'Optical Illusions'



On my family’s recent adventure to Thailand, we stopped at a popular tourist attraction called The Trick eye museum. An amusing and entertaining place to visit with your kids and a must-see attraction if you decide to venture into that neck of the woods.

The Trick Eye Museum, like its namesake, is a new concept of exhibition space where culture and entertainment are combined. An optical illusion paradise! Along the corridors, walls and rooms, are various 3D art that you can take pictures with. I stood at different spots on or beside the pictures and positioned myself in the right place with my camera, to take pictures portraying my family in the 3D images.



Several times, I received an ‘Ahh mummy’ from my kids when I failed to adhere to the instructions offered on the ground that guided me to stand in the best possible angle for the illusion to take effect. Thus, I sometimes took a bad shot, like the picture above, and I did not obtain the right effect. However, once I was positioned correctly and looking through the camera lens, it was remarkable at how real the pictures appeared.





Wikipedia defines an Optical illusion as ‘an illusion caused by the visual system and characterized by a visual perception that arguably appears to differ from reality.’ The information gathered by the eye is processed by the brain, creating a perception that in reality, does not match the true image.


This week, my mind created many negative emotions that began to project illusions that appeared like realities to me, inflicting a sense of hopelessness. As the thoughts of deception continued, I began to spiral deeper into depression, seeing no point of existence and no further reason to live. The image of the future was non-existent, and I felt trapped and weighed down. I had positioned myself to see an illusion that appeared real in my mind. My perception became my reality.


It began last Saturday night after watching a movie, I still believe, about a singer who lost his wife to cancer. I felt an overwhelming sense of grief and loss take over my body as I thought of the thousands of lives that have been lost due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The next morning, I awoke to the news that my close relative, whom I had not seen in a while, had died from colon cancer. She was 51 years old. The overwhelming sense of grief and loss returned. My mind began to go on a negative spiral, and similarly to how I positioned myself to see the best optical illusion at The trick eye museum, my negative thoughts began to position my mind to see an illusion that presented its self as a reality. I could see my relative's death as my own. My mind unearthed negative emotions from my past experiences, from previous hurts and new illusions started stirring up, inferring that there was no hope.


Scott Berinato who writes for the Harvard Business Review calls it Anticipatory grief. He claims that in these unprecedented times, we are all experiencing anticipatory grief. That feeling we get when we think of what the future holds with regards to uncertainty. It usually focuses on death, like how we feel when we think about losing a parent or a child, or if we get a bad doctors report. Scott says that Anticipatory grief is also more broadly explained as ‘imagined futures’. That feeling of uncertainty where we have no control of what is happening around us.


How do you recover? How did I recover?


The mind is part of the invisible, transcendent world of thought, feelings, attitude, belief and imagination’. Thoughts are powerful. The very thoughts running through your mind can help to manifest the life of your dreams or draw you closer to your greatest fears.


1. WE HAVE A CHOICE.

Deuteronomy 30:19

Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live!


God has given us a choice. Amid my thoughts spiralling out of control, I still had the choice to take control of my mind. In that moment, all I said was Jesus help me. Immediately I could hear the still small voice saying reach out. In this moment of Despair, Reach Out. I made the choice to call a friend and began to pour my heart out. You too can reach out for help or reach out to others who need help.


2. CHANGING THE WAY YOU THINK, CHANGES YOUR PERSPECTIVE.

Romans 12:2

Do not copy the behaviour and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.


The world’s way of dealing with depression and negative emotions is to see a shrink, or take medication like anti-depressants. However, we all know that no medical treatment is without risk.


God says, ‘ Change the way you think’.


The Divergent movie Trilogy is one of my favourite movies. Set in a world where people are divided into factions based on their virtues, Tris, the main character finds out that she is divergent and does not fit into one faction. She and her friend Four, must race to find out why it is so dangerous to be divergent before its too late. There is one part of the first movie that aptly illustrates the concept of Lucid dreaming, where you realize that your thoughts are not real and you have the powerful ability to be able to control your thoughts. To join the Dauntless faction, Tris must pass the various fear simulations. After being given a serum, hallucinations kick in, and she finds her self in the middle of a simulated reality fighting her worst fears. Normally you are not supposed to know that it is a simulation, however, after seeing a reflection of herself in a puddle on the ground, Tris realizes this and immediately does a reality check. She says to herself: “It is not real’ and from that point on, she is able to overcome all the fear scenarios in the fear simulation test.


When your thoughts are gyrating into a dark hole, you can take control of your emotions. Realize the lies and deception being fed to you by satan! Know that these lies are not real.

1Peter 5:8,

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:


Sober and vigilant are single words in the Greek, and in the tense, which indicates immediate attention. Realizing that the devil wants to discount and devalue you will jolt you into changing your thoughts. You are special and unique!

Psalm 139:14

14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;

your works are wonderful,


3. ACTIVATE YOUR FAITH


Learn to walk by faith and not by sight. When you see the gloom and doom around you, anxiety and depression are inevitable. But know that, Faith is the opposite of Fear. Faith comes by hearing the word of God.

Romans 10.17

So faith comes from hearing, that is, hearing the Word of God (Good News about Christ).

When I need encouragement and a reminder about the promises of God over my life, I turn to my mentors. Bishop TD Jakes, Pastor Steven Furtick, or Pastor Creflo Dollar. The more I stir up my faith, the more I change my perspective and find clarity.


Proverbs 12:25

“Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad”


4. SEE THE REALITY

The reality is that you CAN have a life free from depression and a sound mind.


Matthew 16:19

19 Jesus said, ‘I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.’


There are keys to unlock a new desire to live, find your purpose, have success and abundant life in this world, however, you are trying every other means to open the lock, but your attempts are futile. The pattern of the world dictates that you should work hard for what you want, provide your own securities, and do whatever it takes. Still, you end up with fear and no peace. God wants you to let go and let him, in order to gain a peace that surpasses all understanding. The successes of my life are all attributed to accessing the keys that Jesus so freely gives. He wants you to have the same! I stand upon his promises and he shows me his grace (his unmerited favour).


Matthew 6:33

33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.


Ephesians 3:20

20 Now unto him that is able to do exceedingly, abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,


None of my works have enabled me to achieve all that I have today. By faith, I accessed all that Jesus has to offer and that’s the GOOD NEWS!


You have been healed and redeemed from depression by Jesus dying on the cross!


The more that the enemy tries to disillusion you, the more you will venture far from reality and the wonderful plans and purposes that God has for your life.


I believe that you will see a Victory, for the battle belongs to the Lords!


Prayer

Lord, please put Your peace in my heart. I'm worried and anxious. My mind races and obsesses. I can't help thinking about my problems. And the more I think about them,

the more depressed I become. I feel like I'm sinking down in quicksand and can't get out.

Calm me, Lord. Slow me down, put Your peace in my heart.


Give me the strength and clarity of mind to find my purpose and walk the path you've laid out for me. I trust your Love God, and know that you will heal this stress. Just as the sun rises each day against the dark of night. Please bring me clarity with the light of God.

In Jesus Name, Amen



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