Unity of Lehigh Valley, 20 May 2018
Ralph Waldo Emerson is quoted, “What we call results are beginnings.”
Results. We are always interested in results. From personal accomplishments like losing weight or meeting your sales quota, and regional scenarios like political elections or NCAA basketball championships, to global systems like stock market success or saving an endangered species. Results. We want them. We track them. We achieve them (or not). We celebrate them (or curse them).
What happens when we begin to have repeated success of desirable results? We might be considered an above-average accomplisher, maybe even reaching expert status. Recall that Emerson reminds us that results are just the beginning. Once we achieve a goal or accomplish something newsworthy, that leads to a next and a next and a next. Our perspective of our ability changes. Our perspective of the attainable goal changes. Our perspective of possibility changes.
In Japan, there is a word for the beginner’s mind. It is shoshin. Suzuki said this, “In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few.” If we use perspective to our advantage, then we are constantly recognizing that perspective is an evolutionary process. As we change, as we accomplish, as we achieve results, our perspective changes. To those who see life as constantly supporting a new iteration of one’s self, the beginner’s mind is very active. It is refreshed in every moment, whether it is involved in a new experience or includes activities performed 1000 times. The beginner’s mind cares less about results and expert classifications, while it savors the existence of every moment expressed and experienced. As if it is the first time. As if every moment is a new beginning.
SONG (Bob Sima): A Thousand Cups of Tea, from A Thousand Cups of Tea
Perspective. That beginner’s mind has the potential power to inspire us to live our fullest experience in each moment, and to loosely or minimally engage the perceived expert mind. Perspective is a point of view or a way of relating and regarding something.
Perspective comes from our perception. Perception is our mental construct or mental impression that creates our reality. What we actually see depends on what lens we are seeing through in the moment. It is our perception of reality that governs our perspective toward life.
How do we observe, collect information, and create our mental constructs? There are four vision centers that help us define our reality, or create the mental perception that offers us our life perspective. We naturally flow between these vision centers depending on what we feel is best for any given situation.
The obvious way is with our physical eyes. This is a literal viewpoint. The physical eyes focus 99% on material objects. We then process the experience through language as our instinct drives us to create physical solutions. We then assimilate the experience in our physical body.
Another viewpoint is through our thoughts, ideas, and emotions. This activates the mind’s eye. When our reality is founded within our thoughts and emotions, we have the ability to create a full spectrum of dualities where curiosity and intimacy live. Intimacy = Into + Me + See. Our thoughts, ideas, and emotions teach us to transcend our fears. We are then able to study our own life and observe other lives as a finite human.
The third viewpoint accesses the third eye. This is where myth rules the realm of the soul. We are able to tap into our creativity, our wildest dreams, and our spectacular visualizations. Imagery and metaphor create a personal journey for our perpetual healing so we can improve our ability to communicate our thoughts, ideas, and emotions into physical form. We then begin to question life beyond the physical plane.
The final viewpoint is all spirit, through the I Am consciousness. The eye within the eye connects us to the pure and, most often, physically unseen energies that tap into the universal picture of understanding. When we rely 99% on the spiritual body and remove our material existence from the equation, we become devoted to the expansion of consciousness. This is when we truly emerge, knowing the limitless and unending life that we are.
Understanding how we are viewing – or how we previously viewed – the world is a great awareness that often leads to a great awakening. If we can step back into any experience and see it from a different viewpoint, we begin to piece together the multi-dimensional library of information that is available to us. That is why we can change our mind or change our belief or change our behavior or change our story… because we can change our perspective through a new perception. The next time you hear someone say, “I am processing that… I’ll get back to you later”, applaud them. Processing is usually our finite human trying to see through all the other viewpoints in order to communicate a much richer and authentic result.
My reality is a result of my perspective created from my perception. Therefore my reality is very different from every other person’s reality because my perception of all things is different from every other person’s perception of those same things. My perspective is made more unique by the lens through which I choose to view that thing that I am creating my perspective about. My life comes from my perspective, which is fed by my perception.
Why all this circular babble?
To prove a three-part point.
- It is not our responsibility to make others see things the way we do;
- It is impossible to effectively pull anyone else into our perspective because it is so extraordinarily ours and has absolutely nothing to do with any truth about anyone else or anything else or the way anyone else perceives anything else; and
- We are only responsible for the perspective of our own life.
When we can step back and accept these terms and agree to these terms, we will find that perspective is meaningless to anyone except ourself. Our perspective is laced with our personal “stuff”. As important as one viewpoint is to immediately create a result in this moment, we may recognize that to fully embody an experience we must re-evaluate the scenario from a different viewpoint. So the original perspective that was created is null and void and we will soon have a fresh perspective from which to tell our story. The same story. Different language. Like we are experiencing it again, for the first time. Kind of like going back to the beginning. Over and over and over again.
Our perspective is so critical to how we shape our future. For that alone, we can revel in its significance. But in the grandest of concepts, our perspective is about as insignificant as the color of toenail polish that I am not wearing on my toenails! We will always find fragments of pieces of each other’s perspective in our own. And that makes it indescribably common and universal.
If we go back to the beginning, we all want the same result. We want to understand each other and be able to love ourselves and each other in the way that makes the most human sense to all concerned. Yet if we really sink into it all on the spiritual realm, none of it really matters anyway. We are all here to learn the same lessons, which just happen to show up in different packages for each of us to process. Our perspective of the package delivery makes all the difference in our spiritual growth.
Life either happens to you or life happens for you.
It is simply a question of perspective.
SONG (Bob Sima): Happening for You, from putalittlemoreloveintheworld