As part of a training I am in, a group of us shared an experience of looking at a cup and saucer; naming out loud what was factual about what was before us. On the surface, it seems like such an easy, obvious and simple exercise. As in, it was small. But small in relation to what? You would be amazed by how many of the comments made were not actual facts, but instead interpretations. Going even deeper, interpretations based on who was doing the interpreting. It was eye-opening to see the array of projections and perspectives that could be laid onto an inanimate object; one that would ostensibly have very little charge in the life of a human being. It was after all, just a cup and saucer.

It got me to thinking that if that level of “story” could be imposed on something inanimate, what are we doing with and to ourselves and others where the stakes are higher, the emotions run deeper, and where the need for things to be a certain way is a whole lot more intense. Because this so peaked my interest, at the end of the day when we had to choose something to work on for homework, this is what I chose; to fact-find in my relationships with myself and others. And as is so often the case, I had no idea how deep this one would go.

For instance, when I am fact-finding, I see that person’s face has changed expression. I feel a tightness in my gut. I notice the thought that says I have done something wrong. This is different than assuming what that other person is thinking, different than ignoring the sensation in my belly, and definitely different than jumping to “I am wrong” as opposed to I am having a thought that says“I have done something wrong.” Just a thought, and nothing more than that. No, “I am wrong.” No, “That person is awful for making me feel this way.” No needing to be in a bad mood or think less of myself when I am staying with the facts.

Try it for yourself. When something is disturbing you, can you take a step back and label what is there as plainly and directly as you could say that the cup has a chip in it? As in, “I see…I feel…I notice…” whatever is there? And then hardest of all, put a period at the end of that sentence; letting it stand as is, with the facts, versus an assumption, projection, or interpretation coloring what is actually there. Easy to say, yet so much more difficult to do in practice given how many of our interpretations are based on the past, as opposed to what is actually before us.

It has been amazing this past week to stand in front of more than 40 college students, all doing whatever they are doing, showing up however they are showing up, participating however they are participating, and to be ever more aware of the spin I will put on what they are doing. Or not doing. And how often that spin is because I want things to be different. Further yet, where I need things to be different so that I can be OK. What a terrible predicament to put myself in. Basing my life on what others are, or are not doing; based not in fact, but in my need to perceive things a certain way.

When we are established in the Truth of who and what we are, and when we are established in the Truth of the moment, everything else takes care of itself. Not only that, but everything, absolutely everything, gets to be exactly what it is, as is.

And isn’t this precisely what we all most long for? The space to be, and to be seen, for who we are? As we are.