We don’t all see the world the same way. The truth is each of us sees a different world based on a large number of factors, each one unique to each of us. When I am walking with others and with a camera in my hand I often find myself taking a photo of something that the others didn’t see. When I show the image that I have captured, they are usually surprised at what they hadn’t seen. When I put words to the images, explaining what I see, something usually comes to their attention and I often hear an “ah-ha” kind of response when the words and the images create a sense of connection for them. However, sometimes my stopping to take a photo is just plain annoying to others. For them I hear a complaint about how I can’t just “be there in the moment” without looking for something significant and deep. Why don’t I just accept things the way they are and be fully present instead of in a world of my own, somewhere in innerspace. What they don’t realise is that we are all living with pictures, controlled by the images that appear to us in the world, pictures that inspire us, pictures that almost defeat us.
“Our conscious lives are driven by “pictures” and their attendant “stories.” Some of these are quite conscious to us – get a job, establish a relationship, look both ways before you cross the street, and so on. Many more are unconscious – do not be who you are for that is not safe, choose security over honesty, relinquish your personal authority lest it isolate you from others. All of these messages, pictures and stories are complexes, namely, energy-charged clusters of our history. We have complexes because we have histories, and history has an extraordinary power to write our biographies, frame our futures, circumscribe our freedoms.” (Hollis, What Matters Most, p. 26)
James Hollis has spoken some powerful words here, words that challenge me. The unconscious stories have long ruled my personal life, especially the last one Hollis talks about, “relinquish your personal authority lest it isolate you from others.” Needless to say, in following this story I haven’t been very successful in avoiding isolation from others. It all seems so pointless in the end. Because I fear isolation from others, I seem to be living the fear. I get defeated by the complex. At least I recognize the complex for what it is. I recognize it but don’t often succeed in avoiding having the complex lead me into messes. It seems to me that the more I fear something, the more that something becomes present in my life. That is what is seems like. That is what it feels like. But in the big picture it is all in my head. It is all in the way I am tuned into perceiving the world.
Today’s photo looks at the same scene from two points of view, with two different mindsets. On the left side one is blocked, isolated from the world, imprisoned behind a fence that keeps one from being at one with the world. On the right side, there is no blockage, no sense of separation of isolation. One chooses consciously and unconsciously how one looks at the world, participates in the world.