If you haven’t heard this before, here is your new word for today: scotoma. Its root is Greek and means “blindness” or “blind spot”. It’s a sensory blocking out of information coming at us.
So, what exactly is a “scotoma?” A scotoma is what doctors call the defect that blocks sight in one part of our visual field. It’s also what happens when we’ve been looking at the same thing for a time – the brain quits seeing it as new input and blocks it out. This is also a term we use to describe our occasional failure to see what is right in front of us because we build our own scotoma, a mental blind spot, to it. And we can create Scotomas for all of our senses.
You see for the most part, we see what we expect to see or what we look for. We also hear what we expect to hear, taste what we expect to taste, smell what we expect to smell, and sense what we expect when we touch something soft or hard or scratchy. In other words, scotomas work on our sensory perceptions. When we have a scotoma, we do not see, hear, taste, smell or feel what is really there. Our perceptions are blocked.
What we expect to see/hear/taste/smell/touch is determined by our beliefs about reality. If we believe the world is a hostile, unfriendly place, we will see evidence to support that belief everywhere we look. But if we believe people are basically good and that the world is a supportive, friendly place, then that is what we will see and experience.
Now, our beliefs are mostly a matter of how we have been conditioned, often since birth. But as we grow up and become adults, it is possible to become aware of our conditioning, our belief systems, and even our scotomas. And sometimes, when we discover our scotomas, when we realize that our conditioning has led us in the wrong direction, it can be quite the jolt to our psyche.
The good news is that we can choose to expand our consciousness, remove our blind spots, and adopt beliefs that will help us grow instead of clinging to expectations and attitudes that keep us suspicious, and our worlds small. By the simple act of making this choice, we actually start the wheels turning toward a better future.
And, by the daily affirmation of goals that support our commitment, we become top-notch Scotoma Busters, getting out of our own way, and when we really start to grow!