what do you think we might be missing when we overlook the obvious?

lost in the fog. photo by Jennifer Picard Photography.

it doesn’t seem to matter how many times i proofread what i write, there’s bound to be a mistake that pops up soon after i publish it. it could be a spelling error, or a missing punctuation, but more often than not, i’ve somehow missed an entire word. an entire piece of what i wanted to say was carelessly missed — my intended thought was left incomplete.

it’s in our nature to overlook the obvious.

no matter how careful or mindful i try to be, i still tend to rush more than i should and i end up missing the very thing i’m looking for. we all rush through life and make assumptions though, we all bounce from one thing to the next without truly ever seeing what’s right in front of us.

what are we missing throughout our day-to-day lives? what cues are we unaware of in our relationships? what obvious signs are we ignoring within ourselves?

the addict assumes she’s got things under control, but her pain tells otherwise. she ignores her symptoms. she perpetuates her suffering through assuming that she's doing just fine.

the more we search for happiness, the more it escapes us.

we all overlook the obvious, but perhaps the most elusive of all is happiness itself. but happiness doesn’t need to be found, it’s a decision. it’s not hiding under a rock at the top of a majestic mountain, or whose secret is tucked away in an ancient text, or that's waiting for you when your bank balance hits a certain mark, happiness is always there waiting for us, it's right underneath our nose.

part of our problem is that we’re limited by our language, which we assume to be thoroughly complete, accurate and true, but the words we use are incomplete and leave many things unsaid.

for instance, we may call something a forest, as if it’s one solitary thing, but in fact it’s a collection of a billion different things. it’s not just a sole group of identical trees, it’s a community of ten thousand or more unique specimens, each consisting of a million billion more pieces, all amidst an uncountable mix of flora, fauna and little creatures that live on its wooded floor.

we may say that we saw the forest, but... did we?

we miss all of the nuances and whispers that life offers us because we’re so consumed by how we expect things to be. but no matter how hard we look at someone or some thing, we'll never be able to see them in their entirety. there will always be thousands of subtleties we'll miss, and we’ll always make many assumptions that are completely wrong.

we’re so lost in our perceptions of how we think things should be, that we overlook how they actually are. their true essence escape us.

we’re lost in the fog of our mind’s eye.

this applies to our relationships as well, both with ourself and with others. we make assumptions in conversations that we haven’t even had, and we even find ourselves deep in arguments that haven’t yet begun.

we misinterpret what’s being said because of how we project our opinion of what we think the other person actually means, but we’re often wrong. we’re so wrapped up in our own minds that we rarely ever truly listen.

when we project our negative assumptions onto things, we often end up helping them to actually occur — "my boss doesn’t like me", "i could never do that", "i’m sure i'll fail”, “i could never find the guts to try", “i’ll never be happy” — but the truth is, if i think i’ll fail, then surely i will.

our assumptions skewer our intentions and leave them in a ditch to whither and die.

nothing is ever as it seems. everything is cloaked in a myriad of subtleties that we’ll never be able to fully see or understand — but we can still try.

slow down, take a deep breath, and strive to not project any opinions, labels, judgements or stories onto your present experience. practice mindfulness — in every moment that you can remember to — and open yourself up to all of the complexities, intricacies, nuances and beauty that life beholds.

in doing so, you'll awaken to many untold secrets, including all of those you've been searching for the most.

brian thompson