If we really think about where we are – living on earth, a tiny planet in this vast, possibly multiple universe, it can change our perception about what actually matters in the wider scheme of things. Imagine climbing to a high point – a mountain top or roof or tree and looking down, with detachment, on our lives and our inner worlds. Focusing on breathing in oxygen, seeing ourselves as conduits for particles scattered throughout the universe with which we are inexorably connected.
Ultimately, the entire universe… has to be understood as a single, undivided whole. Deep down the consciousness of mankind is one. David Bohm (theoretical physicist)
From this perspective we can gain clarity about what is important to us and to the universe that sustains us. Maybe we will become more focused on our connection to this responsive universe that is our source, rather than continuing to pour our toxic waste into it and taking as much as we can from it without thought for the repercussions. Maybe we will see that all things are connected and therefore everyone affects everything; the one affects all (and vice versa).
Gaining perspective can help us to be aware that most social norms, expectations, recipes for ‘successful’ living etc. are just human ideas; thoughts that catch on, live for a while in our psycho-social realities and then fade to be replaced by new ideas. Many ideas are only ‘real’ because we subscribe to them – they fade to nothing when we discard them, becoming merely amusing old-fashioned traditions. Yet they can be so gripping at times that we become consumed by them – because we want to fit in, to be reassured that we are okay.
Fear makes us feel and act small, it ‘shrinks’ us, and makes us diminish or idealise others and compromise our innate principles. Self-love makes us feel big, expanded, and more able to love others and care about the world. Once we begin to love ourselves, finding compassion for our frailties, even letting these go, we become more identified with our true selves. When we access our true selves we recognise that everyone has a true self and we learn to overlook their faults and our seeming differences. We recognise our connectedness to other people, and widen this to all living creatures.
If we could do this every day we would find a clearer, happier, more loving way of living, focusing our attention on what really matters.