Your assumptions are
your windows on the world.
Scrub them off every once
in awhile, or the light
won't come in.
Most of the time perceptions are based on past experiences, rather than what may actually be going on in the moment. The brain organizes experience by sorting, generalizing and categorizing. This was certainly important for survival in ancient times, and to a certain degree, still is important to make our way through the world without having to learn everything over and over again.
On the other hand, the mind seizes on past experience and makes assumptions about what you are experiencing now, or what you anticipate you will feel or experience in the future. In this way, your "windows on the world" become clouded by your past.
Each person has a long list of usually unquestioned assumptions about life, based on past experiences. These assumptions may be about what life is like in general, about how people treat you or how you expect to be treated, about what you can or cannot have, about how safe or unsafe you are or life feels.
Making assumptions allows you to feel safe and in control, since consciously or unconsciously you know what to expect. But it also creates a limited life, a life where the same scenario is lived over and over, since you see the world through windows covered with the shadows and grit of your assumptions.
There is very little space to grow, to learn new things, to see things with what the Buddhists call "beginners mind." Maybe it's time to take a sponge and soapy warm water to the windows of your world, and see what new ways you may experience yourself, your relationships and life.
Peggy Handler, MFT, is a psychotherapist in San Francisco's Noe Valley