Beauty is in the Eyes of the Beholder

Article by Alison Burton

A number of years ago my family were holidaying in Thailand. We took a boat trip to some islands for snorkeling. At one particular island we donned our masks, snorkels and flippers and all got into the water. We looked around expecting to see clear water, colorful coral and tropical fish as the brochures had pictured. Instead we were confronted with murky water, dead coral and an amazing amount of litter.

Plastic bags, coke cans, bits of rubbish everywhere. I was upset and angry about paying good money for a very disappointing experience but quickly decided to use one of the plastic bags I found floating in the water to gather up whatever rubbish I could and take it back to the boat. I simply decided to love that little island bay and with each bit of litter I collected I felt better and better. It began to feel like a treasure hunt. My children even joined me. I was one of the last people to get back onto the boat since I was having such a good time. Fellow snorkellers were angry and disappointed. I loved it. I was pleased and rewarded by my ability to alter my perception of the experience.
For a long time now, I have believed, and taught, that the next step in human evolution is to master the art of choosing our perceptions. That means consciously choosing your thoughts and your emotions. How much happier will we be when we can all do that?
By the way, it was only after our boat tour moved on to a much more beautiful location that our tour guide told us that little bay had been badly affected by the recent Tsunami. Like so many other places and people on Earth, it badly needed lots of love.