Perspective: There Are Many Different Angles
It’s the chapter title for Desmond Tutu’s, the Dalai Lama’s, and Douglas Abram’s first chapter on the Eight Pillars of Joy [Book of Joy, New York: Avery, 2016, p. 193]. In a nutshell, the main point is that how we experience something is a matter of how we look at it as well as a matter of what we are looking at:
A healthy perspective really is the foundation of joy and happiness, because the way we see the world is the way we experience the world. Changing the way we see the world in turn changes the way we feel and the way we act, which changes the world itself. Or, as the Buddha says in Dhammapada, “With our mind we create our own world.” (p.194)
Taking a broader perspective, thinking long-term rather than immediate, and including the wants and needs of others in our deliberations can get us out of our small box reality and into something larger and more life-giving. That’s true, but there’s more…
Sometimes a narrower focus brings to light beauty and joy that often goes unnoticed. This is especially true when life isn’t difficult. The value of a single tree can get lost in the forest.
Zooming in or stepping back, a change of perspective can open hearts and minds to the joy that each day holds, and sustain the soul in all circumstances.
What a marvelous thing that is.