It was a very difficult little league baseball game. The favored team was losing right from the early innings. The young players walked with their heads hung low, and even their parents’ anguished faces confirmed the grief.
But surprisingly, the team slowly began battling back. As the game got closer and closer to the end, the club clawed their way into contention. And it all came down to the last inning and the final at-bat.
The youth stepped to the plate. With nerves rattling and stomach churning, he eyed the incoming pitch – and then swung. And with one crack of the bat, the ball sailed over the fence – home run – and with that, the game was over. The young man was a hero, and his team won!
The parents were elatedly screaming and the players were jumping up and down with joy. It couldn’t have been a happier moment for all involved.
Or could it?
The young pitcher who had just thrown the final pitch stood on the mound with tears streaming down his face. All his teammates, and their parents, were as crestfallen as the opposing teams’ fans were euphoric.
This true story was shared by a friend relating how the exact same event can be viewed from completely opposing perspectives.
What transpired during that seven inning game was etched in the timeline of history. No one could argue with the facts. Yet, one team left on top of the world while the other walked away sickened with sorrow.
And so it is with everything we encounter in our lives. The events themselves are just a series of facts – words that are uttered, actions taken, incidents that occur. We can’t argue with the occurrences. Yet the feelings we experience are completely dependent upon the meaning we give the happenings.
These powerful lines from A Course in Miracles speak to how perception truly works:
No one can be upset at a fact. It is always an interpretation that gives rise to negative emotions, regardless of their seeming justification by what appears as facts. (M-17.4)
Nothing I see means anything [on its own]. I have given everything I see all the meaning that it has for me. (W-pI.1; W-pI.2)
Thus the meaning, or interpretation, we give to each event in our lives determines our experience. We have misled ourselves into believing the opposite nature of cause and effect. We mistakenly believe that the outside world determines our well-being, when in fact it is the meaning we give those occurrences that establishes our state.
As such, the entire world can be viewed as a tabula rasa upon which we project our experiences based solely on the meaning we give those events – all of which are completely neutral on their own. In this way, we can begin the process of seeing with true perception and experiencing perfect peace.