Vantage Point: Why Perspective Matters

IMG_0008Siddhartha searched and searched before finding his enlightenment as the Buddha. Once on the path he did not say, “No more lessons!” Whether your path to enlightenment is through Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, yoga, or any of the many other traditions that are out there, it is up to you to pursue the teachings and to apply them in your everyday experiences. Look at everything as a lesson custom made for you—to be learned from your particular vantage point.

I was sitting at a table on the coast of Spain when a friend pointed across the restaurant toward the beach and sea saying, “Look at that thing!” I looked and saw a rock jetty—the last object before the Mediterranean melted into the infinite blue sky.  Linda looked and saw a beautifully detailed sandcastle, built where the boardwalk met the sand. Our friend, however, was pointing at a non-symmetrical, iron tower art installation midway between the boardwalk and the edge of the sea. Certainly we all had different vantage points, but what I discovered was that each of us saw only one of the three objects and not the other two. When I suggested that there was a lesson to be learned from this I was cut off by a resounding, “No more lessons!”

I accommodated by resisting the urge to point out that if three middle-aged women from similar socio-geographic, religious and economic backgrounds, sitting within a few feet of each other cannot look out and see the same “thing,” then how can we expect disparate nations, religions or cultures to see common ground for peace? The answer is that it is possible, but not if in our individual lives, we refuse to examine our own underlying perceptions and perspectives. Maybe we have to shift our gaze or refocus until we see the other person’s point of view. Maybe we have to shift in our seat or walk over to where the other person is sitting to see what they see. We find enlightenment by being brave enough to accept the possibility that perhaps none of us has the whole truth. We find it by having the courage and the fortitude to look at everything as a lesson. We find enlightenment through patient introspection—not by jumping to conclusions or by judging. Jesus, according to St. Thomas, said, If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.

We no longer have the luxury of saying, “No more lessons!” We never did.

This entry was posted in Ego, Faith, Guidance, Judgement, Love, Peace, Relationships, Surrender, Uncategorized, Unity. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Vantage Point: Why Perspective Matters

  1. Ann Franciskovich says:

    Words of wisdom! Thank you. It feels especially relevant on the heels of civil strife and natural disasters. It also occurs to me that Sept. 2017 is a universal month of 1 (new beginning!) just as 2017 is a universal year of 1. September always feels like a new start too as we launch our kids into a new academic year. The energy is really here right now to start fresh, remember to be kind, and to stay very open and curious about all angles of the situation. The timing is always right for this message but it really lands with me in this moment of time.

  2. Theresa says:

    Thank you, Ann for your insights and for connecting this blog to the current civil rights strife. Although this incident occurred months ago the relevance of looking through the eyes of another never gets old. Thank you also for reminding us of new beginnings. September 2017 begins a new chapter.

  3. Marie says:

    Thank you for this wisdom. I enjoy reading all your messages but here, I especially like the thought of bringing forth what is within you. So many times we think what we can bring forth is less than or not good enough. We need to ‘just do it’ and trust that it is just as it’s meant to be. There are so many levels of judgement within us. Trying to be mindful of this and peel off layer by layer. Thanks for the help!

  4. Leena El-Ali says:

    Thank you for this timely reminder that diverse perspectives are a part of life, but also that it is possible to understand another’s perspective if we try. Once we do, surely our approach to others becomes less of a zero-sum game, and more of a constructively inclusive one!

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