Perspective

orchard

“We are set in our ways, bound by our perspectives and stuck in our thinking.”
Joel Osteen

The other day I was going home from work, driving my car and listening to the radio. I was in a bad mood because I made a great deal of effort at work and credit for it was given indirectly to my colleague. I was listening to the broadcasting, both news and music and was drowning disappointment in self-pity. Then a song started and though I wasn’t listening to it carefully, I suddenly heard two words prominently among other words. True seeker. TRUE SEEKER.

The words were screaming in my mind and I was wondering what I was to understand. When I came home, I tried to find lyrics of the song on the Internet but instead I found various definitions of who the true seeker is. I think that one of the definitions might be that the true seeker is someone who seeks truth. Truth about what is above us as well as what is inside us. It’s somehow intermingled, isn’t it?

People sometimes say that they would want to be a fly on a wall to watch their children or partners or to be present at an event they can’t participate in. I wonder what it would be like to be the fly on the wall and watch oneself… who would we see?

A few days ago my husband told me that I had behaved in a negative way for some time and that he would appreciate if I changed that. I was staring at him. I felt to be an optimist so what he was talking about? Then we were discussing it and he let me see my behavior from his perspective. Well, I had to admit that from his point of view he was right. His perspective helped me and I wanted to change what he was complaining about. To make it clear, I don’t think we should change our behavior according to how people see us, we would do nothing else but change permanently and would become a weird personality. Yet we should be able to look into that mirror of perspective and judge the reflection. Isn’t there hidden a piece of truth? Don’t I avoid it?

Or another example. Once I read a book where an exercise was described which was supposed to let me understand my emotions from a different perspective. I decided to try that with my family members so I sat down comfortably, closed my eyes and imagined an empty stage and then a chair in the middle of it. In my mind I came to the chair, sat down and waited. Then my mom entered the stage, approached me and stood by me. We didn’t speak at all and I was just perceiving what I felt. The feeling was changing, sort of developing. After some time – when the development stopped – I let her leave. Then my dad came and eventually my sis. I would have never imagined that the feelings could be so overwhelming, some of them unexpected and surprising. I understood a lot that day and it has influenced me for many years. But it also scared me somehow and I never had the courage to try that again.

This may be the proper time to get back to the true seeker. Be scared of truth? Be scared what the truth could reveal? Avoid the truth? I believe that if we truly seek we will find out that there is nothing to fear and that the truth will make us free.

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17 Comments

  1. Marcie

    Seeing and feeling things through another's perspective and point-of-view is a powerful and valuable learning experience. It takes a brave soul to look inwards and be able to receive like this. Am going to think about what you've written here as I go about my day. Thank-you Petra – for such a courageous…thought-provoking post!

  2. Soosie

    Marcie is so very right – this is a thought provoking post. One of the thoughts in the forefront of my mind is 'Why is truth so scary?' I value it, and am still frightened by it. Which is not sensible. There is no reason why we can't discover happy and beautiful truth as often as the more scary kind. I am going away to think some more about this. Thank you.

  3. Ginnie

    Just yesterday, Petra, I was Skyping with my sister, talking about how we receive things from the outside. We either get attached to things that happen, allowing them to weigh us down or zoom us to unrealistic heights (later to crash)…or we observe and let things pass through us (from Michael Singer's Untethered Soul). After reading what you have written today, I see this all is truly about perspective.

    I love all the examples of what you're talking about. In the end, why would we ever think there is anything to fear? If we can remain unattached to all the hubbub around us, maybe we can learn from what we observe?

  4. Sue

    Oh Petra. You have given me some really hearty "food for thought." I struggle with receiving and accepting criticism from others, and yet can be very, very critical of myself. I often wonder if the manner in which criticism is given influences the way the criticism is received.
    The truth. Seeking the truth. Much to ponder today.

  5. Barbara

    Just a couple months ago, in bed one night, my husband, lying next to me, took my hand and said, "I'm going to tell you something and I don't want you to respond. I just ask that you think about it." and then he proceeded, in a calm manner, to tell me I seemed so angry all the time and that it wasn't good for me or my spirit and not like me, etc., etc.. The next day I packed enough for 3 days, took my laptop and a book or two and went a few towns up from us to try to get to some of my "truth." I knew he was right. Actually, I appreciated him expressing his concern to me because if I had been honest with myself, I knew I was spinning downward but was too "busy" to examine that.

    Your post is so thought provoking. The placing oneself in the center of a stage does sound scary – as does the fly on the wall looking at ourselves to be a twist I've never considered. Good or bad?
    Thank you Petra for your honesty and springboard for consideration. And your photo of the orchard with old, rigid trees is a perfect metaphor for your topic today. Excellent!

  6. Juli

    Wow! Petra. This is powerful. Your honesty, your seeking, your courage – all pour forth in your words. And, the pausing and paying attention that's required when seeking the truth. These are things I take away today. I am left with much to ponder….(and I can already see myself in that chair on the that stage awaiting the important people in my life to come by. Very powerful, and poignant.) In gratitude…

  7. Elena Caravela

    Such a powerful provocative problem, to see oneself from another's point of view. This comes up often at my house. How to step outside and see ourselves. I think you've got it Petra. We can be open, listen, explain, evaluate, and move forward with the imparted information and perspective. We might not "like" the information, but it can and often does ring true when we hear it from a source who is trusted and valued. Thank you for YOUR insights!

  8. Maery Rose

    I had a conversation with my son a couple days ago and we were discussing the issue of playing it safe, mainly in choices that can cost money or take us out of familiar surroundings. I'm trying to have the courage to do more traveling and face both of those fears. If not now, when?

  9. Gotham Girl Aka Robin

    What a provocative post…Just those few words "to be the fly on the wall and watch oneself" really got my attention and I've been thinking about it all day. What a great life lesson. Thank you Petra! Beautiful capture…

  10. Carola

    Changing perspectives, looking from a different perspective – I am sure that it can help and benefit us. I thought it was very true what Sue wrote about receiving criticism from others and whether the difficulty with it is a result of the manner this criticism is given.

  11. Deborah

    I have to agree that this is a very thought provoking post, well written and so timely, Petra.
    To add to this discussion I want to share a line from "The Dance" by Oriah Mountain Dreamer. She says, "That's the thing about our truth; it changes us, requires us to act differently."
    I have thought of Oriah's words often in the last couple of weeks, and it came to mind very clearly as I read your words and all the comments here. Yes, the truth can set us free, and it also requires different living from us.

  12. Linda

    First, I want to commend you and your husband for having developed the kind of relationship in which he could approach you on a difficult matter like that with confidence that, although you might be hurt in the beginning, you would ultimately take his words to heart. It sounds as if you have a wonderful relationship.

    Now, you know me well enough not to be surprised if I approach this from a Christian point of view. Jesus said, in John 14:6, "…I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." Very often, when we say we are seeking "truth," we are really seeking some confirmation of what we already believe. I was no different. I had an image in my mind of what I wanted God to be like. It wasn't until I became willing to get to know Him as He is that He revealed Himself to me. So, to me, seeking truth has to start there.

    A very thought-provoking post…and a lovely photo of the cherry orchard!

  13. Anyes - Far Away In The Sunshine

    Changing perspectives is such a powerful exercise Petra and it seems this is what I have to do at home. I will try the exercise you suggest of imagining myself alone on the stage and see where it brings me. Seeking the truth is a worthwhile journey and one that I am sure will bring you lots of interesting discoveries. Wishing you the best Petra

  14. Zena

    You have illustrated the challenge of self-knowledge so well… this not only demands to look to ourselves through our eyes, but to look ourselves through others eyes, not to change everything, just to know and be aware of the impact of our behaviors on ourselves and on the persons around us…. once we know this, it´s easy to see that there is always room for improvement and growth…
    But this -as you have said in your last paragraph- takes courage.

  15. Kelly

    It's so hard for us to know how others perceive us, everything is always filtered by our own thoughts and emotions and baggage. It would be fascinating to be able to see ourselves from the outside, the way others see us. And yes, it would be a bit frightening as well. I, too, will take this one with me and roll it around in my mind for awhile!

  16. Roy Norris

    As part of my Senior Command development programme some years ago Petra, when away at a Service College I had to give out questionnaires to junior members of my staff and peers and those senior to me. The questions were wide ranging. They were filled out anonymously and handed back to the College for assessment and marking. Quite surprising and interesting results and quite an insight into how others observed you.

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