Seeing Things as They Are

This morning after my walk at the park, I was beginning to pull out of the parking area when I saw a little bird fall over. It then began flopping around. I was so sad. I thought to myself, “What can I do to help it? Should I take it to have it put to sleep? I could at least move it to a grassy area where it would be more comfortable.” I stopped the car and started to get out. Then I realized that the little bird was actually a leaf.

A thin horizon of black separates a bright orange sky above reflected in the bright orange water below.
Lake Tawokoni at sunrise, Melanie

I felt mostly relieved…and also a bit silly.

I started thinking about how often I do this in life. I have an experience and without having all of the facts, I build a whole storyline about what is happening. I may make assumptions about someone else’s intentions. I react to what I’m assuming is happening. I may even have strong feelings about the situation, even though I don’t really know the truth about it.

Mindfulness has helped me with this. It has helped me slow down and allow myself to experience the feelings without acting on them. It has helped recognize that when my emotions are running high, I may not see things as they truly are. It has helped me to recognize that in the absence of information, I may fill in the gaps based on my own experiences.

Of course, I still have work to do. I always will. Sometimes I’ll see a dying bird, when it’s really a leaf.

Progress, not perfection.

We see things not as they are, but as we are. Because it is the ‘I’ behind the ‘eye’ that does the seeing.

Anaïs Nin

Wholeheartedly do what it takes to awaken your clear-seeing intelligence, but one day at a time, one moment at a time. If we live that way, we will benefit this earth.

Pema Chödrön


  1. Jennie P says:

    I’ve come to rely on your understanding and I often relate deeply to your insights and self-awareness. Elegant and powerful. Loved the Anais Nin quote too. J.P

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