All of the stuff I’m reading says if I change my perspective I’ll change my life but I still don’t understand how someone changes their perspective. What is “my perspective?” Is that “me?” Do you mean I should change my opinion or my personality? The more I try to understand words like “perspective,” “opinion,” or “personality” the more I get confused. Help.
Lost in Thought
I have good news for you: you’re closer to your objective than you think. You literally are, lost in thought. But we can’t be found until first we’re lost so you’re still fine. The planting and cultivation of a seed needs time to become a carrot of wisdom.
You are accomplishing more than you may believe because those are precisely the sorts of meditations that I encourage people to do. To question the meanings of these words is to take apart what the Buddhist’s call the Illusion.
This can feel confusing or disorienting at times because we in doing so start to take apart our psychological anchors. Of course that’s also like saying that we are increasing our freedom, so as strange as it feels at the start, as Baba Ram Das says, “The game is not about becoming somebody; it’s about becoming nobody.”
We don’t want to have a desire to figure out how to be wise or advanced or enlightened. Those are ego-objectives. It’s when we’re no longer striving for any particular status or title that we are free. It’s when life is allowed to flow without thought-barriers that it becomes profoundly meaningful. In that state of mind even the simplest of things is a miracle and that is a beautiful state of mind to exist within.
In the end we don’t really want to change our perspective, we just want to take it less seriously. We all need to be someone. Can you see that your perspective is the result of your experiences, and that each experience further refines that perspective?
We aren’t so much people as we are an ever-changing filter that ignores large aspects of existence in favour of focusing on other, particular bits of existence. In this way we each create our own unique realities, and responding to those creates our own unique personalities.
If we’re not conscious, each experience can build upon the previous experiences and we can end up boxed in by our own narrow ideas. This happens to marriages all the time. People start looking for what they don’t like and in doing so they find it, and then they blame who they’re looking at . If we’re only looking for faults the other person doesn’t stand a chance.
People aren’t a particular way, it’s more we view them in a particular way. So who anyone ‘is’ is really a differential calculation that factors in both the person doing the Being, and the person judging the Being.
We all look different to everyone, including ourselves. It’s like some people perspectives are MRI’s and some are X-Rays, and some are tarot cards or tea leaves. To the listeners prepared to hear them, they’re all telling a form of the ‘truth’ to that audience, but none on their own can completely represent reality.
Our opinion of someone else or their opinion of us is more like a reflection off of our surfaces –our facets– but no one ever sees the surface itself, including us. Reality is too big for us. Reality is the sum total of all of these perspectives. That’s too big for our little human brain. The universe is vast.
We’re better to surrender on that one. This is why in Zen they say they do not find answers, they lose questions. We’re better to do like the religious and give this question away, for it is not only unanswerable by our limited minds, but it’s also much more exciting to live in a state of mystery rather than a state of expectation.
You’ve written to me because you feel lost and yet I see wisdom in your question. People are always wrestling with the details of Being rather than on the Being itself. They want to know what they should do to cure who they are. You’re asking who you actually are.
That’s a great question and if you’re trying to grow then I would say you’re right on track. But your frustrations are personal. They’re ‘yours.’ That’s because at the centre of all of this is an ego that wants to stop suffering. It has a desire.
The big breakthrough comes when we no longer want anything different from what is. The big breakthrough is when we stop using our psychology to argue with what is—when we stop trying to get the world to line up with our beliefs.
When we let the world and ourselves simply Be, then we’re fine. We have nothing to achieve, no where to go and no one to impress. We simple are.
For some —from where they’re at in their development— this blog post will seem entirely opaque and confusing. But I also know that sometimes it’s the most innocuous sentence I write that finally drives a key point home. The hardest part about this is helping people to understand how simple it ultimately is.
We don’t become enlightened, we realize that we always were at time. Christ phrased it as us all being the children of God just like him. We just can’t see our divine nature because of all of the personal thinking we tend to have in the way.
Our goals, our objectives, our desires, our wants —any way in which we would define ourselves or our life is what stands in the way of us living freely. Society and experience accidentally taught us all to become someone specific, and because we believe that’s the only person we can be, we lose the freedom and beauty of simply Being in a more flexible reality.
Quiet your mind. Forget striving and abandon your attempts to understand. Trust that without words or learning or achieving, that you can still find yourself right where you have always been, which is in whatever state of mind you have chosen.
Even your confusion is a choice. The only thing you seek to do once you can recognize that is to maintain an awareness of those choices as much as possible, with no expectation that you can do it always. There’s no path without not-path.
Good luck with it. It’s big but it’s also exciting. And it’s nice that you’re only job is to have a quiet mind and enjoy your life. That’s why they say it’s a journey and not a destination. Your enlightenment isn’t an achievement, it’s a principle played out as a verb. It is you, being you, without your own judgments about any of it.
A serious childhood brain injury lead Scott to spend his entire life meditating on the concepts of thought, consciousness, reality and identity. It made others as strange to him as he was to them. When he realized people were confused by their own over-thinking, Scott began teaching others to understand reality. He is currently CBC Radio Active’s Wellness Columnist, as well as a writer, speaker and mindfulness instructor based in Edmonton, AB where he still finds it strange to write about himself in the third person.