each one of us is different in every possible way, including the way we see things. so we can share the same experience, but have a completely different memory of that same event. during my most recent visit with my parents i was sharing with them a memory i had of my mom telling me what my father had said when i was born. “it’s another girl, only this one isn’t as pretty. she looks like a monkey.” i was only six when my mother told me this, but it had stayed with me forever. i remember feeling that i had let them down, and that they were now stuck trying to raise a monkey, when they really wanted to have a pretty girl. the reality of the situation was that my parents never said i looked like a “monkey” (so they claim). it was my perspective as a little girl, that led me to remember them saying that i looked like a monkey. they probably said something like, “she has hair on her face”, and since i only knew monkeys to have hair on their faces, i actually remembered them saying “she looks like a monkey”.
i see now that my perspective is not only different from others’, but it is also affected by my past experiences. when i realize that i’m seeing things through the eyes of the little girl living in fear, i can detach from conditioned reactions, and see things simply as they are. i become less determined to defend my point of view, and better able to see things more clearly.
when someone says something, i try to reflect back exactly what i heard so that i am not twisting it to mean something else. i realize now that my interpretation of what someone says may be very different from what was actually said. i try and be the still lake that directly reflects the image of the mountain, instead of a lake in motion whose reflections are distorted.