Some years ago I saw Ron Kurtz conduct a therapy session with a couple who were having difficulties in their relationship. He asked each one to take turns in describing what was troubling them, and their partner had simply to listen without interrupting.
When each had finished speaking, he asked their partner to state what they had heard - and of course there was a rather large discrepancy between what was actually said and what was being received.
It was a powerful illustration of something that is easy to overlook - the fact that we each live in a world of thought, and our thoughts seem so real to us that the distinction between what is 'out there' and what is 'in here' is often quite blurred.
When I was practicing as a homeopath, I found that the more I already knew about someone, the harder it became to hear what they were telling me in the moment. Many practitioners find it difficult to treat their loved ones for similar reasons.
Sometimes we have too much investment in the outcome and this obscures our perception. Just as often I find that it is everything we think we know about someone that renders us incapable of seeing and hearing them clearly.
My work has now moved into the field of 'perception correction'. What I enjoy is exploring the subtle behind-the-scenes process by which we generate our experience of the world, including the people around us.
I am constantly fascinated at how the world 'out there' becomes a lot less troublesome and more enjoyable place to be as we let go of some of the thinking that contaminates our experience of it.
It is pleasantly surprising to discover that life holds a great many more possibilities than we can presently discern. And, even more surprising, is to realize that what we thought was upsetting us was nothing but a thought.