Do you ever wonder if you’re seeing the world through the same lenses as everyone around you? In fact, how do you see the world? Do you think you see it the same way the closest people in your life do?
I was recently listening to the “Your Highest Self” podcast. The host, Sahara Rose, interviewed Meg Monahan, a meditation teacher and author. They discussed a new book she wrote on meditation, “Don’t Hate, Meditate!” During the interview, Monahan shared an insight she heard from Deepak Chopra while training with him.
She said, “Deepak Chopra told me that, at around age 7-8 years old, children receive the initial imprint of their conditioning, made up of everything they’ve seen and heard or have been told.” She described this as having your own unique set of prescription lenses placed upon you. She went on to say that, over time, these lenses become thicker because we unwittingly reinforce that way of seeing and being.
Our own unique “prescription lenses” – how we see the world.
I found this an interesting way to describe how our perceptions of everything are placed upon us unknowingly by those closest to us when we were young. “Prescription lenses” are such a powerful image because they represent the entirety of every single thing we see – near or far, hazy or clear, neutral, or full of color.
I picture a laboratory where our family members place their feelings, thoughts, and perceptions onto our tiny lenses. Layers may include feelings of insecurity, doubt, fear, excitement, hopefulness, and joy. They do this just by being in the room with the lenses. The energy of their thoughts and feelings builds layers onto our lenses.
I can picture myself standing in front of a classroom of third graders. Each student had on a unique pair of glasses. In my image, the glasses are dramatic! Some were Elton John style – really wild and wacky. Others were ordinary with a greyish tint. Some were shiny and slightly rose-colored. In all cases, the lenses were locked in place.
The layers affect our perception of everything around us.
I decided I wanted to explore this idea and look at these “prescription lenses” more closely. I can see layers and layers on top of each other in my mind. Those closer to the surface can be changed easily. They represent attitudes that can shift. I’ll call them tinted areas.
The deeper the layers, the more rooted the thoughts, imprints, and beliefs. The middle layers, for instance, may represent acquired beliefs and states of mind our caregivers held and that we now have. The most stubborn beliefs, held in the closest part of the lens to us, are based on our decisions about ourselves in response to our parents’ and caregivers’ emotions and behaviors.
These lenses also affect how we see ourselves.
So, if this is true, so much of what we see through these lenses at such a young age will profoundly impact how we view everything in our world, and even more so – what we see when we look in the mirror. It will also reflect on us in the way we give and receive kindness and love. Our lenses hold our expectations of how exciting and wonderful life will be or how scary and unpredictable it might be.
What we see may be more subtle – feeling like we’re not very important or that maybe things work out more easily for others and not for ourselves. I’m not sure how anyone else views their world through their unique set of lenses, but for me, there are things I love and want to keep and other things that I would be happy to let go of.
How can we change the prescription in our lenses?
Then I think, is it possible to change the prescription in my lenses? What if I want to remove some of the layers I inherited from those closest to me? Monahan suggests that meditation is the answer. She says that, through meditation, we can remove layer upon layer, which can bring us back to our original state of seeing a world full of joy and wonder.
Meditation and just becoming aware of these “lenses” are the most critical first steps. Being able to actually “see” the lenses I’ve been wearing has been helpful.
Thankfully, we are capable of changing our lenses. In traditional therapy, I spent many years working through issues that went way back. Although I experienced some exciting breakthroughs, the one area that I continually struggled with was my sense of self-worth in the context of dating and relationships. Some ways I was able to change the lenses through which I see the world:
It took many painful experiences to realize that a part of me still didn’t “believe” that I genuinely deserved a great partner. This “layer” was probably one of my prescription’s thickest and most stubborn layers. I needed it to change. I got to work! Through therapy, meditation, and prayer, I peeled away the layers of this belief. I understood where this layer came from. And I was able to change that prescription once and for all.
Checking in: What lenses are you looking through right now?
These challenging times now have me thinking about my lens prescription again. Knowing I can adjust some things more quickly than others, I question:
Am I looking through the lens of fear?
Definitely, yes – when I question everything that is happening. I know I’m in this place when I almost feel a sense of sadness and disconnection. Or I feel worried about what might happen in the future. I feel lost in my thoughts, and they aren’t good thoughts. This is when I know I’m looking through old lenses. I need to put on a new pair.
Another test – am I seeing through the lens of love?
I know I’m wearing these lenses when I have a deep sense of knowing that I’m exactly where I belong, doing precisely what I’m meant to be doing. Everything is happening for a higher purpose. Also, there are joyful, hopeful possibilities everywhere I turn. I see positive outcomes, and I see myself being led and guided along a loving path.
Wrapping it up:
We can’t control what lenses we were given to wear as young children. I’ve come to think that although some people are blessed to receive beautiful rose-colored lenses at such a young age, others are given the challenge and the opportunity to remake their lenses to their own liking.
Thankfully we can do just that. There are so many resources at our fingertips, including healers, teachers, authors, etc., that can help us take another look at our lenses and create the perfect pair we can wear as we go forward.
Our lenses need continual polishing and retinting. And I’m going to keep adding rose colored tint to mine.
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