When you look at the world, what is the first thing that comes to your attention? Do you zero in on the problems, the heartaches, the fears and the disappointments, or do you first take note of the beauty, the joys and the positive possibilities?
What We Can Learn From Perspective 101:
In other words, If you look at life through a lens of negativity, life will dutifully arrange itself to meet your expectations. When you approach life from a more positive perspective, your
expectations will just as surely be met.
The concept that, “We don’t see the world as it is but as we are.” is amplified by Rev. Ellen Grace O’Brien, who writes, “The reactions we experience are based on the meeting of an external stimulus and our own internal conditioning. The ignorant believe that what they see is how IT IS. The wise understand that what they see is how THEY ARE.”
Remember the New Testament story of the woman who poured oil on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. One of the disciples saw it, and from his point of view it was a waste of valuable oil which could have been sold for money. From Jesus’ perspective this woman was providing a valuable service that was preparing him for his death. Going beyond the literal rightness and wrongness of these perspectives, this story also represents different points of view that can be experienced within an individual.
Personality and Soul Views
The ancients teach that as individuals, we can experience two completely different states of reality at the same time, from our personality and from our soul. The soul simply refers to the aspect of our being that is completely aware of its expanded nature no matter what we may be experiencing in our lives.
For example, author Pema Chödron talks about being hungry, cold and tired but at that same time deeply content. Ram Dass speaks of how the emotional heart can be breaking while we recognize that all is unfolding perfectly.
I invite you to consider that these states of being are not theorectical, but in our power to obtain and sustain, if we choose. The more important question to consider is, ARE WE WILLING TO ALLOW OURSELVES TO BE PRESENT WITH THE DISCOMFORT OF THE PERSONALITY AND THEREBY SHIFT OUR EXPERIENCE OF THE DISCOMFORT?
Of course we can agree that it’s easier said than done. Never-the-less, can you also agree that from this perspective the quality of your living is determined not so much by what life brings you as much as by the attitude you bring to life. It’s not so much by what happens to you as much as by the way your mind looks at what happens and the story you make up about what happens. With a positve outlook, rather than the experience of life as a chore, you can experience life as an adventure.
What You See Is What You Get
One of the greatest lessons I learned on how your perspective can shape your experience was in the 1960s. During the height of the civil rights movement my anger was ignited to the boiling point. The form of police brutality exhibited with people being attacked by dogs and sprayed with water from fire hoses was unbearable to watch. My intense focus on the overt unfairness and injustices being displayed on TV, increased the rage I was feeling. I wanted justice and I wanted it NOW!!
From the dark colored lens from which I was viewing the world, my perspective readily lent itself to my experience of all whites as racist. Even my majority white church community shifted in my mind from the warm friendly loving people I had known to become the face of “racist enemies.”
In psychology this is called “CONFIRMATION BIAS.”
Wikipedia Encyclopedia defines Confirmation Bias as, “It is the tendency to search for, interpret, favor, and recall information in a way that confirms one’s preexisting beliefs or hypotheses, WHILE GIVING DISPROPORTIONATELY LESS CONSIDERATION TO ALTERNATIVE POSSIBILITIES.”
So, while Imight have been right about unfairness and, injustices, I became DEAD RIGHT in my relationships with family, friends, coworkers and most importantly …with myself spiritually.
I no longer experienced an awareness or sense of the Presence of my Higher Power guiding, inspiring or protecting me. I felt totally desolate. Eventually I realized I was at choice, I COULD EITHER BE RIGHT OR I COULD BE HAPPY. I could either hold onto the attitude and perspective of injustice, unfairness and rightness, or I could surrender to the truth that God’s in charge, and NOT me.
I chose the latter, and immediately felt the dark cloud of anger hate, and depression lift. As a result, peace of mind became my guiding light. I have made it a spiritual practice to nurture, cultivate, develop and protect a mindset that is more conducive to an awareness of qualities like love, compassion, joy and peace.
Of course, I still have moments, however, the good news is, looking for the good in situations has become a habit. If I mentally start going off track with judgments of unfairness and rightness, it enables me to catch myself more quickly. While to some it may look Pollyanna-ish, I know deep within, it’s a choice and a consistent conscious spiritual practice.
We recognize that from our human or personality point of view, life can suck. Think about it, circumstances may not change at the rate that we would prefer, but since the soul knows no difficulties. no matter what the seemingly harsh circumstances may be, you can open yourself to a different point of view. by seeing it right before trying to set it right. You recognize that there is a deep untroubled stream flowing below all surface troubles and that you are of one substance with that stream.
8 Blissiplines To a Peaceful Perspective
There is a reason we call them blissiplines instead of simply disciplines. If you want to have peace, joy, and happiness in this life, you have to PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE. Blissiplines are activities that you combine with your passion to change your thinking and let go of the need to be right. Here are 8 blissiplines that can help you create a more tranquil perspective on life:
- Be conscious of what you feed your mind and spirit. Choose your words, actions and thoughts consciously. Choose your media influences wisely. The people you surround yourself with also have great influence on your consciousness, choose thoughtfully.
- Observe your situation with a fresh outlook. Appreciate the beauty of life around you and celebrate it.
- Just as flowers turn to the sun and absorb the light, your job is to turn to the Light and absorb God’s Presence. Open your eyes to the beauty in front of you, and know that right outcomes are unfolding.
- Be willing to dig for the blessing/lesson in your situation.Though it may not feel like it, trust that there is grace in being where you are.
- Acknowledge that your history does not have to be your destiny. The past only matters in how you learn and grow from it. It doesn’t define you, imprison you, or hold you back from anything.
- Be quick to forgive yourself and others. Instead of looking to justify yourself when situations arise, search for the greater peace. Accept responsibility If that’s what needs to happen, and move on to correct the situation.
- Open yourself to different points of view. Differences are not a bad thing. In a song written by Ed and Patsy Bruce, there is a line that says, “He ain’t wrong, he’s just different…”
- Count on God’s direction, regardless of the situation. “God saw everything that He made, and indeed, it was very good.” -Genesis 1:31
Whereas practiced blissiplines initially may be uncomfortable, they will become, if the consistently practice, your natural way of viewing the world. C.S. Lewis put it this way, “Don’t let your happiness depend on something you may lose.” Make sure your hope is an anchor, not a ship sailing away, and I promise, your perspective on life will be better because of it.”
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