A stranger arrived at the gate of a medieval town and called up to the gatekeeper who sat in a room above the archway.
“Tell me, gatekeeper, what kind of town is this?”
The gatekeeper looked down and said, “Well, what kind of people live in your town?”
“Oh,” he said, “it’s a terrible place! The town is full of knaves, thieves, liars, and murderers!”
The gatekeeper sighed. “Well, I’m afraid you’ll find much the same here!”
Later in the day, another stranger arrived at the gate.
He too called up to the gatekeeper, “Tell me, what kind of people live in this town?”
The gatekeeper looked out of his window and said, “What sort of people are there where you come from?”
The stranger replied, “Oh, it’s a wonderful town! Everyone is kind, considerate, generous, open-hearted, welcoming to strangers! It’s a great place to live!”
The gatekeeper replied, “Well, I think you’ll find it is very much the same here!”
We generally don’t see the world as it is, but as we are.
What we find ‘beyond the gate’ – of our towns, our neighbourhoods, our personal lives – is very much shaped by what we consciously or unconsciously ‘choose’ to see.