Children, we perceive some people as “good.” We brand others “worthless.” After a while, we change our mind. Those we called “good” before, we now call “bad,” and vice-versa. Thus, our opinions and perspectives are in a constant state of fluctuation. Why? The main reason is our lack of proper knowledge. It has become our habit to view everything through our preconceived notions.
When we view something through the lens of our preconceived notions, we will be unable to correctly understand it. We should be able to view everything in its proper place. We should learn to look at things with an open mind. Only then can we understand the reality of a situation.
This world and the objects and individuals in it are undergoing constant change. The individual we saw yesterday is different from the individual we see today. A tailor always takes fresh measurement, even for regular customers. He never thinks, “Oh, I took this person’s measurement the last time he was here. There’s no need to do it again.” He knows that the dimensions of the customer’s body, as well as his likes and dislikes, are subject to change. We should have a similar attitude when we interact with others. A person’s behaviour and his attitude towards us may change at any moment. Today’s foe could easily become tomorrow’s friend. Today’s friend could also become tomorrow’s foe. We should always be able to see others with an open mind, without preconceived notions.
Some people think acting with preconceived notions can eliminate future difficulties. However, in reality, what is required for that is not preconceptions, but attention. Preconception is negative; attention is positive. When we act with preconceptions, the opportunity to learn new things is lost. But when we work with attention, many new ideas and perspectives will be revealed.
Amma remembers a story: A man’s wallet with a large amount of money went missing. He had last seen it, just a short while ago, in its proper place in his room. The man, his wife and children searched the house from top to bottom but could not locate the wallet. At this time, the seven-year-old son suddenly piped up, “The boy next door was here a little while ago.” All of a sudden, the entire family became suspicious of the neighbour’s boy, whom they had previously only viewed with love. “Haven’t you noticed his sly look?” they told each other. “There is no doubt he did it!” They began to feel that he looked, walked and acted like a thief. Their love and trust in him quickly evaporated. They also began to view the other members of the boy’s family with contempt. Gradually, they lost their peace of mind.
One day, the wife was giving the house a thorough cleaning. Suddenly, she discovered the lost wallet under a sofa cushion. Her attitude towards the neighbour’s boy changed instantly. He once again turned into the sweet, innocent boy of the past. When we view anything with preconceptions, our mind makes a premature judgement. Thereafter, everything we see is cast in the light of that judgment. Often, we are wrong. Therefore, before we come to a conclusion, we should first observe the situations with attention and discrimination. This is the correct path.
In fact, preconceptions often form when we project our own likes and dislikes upon others. This doesn’t help us to see the truth but, rather, blinds us. Preconceptions force us to view the world through their tinted lens. Depending on the colour of the filter, we begin to think of the world as “blue,” “black” or “green,” etc. Viewing everything in this manner, it becomes impossible to gain real insight into the nature of the world. We should be able to understand and evaluate the world, our circumstances, our experiences and ourselves with attention and maturity, without any preconceived notions. Only through spirituality can this be achieved.
Disclaimer: All information, data and material has been sourced from multiple authors and is for general information and educational purposes only and are not intended to replace the advice of your treating doctor.
The views and nutritional advice expressed are not intended to be a substitute for conventional medical service. If you have a severe medical condition or health concern, see your physician.