The illusion of separateness


This is a great quick exercise that illustrates the limits of our perceptions.

Here is an interesting little exercise:

Take your hand and hide it behind something and spread your fingers and slowly lift your fingers up so only your fingers can be seen and not the palm of your hand. If you did not know that this was a hand, you would assume that the five fingers that you see are separate individual entities. As you slowly lift the hand up, you see that they are all connected and part of the same organism.

This is an exercise that I learned in a mindfulness and psychotherapy class with Dr. Ron Siegel. It is a simple and poignant way of demonstrating the limitations of our perceptions as well as the interconnectedness of things that may not appear to be connected at all.

We that think that we can really see everything with our own eyes are truly blind. It is truly humbling to realize that as much we know, we really know so little. Compartmentalizing and seeing things in black or white terms is comforting to the human mind, but it is also so limiting and ultimately serves to make us more blind than we need to be.

So the next time you make a judgment or an assumption about someone or something, try to be aware that you are judging or assuming and ask yourself if that is the truth or something you are simply settling on in order to simplify things.

By David B Younger, PhD, CGP, PC

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This article was originally published at David B. Younger . Reprinted with permission from the author.