The moon illusion: the moon looks bigger at the horizon! This concept is an age-old banter of presented theories that time and time again, come back to the fact that it is an illusion of the mind, a psychological illusion. Tonight is a full moon, so venture out at sunset, if you are in a place where the weather allows, and look at the size of the moon. If the landscape has trees, buildings, or hills, it will appear in the early night that the moon is larger – I would say huge, at times. Then go out later in the night, or look out your window before you go to sleep, when the moon is further into the sea of the dark night and the moon will look smaller. That is the illusion. The moon is the same size. People have suggested doing a paperclip test with a ruler at different times throughout the night or looking at the moon through an empty paper towel tube and you will notice that the moon is the same size.
The illusion is that we judge the size of something by comparing it to the size of the things around it. I once was in New York City and saw the moon appearing in the sky down one of the city cross streets and the moon was the “biggest I had ever seen it”. It was awesome – surreally awesome. Minutes later as it rose above the buildings it appeared to be so much smaller – to my disappointment. I have remembered that image for a long time, and continue to marvel over my perceptions.
The moon illusion has many parallels to the illusions that we live with imbalanced relationships, dilemmas, crises, and responsibilities. When we live seeing the world through self comparisons, unhealthy filters and patterns, without self honor, then all that we face is seen as an illusion of greater size because the mentioned, like the buildings, trees, and hills with the moon, distort our perceptions. If we are in a place of quietness in our beings, a place where we can go inside and rest knowing we are ok with all feelings, and when we are in a place of self honor, the perspectives with relationships, crises, and responsibilities, like
the moon in the sea of dark sky, appear proportional.
What is self honor? Looking at what self honor is not may help us grasp what it really is. Self honor is not taking care of others so
that we feel good in our homeostasis (our inside feelings, our heart), if our homeostasis sees ourselves as less than, bad or conditional. Self honor is not living in status quo if it is not safe, doesn’t feel good, or is the path of least resistance. Self honor is not living in pain, day in and day out, because it is known or is easier. Self honor is recognizing the illusion – the patterned illusions – and choosing to realize that we deserve the honor of stepping out of the illusion, learning that we will be ok, and others will too. (They will survive!) Self honor is choosing to go inside, allow the feelings, allow the truth, so that we choose and create a new homeostasis of knowing/living.
Self honor is seeing the illusion, keeping it in perspective, and living despite the illusion, not in it. We see the size of the moon, at varying times and in different places, and it does appear bigger and smaller, but we know it is an illusion. In knowing it is an illusion, we can deal with and even enjoy the perceptions of it, but it doesn’t change our knowing. As we grow in self honor, we will still experience life with its issues, they will appear at times bigger and smaller, but we know who we are and how we can take care of ourselves in the issues, and we can deal with them in ways where the perceptions and illusion of the issues do not overwhelm or deceive us.
Tonight in the northeast, we may not be able to see the full moon, or experience the moon illusion, due to the weather, but if you are in a place and are able, go out and ponder the illusion. Visibility of the moon illusion or not tonight, perhaps there is something here for all of us to ponder. I know I will be.