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OT - Cleaning your filter

Discussion in 'Uncategorized Threads' started by tad houston, Jun 24, 2008.

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  1. tad houston

    tad houston TS Member

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2006
    Messages:
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    The following is an essay by a family friend. It was sent to me in an email and was primarily directed at local bickering on his city council, it may well end up as a letter to the editor there. Chuck is recently retired after a long and successful career in education, most of which was spent as a principal at a middle school. I know many of us feel that our current public education system is at the root of many of our societies ills but there are (were) good people working in the system. It is a comfort to me to know they are there, and I do all I can to support them when I find them.

    I am posting it here simply because I think it is a very sage exposé of not only the local issues that inspired him to pen this, but of mankind in general. It applies to personal relationships, local state and national politics, and even to the discourse here on TS.com.

    I hope you get as much from it as I have.

    Tad


    "Each of us have a personal and private filter, residing somewhere in the deep recesses of our brains, which has been formed by our unique cultural, religious, social, and family backgrounds. Everything we hear, see, read, and experience must pass through this filter before it is judged to be true or false, given perspective, registered, and understood. Two individuals may hear the same lecture, see identical objects, experience the same action- and yet arrive at completely conflicting conclusions. This is the result of the “only-one-of-its-kind” mental filter that each of us have developed during our lifetimes. This filter is the lens through which we observe life. It strongly influences our Attitude, Outlook, Perspective, Point of View, and Mind-Set.

    Some see life through the lens of optimism and believe that the glass is half full, others see the glass as half empty. Some are caustic critics, others enthusiastic cheerleaders. Some are right-wing conservatives, others are left-leaning liberals. Some are angry and disillusioned, others happy and encouraged. Some expect to be served, others gain satisfaction by serving. Some suspect that a vast conspiracy exists to exploit them, others are confident and trusting. Some see clouds as bringing rain and floods, others look forward to the resulting flowers and refreshing life-giving water. Some are constantly on the offense, others on the defense.

    On some issues there is no absolute right or wrong- only personal preferences. Some like chocolate ice cream, others prefer vanilla. My biased is that there is an absolute right and wrong in the cases of religion and justice, (MY version of religion and justice) but others might argue the case. We hear complaints that our city council needs to cooperate and work together rather than “constantly bickering.” Personally, I would be more concerned that individuals are not thinking for themselves, and voting how they really feel on each issue, if every vote was unanimous. What some might call internal strife, is most often democracy in action. Disagreeing on issues should not be seen as personal animosity. This is the way our democratic system of government works- some might disagree but the majority rules.

    Many people believe that we are totally controlled by our mental filters and that we must passively accept our pre-determined fate. I disagree! I believe that God made us different than other animals. We can reason, ponder, think logically, contemplate, deliberate, and make conscious decisions about our life, the world, and our personal destiny. God gave us the power to regularly evaluate our mental filter to determine if the results it is producing has positive and productive consequences. With Gods help, we can make positive changes.

    We know that we need to regularly change the filter on our furnace in our homes or it will get clogged up and cease to function properly. We also accept the fact that if we fail to change the oil and gas filters on our car as needed, it will not operate economically and efficiently. In the same way, we also need to regularly examine and evaluate our mental filters. Evaluating does not mean that we must discard all of our precious long-held religious, social, family, and personal customs, beliefs and ideals. It means that we need to assess whether adjustments are needed in our mental filter in order for us to comprehend fresh opportunities for service, understand new concepts, improve our attitude, and lead more productive and useful lives.

    If we understand the “mental filter” concept, when an attack is being directed toward us, rather than feeling hurt or counterattacking, we might find that we will be able calmly to view the upset person from a non-emotional vantage point. We could then say to ourselves: "Oh, you poor thing! Your mental filter must need to be cleaned." This can make us realize that his state of distress, has very little to do with us, even though he seems to think it does. We will be able to realize that he is behaving that way because he feels so bad about himself. His filter must need cleaning or else he wouldn't be behaving that way. We might even be moved to feel genuine sympathy for him."

    Chuck Sodergren 2008
     
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