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I truly appreciate that you've decided to share part of your day in my world. I hope your time has been well spent and I've made you smile, laugh or think.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

The Expansive World of Nothingness

A few years ago at dinner, my husband was telling me how the kids in his class would text under their desks.  He said they had this annoying ringtone that adults can't hear.  He downloaded the ringtone and our children laughed because they heard it clearly.  It irritated the dogs as well.  Neither of us heard a sound. 

(If you don't believe me, try this test with someone 10 years younger than you:  -Hearing Test)

In other words, there is an entire world of noise happening that I can't hear.  Dog whistles are a great example.  My dogs live in a much noisier, more vibrant world than in which I live.

But it's the same world, right?  Maybe.  Sorta.

In 6th grade, I remember asking the question how do we know that what I see as blue is what you see as blue?  We had a class discussion on it.  I think it started with people selecting their favorite color for a project and I was fascinated that people liked orange.  So it got me thinking and fortunately, I had a teacher who encouraged that type of thinking. 

The real answer is that no one really knows for sure.

Every image that we see is nothing more than a projection in our brain.

I've never seen my own face.

I've seen mirror images of it.  I've see photographs of it.  But aside from the very end of my nose, I've only seen images-- not my actual face.

So does it exist?

I've never seen it.

It must.

I can feel it.

Plus, you see it.

I think.

Maybe in your brain I'm actually blond?

I know in my husband's brain, I'm far more beautiful than the image I see in my mirror.  And the image I see in the mirror bears no resemblance to the photo on my driver's license.

It's perception.

Or is it reality?

As humans, we don't even see every color on the spectrum.  In fact, we see a very small portion of the spectrum-- or should I say, our brains process only a very small portion of what we "see"-- what surrounds us.  To a bat, I have a halo of radiating heat.  That is part of "me" to a bat.  You can't see that.  I certainly can't see it-- remember, I can't even see my face.

We look to the sky and see vastness of space.  But within that space are particles we can't see.   Colors we can't process.

It's not nothing.

We just can't perceive it.

We only see what it is that we need to see.

I find this fascinating.

Not only is it human nature to only find our view on topics and subjects-- we usually surround ourselves with likeminded people-- but biologically we are programmed to filter out much of the universe. 

As in 99.09% of it.

We cannot see 99.09% of the universe.

Think about that for a minute.

There are things going on all around us that we can't perceive.

Because sight is simply perception in our minds, translated by our brains into "stuff."

Our experiences are based on a tiny slice of the all that there is.

Different species have different eyes-- they see an entirely different array of colors.  They hear entirely different sounds.  They have a completely different experience.  Right next to us.

Plus, as humans we have the amazing ability to hone in on situations.  We can magically find our loved ones amidst large groups.   Everyone else blurs as if they are an extra on a movie set.

We are constantly filtering.

Can you feel your clothes?

If you were holding them, I'm sure you could.

But can you feel your shirt against your skin?  (Unless you're reading this naked... and then I think you're probably just disappointed that this was not what you meant to find when you googled "Mamas with Nothing")

Back to the topic... you probably can't feel your clothing.  Your mind has the amazing capacity to filter out the need to "feel" your clothing while it's on-- not a tag or zipper poking you-- but just wearing clothing is a dulled sense.

When my friend Kim came back to the US after being gone for awhile, I warned her that it would sound very loud for a few days, so be prepared for headaches.  When you don't understand a language you tend to filter out background noise well and focus on one speaker.  When I moved back to the US, it took a week before my brain stopped listening to every single conversation-- it would tune into "English" and then try to take it all in. She thanked me because at least she was was prepared for it.

I used to live by McCarran airport.  A plane lands every 8 minutes.  After a few days, I didn't notice.  Now I drive by my old neighborhood and wonder how I ever lived there.

What a cool system the human body is that it can do this.

That it can filter out 99.09% of the universe.

But I don't know about you, that other 99.09% will always intrigue me.  It's the magic door that begs to be opened. 

It is mind boggling to me that I exist in a world that is perceived entirely differently by a fly.  That most of the universe is off limits to my brain and my capacity to comprehend it. Why?  Is it because it's not important?  Is it like the magic show where I'm being distracted to look one way while the cool stuff is happening in another direction?  I want to know.

Even on a smaller note, my husband is color blind.  I am intrigued as to what everything must look like to him.  When I bug him about it (which is often) he simply says "It's exactly how I see it."  I will never know.

Then again, maybe that's why he thinks I'm so pretty....

Anyhow, I spent this past week at a retreat at the Chopra Center and Dr. Chopra spoke brilliantly on the topic that has always had me fascinated.  These are simply my thoughts, further inspired, by his lecture.

So if you see me starting off into the distance and you ask what I'm thinking about, when I say "nothing" and smile, now you'll know.

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