I don’t know about you, but it seems like our minds focus a lot on small views. They focus on reading words. They focus on performing the next task. They focus on objects throughout the day.
The dog, the cat, the book, the skillet, the computer, the mail, the song, the furnace hum.
Sometimes we can maneuver through an entire day of our precious life focusing on limited projects, ideas and scenes. Many times we’re focused on the stream of thoughts running in our head. So focused that it feels like we’re missing some larger insight.
I’m not saying this is wrong. Heavens, where would we be without our ability to focus? It’s a necessary skill. It teaches us so much. It enriches our lives.
Many years ago a desire arose in me to learn how to see the widest largest possible view. If an idea is true, can another idea also shine with truth? If this person is right, can another person with an opposing viewpoint also be right? What boxes do we shut ourselves within? And how, darn it, can we escape those boxes?
If anything sums up this lifetime of Kathy thus far it’s been this desire. Of course, I mostly went about it all wrong. I actively tried, tried, tried (and tried six million ways) to keep seeing the larger view. Sometimes I even knocked off my friends’ opinions in an effort to show them–hey, wait a minute, here’s another opinion that shows a wider view! Sometimes I knocked off my own opinions without due respect, creating inner suffering.
Lately it’s become clearer that it’s much easier to see the wider encompassing view by relaxing. The opposite of trying. I truly believe that within each human being is the innate capacity to relax our focus and see the larger picture. The less wedded we are to our opinions and “right” thoughts and tumultuous emotions, the more we can see. The mountains and valleys and trees and snow all come into an effortless whole of oneness that soothes our inner strife, that includes apparent opposites, that says yes, yes, oh yes. (And it’s very tender toward no.)
When a person relaxes, and then relaxes more, and then takes an even deeper breath of relaxation (and sees the mind’s endless roller coaster for what it mostly is) then the more encompassing viewpoint just naturally arises. No struggle. No effort. Just this.
Of course, if someone tried to tell me this a few years ago my mind would have said–yes, sure, BUT…and perhaps spun off in a loop explaining why this is too simplistic, why it’s not really true, and what we need to DO to relax, because, darn it, you’re not seeing the largest possible picture!
An interesting discovery–when we’re relaxed and seeing the entire world with a softer heart (and this does not mean wearing blinders and refusing to focus on the world’s pain and misery) a strange thing can happen.
The little things–the smell of cinnamon, a round red apple, a friend’s smile, the computer screen, a random goose–the small things upon which we focus–can suddenly contain the entire Universe. When we focus, it’s sometimes possible to glimpse eternity. We can see the largest possible view in the smallest possible things.
Just some thoughts early Friday morning in January, 2018, still in my pajamas at 9:30.
Happy weekend, Love, Kathy
I’m still in my Pj’s too Kathy – Bob just left for skiing. I’ve also found that taking a small view is binding and exhausting while taking a larger view is is liberating and energizing. If I don’t need to always be “right” I’m more open to new ideas. I think if I feel superior in my viewpoint, I can be sure I’m taking a small view. Life isn’t just black and white – I’d like to be open to the whole color spectrum! This post fits nicely with your one about prejudgement and how it often keeps us from the richness of life’s experiences. I like seeing the waters of Lake Superior in your photos. Let’s be kind and forgiving to ourselves so we can be kind and forgiving to others.
Yes, you are so right, Barb. Taking that small view can be so tiring. And the wide-open view absolutely energizing! I like your analogy of the color spectrum. You know, I just got dressed (finally) and walked out to the mailbox to send a card to the in-laws for their 65th wedding anniversary. On the way back to the house a small inner voice began to think, “You didn’t take a wide enough view in that blog.” Oh my goodness! And now to take a wider view than that judging inner voice. LOL!
Yet I sometimes wonder if people who are locked into their small views, who believe with absolute certainty that their views are right, might not be happier than those who try to see the “big picture”. There is some complacency in being able to be certain.
Carol, that’s a good point. A very good point indeed. Sometimes it just feels challenging to encompass so much. Easier to just stick with one viewpoint and feel confident in it.
This may be the only blog post I want to read twice for its thought provoking prose. And the photo illustrations are fabulous. I wonder if you will win prizes if you write when you are fully dressed!
Dor, thanks for reading! I don’t think I would win any prizes today. Even though am up & dressed now, feeling very foggy-headed and tired all day. Couldn’t sleep much last night and can’t quite get going. It’s a miracle this blog kind of wrote itself! 🙂
Really appreciated the way you said this – “very tender toward no”.
Best wishes for a pleasant and enjoyable weekend.
Oh, yes, it feels so much better when we’re tender toward those no’s. When I’m harsh toward them, it’s usually going to involve suffering. Pleasant weekend to you, as well!
Kathy this is profound and you had your thinking cap on even if you could not get your mojo going this morning. Thinking beyond our own little ideas requires- well effort sometimes but that is what creative and constructive thinking is all about.
Love the wide views of the lake, the chickadee and the lone boat resting on calm waters.
Yvonne, thank you. I am so surprised this blog “came out” today as I am not feeling 100% good. Lying out the couch right now with nice warm blankets, drinking tea, too tired to even stoke the wood stove fire. Eating chips and salsa. Thanks for reading and commenting, my friend. Glad you liked the pics.
I hope you are not “coming down” with something. Be well, dear Kathy. I hope you are feeling better on Saturday.
Yvonne, I resurrected late afternoon and so far feel good today. Thank you for your concern!
Whew. I am glad you are feeling ok again. Thank you for letting me and the rest of us know.
Thank you for being concerned!
Lovely. This reminds me of an art show I attended about thirty years ago. The artist was a photographer. He juxtaposed wide views with macro views: a photo taken from high in the air of a field of wheat/ one grain of wheat magnified many times; an autumn forest, from the air/ one single leaf, magnified; a seemingly unending herd of sheep/ the wool coat of one sheep, magnified; the ocean as seen from an airplane/ one drop of saltwater, magnified. It was stunning how similar the largest possible view was to the closest possible view. I know your message is different than this one, but thought you might enjoy the memories your writing stirred in me today.
Cindy, thank you so much for sharing about that art show. How interesting that would have been! To think that the micro and macro could be so close together. But we usually don’t see that. Glad your memories were stirred. I felt so good while writing this yesterday morning. Do you sometimes just feel a coming-together after writing a blog post? A sigh of knowing you’ve expressed something that needed to be expressed? Happy weekend to you.
Yes, Yes, and Yes, as Laurie response to my blogs in agreement. I agree completely.
What came up for me is a well quoted or sited lines from Alcoholics Anonymous “Big Book”. The passages are about acceptance and getting out of our own way, opening our mind to allow what is yet willing to “see” another way. Or at least accept it. “When I stopped living in the problem and began living in the answer them problem went away… acceptance is the answer to “all” my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing or situation – some fact of my life unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing, or situation as being exactly as it is suppose to be at this moment… ”
The wider view is to “see” is to accept there are different views, different beliefs, different customs beyond the few that our up bringing offers us. When we become explorers of our own world, inner and outer, how our expanded view extends, emotionally, intelligently etc.
The widest largest possible view is one of acceptance, acceptance that there is more to see and experience. Just like this response is becoming…
Jeff, thank you. I like how you worded this. Acceptance is the answer to so many problems. In the sense of saying “yes, yes, yes” to letting things be as they are in the moment. And then we can respond proactively and not in a reactive way. I found myself disturbed yesterday because inner thoughts were furiously fighting “what was”. It took a while sitting in silence and seeing “the larger picture” before the disturbance ended. Bless you for coming by and sharing your thoughts.
Oh yes, noticing the little things makes me feel connected to and part of the whole universe! I treasure those glimpses into eternity, because I have discovered that I am a visual thinker. I love your chickadee and the goose!
Barbara, how utterly fascinating that our brains can work so differently–and yet we often assume that others are perceiving the world in the same way we are. Because I don’t see the world visually (well, that is NOT true, but true in the sense of the go-to way of perceiving) then it’s hard to concentrate on chickadee and goose. I have to force myself to look at pictures because the brain isn’t framing thinking in terms of images. Odd, huh? I love discovering this perceiving information about all of us!
I love those last two paragraphs before the goose photo. Yes, sometimes I have been able to relax and see the bigger picture. You’re right, it does feel softer. A lot of the time though, it doesn’t seem like my mind is focused at all. I often feel like I’m thinking of a million things at once.
I don’t know if what I want to say next is really related to this post, but it popped in my head as I read. In the movie, Bruce Almighty, God tells Bruce that he is going to have all the powers of God, but the only thing he won’t be able to do is affect free will. Bruce says, “Can I ask why?” God answers, “Yes, that’s the beauty of it?” 🙂
And there was not supposed to be a question mark after God’s dialogue. How the heck did that get in there? I guess I wasn’t focused. LOL
Lori, gosh, it’s hard to explain what one actually means. When I talk about focusing on objects, I also mean focusing on thoughts. Instead of silence or more encompassing awareness.
Interesting quote. After writing this blog post, a thought popped up, “Only God can see the whole picture.” I don’t know if that’s true. I just know of this inner desire (or addiction, lol) to see wider and larger and bigger. As to free will…wow, that subject is worth a blog or six. *smile* Thank your for sharing your thoughts.
Oh yes, I understood what you meant about focusing. My clumsy comment didn’t make that clear. 😛 Yes, free will is definitely a massive topic in itself. For some reason that quote popped in my head as I read your post.
And you gotta listen when a quote pops in your head! Thank you, Lori!
Heh. Yeah, but I don’t always have to say it out loud (or write them in a comment). LOL What can I say? That’s what I do.
When we are relaxed, it’s easier to notice the little things that can give us Joy.
Sometimes its nice to sit in a quiet recliner at 11pm with the lights off and curtains shut…relax….and “listen to the quiet.”
You may also enjoy my post about a short video from the late Alan Watts and the Chinese and Purposeless-ness. While i do have a disagreement with him at the very end of his video, in that, i *do* feel that Nature–does–have a “boss”, much of the rest of what he said resonates quite well with me.
Thank you, Owl, I so did enjoy that short video from Alan Watts. What a treat! Now I am going to sit in the recliner (maybe with lights on) and think of something or nothing for a while. Thanks for stopping by my blog and commenting…