Finding Your Story by Navina Anand

Many of you would be familiar with the quiz that was going around social media asking you to guess the colour of the dress on the image. Some saw it as blue and black, while others saw it as white and gold. How can the same picture look different to different people? It was explained later that it was “due to assumptions the brain makes about the illumination of the garment so that it will appear the same under different lighting, a property known as color constancy”

This also translates into how we see life. Some of us are perennial optimists and some of us call ourselves realists, though others may label us pessimists. Realists think the optimists are fooling themselves looking at the world with pink hued glasses and the optimists think the realists are just “miserabilists”. So, what’s the colour you want to see?

The Bhagavad Gita says the whole world is an illusion. An illusion that you create in your mind. The matrix also went with that theme. So, what are you seeing and more importantly what do you want to see?

As the decades cross you by, it does hit you at some point in time (usually later than sooner) that life is ultimately boiling down to the story you want to tell yourself. You can look around you and call yourself a success or a failure, depending on whom you are pegging yourself against. The achievers seem to be telling themselves that they can do it and everything is within their control and it is their actions that determine their future. The ‘losers’ are telling themselves that it is too hard and beyond the ken of their abilities.

The other day I saw an article about a person who scaled Kilimanjaro. It is quite a feat for anybody to scale the world’s highest free-standing mountain. And this person had no legs. The world abounds in feats like this that leave us dumbstruck. What are the stories that these people tell themselves? And don’t we want to tell ourselves such stories?

It is a huge disappointment when we realize that every complaint, every sob story, every negativity that we choose to focus on is the story we want to tell ourselves. And when we realise that, slowly we start wanting to tell a different story. You may ask… How different is a delusion from an illusion? Are they different at all? Are my stories an illusion or a delusion? Does it matter? If my story keeps me happy does it make a difference if it is an illusion or a delusion because it is all inside our head in any case.

I have seen parents who feel their children can do no wrong and I have seen parents whose children can never keep up quite with their expectations.  There is a story telling mismatch.

If all our lives the colour of the dress we choose depends on how we are perceiving things…. Don’t we want to hold that power of perception in our hands? Should our perceptions be a simple ‘happy’ vis a vis a particular hue? 

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