This week I continue looking at some of the aspects of the Attention and Interpretation course I am doing with Dr. Amit Sood of the Mayo Clinic. As usual, I note that the thoughts and interpretations (!) here are mine, not his or anyone else's.
So, we have been looking at paying attention and developing a mindful attitude toward the world and our own lives. Through the practice of meditation we develop a basic set of facts, thoughts, data, that in and of themselves have little if any meaning. Ah, but do we give them meaning! Hence the second part of what I am discovering and experiencing- interpretation. It's what happens when we look at, feel, or respond to whatever it is we become mindful of. The interpretation is what gives it meaning- or not. Often that interpretation can be based on more than just the facts. It can be based on past experiences, fears, hopes, dreams, history, faith, lack of faith, and on and on. It is often just a set of assumptions.
All one has to do is listen to the same bit of political news on MSNBC and then on Fox News. You will have a hard time believing it is the same story. The one you like or respond to will be the one that matches your political views, the facts be damned.
All things are subject to interpretation whichever interpretation prevails at a given time is a function of power and not truth.The same is true of the interpretation of the things we pay attention to in our own lives.
We may not use the idea of power vs. truth within ourselves, but in reality the ideas and assumptions that have the upper hand (power) in our lives will generally lead the way to an interpretation. What we think we believe is right or wrong will color the interpretations we give to an experience.
The consequences can be troubling to much worse. Or they can get us to believe in God.
The book and movie, The Life of Pi, is one of the best examples of how this works. In the end, we are asked to decide which is the better story. Which interpretation is more helpful, hopeful, life affirming? That may be the best way to start looking at interpretation of the things we become mindful of.
Reality is how we interpret it. Imagination and volition play a part in that interpretation. Which means that all reality is to some extent a fiction.Meditate on what it is that makes your interpretations. Be non-judgmental and allow what is to be.