The fundamental law of Perception is: You see what you believe is there, and you believe it is there because you want it there. Perception has no other law than this. The rest but stems from this.
Nothing is harmful or beneficial apart from what you wish. It is your wish that makes it what it is in its effects on you.
The purpose of this exercise is to illustrate you do not perceive your own best interests, and this is the first step in realizing that change is necessary in your perceptions.
In no situation that arises do you realize the outcome that would make you happy. Therefore, you have no guide to appropriate action, and no way of judging the result. What you do is determined by your perception of the situation, and that perception is wrong. It is inevitable then that you will not serve your own best interests. Yet they are your only goal in any situation which is correctly perceived. Otherwise, you will not recognize what they are. Your conviction that you do know what they are, will not allow them to be seen.
Opening our minds is needed. Use the idea, " I do not perceive my own best interests", and slowly repeat it to yourself. Close your eyes and search your mind for unresolved situations about which you are currently concerned. The emphasis should be on uncovering the outcome you want. You will quickly realize that you have a number of goals in mind as part of the desired outcome, and also that these goals are on different levels and often conflict.
Name each situation that occurs to you, and then enumerate carefully as many goals as possible that you would like to be met in its resolution. Use the form:
"In the situation involving........., I would like......to happen, and .......to happen, " and so in. Try to cover as many different outcomes as may honesty occur to you, even if some of them do not appear to be directly related to the situation, or even be inherent in it at all.
If this exercise is done correctly, you will quickly recognize that you are making a large number of demands of the situation which have nothing to do with it. You will also recognize that many of your goals are contradictory, that you have no unified outcome in mind, and that you must experience disappointment in connection with some of your goals, however the situation turns out.
The clarification of the goal belongs at the beginning, for it is this that will determine the outcome. Without a clear cut positive goal set at the outset, the situation just seems to happen, and makes no sense until it has already happened. Then you look back at it and try to piece together what it must have meant. And you will be wrong. Not only is your judgment in the past, but you have no idea what should happen. No goal was set with which to bring the means in line. And now the only judgment left to make is whether or not the ego likes it, is it acceptable or does it call for vengeance? The absence of a criterion for the outcome, set in advance, makes understanding doubtul and evaluation impossible.
The value of deciding in advance what you want to happen is simply that you will perceive the situation as a means to make it happen. You will therefore make every effort to overlook what interferes with the accomplishment of your objective, and concentrate on everything that helps you meet it. The situation now has meaning, but only because the goal has made it meaningful. If the situation outcome is peace, the truth has come to you and you will see the outcome truly. You will recognize the outcome because you are at peace.