Quantum physics demonstrates that perception — perspective — determines what we consider to be reality.
Consider water. We know it is one of the most powerful, essential substances on Earth. Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching reminds us that “the soft will overcome the hard.” The water softly grinding away at rock for thousands of years will eventually produce the Grand Canyon.
Let’s consider a few scenarios in which perspective —and circumstances — dictate completely different feelings and associations.
Water in a desert is salvation, exalted above all else. A man would sell his soul for a drink of water after he’s wandered alone and thirsty in a scorching desert for a couple of days.
Water as a catastrophic flood is deadly, and the prayer on everyone’s lips is, Please, God, stop the water. It destroys what we’ve built, washing away homes and entire histories.
Water in a confined space is torture. Drop by drop over many hours or even days, it fills up the room in which a prisoner lies. He’s panic-stricken and losing his mind. By the time the water finally drowns him, he has long since died a thousand deaths worse than the real one.
Water in the body is essential. Without it, we could not exist. It is a foundational element of life itself.
But if we pull back our focus from being the person in each of these situations to being the observer of the person in these situations, the perspective changes yet again.
We are the torturer who lets the water drip. The horrified consumer watching the floods on the evening news and whispering a silent prayer of thanks that it didn’t happen to us. The moviegoer thrilling in the story of an explorer who wanders lost in the Sahara desert.
Or we could add another spin of perspective: What if the water being drunk in the desert is drunk by the “bad guy” in the movie, who will go on to kill a main character that we love?
How do we feel if the flood is washing away a great blight so that new life can flourish and the world be given a second chance, as in the tale of Noah from the Bible?
What if the torture of water is a nightmare in someone’s subconscious, and upon waking from it, she realizes a truth she has kept from herself for so many years?
In each of these cases, the common thread is the presence of water. But depending on the perspective and circumstances, the truth of what is experienced changes dramatically. Perspective is all.