“Belief that there is another way of perceiving is the loftiest idea of which ego thinking is capable. That is because it contains a hint of recognition that the ego is not the Self.” (A Course in Miracles)
Our powers of perception and perspective help us to better understand the nature of reality. Right here. Right now. Shift your perspective and change your focus to the Now because when we cling to one perspective we refuse to see what is right in front of our eyes. Some people feel that enlightenment is nothing more and nothing less than a radical change of perspective. What say you?
A lot of our suffering is linked to a limited perspective. Some go so far as to say that wisdom is the clarity of perspective. When we step back from a ‘problem’ (in spiritual Truth there are no problems just lessons) we allow perspective to become part of our process of perception. This is discrimination. With our willingness to have perspective we are able to distinguish in our here and now the important from the unimportant. So much of human suffering is linked to trying too hard and to actions that are tied to a ‘written in stone’ perspective.
Life will continue to challenge us. We all know this. However, when we pay attention to our here and now these challenges broaden our perspective.
Here is a little story about the power of perspective:
“A villager lived in a small house with his wife, mother-in-law, six children, a cow, and some chickens. It was driving him crazy. So he went to the village rabbi and asked for help. The rabbi said that he could solve the problem: he advised the man to buy a goat. Overjoyed, the man immediately went out and bought a goat. Now he had a wife, a mother-in-law, six children, a cow, some chickens and a goat. The house was even more chaotic than before. The villager returned to the rabbi and described the increased chaos. Once again the rabbi said that he could solve the problem. He told the man to sell the goat. Obediently, the villager went home and sold his goat. Suddenly, all he had in his small house were his wife, his mother-in-law, his six kids, a cow, and some chickens. Things were positively peaceful without that goat.” (told by Judith Lasater in LIVING YOUR YOGA)
Trying too hard – effort – is linked to obstacles. Letting go of our insistence that things be complex and difficult can lift the fog covering an available choice staring us in the face in our here and now:
“A Zen Master was walking in silence with one of his disciples along a mountain trail. When they came to an ancient cedar tree, they sat down under it for a simple meal of some rice and vegetables. After the meal, the disciple, who had not yet found the key to the mystery of Zen, broke the silence by asking the Master, “Master, how do I enter Zen?”
He was, of course, inquiring how to enter the state of consciousness which is Zen.
The Master remained silent. Almost five minutes passed while the disciple anxiously waited for an answer. He was about to ask another question when the master suddenly spoke. “Do you hear the sound of that mountain stream?”
The disciple had not been aware of any mountain stream. He had been too busy thinking about the meaning of Zen. Now, as he began to listen for the sound, his noisy mind subsided. At first he heard nothing. Then, his thinking gave way to heightened alertness, and suddenly he did hear the hardly perceptible murmur of a small stream in the far distance.
“Yes, I can hear it now he said.”
The Master raised his finger and, with a look in his eyes that in some way was both fierce and gentle, said, “Enter Zen from there.”
The disciple was stunned. It was his first satori – a flash of enlightenment. He knew what Zen was without knowing what it was that he knew!
They continued on their journey in silence. The disciple was amazed at the aliveness of the world around him. He experienced everything as if for the first time. Gradually, however, he began thinking again. The alert stillness became covered up again by mental noise and before long he had another question. “Master,” he said. “I have been thinking. What would you have said if I hadn’t been able to hear the mountain stream?” The Master stopped, looked at him, raised his finger and said, “Enter Zen from there.” (told by Eckhart Tolle in A NEW EARTH)
Getting out of our own way and being fully present is Being. Surrendering to the Now teaches us Being. Here and Now. Tolle, who lived with several Zen masters (all of them cats!) recounts a story he read called Island that was written by Aldous Huxley in his later years when he became very interested in spiritual teachings. It tells the story of a man shipwrecked on a remote island that was cut off from the rest of the world. This island contains a very unique civilization. The unusual thing about this civilization is its inhabitants – unlike those of the rest of the world – these inhabitants are actually sane. The first thing the man notices are the colourful parrots perched in the trees. They seem to be constantly croaking the words “Attention. Here and Now. Attention. Here and Now.” Later in the story we learn that the islanders taught them these words in order to be continuously reminded to stay present.
There is an unchanging deep stillness in Presence. Beyond the concepts of good and bad. Some people call it the peace of God. Be still. Be here. Be who you are Now.
Love & Light, Monica