Perspective

By Chris Chittenden

“To see life from the perspective of intuition is to have vision. To see life from the perspective of intuition is to see life from the perspective of wholeness. It is to understand that life is basically one and that we are part of life. While the intellect can only see the details, intuition sees the whole. To see life from the perspective of intuition is like looking at life from the summit of the mountain, whereas seeing life only from the perspective of intellect is like looking at life from the foot of the mountain. Through learning to listen to our intuition, we learn to be in contact with the Whole.”

… Swami Dhyan Giten

I am often asked how I come up with something to write about each month. Not being the most structured person in the world, I do not sit down and plan out what will be in our newsletter for the next twelve months, rather I tend to reflect on what has happened to me in the past few weeks and use that as the basis for my writing. The overwhelming situation in my life recently has been my father’s illness, which culminated with him passing away a couple of weeks ago. Not something you would normally hear about in a newsletter, but his passing brought home to me, as if I wasn’t aware already, just what is really important in my life.

I have written a number of times in the past about the way in which we make meaning of our lives. One of the fundamentals of the way in which we do this lies in the perspective or context from which we observe. If you have been reading our newsletter for some time, you will no doubt recall the idea that we are all unique observers of the world. Our uniqueness has us each observe out of our own unique perspective. As I was reflecting on this, an image came to my mind of a desert. The analogy this provoked was that in many ways we see a great deal of sameness about our own unique view of the world. It is as though we do not see that we constantly change the context in which we observe as we largely live moment to moment observing and making sense of what we observe without considering the context of our observations. Yet a desert is a continually shifting sea of sand. The wind moves the sand in small and generally unnoticeable ways unless you are looking for the changes. However, every now and then a major sandstorm occurs, which dramatically changes the shape of the desert. The death of a loved one is but one example of a sandstorm in our lives.

Like the desert, the small changes in our perspective are so transparent to us most of the time that we end up doing some things that would not make sense if seen from a broader perspective. This is particularly so when we are caught up in a constant such as the workplace where many people today are swamped to such an extent that they cannot even see how to find a broader perspective. As with the desert, it is only when a sandstorm jolts their everyday world that they find a different perspective and create a different sense of what is important.

Of course, we do not have to be like that. We can choose to find a vantage point to provide us with a broader perspective and then regularly visit it and ensure we are living the life we want to live. The first step in doing this is to take some time out and articulate what is important in your world and what you would like to create. One of the classic ideas here is to write your own eulogy – how you would like those who are important to you to review your life and the legacy you have left behind. It is also important to declare these things to those we care about and write them down for future reference. When we make our dreams public, we also make it more likely that they will come into being. We can then regularly set aside time to come back to those things that are important to us and see how we are traveling on life’s journey.

The choice to design your life is yours. Rather than waiting for your own personal sandstorm to get perspective in your world, think about what you would gain if you stepped back and got a clearer view now.

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© 2006 Chris Chittenden