5 Mental Blind Spots Holding You Back (And How to Expand Your Perception)

April 4, 2024
Ahmadou DIALLO

Break Free From Limiting Thinking Patterns And Experience Life More Fully With These Practical Solutions.

"The world we experience is not the same as the world that is. The news, for example, is not what is happening; it is a slanted view and expression of limited intellect. The way we see the world is just one way of looking at things, and there is an infinitude of other ways of looking."

– Alan Watts

Storytime On.

I recently watched a documentary on Netflix, Headspace: Guide to Meditation. I was hooked on mindfulness and stuff. Then it made me think. Between my 9 to 5 in a cubicle behind a screen and all the time I spent on my smartphone or my Mac in my free time, I was wasting my life, one screen after the other. 

Then It hit me: what about actually living? Yes, I know. It's a crazy concept in 2024 for most of us. Long story short, I booked a nature retreat. 

No Wi-Fi, no wife. No phone, no kids. Just me, the trees, birds…and a surprising number of conspiracy theory chipmunks. 

First night? It was rough. I mean, there is nothing louder than the sound of silence. I am talking about screams of existential dread loudly. So, I tried Meditation. There was nothing else to do after all. All Yoga poses made my neighbors laugh. Those damn squirrels. 

Second day? I learned something. Early riser. Wow. Sunrises are way more beautiful than those Instagram filters. Mind blown away. So long a time experiencing life through a screen. 

At the end of the week, I was a new Mad. I was a new man. I was experiencing life without a filter: my family and colleagues did not recognize me. Even if my life now welcomes existential dreads and questionable fashion choices, I found a new meaning about life. 

I have unplugged from the Matrix and have come out as a “Neo” Mad man. 

I see chipmunks everywhere. They are talking to me. 

Storytime Off.

If you are like me, you are feeling stuck in a rat race. You may be going through the motions but not truly catching the true notion of experiencing life. 

You feel like your monkey mind never stops that dreadful chatter. You suffocate from information overload. You may be imprisoned in your comfort zone, clinging to rigid ways of thinking. 

In a hyperconnected world, you have never felt so disconnected from the world, from others, and your inner self.

Often, you are sold that your mind is limitless.

What if that was a lie? 

What if your mind is limiting your experience?

What if there were ways to break free from the mental traps of your mind?

Below are five ways you will explore to break free from your mind limitation:

1. The Tyranny Of Your Limiting Words

2. The Trap Of Your Skin Encapsulated Ego

3. The Abyss Of Your Drawing Into Information Deluge

4. The Trap Of Mixing Your Map With A Territory

5. The Danger Of You Missing The Now

Let’s dive in. Come with me.

1. The Tyranny Of Your Limiting Words

"The word is not the bird." 

- Jalaluddin Rumi

As far as I can remember, I have been obsessed with words. They help me make sense of this world. I use them to communicate with you right now.

Now, picture this. I am in a foreign country. I don’t speak the language of the people in China. They don’t speak my language either. Now, my words have become my barrier. 

I am sitting at a beach. It is the end of the day. I want to describe to my son the beauty of the sunset. I just say: You see, the sky is beautifully red. 

If you have experienced a sunset at a beach, you know that no words can accurately describe it. 

Words are a construct of humans. Words are labels that describe the continuous flow of light in our lives. 

When you rely too much on your words, you are often overwhelmed. You spend days in your head overthinking. Sometimes, you say the wrong words, trying to label other people’s feelings. Other times, you limit your life experience to the number of words in your language basket. 

Words are dots trying to describe a plan. Words are a net trying to catch the waves of life. Words are pixels trying to depict the energy of the universe.

Not everything in your life needs labels. Not every experience has to be described, categorized, and put in a box. Not every feeling needs to be expressed in words. 

You are not a bird in a dead old tree. You are a leaf in the tree of life. You are a human environment. Your skin is the membrane through which you can feel the universe's vibrations. 

2. The Trap Of Your Skin Encapsulated Ego

"I never saw a man who didn't think he was in the right." 

- John Dewey

Imagine that you are in the middle of the ocean. The sky is clean, and the sea is calm. You are alone in your boat. You look around and feel like you are the center of the universe. 

Replace the boat with your culture—self-centered. Replace it again with your worldview—self-centered. You are always in the middle. Soon, your ego will convince you that you are in the middle of everything. 

You don’t understand why others do not see things from your perspective. You never get the opportunity to elevate your experience to another level. You are stuck in your egocentric world, surrounded by your eccentric words. 

To paraphrase Ryan Holiday, the Ego Is The Enemy. Each day you wake up, you first must challenge the assumptions you had the day before. 

Shift your perspective as you interact with other people. Walk in their shoes for at least one mile, then get off their way. You must challenge not only your beliefs but also where they come from. 

Harness the power of your EQ (Emotional Quotient). If ego is the enemy, empathy must be your credo. For every story you are telling yourself, seek a different perspective. For every story you are told, seek an alternative narrative. 

3. The Abyss Of Your Drawing Into Information Deluge

"Beware the barrenness of a busy life." 

- Seneca

You have been dead. You just don’t know it yet. You are a Walking Dead. 

The culprits? News alerts, social media notifications, and endless scrolling on the internet. You are dead. You have been killed by information overload, decision fatigue, and distractions disguised as intrigues. 

You see information everywhere. All your senses are overloaded with artificial stimuli. You have too many options and are wasted by Netflix paralysis. For the Walking Dead, distraction is your new drug. Your attention span is eight seconds at a time. 

You need an intervention. You must go to the information detox rehabilitation. Do not live your life before the Almighty Pixel rules your screens. 

Embrace an information diet. Limit your news consumption. Review your assumptions about what life is about. Practice being present in the moment. Seize it before it flees. 

4. The Trap Of Mixing Your Map With A Territory

"Reality is a question of perspective; what is real for you may not be real for me." 

- Anaïs Nin

You are confused. You are confusing other people with your confusion. If only you were Confucius. Unfortunately, you are not. You think that your reality is the reality of the rest of us. You believe that your journey is our destination.

You are confusing your mental map with the real territory. Your beliefs, biases, and social constructs are just your reality. 

You act like a “know-it-all.” You are dogmatic in your thinking. Your thinking is more rigid than the diamond you think you are. 

You are filled with conflict: your confusion of the map and the territory, your mixing of your reality with my reality, your inability to shift your perspective. 

You only experience the world through your aperture. There are 8 billion apertures out there, all thinking the same as you, including myself. Your perception and knowledge of the universe are just an infinitesimal drop in the immense ocean of what is. 

Be ready to be contradicted. Keep your ego on a leash. Read the past of science and philosophy and learn from other cultures. You don’t have to agree with every perspective. You just have to acknowledge their existence. 

Never confuse the symbol with what it represents. Don’t protect the map while burning the territory. 

5. The Danger Of You Missing The Now

"You do not live that long, and life is made up of small segments that are repeated a thousand times: breakfast, lunch, dinner, sleep, work, weekend, holidays. It is in these interstices that we must find the seed of contentment and joy." 

- Doris Lessing

You have an inside ruler. It is your monkey mind. It never stops the incessant chatting in your head. It is driving you through life while looking at the rear-view mirror. You are anxious about the future ahead of the road. Your body is locked in the present. Your mind is living in the past while the future blinds you. 

You are like a Tesla on autopilot: you confuse what the cameras see with reality. You are taking a nap in that car on the highway of your life. Wake-up. You are about to hit a wall: your death. 

There is no past. There is no future. There are only successions of the Eternal Now. Summon your mind to leave the past as a reference, not a residence. Summon your soul to come back from the future. 

The present is all you have. Feel the breeze on your skin. Dance to the birdsongs of Nature. Be like a boat. Anchor yourself in the present, and like a whirlpool, enjoy the flow of life in you. Enjoy the flow of life through you. Right here. Right now.

Be present. Be present fully. Be a present fool. Use your senses, all of them, all at the same time. Reconnect with the raw feelings of Nature. Speak with a smile, a touch, a naughty look. Speak with all your senses but your mouth. 

Final Thoughts

You are a fish in the flow of life. You often build mental nets that trap you for the rest of your life. 

You can choose to experience life through those barriers of your own creation. Or you can break free from those flaws intentionally.

There is more to life than the words in your vocabulary. There is more life when you let go of your ego. There is more to life than the stacking of notifications. There is more to life than the maps that other people share. There is no more life if you miss the succession of the Eternal Nows. 

Your life is a journey filled with joyful moments. 

Your life is all about dancing right now while the universe sings. 

Your life is the succession of notes that create a symphony. 

A posteriori.

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Photo by Austin Neill on Unsplash

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