At some fairly early point in our lives, we solidify our perspective -- the way we look at the world -- into a filter through which all our senses pass. Whether we call this filter the wall of ego, the bubble of concept, a story line, or simply "thinking", it becomes a barrier between ourselves and the sensual wealth that surrounds us.
Sight, sound, smell, taste, touch -- all these are windows to the light within. They invite us to experience our lives fully. An unbuffered connection to our perceptual field invites us to be as open and fluid as our changing senses. Filtered perception limits our understanding of our own true nature, which is much more open and fluid than we generally acknowledge it to be.
One of the gifts of Native peoples is their intimacy with the natural world. For example, they use ritual and vision quests to discover their "power animal" and incorporate the animal's desirable characteristics into their psyches. They enlarge their vision by learning to call on others for strengths that may otherwise remain only seeds of potential.
Turning your world upside down by learning to see it from another's point of view helps provide access to inner light simply because it rearranges habitual patterns. If we commit ourselves to practicing this kind of role flexibility, sooner or later it becomes a natural inclination.
Following is a simple technique that can be applied in almost any situation, once you become aware of it. The point is to shift your perspective radically.
Try this: Next time you refresh yourself with a drink of water, imagine that water from the outlook of a fish. To you, a glass of water is something to consume, but to a fish, it is home.
Next time you admire a beautiful bouquet, shift your perspective to that of a bee. To you, the flowers are a sensual delight of form and fragrance, but to a bee, they may represent a day's work. Next time you are being plagued by a pesky housefly, imagine it from a spider's point of view. To you, the fly is only a pest; to the spider, it's a delicious dinner.
What does the world look like to your dog? The familiar walk around the block may seem to you a fairly boring prospect, but to your pet, it's an intriguing mesh of scents, sounds, and textures.
After you've practiced this technique by inviting new perspectives as radically different as that of a spider, a fish, or a dog, move your practice to the human realm. The technique now becomes much more subtle, because we often tend to project our own perspective onto our fellow human beings, especially those with whom we work or live. So it may be helpful to start practicing with "neutral" people in your life, like the homeless person you pass on the street, or the cashier at the grocery store.
To you, a dime is something that might not even be worth the effort of reaching over and picking up off the ground; however, to a homeless person, it may represent something entirely different. Imagine how the stream of people coming through the check-out counter appears to the cashier at the grocery store. What is her experience, compared to yours?
You can then direct this practice toward the people with whom you are most intimate. If you have a small child, try to look at your house from her point of view. It's completely different from how you see it.
Try dropping your agenda entirely and imagining the argument you're having with your 12-year-old only from his perspective. Put yourself in your lover's place and imagine how making love feels from his or her perspective.
Try shifting your perspective to an even bigger place. Can you imagine the world as God sees it? What is the perspective of the wind? How does rain or snow feel as it falls against the earth? How does a tree feel, rooted in the earth and reaching toward heaven?
Published by Hay House Inc.
Copyright 2000. www.hayhouse.com.
Pathways to the Soul
by Carlos Warter.
Pathways to the Soul contains 101 different exercises, visualizations, and meditations. Some are taken from various historical and classical traditions of the world’s cultures, and some are simple, current, and contemporary. All are designed to help you grow spiritually in many different ways, whether you are a beginner or an advanced student. If you want to experience your true beauty and the sacredness of your life, this book contains just about everything you need to know.
Info/Order this paperback book or download the Kindle edition
Carlos Warter M.D., Ph.D. is a medical doctor, transpersonal spiritual psychiatrist, lecturer, and pioneer in the field of consciousness raising and alternative healing. He is the author of Soul Remembers and Who Do You Think You Are? The Healing Power of Your Sacred Self. Born in Chile, Dr. Warter has been awarded the United Nations Peace Messenger and the Pax Mundi awards for his humanitarian efforts. He presents keynote speeches, workshops, and seminars both in the U.S. and throughout the world.