September 26     

Today's quotation:

One has not only an ability to perceive the world but an ability to alter one's perception of it; more simply, one can change things by the manner in which he or she looks at them.

Tom Robbins

Today's Meditation:

How we see the world is so much of how we experience the world that it's important for us to slow down sometimes and take stock of our perceptions so that we can make sure that we're seeing it in as positive a way as possible.  Sometimes we see things through a glass darkly-- things look negative or intimidating or downright fearful-- but we have to question whether that perspective is actually accurate or not.

We do have the power to change our perception of the world.  We can see things differently than we see them on our bad days; we can see them differently than the ways that tell us that we're wrong or that things are terrible or that the world is out to get us.  Shifting our perspective is a question of ridding ourselves of the destructive stories that we've been telling ourselves about how the world is and replacing them with positive-- and more accurate-- stories that lift us up rather than drag us down.

Much of the task that one faces if one wants to change perspective is that of changing one's beliefs about what one sees.  If a person insults me, I can respond by feeling bad about myself or I can respond by feeling bad for a person who needs to insult others to make him/herself feel "better."  If I lose my job, I can focus on what I've lost or on what I've gained-- and experience tells me that losing a job usually turns out to be for the best all the way around, as it allows for one to find something much, much better.

We must acknowledge the possibility that things may not be exactly what we think they are, no matter how much we cherish the beliefs we hold.  When we do this, we can start to see the world in different ways, and the world that we thought we knew can become a marvelous new world full of amazing things-- all due to just a slight shift in perspective.

Questions to consider:

Why do we like to think that we know exactly what the world is (and isn't)?

What would be some possible benefits of a shift in perspective?

What kinds of beliefs do you hold so dear that you've never even considered the possibility that they may not be just as you think?

For further thought:

A friend's son was in the first grade of school, and his teacher asked the class, "What is the color of apples?"  Most of the children answered red.  A few said green.  Kevin, my friend's son, raised his hand and said white.  The teacher tried to explain that apples could be red, green, or sometimes golden, but never white.  Kevin was quite insistent, and finally said, "Look inside."  Perception without mindfulness keeps us on the surface of things, and we often miss other levels of reality.

Joseph Goldstein
Insight Meditation

more thoughts and ideas on perspective



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