This Gestalt picture is an example of how we habitually see what we expect to see. What do you see?
Your answer to this question reveals a lot about your habits of mind. When given only partial information, we fill in the blanks without thinking. When presented with anything in the outside world, subconscious and automatic processes impel us to see it as a whole so that our world seems coherent and logical. Good idea but we take it to far.
This organization of what we see is a speciality of the left-brain hemisphere. This slave brain classifies experience and pigeonholes it like in no time. It glances at something — a thought, an object, a person, runs it through its databases at the speed of light, finds a vague facsimile of that thing and promptly files the thing away under the same heading, telling you it’s understood it, before belting on to the next thing.
But you haven’t understood it because you’ve glossed over whatever is arising in your life. When you prematurely dismiss your experience by classifying it before it even lands in your consciousness, you’re not connected to your experience you’re not involved in your life. You might as well not be having your experience because you’re dead to it.
Your ego has won again by drawing a dark veil between you and the present moment. Instead of being free to act, all you do is unconsciously re-act, meaning you’re constantly ‘living’ in the past. Entirely under the radar of awareness, you perceive an outline of some thing or some one and fill in the blanks to suit your little ego self. You’ve projected what you want to see, what you’ve always seen, onto what’s not, in reality, there. You’ve reacted without the tiniest gap in time to look again at the object or the situation or the person.
The power of now, mindfulness, being in the present moment and other ways of saying it all mean the same thing. We must mind the gap. We must intentionally impose a moment of silence in the mind to truly engage with whatever is presenting itself to our awareness.
Material Aha moments show how we only look at something from one point of view and we gloss over our experience as if we’ve seen it all before. It is by intervening in the constant stream of thinking that we stop these habits of mind that dominate our experience.
We can look at life as though we’ve seen it all before, i.e. not looking, or we can look at it afresh in every moment, with a little gap in thinking and an open, receptive mind. The first path is the road to being dictated to by your ego, the other is the road to aliveness and connection.