It seems fitting that the word ‘perspective’ has many perspectives! Here we explore two ways to think of ‘perspective’.
The first is when we sometimes get hooked into anxiety and lose our perspective. The second is when we realise that our perspective keeps us more unconscious than we ever knew.
1 Pebbles of perspective
‘A small trouble is like a pebble. Hold it too close to your eye and it fills the whole world and puts everything out of focus. Hold it at a proper distance and it can be examined and properly classified. Throw it at your feet and it can be seen in its true setting, just one more tiny bump on the pathway to life.’
A problem can feel overwhelming or a story hooks you in. Just as the pebble fills your whole world, you become unable ‘to see the wood for the trees’ as another saying goes. Anxiety or negative thoughts can become overwhelming.
Notice when you’re getting tangled up and losing perspective
When you focus on the anxiety it looms large in your mind. And your body builds up stress and tension.
Negative thoughts or anxiety take up so much room that you can think of nothing else. You ruminate over the problems constantly. You feel uneasy and unable to relax.
Meditate to gain better perspective
So in order to get things into perspective give yourself time to sit and meditate. Like distancing yourself from the pebble which is up in front of your face, let each inhalation and exhalation create space between you and anxiety.
- Allow yourself a simple 10 minutes to sit still.
- Focus on your breathing and invite yourself to drop deeper into your body, away from the mind.
- Explore this deep, calm space.
- Your body starts to feel relaxed and your mind moves its focus from the worries to simply being with your breath.
- Notice how you feel a sense of calm.
- You are creating spaciousness with each breath. Unhooking from the anxiety and tangled stories.
- Yet don’t worry if this doesn’t happen! Each time you notice you’re stuck on the problem, guide your ruminating mind back onto your breath.
- You can now experience better clarity on any challenging experience you are having when you allow this sense of perspective and spaciousness.
- The problem hasn’t gone away, but you’ve opened up some space and perspective and freed yourself in that moment.
These 10 minutes of stillness can become very powerful! You are now choosing where to place your focus.
Alternative tips to clear your perspective
- Take a mindful walk – concentrate fully on the movements of your body. Each time your thoughts return to anxiety, guide them back to your mindful movement.
- Sit and drink a mindful cup of tea. Do this so completely and fully, that you create a haven using all your senses. Taste, feel, smell, sight, sound. Be completely present, and you may find your thoughts ease up and become engrossed in the pleasant experience of tea-drinking.
Mindfulness gives you choices. When anxious thoughts have lost all their use and become overwhelming and detrimental, unhook and rest on your calming breath and be present here and now.
2 Your deeper perspective
Your deeper perspective is your unique way of experiencing the world. Just like the pebble held to your face, your unique view of the world puts everything else out of focus. It’s usually unconscious and your own perspectives are your whole world.
Your whole world is a perspective or a view that is yours alone. It includes beliefs and opinions, shared with others but not everyone. These thoughts are influenced by your life experiences, your culture, your friendships, work and study.
Mindfulness helps to open up this sort of perspective too. You are always free to open your eyes to things you may have taken for granted or never truly looked at before. These include current and recent world issues. Areas of life you are being invited to see with a new perspective now.
And when old perspectives that were narrow and blinkered have outstayed their welcome, we can all create space for new perspectives. Still unique to you, yet unblinkered and boundless. I invite you to start with mindfulness, a foundation for new perspectives.
Yvette Jane – Mindfulness & Meditation Guide