When I was growing up, my father used to say, "Nothing is as it appears to be." He said it all the time. Forty-something years later I can almost agree, although I'd amend it to, "Most things appear differently than they are." Yes, this is how I'd say it, definitely.

And this statement can be applied to most things in life—especially when you don't pay attention to signs and symptoms of daily occurrences. Actually, the 20/20 hindsight, in the reflection of certain situations, you can almost hear yourself saying, "Yes, yes, I should have known it. I noticed that such and such wasn't quite in order." Or "Yes, I remember even before that situation, so-and-so said this and that." Both are examples that almost give one the feeling of reviewing one's own personal movie, which an after-the-fact assessment sometimes renders the telling landmarks and road-signs for a swindle, a hold-up, a heart-break, or other events in our life.

How could we be so credulous, dear friends? Even though it didn't appear to have a wrong detail or a characteristic that eventually led into something that didn't "work out" for the good; why was our sleep-mode switched on?! How could we have missed such a thing?

"I didn't see it coming..." were the words of a husband who felt blind-sided when his wife of twenty years left him. How couldn't he see it coming? He had 20 years to be alert and correct any of his shortcomings. He had twenty years to open his heart to the good, and to believe in his wife's happiness by showing adoration even in the face of difficulties. Of course, it's not that easy sometimes—marriage—with so many influences, both seen and unseen.

With an adopted outlook of the belief in everyone's success—despite strange experiences with people, even near strangers—that we keep believing in their success, that they will have a good life. It really makes a difference in one's own personal interactive experience with people.. 
Please don't think that I'm a Polly-Anna. I've also been duped by my own failures to be awake. Too many times. It's a wonder that I've been allowed to live this long to notice that things didn't appear as they are, but how my mind tried to make it "right," or how my mind twisted the situation. And then, when reality became manifestly real, because I didn't heed to the need to be spiritually alert, I felt the uncomfortable pain of yet, another lesson. Most of us can probably muster our own examples, after all—this is our training ground, living on this beautiful planet earth.

In the past, I'd read spiritual teachings that said, "Awake!" and as a defensive sleep-walker pleading, "I'm working as hard as I can..." I'd take it personally. A spiritual teacher shouted at me one day, "Susan, life is not a circus!" Wow. Only now, fifteen years later, does it make sense to me—it's about living with dignity and making deliberate choices with my thoughts, media intake, conversations, and deeds. One's mental discipline must be strong and convinced of the power of the Good, in order for this life to work well—the benefits are inner peace, joy, and beauty, to name a few.

By allowing only the good things in, the words that I let out are usually pleasing, or at least, informative or instructive. Most of the time, I don't use my voice for whopping stories, boasts, criticisms or curses anymore. And because actions follow words—good actions will prevail the good words. I've finally "raised the bar," increased my expectations of my inner discipline, to live in a way that help people (and animals) around me. But minds are like the unpredictable monkeys that live in my backyard. They may try to convince us of something that isn't or doesn't appear real. This may be from the need to keep up appearances, or for fear of people, or to avoid the truth.

We use our mind to control our thoughts, actions, and deeds. When we use our physical/feeling body to help us with our decisions—to tune in for the right answer—it will never fail us when we feel something in our heart about a situation, or to receive the power from our divine source (our God, Creator, Divine Principle,) which will guide and help us; the use of critical thinking skills convince ourselves of what is real and what is not real—to determine what is imagined, fantasy, delusional, or has actual solid evidence. The balance with our body and mind has to be equal, and they must work together.

And like an infant, I'm learning how to stack these building blocks—building my simple spiritual foundation—to keep myself alert to what is, and finding out what isn't real—and applying it to life, and to relationships.

Stacking blocks may sound elementary, but try it sometime. Life application is what we are here for, after all! Sit back on a park bench and observe. Feel into your heart and connect with the nature around you. Then listen to the conversations—but not for long if they reflect anything other than the Good. Apply this to your own life. Sit on your proverbial park bench in your living room, and open your heart and connect in with your true Divine inspiration, and notice what is happening around you. Feel what people are saying. (Don't take it personally, though, if it is painful.) Feel if they need something special. Ask your Divine source what this may be; receive your feelings and answers and take action. Watch the "road-signs" and "landmarks" so that you can make your own corrections, apologies, or changes in your relationships. Some things must be voiced or clarified, so that loved ones don't continue on believing something that isn't true about you, or vice-versa—so that you can progress with a higher plan. Notice how things around you change. A changed awareness or perspective is often refreshing in any relationship. After all, most things appear differently than they are­ unless you are awake for the event. And in the future, few people will have to say,“I didn't see it coming...”