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What are perceptions?

Deepak Chopra
Alternative & Complementary Medicine
Reinforcing a perception: Perceptions are fluid unless we seal them in place. The self is like a constantly shifting system that incorporates the new into the old at every moment. If you constantly obsess over old perceptions, however, they become reinforced with each repetition.

Let's consider a specific example. Anorexia nervosa is the medical term given to a condition in which a person, usually a girl under the age of twenty, adopts starvation as a way of life. If you interview an anorexic teenager who weighs under 90 pounds and show her four pictures of body images, ranging from the thinnest to the fattest, she will say that her body matches the fat one despite the fact that in reality her frame is skeletal. If you go so far as to superimpose her own face on the four pictures, an anorexic will still choose the fattest photo as being herself. This distorted body image totally baffles other people. It seems bizarre to look in the mirror at a skeleton and see a fat person instead.

In these cases, perception has become distorted for hidden reasons connected to emotion and personality. An anorexic, if shown photoso f four cats, can easily pick out which one is the fattest. The distortion comes at a deeper level where "I" decides what is real about oneself. The whole thing is a feedback loop. Once "I" decides something about oneself, everything in the outside world must conform to that decision. In the anorexic's mind, shame is essential to who she is, and the world has no choice but to throw her shameful image back at her. Starving herself becomes the only way she can figure out to make that fat girl in the mirror go away. Which leads to a general rule: Reality is whatever you identify with.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.