Sometimes I’d try to figure out what I could do to clean it (since the regular wiper fluid wasn’t helping at all). Maybe windex or vinegar or . . . I mostly just let it annoy me. And I didn’t actually do anything about it.
Then one day there was a bug on the inside of the windshield and, as I brushed it off with my finger, I couldn’t help but realize that the yuck on my windshield was on the inside. I had to laugh. I picked up a napkin and simply and easily wiped it clean.
I learned so much from this inconsequential experience in my life. The way we choose to see what happens in our day-to-day experience is the most powerful choice that we make. Even the tiniest detail of our lives – especially something that stirs an emotional response – can reveal a profound truth. It is an awareness practice and we have the power to choose.
How often do we blame all the things on the outside – other people or circumstances – for our own lack, especially our lack of peace of mind? For some reason it seems easier to think that something “out there” can create peace “in here”. How much energy do we waste in annoyance over things that are far beyond our control? Blame can feel good and somehow empowering and it’s true that, at times, we have to move through blame to a deeper truth. But living in constant blame will never create an atmosphere of inner peace.
We live in a society that generally supports our willingness to blame. We love drama. Stepping out of the role of victim takes discipline. Refusing to collude with another person’s grip on being the victim also requires discipline. Instead, we must consciously choose to see ourselves and others as whole human beings and open our hearts in compassion.