Friday, July 8, 2011

UnderAssumptions

By Julie Rahm


Humans are an interesting species. We are complex creatures who have created a complex world. The resulting human understanding of the universe is impressive. Each generation builds on the knowledge of the previous. It is astounding to think the first powered flight by the Wright brothers was only 108 years ago. Now, with the number at 135, Space Shuttle flights are so common they rarely get news coverage. Number 135 received some spotlight only because it was the final flight. Apathy seems to be an unintended by-product of technology. Still, the advancement of technology and understanding is truly amazing. But, it is impossible to have complete understanding of our surroundings at all times. Unfortunately, when our understanding stops, our assumptions begin. And, the slip from understanding to assumptions takes place in our minds. This simple process, from understanding to assumptions, happens by default. It takes place in our heads and causes complications in our lives. Our minds are not our friends. Our minds attempt to derail us. And, when understanding stops, assumptions kick in allowing our minds use the void to wreak havoc with us.

As a personal example, my husband, John, is an “on-time” guy. He usually arrives everywhere 10 minutes early to avoid being late. He flew Close-Air Support missions in the Marine Corps where timing was critical. So, any late or soon-to-be late arrival will send John spinning. My assumption is: John will always be on time. So, when I am standing on the curb waiting to be picked up and John is late, my mind uses the assumption against me and I start believing he has had an accident. Understanding has stopped. Assumptions have intervened. My mind has decided to create havoc with my thoughts. I picture him crashed in a Pamlico County ditch and begin listening for the fire trucks. Really, John just had trouble starting his 1985 Toyota truck! My mind is not my friend. As another example, when I go to Yoga and John doesn’t see my car parked in front, his understanding stops. He assumes I’m not there. And, his unfriendly mind tells him I have played hooky from yoga and gone swimming at Brenna’s! Really, without a parking place in front, I parked the car down the side street.

So my message this week is to be aware when understanding wanes and you default to your assumptions. Usually, your unfriendly mind interjects to mess up your day. My metaphorical toolkit can help. The level tells you understanding has defaulted to assumptions and your mind is about to mess you up. The flashlight tells your pliers what unhealthy thoughts to extract. Then you can hammer in a mindset for seeking to understand. And, the measuring tape shows your progress toward a tuned-up mindset!

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