The human mind, being channeled by a bio-computer more powerful than anything ever dreamed up in any science fiction novel(the brain), has the amazing ability to compartmentalize and run all the processes of our body and conscious attention. Your mind is digesting your breakfast as it grows your hair and new skin cells, using other cells deep within for the breakdown and elimination of waste. All of this, and more, is actively happening with or without most of your influence, and can happen when you’re wrapped up in driving, eating, reading blog posts, or showering.
We have literally hundreds to hundreds of thousands of processes being attended to at any time by our mind, all happening without our conscious effort.
Bits of Data
It is said that over 2 billion bits of data are available to us at any time. This ‘data’ is all of our perceptible reality, and we pick and choose the chunks of this we need to attend to OUR own subjective reality. For example, if we processed all 2 billion bits of data at one time, life would be a frighteningly chaotic ebb and flow of energy that we ultimately could not make any meaning from. In order to attend to the activities we’ve deemed important, our mind picks out the important bits to focus on(“Have I fed the dog? Oh I should probably set my alarm for the morning…. What’s for dinner?”). This is a survival mechanism used to order our reality into a digestible experience. Our mind does this so we don’t get enamored by how large and shiny the tiger’s teeth are, and we remember to run away.
Our minds break down and selects from this 2 billion bits something like 5-7 chunks of data that we can deal and interact with in a more manageable fashion, but we don’t always choose the same 5-7 bits; this is how 5 people can attend the same party, and each of them will have a completely different perception and explanation of what happened. One person had a great time, while one person became insulted over something, and had an awful time. One person got too drunk and doesn’t even remember, and one was an irritated designated driver. The host is just glad nothing was stolen.
If you haven’t guessed yet, most of the experience you know as ‘your life’ is based on the perception of a specific 5-7 chunks, and that those 5-7 bits of data can change at almost any time, based on how we ‘tune the receiver’ or direct our attention. Geniuses, virtuosos, and ‘experts’ in any field have merely learned how to attend to the proper 5-7 bits they need at any time; what I’m saying is, YOU could write any symphony Beethoven ever composed, or paint any painting Picasso ever created if you can come into conscious attention of the right 5-7 bits of data.
Perception is Projection
One area we can immediately begin perceiving new bits of data is with the people around us. Simply put, the only reason you can recognize a trait or quality in another person is if there is first a corresponding frame or structure of that within your own mind. If you are able to nit-pick enough and find out all the reasons why someone is a jerk, well, you’re really probing the depths of your own capacity for being a jerk. Conversely, if you recognize how kind and compassionate others are(even the ones who aren’t kind and compassionate on the surface), you will begin to understand the intensity of your own kindness and compassion.
If you judge what a rotten heretic someone else is, no matter what they’ve done, you are unlocking the very same doors in your own perception. Think of the worst person you could ever imagine right now, no matter what they’ve done, and recognize it wasn’t an act of evil, or hate, it was an acting-out of a confused state of being and perception. If we are going to criticize what we perceive as evil in the world, we must accept our own capacity for being that evil as well. If, on the other hand, we can allow ourselves to see them as acting in a confused way, doing the best they could have with what they were given, we can also stop criticizing ourselves so harshly over the mistakes we’ve made as well. Judging others begins with our ego.