Inside Out: Alternative Means of Perceiving Reality

2811 Words12 Pages
When struck by adversity in all the creative forms it can manifest itself, we often find ourselves reacting in one of two ways: we either resist our situation, push against it, and struggle to come out as winners of an exasperating emotional battle, or we adopt an attitude of fatalism or submissiveness to our circumstances, designating it as our “lot in life” to have to suffer the way we do. Whatever our take on this issue, most of us carry on doing what we have always done and hope, somehow, that things will fall into place.
What I am eager to explore is an alternative means of perceiving reality. I would like to argue that individuals, by virtue of the thought processes and emotional standpoints they adopt, construct the narrative of their existence. They thus possess the ability to maneuver their physical trails by grappling with their individuality and tapping into the potential that lies within them, rather than looking for validation in and identifying with structures and labels that lie outside of who they are. I will analyze a gamut of modern and traditional Vietnamese and Burmese texts to understand how this notion finds expression within the realm of Buddhist philosophy and/ or in relation to the norms of Southeast Asian society. The texts I will use to augment my analysis are The Novice by Thich Nhat Hanh, Harp Of Burma by Michio Takeyama, Not Out of Hate by Ma Lay Lay and Shooting an Elephant by George Orwell. Each text uniquely delves into the psyche and behavioral patterns of the respective protagonists and the scope of actions they take as a consequence of the same, thereby implicitly underlining how one’s attitude to life governs the quality of their life. I will also refer to the self-help book Ask and It is Give...

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...Essays. New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1950. Print.
Thich Nhat Hanh. THE NOVICE: A Story of True Love. Copyright. 2011 by Unified Buddhist Church. Print.
Ma Lay Lay. Not Out of Hate: A Novel of Burma. Trans. Margaret Aung-Thwin. Ed. William Frederick. Ohio University Press. Copyright. 1991 by the Center for International Studies, Ohio University. Print.
Takeyama, Michio. Harp of Burma. Rutland, Vt: Charles E. Tuttle Co, 1966. Print
Hicks, Esther, and Jerry Hicks. Ask and it is Given. Hay House, 2005.
Seligman, Martin EP, Acacia C. Parks, and Tracy Steen. "A balanced psychology and a full life." Philosophical Transactions-Royal Society of London Series B Biological Sciences (2004): 1379-1382.
Scheier, Michael F., and Charles S. Carver. "On the power of positive thinking: The benefits of being optimistic." Current Directions in Psychological Science 2.1 (1993): 26-30.
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