Saturday, September 26, 2009

How To Expand Your Perspective

Here is an exercise to help you see your life from a broader perspective and give you clarity in times of challenge. Relax into this exercise playfully, so that it becomes appealing to use.

First, set aside a little time for yourself and sit in a quiet and comfortable place. Then, look at something as simple as a pencil.

Contemplate the pencil and take a moment to see all of its parts clearly: the paint on the outside of the pencil . . . the lead in the center . . . the eraser on the end . . . the wood in-between.

Let your mind begin to stretch, to uncurl and wander.

How many things had to happen to create the simple pencil?

How many components went into simply making the paint? Where did they each come from? How did the paint get applied to the pencil? How many machines and people did just that one step take? Where did they all come from?

Then consider the wood: who grew the trees? Who sold the wood? How was it cut and transported? Who made the trucks that carried it? Who built the roads the trucks used? Where did the fuel come from?

Let your mind expand.

The lead, the eraser, the metal band around the pencil . . . contemplate each component in the same way and then consider how they all came into one form which we call 'pencil'. And then consider the factory where the pencil was made. How did that arise? How many parts were made and then fit together? What did it take to make each part of the factory?

Let your mind expand.

Each person involved in each step had to be raised, nourished, educated and trained - how many components went into that?

Let your mind expand.

This process gently sets a pattern within you of shifting from a small perspective to a larger one, then to a vast one, then into one that is limitless and relaxes your mind. As you practice, you will find you can shift back and forth, at will.

Your mind, when faced with the limitless, is released from a sense that it must understand, define, control. Released, it can relax and simply observe in wonder.

Can you begin to look at yourself in the same way, creatively understanding all the myriad factors that have influenced you and helped you become who you are? You can change and expand your relationship to everything in your life, including yourself, by shifting your perspective in this way.

As you allow your mind to relax in this way, deeper levels of wisdom and compassion can arise in you.

Say a person or situation comes into your life that would ordinarily throw you into reaction. Now you can pause and see the limitless intermixing of circumstances that created the situation. Taking a moment to gain that expansive view releases you from a constricting reaction and gives you more freedom of choice. You begin to see things in terms of possibilities, of finding points where you might intervene to create change. Your mind expands and your heart softens.

Gaining the ability to see from a perspective that is at once both vast, and precise, relaxes the mind and stimulates creativity. This will carry over quickly into many areas, supporting your ability to see choices and opportunities; to explore, rather than remain in the grip of habitually patterned limitations.

Voyaging into the space of infinitely interdependent reality allows you to see clearly, calmly, and compassionately.

This is a very traditional Buddhist practice. If anyone is interested in finding out more about Tibetan Buddhism, you may contact Tenzin Lhamo, an ordained Tibetan Buddhist nun at

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