Perspective and Perception

By Spark Vallen


In the quest to understand balance and apply it to life, Shadow Jedi focus on the concepts of perspective & perception.  Many people nonchalantly throw around phrases such as "Perception is reality" and "It all depends on your point of view."  Shadow Jedi take perspective & perception beyond these cliche statements to a deeper understanding.  Just as they go hand-in-hand, the Shadow Jedi must be aware of the two sides to perspective & perception: the self and the world.

Let's begin with the individual's understanding of the "twins."  What is perspective?  Perspective is the point of reference that a person takes when thinking or doing.  Components that are factored into an individual's perspective may be past knowledge, and observation.  In a manner of speaking, perspective is the raw data on our world that we take in.  Perception is the spin or interpretation made or applied to our perspective.  Take the following example as a base, then apply the concepts to your own understanding:

There are many varieties of sit-down restaurants.  They vary in being elegant and expensive to practical & affordable.  Regardless, there is a general perspective about service--a server should be prompt and courteous taking your order, bring your food (prepared correctly) in a reasonable amount of time.  These are the elements of perspective in a dining situation.  Perception is applied when the diner makes a distinction on "how good" the service ought to be.  At the more expensive restaurant, one might perceive more attentive service than the expectation one might have for a cheaper establishment.  Why is that?  It's the interpretation of the situation that leads the patron to have a different point of view.

It is important for the Shadow Jedi to understand his own perspective & perception so that he knows how and why he understands the world as he does.  This requires mindfulness, and self-awareness continuously.  Yet, though one must pay attention to individual perspective & perception, the Shadow Jedi must also learn to be aware of how this operates simultaneously in other people!  How does one go about understanding the perspective & perception in another person?  First, though the Shadow Jedi must keep his own "twins" balanced, in this case, he must also be able to transcend them.  In other words, the Shadow must be able to set aside his view to truly and clearly know this exterior point of view.  It is obvious that a certain degree of empathic skill comes in to play.  The saying is that "there are two sides to every story"; there are infinite perspectives and perceptions really.  Awareness of that truth alone and mindfulness of it is paramount.

To recap, perspective gives the Shadow Jedi facts, information and data about his environment.  The way perspective is understood is based on that person's whole make-up.  The perception a Shadow takes on that information is interpretive and instinctual.  While one must monitor his own perspective and perception, the Shadow Jedi also factors in that of those around him.

Be mindful.