If Walter Mitty finds that his ears are burning does he accurately interpret the omen?
Joking aside we can imagine, if we are somewhat self-absorbed, that everything is about us. That it is pointed at us and that the entire universe is out to get us. A classmate of mine once told me that when he read a previous blog of mine, he was unsure as to whether it was aimed directly at him. It wasn’t and we both had a great laugh about how weird people can be. A generality can be deemed targeted, bespoke and specific. That is if we have a small measure of paranoia.
A bit of paranoia is fairly common, maybe from time to time we all experience it. We never know if the smoking man has impregnated us with some alien DNA during the night. We can imagine ourselves taken by aliens to the mother ship for experimentation.
There can be a big difference in how we perceive ourselves and how we are perceived. For we, in truth, know not what goes on in the minds of others. Sometimes we do not even know our own minds. It is pretty easy to get very hung up on what people think of us. If we are keen to project a certain image, we may be concerned about the efficacy of our projections. This image projection is PR or public relations.
Perception of actions and words, is culture dependent. What is considered good in some cultures is frowned upon in others. Being dynamic, pushy, ambitious and successful might be a goal for some, others might see people so oriented as arrogant wankers. In the UK we might have a national self-image, which is myriad, and, in that set, some are jingoistic about Brexit. We may not appreciate what the rest of the world thinks of the UK and this cunning plan of ours. On the island things look a certain way, outside of the island they look different. If we think that everyone shares our perception of ourselves, we are of course wrong. Other people may sigh when they see us doing something and judge it unwise.
To use a very simple example. I have no idea what people are making of this blog, especially when taken as a whole. I can guess that it will be perceived differently in different countries and there will be a significant variance according to the background and world view of anyone reading this. I can’t do anything about this, but I can be sure that it will not be perceived the way that I perceive it. All I can do is try to communicate as effectively as I can. That is about it.
I personally am not concerned about my “image” because it is not necessary for me to be so concerned. I am not really after anything. But others are concerned about their image, how they are perceived at home and abroad. It is not possible to prevent other people from taking a view and making of it what suits them. We all formulate opinions, some strong and fixed, others time varying.
Having cued this up:
Am I concerned about my “image”.
If so, for what purpose?
Do I have any clues about what others think about me, how they perceive me and what views about me they hold?
When routine bites hard, And ambitions are low, And resentment rides high, But emotions won’t grow, And we’re changing our ways, Taking different roads.
Before I flog these frogs to death, I’ll go one step further and it is all about perception. This may or may not be selective. When you read the tale of two frogs which one are you? Are you the well frog or are you the ocean frog?
Here I am in my yogi’s cave, it is secure and familiar. I do not do a lot out in the wider world, it is over the lip of my well. I am not interacting with the wider currents out there in the ocean of life. I have provided some written “evidence” that I am not overly keen on how the outer world works. I am perhaps naïve as to its workings and have retreated here to my well.
Over the years I have met many ocean frogs who have tried to teach me and tell me a whole bunch of stuff. Yet here I remain. I must be a very stubborn frog indeed! Even though I am clearly in need of advice, I refuse to listen. All I can see is my yogi’s cave.
Who is the ocean frog and who is the well frog? This is the frog conundrum.
Don’t you love a farce? My fault, I fear I thought that you’d want what I want, sorry my dear But where are the clowns? Send in the clowns Don’t bother they’re here
Isn’t it rich? Isn’t it queer? Losing my timing this late in my career But where are the clowns? Send in the clowns Well, maybe next year…
Pure awareness is just seeing, itself; although pure, it usually appears to operate through the perceiving mind.
The Yoga-Sûtra of Patañjali translated by Chip Hartranft
The seer is pure knowledge (gnosis). Though pure, he looks upon the presented idea through the medium of the mind.
Reference has already been made to the excellent translation of this sutra as given by Johnston which runs as follows:
“The seer is pure vision. Though pure, he looks out through the vesture of the mind.”
Ganganatha Jha throws still further light upon it in the words:
“The spectator is absolute sentience, and though pure, still beholds intellected ideas.”
The thought conveyed is that the true man, the spectator, perceiver or thinker is the sum total of all perception, be it through the avenues of the senses or of the lower mind; he is in himself knowledge, clear vision or true perception. All that exists in the three worlds exists because of and for him; he is the cause of its being and when he no longer seeks it or endeavors to vision it, for him it exists not. This sutra is one of the key verses in the book, and gives the clue to the entire science of yoga. Certain thoughts lie hid in its formulation which cover the whole ground of this science and students would do well to give much attention to this. It has a mantric effect and if stated as an affirmation and used constantly by the aspirant will eventually demonstrate to him the truth of the statement that “as a man thinketh, so is he.”
“I am pure knowledge. Though pure, I look upon presented ideas through the medium of the mind.”
The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali – Book 2 – The Steps to Union