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What's In Your Blind Spot?

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By Author: Keith Varnum
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We frantically search for our "lost" keys that are lying in plain
sight on the kitchen counter. We don't we see the keys. Why not?
Because we already decided "the keys are not there." And once we make
that decision, we create a blind spot in our awareness. The result is
that we don't see the keys where we don't expect them to be.

If we miss seeing keys out in the open because we decide the keys
aren't there, what else could we be missing because we decide it's
not there? Could we be "blind" to other possibilities and
opportunities that are right under our nose?

What's New, Pussycat?

A mind-blowing scientific experiment reveals how the early physical
environment of kittens determines what they are able to see-and not
see-as they grow up. Two-week-old kittens are placed in a room with
walls painted with vertical stripes and kept there as they mature.
Almost from the moment they are able to see, the kittens live in an
environment of vertical stripes. Later, the cats' world changes. They'
re removed from their vertically striped surroundings ...
... and placed in a
room painted with horizontal stripes. Surprisingly, our furry felines
don't see the horizontal stripes. Bang! They run right smack into the
walls painted with horizontal stripes, time and time again. Why?
Scientists discovered that because the cats don't have horizontal
stripes in their environment as they grow up, the brains of the cats
don't develop the neurons that recognize horizontal stripes. So when
elements they've never been exposed to appear in the cats' world,
their brains don't register the new elements in their environment.
Yikes! Could we be unable to recognize elements in our current
environment because those elements were missing when we grew up? Yes,
we could! But before we look for aspects of life we might not be
seeing, let's look for aspects we might not be hearing as well.

What'd You Say?

Studies with babies reveal how the early auditory environment of
babies determines what they are able to hear-and not hear-as they
grow up. Research shows that young babies have the ability to hear
the full range of vocal sounds produced by the speech of all the
human languages in the world. But then, babies are raised hearing
only the narrow range of speech sounds within their social
environment. Eventually, because they hear solely the speech sounds
found within one culture, babies lose their ability to distinguish
the full range of vocal sounds found in all human cultures.

This explains why Japanese children are unable to pronounce the
English "r" sound that does not exist in their native language. "The
common result," according to a researcher at the University of
California, "is essentially that if perceptual experience is limited,
one will not be able to perceive things outside that experience."
This is why, in everyday life, we're not able to recognize-or "hear"-
concepts that we weren't exposed to in our upbringing.

Casting a Spell of Limitations

We all grow up in families and societies where we are only exposed to
a limited view of life-like kittens only viewing vertical stripes and
babies only hearing speech sounds from their social environment. Our "
stripes" consist of a limited range of cultural patterns of sights
and sounds. These cultural patterns give signals to the brain that
tell us "the way life is" within that limited environment. And the
brain mistakenly "thinks" it knows "the way life is" outside of that
narrow-minded environment.

Growing up in a limited environment has a comparable effect to being
hypnotized. For example, when people are hypnotized, they can be told
that certain elements exist or don't exist in their environment. With
hypnotic suggestion, a person can be told that there are no red books
in a bookstore. And, even though many of the books are red, the
person won't see any red books. The hypnotic suggestion creates a
blind spot, or filter, in the person's perception of the world.

Similarly, we're hypnotized by our parents and society to see certain
aspects of reality-and not to see other aspects of reality. Then, as
adults, we only see the range of possibilities that we were exposed
to as we grew up. We don't recognize any alternatives outside of the
range of viewpoints presented to us in our youth. Options and
opportunities that we weren't exposed to don't even register with the
brain.

By the very nature of how we're raised, we develop blind spots. And
these blind spots often prevent us from seeing-and taking advantage
of-options that are life-enriching and valuable to us. To what degree
do these blind spots limit the abundance in our lives? What kinds of
options could we be missing? Let's "see."

Missed Opportunities

On the first day of a four-day workshop I was attending, Martin
complained that he didn't have a way to get back and forth to the
workshop everyday. He had camped several miles outside of town down a
narrow, rough dirt road. Our disgruntled camper talked on and on
about his dilemma. Martin had decided that there was no way to get to
the workshop other than to walk. He couldn't see any other options.
He felt hopeless and discouraged. So, when someone in the group
offered to give Martin a ride every day, Martin didn't even hear the
proposal. He was totally hypnotized by his belief that "there is no
solution other than walking." The person offered the ride several
more times, yet the unexpected proposal continued to fall on Martin's
deaf ears. Finally, several people in the group yelled at Martin that
he was not hearing the offer of a ride. This group outburst snapped
Martin out of his hypnotized state, his blind spot. Only then was
Martin able to recognize that his transportation issue was resolved.

Julia's dream was to move out of her cramped apartment and buy her
own home. Since she didn't have enough money for a down payment, she
was busily doing everything she could to earn more income. When
someone heard about Julia wanting a home to live in, they offered to
give her their home for a year rent-free while they went overseas.
Julia turned down the invitation. She didn't recognize her good
fortune because the opportunity didn't appear in the form she
expected. She was fixated on the idea that to get the living
situation she wanted, she had to own the house. She was hypnotized by
her belief that "I don't have enough money to buy my own house." Her
blind spot prevented her from seeing another solution to her problem.
It didn't register to her that her need had been fulfilled. She
rejected an offer that would have allowed her to move out of her tiny
apartment. If she'd accepted the gift, Julia would have enjoyed
living in a spacious home right away. And she would have saved enough
money during that year to reach her ultimate goal-to make a down
payment on her own home.

"The Way Life Is?"

When we're young, we learn a lot about "the way life is" by observing
the adults in our lives. And, these adults can, for the most part,
only pass along their limited views of life.

For example, did you grow up being instilled with the viewpoint that "
people work at jobs they don't like to pay the bills?" If you were
exposed solely to this narrow perspective about work, you might not
recognize the available option that "people work at jobs they love
that also pay the bills." When you were young, perhaps you noticed
that "many adults compromise and sacrifice in order to make a
relationship work." Spell-bound by watching this model of how
partnerships function, you might not be able to see another viable
alternative in which "adults find ways for relationships to be easy,
fun and mutual." If all you saw as a child was that "people become
more stubborn and opinionated as they grow older," then you wouldn't
have it in your realm of possibilities that "people become more
flexible and allowing as they grow older."

When our role models demonstrate that it's "normal" to have jobs
without passion or relationships without mutuality, we don't see
other options when we become adults. When our elders aren't open and
adaptable, we find ourselves accepting rigidity and narrow-mindedness
as normal.

Unfortunately, the cats keep bumping into horizontal stripes for the
rest of their lives. Likewise, many of us keep bumping into our
personal "invisible" limits for the rest of our lives. But we don't
have to.

Intuition Saves the Day

There's a way out of this conundrum! There's a way around the fact
that our mind is programmed with limitations. We've got intuition!
Using intuition, it doesn't matter that our brain doesn't see or hear
new life opportunities. Only the mind is restricted by the narrow
options of childhood. Only the mind is hypnotized. Our intuition
doesn't have these limitations.

Using intuition, we have a natural ability to see into our blind
spots. Although the brain doesn't develop neurons to recognize "
horizontal stripes," intuition can detect them. Although the mind is
hypnotized not to discern red books, intuition can discern them. Not
being brainwashed with limitations, intuition can see options the
mind doesn't see. Intuition can lead us to options that didn't exist
in our childhood environment.

If we truly desire to discover fresh options, our intuition will
guide us all the way. There are lots of other fulfilling alternatives
out there. We just don't see them. The more we stop looking with our
minds and start looking with our intuition, the more opportunities we'
ll see for happiness and prosperity. Our intuition will help us find
the harmonious and loving future we dreamed of when we couldn't wait
to grow up!

For information on the kitten and baby studies, see http://crl.ucsd.
edu/~elman/Papers/cogsci98.pdf.


About the Author Drawing from the wisdom of native and ancient spiritual traditions, Keith Varnum shares his 30 years of practical success as an author, personal coach, acupuncturist, filmmaker, radio host, restaurateur, vision quest guide and international seminar leader (The Dream Workshops). Keith helps people get the love, money and health they want with his FREE "Prosperity Ezine" at www.TheDream.com.

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