Of Ostriches and Wildebeests...

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
"What we believe is what we see." It is important to understand this concept and then apply it to the situations, circumstances and people we come across in life. This simple concept governs our perception of reality and how we then show up and live in that reality.

Submitted: April 09, 2014

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Submitted: April 09, 2014

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"Look... look, a wildebeest!!"

A very excited me pointed to this black speck in the distance!

"No, that's a Maasai Ostrich."

A calm Yakub corrected me, our guide on the Maasai  Mara game drive.

I disagreed with him and said that it definitely looked like a wildebeest. I had seen so many just a while ago, driving up to Maasai Mara! In fact, wildebeests and zebras were the first set of wild animals I had spotted along the bumpy highway, enroute to Masaai Mara.

He again stated that that indistinguishable black speck was a Maasai Ostrich, a male.

By now, we were driving up closer to this controversial creature and I could not wait to see what this black speck would morph into. At about 10 feet away, the creature morphed into this big, feathery ostrich. Yakub was right.

Driving through the vast savannahs such episodes happened many times. Till, after 2 days of driving around these massive grasslands and sighting beautiful and magnificent beasts and birds, I caught up with (not exactly!!) Yakub's eight years of game drive experience and expertise and my predictions on sightings became more on the mark (not entirely!!!!) :).

Anyway, what I realised was an old lesson, yet again, what we believe is what we see. At the time I mistook the ostrich to be a wildebeest, I had only just seen these brownish black animals, with humped backs and had no idea of what an ostrich in the wild looked like. So on seeing the black spot, my mind just made the assumption.

Our brains love patterns. Anytime we are faced with vague or incomplete information, it quickly sorts it into familiar patterns to help us make sense of the world. We see this in action when looking at optical illusions, spilled coffee beans on the floor, clouds floating in a deep blue sky. The faces, the definite shapes that we see are all the brain looking for familiar patterns to help us make sense of the world around us. Clearly an evolutionary requirement.

Recently, I read this in, "Your Everyday Superpower" by Janette Dalgliesh: "In other words, what we experience might be the brain's best guess about the world around us."

Best GUESS???? BEST guess, you say???? I'm forming my "reality" and then living in it basis a GUESS, albeit the BEST??!!! Yikes!!

So evidently, we're looking at people, situations, circumstances based on what might be our brain's best guess, at that point in time. Wow.

Makes me wonder what am I NOT guessing, what am I assuming and how could that additional information change my view of "reality", and my thoughts and then feelings and hence actions and decisions... How many more poor, unsuspecting ostriches am I labeling as wildebeests?!?

Interesting, eh? Not so much for the ostrich, I'd say. ;)


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