Live your best possible life. How good can it get?


When I was a child, I saw an extraordinary thing one day at the beach. My family and I were vacationing at a remote island in the Pacific Ocean, and we spent a leisurely day on a quiet, uninhabited beach. I sat by myself on a part of the beach populated by a whole colony of sand crabs. These little crabs lived in holes in the sand that each crab dug for itself, and at any sign of movement, the crabs would scurry quickly down into their holes for safety.

I observed one of the crabs moving sand with a claw with absent-minded proficiency, and I was mesmerized to see the effortless way it obtained a scoop of sand and lifted it into the air. This activity looked like so much fun to me that I made a similar ball of sand and playfully tossed it toward some crabs. The sand ball hit an unsuspecting crab, which immediately scooped up a ball of sand and held it aloft while standing up as high on its back legs as possible. The crab looked as tense and concerned as a crab can look, with moist grains of sand from the sand ball I’d just tossed still clinging to its shell.

The crab continued standing high on its back legs, surveying the area and assessing all the crabs in the vicinity to determine who might have tossed a sand ball. After several long moments of careful consideration, the crab steadied itself as it fixed its gaze on one particular crab. It suddenly flung its ball of sand at this unsuspecting crab, which it hit with incredible precision! The targeted crab immediately scooped up a ball of sand and returned fire.

In a matter of minutes, a dozen little crabs were all flinging sand balls at one another with reckless abandon. None of the crabs suspected the perpetrator of the whole sand ball fracas was not a crab at all, but a human.

My experience with these sand crabs shows me that crabs interpret what happens to them in terms they can understand, which may not be the truest sense of what is actually happening. We humans are not so different from crabs, in the sense that we are also only capable of interpreting experience based on what we know of reality. Some forces are simply outside our realm of comprehension. The sand crabs had no prior knowledge of humans, so they did not imagine I might have been the one who threw the first sand ball, though my interaction with them had the effect of moving almost every single crab on the beach into action.

We live within a conceptualization of a universe of which we have limited understanding, just like the crabs on the beach with no knowledge of anything besides other crabs throwing sand balls. We have much in common with those crabs, since we usually only consider other humans like ourselves to be capable of affecting our lives. When Captain Cook’s sailing ship first approached the island of Tahiti in the South Pacific it was not noticed by the inhabitants, even when Captain Cook and his crew pointed it out to them, since no Tahitians ever saw such a vessel before. Just as Captain Cook’s ship was invisible to Tahitians, I was invisible to sand crabs on the beach. This shows that we can’t contemplate what we have no comprehension of, even when it is right in front of us. The range of our knowledge of reality is limited by our pre-existing beliefs, assumptions and expectations.


Reality Shifts

Copyright © 2012 Cynthia Sue Larson

Excerpted from “Reality Shifts: When Consciousness Changes the Physical World

Comments on: "Sand Crabs and Our Perception of Reality" (15)

  1. kategladstone said:

    If Tahitians couldn’t see their first European ship, how were the Europeans who went to Australia able to see their first kangaroo?

    For more on the stories of people in far-off countries being unable to see European ships —

    • Great question about kangaroos! Chances are that the first Europeans were expecting to see some amazing new animals, such as what they’d seen in Africa hundreds of years earlier (lions, giraffes, zebras, elephants). There were no similar expectations by the Tahitians regarding past experiences with anything large and strange arriving with the waves.

      I can certainly empathize with your frustrations in finding reliable references for stories that get repeated often without references on the internet, with a sense that the stories are being treated as parable without regard for the truth of actual events. I hope you will be pleased to learn that there is documentation that Captain Cook’s ship was not recognized as a ship by the first islanders in Tahiti who encountered it. While my book does not include detailed source citations for this account, I cite here an excerpt from a relatively recent history book that includes detailed references to original sources:

      “According to the trader and consul J.A. Moerenhour, ‘the O-Tahitians mistook Wallis’ ship for a floating island, seeing the masts as trees, the pumps as streams.’ Teuira Henry, who assembled the notes of her grandfather, one of the first missionaries, adds that the stern or the prow of Wallis’s ship ‘was compared to a rock.'” — “First Contacts in Polynesia – The Samoan Case (1722 – 1848)” by Serge Tcherkezoff, ANU E Press, 2008, p. 132

  2. On a separate note, my boyfriend and I were just talking about a similar concept earlier today.

  3. Excellent! Wonderful example of how often we search for the logical and what is “seen” before us, when so much of our existence is created in the realm we cannot see with our eyes.

    • Thank you, Elizabeth! Yes, it’s very true that much of what matters the very most is completely invisible to our regular senses, so we can’t see, touch, taste, hear or feel it. Yet even so, such things as love are still the very most important of all.

  4. Joni McLachlan said:

    Thank you for this Cynthia ! I have read this before in your work but you know what – its now its sinking in for a grand example of how we work sometimes. I have all your books downloaded on my kindle so far and will be awaiting your new one. I am working on book #3 of Twilla along with another book I have been commissioned to write that may come into being. Depends upon the man wishing a book. He is now undergoing some serious health tests and it could change that but back to Twilla. She is still going strong at the University here, going out to classy tourist places this week with a friend. There is a archeological dig near here in Ferryland and its called the Colony . I am going to place Twilla there at the Colony gift shop. I guess I am still at that stage where I place my books as neat places come up. After this weekend two course I am doing on line Healing with The Angels of the Energy Field – I am going into writing mode once again and for the summer I would say.

    thanks for being there Cynthia – I have had some far out things in my life and without some one like you who has experienced most of them yourself, I would be still searching

    heartlinks JONI

    • I know what you mean about having heard something before, yet feeling it’s sinking in to a deeper level of appreciation and understanding. I also am grateful to you, Joni, for being who you are, and for sharing your wonderful experiences!

  5. kategladstone said:

    Thanks for the documentation that the Tahitians DID see the ship, but interpreted it (at first) as something else. In other words, their sense-organs weren’t lying about the fact that SOMETHING was being sensed: it was the rest of their nervous systems that weren’t (yet) correctly interpreting it.

    • You’re welcome! I agree it helps when hearing this account of Tahitians to know that they did actually see something out there in the water… it was just interpreted in a way (floating island) it wouldn’t be later on, once they became familiar with sailing ships.

  6. I think it may be easy to be so caught up in “seeing” or perceiving something in a “rational” way that we don’t allow ourselves to be open to the mystery that underlies everyday life.

    It’s a scientific fact that our perceptions are limited by our physical senses as well as our prior experience and our culturally-based expectations.

    So, maybe the way out of this perceptual trap is to stretch ourselves, to be open – to ask ourselves “what is here now that I’m not ‘seeing’?”

    Thanks, Cynthia, as always!

    • So very true! Yes, our perceptions are limited to narrow bandwidths, which we get a glimpse of when contemplating just how narrow a slice of the visual spectrum we actually see… or how narrow a slice of the auditory wavelengths we’re capable of hearing. Dogs can smell much better than we can, so clearly once again we’re in yet another narrow bandwidth… and we’re likely not much better off with respect to taste and touch. I love your idea of finding our way out of the perceptual trap by asking, “What’s here now that I’m not sensing?” Fabulously insightful!

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