Effect from Cause

Effect from Cause: What effect the event had on me is different from what I think caused the effect. Can I be aware of what is going on within me (proximal) as different from what I believe is going on around me (distal)?

Joe knows he is deeply affected by the events that are happening (or not happening) but the focus of his attention is not on his own interior awareness, but on what he sees happening around him and the meaning he makes of it. If he was able to notice his fear, he might then wonder what he is afraid of and to assess what he can do to protect himself and those he cares about. But as long as his focus is on the cause of his distress he will not notice just how it is affecting him.

This then leads us to a still more subtle distinction between what we make this event mean about what is around us and what we discover that it means about what is happening within our own awareness. A part of the meaning comes to us from our apparent perception of what is happening in the world beyond our selves, and part of it comes from our interoception of what is happening within our selves.

Notice I said apparent perception. We are not only making meaning about what is happening to us, we are making meaning about why it is happening. We may decide that we know why others are making the choices they are making. Joe may say to himself, "Jane is just nagging me because she doesn't want me to have any fun." It may actually be true that Jane resents Joe sitting down and enjoying the game, but Joe doesn't know that for sure and, in any case, it is not the same as how he feels when she interrupts him. Jane may say to herself, "Joe just doesn't have any respect for me," when she finds his clothes still on the floor, and while it may be true that Joe doesn't honor her the way she would like, it is not the same as noticing that she feels disrespected and needs the quality of respect in her relationship with Joe.

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