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Spiritual and relationship expert, teacher, counselor, advisor, speaker, and writer James Gray Robinson

A MATTER OF PERSPECTIVE

            I remember in art class the importance of learning how to draw or paint using perspective. It was necessary if I wanted my work to be “realistic” and look something like what I was painting. Converging lines, parallel lines, angles and other devices had to be used to make the portrait, landscape or other works look like real life. Photorealism was a whole different story, each work had to be sectioned off and a higher degree of attention had to be paid to each aspect of the work.

            I realized that perspective is the same whether we are talking about perceiving our world or creating art. There are some fundamental principles that apply if we are to fully understand the truth of what we perceive. These principles exist whether we acknowledge them or not, and if we don’t then what we may perceive may not be accurate. Accuracy of perception is critical if we are to fully appreciate our experience of life. Otherwise we will miss important information and knowledge that is available to make our life easier and abundant.

            The first principle is that our mind determines what we perceive. We look at the world through filters that are determined by our past. If we are unconscious of these filters, we will never see the world accurately and will continue to misunderstand what is happening in our life. It is like going into the funhouse at the carnival where mirrors are curved to distort how we see what is reflected back to us. If we don’t know that the mirrors are curved, and whether they are convex or concave, we will believe that what we see is real.  We will see things that aren’t there and will miss things that are.

            This is a large part of what we call consciousness or awareness. When we understand that what we perceive is distorted by our mind, we can start to detach from what we may perceive as threatening or unkind. We are not what we think and the world is not how we see it. Only beings with very advanced consciousness and awareness will see the world as it really is, and that is without emotion, assumption or prejudice. If we see someone struggling, most people would try to rescue that person. A more advanced being would see that person growing and learning valuable lessons that their experiences will teach them and not try to rescue them.

            I have talked with a number of very conscious beings and all of them talk about a perception of the world that I am only now beginning to understand. Their clarity and connection to the divine is remarkable. I would love to live in their world, a world without fear, a world that only is. I constantly catch my mind thinking in ways that make me suffer. I suffer because I fall back into old thinking habits based on events I incorrectly remember from the past. As I stop myself and take the emotion out of it, my perception of what is happening changes. It is amazing that the drama of any situation disappears when I let go of fear, lack or victimhood. When I simply sit back and observe what is happening, then someone’s behavior or what I perceive stops triggering me and I can relax.

            I can remember growing up that my father perceived his world in black and white, either what was happening was “the worst thing he had ever seen” or it was “the best thing he had ever seen”. I can report that my perception of what he was experiencing was far different. What was happening was simply life; it was neither “the best” or “the worst”. However, his reactions were mercurial and for most of my life, my happiness and equanimity were affected by his perceptions. It taught me that how we judge what we perceive will affect how we feel in any particular moment. The truth is how we judge what we perceive will also affect what we perceive. It is a vicious cycle. If we believe something is “bad”, we will only see the “bad” in the event. This makes what we see even more objectionable. Then we react to what we think we saw and on and on.

            Only beings with no judgment and open minds and hearts can experience life as it really is. Everything is perfect. Everything is peaceful; there is no reason to get emotional about anything. When we eliminate judgment and emotion, the only thing that is left is joy and bliss, which is our natural state of being. When we are in a state of bliss, there is no trauma, guilt, blame, right, wrong, good or bad. There simply is. The more we can detach from all of these filters, the more we can enjoy our life. It is not really a matter of positive thinking, it is a matter of not thinking. Then we can see things from heaven’s perspective.

Spiritual and relationship expert, teacher, counselor, advisor, speaker, and writer James Gray Robinson

ATTITUDE=ALTITUDE

           Everyone wants to feel happy, to be successful, to be adored by their loved ones and to be respected. So why do so many people seem to struggle with these ideals? What is it that makes it so difficult to maintain a state of grace and happiness? In a word, the key to all of these accomplishments or states of being is “attitude”. How do you approach life? How do you respond to adversity or challenges?

            I know many people who cringe at the thought of facing any challenges in their day and they are constantly searching for that magic formula to change their life and make it easier. They go to workshop after workshop, desperately seeking some new magic wand to wave over their head or some new energy methodology that will heal everything that they think is wrong with their life. The only aspect of life that anyone needs to change to “flip the switch” of success, abundance, respect, friends, and love is your attitude.

            I went and played golf with a friend the other day. It was the first time she had ever played golf and she was having a great time. She hit one ball in a sand trap and had an impossible shot to get it out. I went in and threw it out so she could hit it from a decent lie and she immediately told me to put it back. She was actually excited that she had hit it in the sand trap and that she had a horrible lie. She wanted to see what it was like to try to hit the ball from a sand trap. I had to smile because it was a perfect metaphor for every curve ball life throws at us and how to handle the challenges that may come from time to time.

            What if we were actually happy that something hard confronted us and we had to do something new for a change? We get so bogged down in our routines that we suffer when anything new comes along. We change jobs, friends, lovers, spouses, homes and a myriad of other things in our life as we grow and change and yet we get upset about this. Are you innocent and childlike enough to get excited about doing something new?

            We want to transcend our Belief Systems (BS) to achieve higher levels of consciousness and grace. The only way to activate the escalator, elevator and fast forward to these higher realms of consciousness is to be open and excited about whatever happens in our life. Many times the path to enlightenment requires “en-lightening” the load we carry which means people, places and things will leave us so there is room for something new. In our short sightedness we only see the old leaving and suffer because we don’t see the new on the way. We also do not understand that sometimes the new does not look anything like the old, so we don’t connect the dots that “oh, I had to lose that to get this”. 

We don’t realize that there is a fine line between fear and excitement and we often get confused about which one we are really feeling. When we are afraid, it only takes a slight change of ATTITUDE to be excited. 

            When we raise our ATTITUDE, we will experience a change in ALTITUDE. The higher we rise in consciousness, the less the mouse turds of life affect us. We no longer need to pole vault over these small, unexpected events that before would cause great consternation and cry. We become like an eagle seeing from horizon to horizon. With this expanded perspective gained through ATTITUDE and ALTITUDE, life becomes peaceful and flows easily. But we have to change our ATTITUDE in order to change our ALTITUDE. Be excited that your ball went into the sand trap. Make everything new and exciting in your life. The limitation that most people place on their lives is the expectation that everything always turns out the same way. It won’t if you change your ATTITUDE.

            The easiest way to change your attitude is to be thankful for what you have. If your metaphorical ball goes in the sand trap, thank God for that experience. The quality of our life depends on the quantity of our experiences. The more experiences we have, the wiser we will be, and oftentimes the more grateful that we are. I find that the ancient souls among us are often the ones that love everything that happens in their life because they are so entertained by it all. They understand that life is to be lived to the maximum and results are irrelevant. It is the altitude of the journey, not the goal, which is of greatest importance.  And that friend who insisted I put her ball back in the sand trap to take the ‘impossible’ shot?  She took her time and found the right footing in an awkward stance, and hit a beautiful shot, the first time, out of the sand and onto the green.