The Joy of Perspective

The Power of Perspective

There is so much power in just small little tweaks of perspective, that I can’t emphasize too strongly the importance of acquiring a broader, longer-term perspective in your pursuit of happiness.

We are all, to varying degrees, limited to a very myopic world view – the breadth adn width of our limited vision and understanding.

Perspective = Perception

The angle from which we view life determines the perception we have of it. Try this to see what I mean: Pick up a small stone and close one eye. Now hold the stone close to your open eye. What do you see? You likely only see the rock. Maybe a few partial images around the outer edge, but that’s all.

Now extend your hand as far as you can reach. What fills your field of vision now? How large and imposing and engulfing does the stone appear when it’s up in your face, compared to how small it appears when held at a distance?

That, then, is the difference. The characteristics of the stone did not change one bit. It did not change shape or size, weight or dimension. The only thing that changed was your perspective of it, how you viewed it, and therefore, your perception of it.

Perceiving, not Pretending

Think of your pain, your trials and suffering like the stone. The very act of holding your pain up close to your eyes, limits your vision to only the pain. Holding the trial at a distance, by no means pretending it’s no longer painful, but simply recognizing it without allowing it to consume the totality of your every breathing moment only changes the perspective by which you experience the pain.

But it opens you up to so much more.

The stone is still there. It is still rough and sharp and jagged and hurts. But as you hold it at arm’s length, suddenly the world comes into focus too. The stone is still part of your field of vision. It’s still there and you feel it. But it is only one part of the experience now.

Blue skies, sunrises and sunsets, flowers and trees and all that God or life has created for us, like beautiful smiles and beautiful eyes on beautiful faces marked by the beauty of decency and goodness and kindness and compassion, all become visible too with just a relatively small shift in perspective.

Happiness does not rest luxuriously on the lap of a pain-free life. Happiness exists in the beating hearts of those who have learned to hold life’s stones at arm’s length.

Suffering Teaches Lessons of Happiness

Pain and suffering is the great educator. And that, after all, is why we are here in the first place, experiencing mortality. There are lessons that can only be taught in the furnaces of life.

Green pastures of ease rarely develop strength and courage, patience and humility, gentleness and empathy and compassion and love. All such characteristics, however, are essential to the kind of happiness that is available – a truer, richer happiness of incredible endurance.

Life provides us with the lesson. We choose our perspective. We choose how we will respond to that lesson.

Perspective = Meaning = Joy

But please understand that the perspective you hold of the pain you experience – the way you view what it is and what it means and why you suffer under it – much more than the pain itself, determines the role pain and suffering plays in your life.

That role, then, determines how happy you are, how fulfilled you are and sets the boundaries of attainable joy, even in the midst of great suffering.

The same trial and the same pain, after all, do not affect all people the same way. Why? Perspective. How you view what happens is more important than what happens.

Remember that fire destroys. But it also purifies. Life provides the flame. You determine whether the flame consumes and destroys or cleanses, tempers and purifies.

I’m here to point out the difference between the two and offer my thoughts  as a guide along that shared path. I hope I’m successful.

What do you think?

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