A friend (I fear long lost) and I used to have a running joke based on a scene from a mutual favorite film, Catch-22.
"Do you see what I see?"
"A naked man in a tree?"
"That's just Yossarian."
Whenever something worth pointing out to the other was noticed, some form of "Do you see what I see?" would be asked. The question, "A naked man in a tree?" was always the response. Then, we'd get onto whatever was worth looking at. It eventually evolved into just pointing out the naked man in a tree, and later into just saying, "Is that Yossarion?" instead of "Look at that."
I like how an inside joke can evolve, becoming truly obscure to those not "in" on it.
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Well, I didn't really start this post to bring up an old inside joke. I want to write about a portion of the "misunderstanding" I had with the Psychology Department at Kaiser Permanente so long ago.
At one point, the pseudo-doctors, so certain I was hallucinating the FACT that my height had increased by an inch and a half, requested that I take a personality test. They lied, again, telling me about the possibility of pain killing drugs after I jumped through their hoop. They likely presumed the test would confirm that I was psychotic and delusional. I took the test.
Quite early on, I had to ask for clarification.
One of the first questions had been, "Do you hear things other people don't here?" (Note - I studied Cognitive Psychology, the hard wiring, not the subjective aspects of psych, not in any detail, anyways.) I was supposed to answer the question with one of 4 responses, basically an "all the time" or "none of the time" spectrum.
I answered sometimes. I have pretty good hearing. I pick up on sounds my wife does not, from birds in the back yard to the water dripping into the ice maker.
Shortly thereafter, the test asked, "Do you see things other people don't see?" This is when I asked for clarification.
"Is it asking if I see things that others can't see? Like "I see dead people? Or is it . . . "
He cut me off and said, "just go with whatever came first to your mind."
I answered "all the time." That probably did not help my cause.
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Let me be clear. I don't see dead people.
My first impression of the question defined "see" to mean comprehend. It wasn't just about visual stimuli. It was what such stimuli made me think, made me realize, understand, and even theorize.
An example relevant to my long term goals with this blog:
Consider Muslim prayer. What do you see?
I see a correlation, a similarity, between the physical prostate position performed in Muslim prayer and the "Child's Pose" position of yoga.
Now, for purposes of answering "Do you see things other people don't see?," I presume most people do not identify the similarities in the physical positions of the two actions when they view just Muslim Prayer.
Yet, that is not all I "see."
I see an act of submission within the prayer, a surrender to one's God, an act which greatly relaxes the body as well as the mind. A very goal of child's pose is the relaxation of the body and mind. I have even heard the phrase "surrender to air" used in trying to help one achieve Child's Pose. I presume, of the few people that actually did notice this correlation between Muslim prayer and Child's pose, most thought of it as coincidental. I don't believe in coincidence.
I see two spiritual practices likely evolved from a common ancient practice.
I theorize that this common practice would strongly mirror my beliefs about balance, physical balance within the body and the effects it has, not only on the mind, but on physical health as well. I theorize that what I have realized relatively recently about balance is nothing "new" at all. It is ancient, and known by many. As practices evolved, however, people lost sight of the original knowledge. They never learned the true origin of their practices.
Do you see the naked man in the tree?