The Wrong End of the Stick

Whoops I did it again!

A young frightened black woman, isolated on white

It is often said that we create our own reality in life – “that nothing is either good or bad but thinking makes it so”, as Shakespeare said.

We create our realities by the habitual ways we think, by the paradigms we believe in and through the filters we apply which are constantly screening out certain bits of information around us and amplifying certain others. Filters such as distortion, deletion and generalization.

Most of the time we are unaware of this – the rude driver on the way to work was, well, just rude, and the unhelpful shop assistant had an attitude problem, and so on.

It’s only when our paradigms are powerfully broken – when we realize how wrong our perception of reality has been – that we really stop to question the basis of our certainty in our own reality.

Consider the following extract from Readers Digest by Dan P. Greyling:

“A friend of mine, returning to South Africa from a long stay in Europe, found herself with some time to spare at London’s Heathrow Airport. Buying a cup of coffee and a small package of cookies, she staggered, laden with luggage to an unoccupied table.

She was reading the morning paper when she became aware of someone rustling at her table. From behind her paper, she was flabbergasted to see a neatly dressed young man helping himself to her cookies. She didn’t want to make a scene, so she leaned across and took a cookie herself.

A minute or so passed. More rustling. He was helping himself to another cookie.

By the time they were down to the last cookie in the package, she was very angry but still could not bring herself to say anything. Then the young man broke the remaining cookie in two, pushed half across to her, ate the other half and left.

Some time later, when the public address system called for her to present her ticket, she was still fuming. Imagine her embarrassment when she opened her handbag, and was confronted by her package of cookies.

She had been eating his.”


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