Back at bikram yoga yesterday I looked back into the big horrible mirrors and smiled – my tummy looked thin and flat. This was only my third class and I was already getting great results. Then I stepped to the left and the image changed before my eyes. My tummy was round and tubby again. What the…??? I tested a few more locations on the mirror and confirmed it – THE MIRROR WAS WARPED.
Neither the fat version nor the thin version was me. Yet at the same time both were me. Even if neither reflections were completely true, they were both attempts at displaying the truth. I suppose when you consider light and angles, no mirror ever provides an entirely accurate reflection of reality. A still mirrors are a useful instrument – better something than nothing.
Similarly when it comes to way we interpret the world around us. We all tell ourselves a story of some sort in order to explain our existence and purpose. We define ourselves with stories to give us a sense of identity, help us understand who and what we actually are. Do we know any of these answers? Do any of our stories provide us a absolute understanding of reality? I doubt it. But they are still important. I enjoying having a mirror (no matter how accurate) to judge if I’m looking fat or thin and similarly the stories I am surrounded by provide me an understanding of my consciousness – the accuracy is somewhat beside the point.
“Change the way you see things, and the things you see will change.” My yoga teacher said.
I started thinking about our individual perspectives of what we see around us – none are actually a true reflection of reality either. They are interpretations of reality – everything is an interpretation. Everything is relative – only a reflection of the absolute – never providing a complete understanding of the absolute itself.
Same with all our narratives really. We can tell the same story, with the same facts, in completely different lights. It’s our choice what light or angle we are going to put on it.
Just compare the documentary Zeitgeist to what I’m learning about Political Economics. Both are talking about the same thing – what Zeitgeist describes as a shocking system of social slavery Capitalism promotes as “good economics” and an “efficient distribution of resources.” Both are describing the same facts: a system of value-less paper we call money and a few people at the top owning the world, pulling the strings while the people at the bottom work to pay off mortgages. Two versions of the same facts. Like my thin and fat reflections, both were reflecting me but neither entirely accurate. Things aren’t always what they seem.