How state of mind affects perception

An open and curious state of mind allowed me to experience this view from the pew the way I did. As is so often suggested, it’s not what you look at, it’s what you see. Perception. Yet perception is affected by so many things that are going on in our lives at the moment of our observation or experience. Our emotional, physical, medical, professional, personal, financial and spiritual states of mind at the very moment we experience something influences our perception of the event.

Squirming around in my sleepy stupor I silently declared to myself that I was not going to church. I was just too tired. Sunday morning, a day of worship, but also a lovely day to stay snuggled amongst the pillows. But then my gratitude angel whispered in my ear and reminded me how God never tires of helping me so surely I can drag my awesome life off the sheets and go give thanks.

Moments later someone suggested, “Why don’t you go to mass at the chapel”, a quaint little place of worship on the banks of the Falmouth Harbor.

What an odd suggestion, I thought. I hadn’t been to the chapel since 1998 when a family member got married there. And yet two weeks ago while attending mass at my parish church I was short the money needed to purchase a couple of books in the lobby book sale. Not to worry, the attendant shared, the books will be available next week at the chapel. You can catch us there. And yet I never did make it to the chapel book sale.

So as I prepared to attend Sunday service on this gorgeous July morning, it was foggy yet clear I was being guided to the chapel.

Cruising the short ride to St. Thomas Chapel, I mentally acknowledged my gratitude and openness to whatever the day brought. Though admittedly my spiritual curiosity was piqued, I relinquished all thoughts of “why” I seemed to be guided to attending mass there and just enjoyed the adventure and chatting with the locals perched on their harbor-lined decks soaking up the morning dew and their morning brew. I even offered to fill a few empty Adirondacks I noticed some folks had.

Sliding quietly into a pew, I looked slightly right from my kneeler and froze in awe of the view before me. The pew that I chose (or I think chose me) boasted an expansive view of the boat-filled Falmouth Harbor through the side door I’d just entered. Mass hadn’t yet begun so I discreetly retrieved my cell phone and captured the visual magnificence. Admiring the view, I slid back in my seat and thought what a view. It was all so breathtaking I wanted to share my photos on Facebook but then felt a strong nudge not to. I leaned back continuing to soak up my surroundings and heard the words “view from the pew”.

Shortly thereafter, the homily served more symbolism – parables the priest spoke of making comparison to life, talks of attitude being 80 percent of everything, to plant seeds, reap what you sow and be open.

Lingering in my pew for a moment at the conclusion of the mass I ruminated on the myriad of messages delivered in the last 90 minutes of this day. The most profound of which was the phrase “view from the pew”.

For a while I’d been tossing column title ideas around in my head but hadn’t really settled on one. I knew the type of content my column would contain. I love alliteration and metaphors. And I love the rhythm of words. And well, I simply had not been able to come up with a title combining all those attributes.

Yet there I was, dragged from my Sunday sheets and guided to a place where the precise metaphorical title I was searching for would be served.

I saw a breathtaking view from the pew. I heard the phrase “view from the pew”. I whispered the words “view from the pew”. But I perceived so much more.

Have you ever had this kind of unexpected experience? Please share your story and allow it to uplift and inspire readers.

“View from the Pew™” – my column title – is my sharing of what I see from where I am physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually, at the time of the experience. I hope my view from the pew™ inspires you to open your lens.

Have you ever had this kind of unexpected experience? Please share your story and allow it to uplift and inspire readers.


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