The world is in crisis amidst this pandemic and we are all experiencing an array of emotions and rationales. Some can easily comply with the tight safety restrictions, others are climbing the walls. Some are missing their every day experiences – of going for a coffee or jog along the scenic route, even just the acts of work and commutes, the ordinary and everyday missed. Others are making new experiences at home by finding a connection to solitude, solidarity and silver linings – many are reconnecting with their family or their creativity – journaling, cooking, gardening, music.
I am a fan of proverbs as survival strategies, many of the Irish seanfhocail can be interpreted in different ways, experienced in different ways – that provides not just a richness or diversity of experience but involvement with perception changes.
Perception changes are how we will win this war on covid 19. Not just how to perceive 2m distance but how we perceive and thus engage with not just the threat but with new normals and exceptional circumstances. Perception shifts are what will keep us sane and in control.
Perception changes are the backbone of Jesus’s sayings and parables – they train us to not just think about something differently but to action a change in ourselves too; ‘an eye for an eye’ becomes ‘do on to others’. It is a movement to the better to move our perception into a new gear. It is a way to generate a better experience, a more robust psychology – it is resilience and victorious strategy.
I love the old Irish proverb Cleachtadh a dhéanann maistreacht – Experience makes mastery. Here The Irish word ‘cleachtadh’ which sometimes means ‘practice’ can also be understood as ‘experience’ – and yes practice provides experience (even peak experience) but we can also contemplate how ‘experience’ brings mastery.
Practice is all well and good (and it is well and good) but the experience is beyond the muscle memory – it is a prompt to alert and conscious perception of reality, of your now, of your place in the moment. Beyond doing it in a mindful way – it is living it mindfully. The experience is the life of it, is the life in it, is the living element.
When thoughts become feelings that’s when it becomes real, when you move from thinking you might be sad to feeling the sadness – conversely when you move from thinking I am at peace to experiencing peace. Mindful experience can deliver the later positive intent and help reign back the former negative inclination.
We can also look at experience as the awareness and understanding of the process occurring/occurred – the ‘total experience’; not just it’s happening but its reverberations. A pebble thrown in to a still pool makes ripples on the surface and as it sinks through the body of water it ultimately settles into the bed beneath but moves its way there.
The calm serenity of being a pebble, settling to the bed of a stream or pool is a metaphor for mindful meditation – we sink down and settle into our resting position, the stream of life can flow by at whatever speed it chooses we are situated, solid and grounded. But the pebble has generated ripples too – it has imparted or exchanged energy in the process of finding peace at the bed of the pool or stream.
Those ripples are no bad thing – we can announced our intent, we can let our positive actions ripple out. Just so as our stillness as the settled pebble radiates out serenity, our mindful actions also ripple into the world. Our experience impacts the reality we inhabit and the more we repeat, the more those positive vibes – those positive reverberations – set the vibrational frequency of our world to positivity.
Being compassionate makes a compassionate world. Being joyous makes a happy life. Being makes reality. How do you wish to experience the world? What will you ripple out today?