The word perspective contains a root word, (spec/spic) that means to look or see something. Typically, we associate the word-phrase, “specs” with glasses; and lately the word specs has even become sort of a hipster way of talking about those things that your mom can’t find in order to see, but they seem to have been on her head the entire time. For me, perspective is about positionally- where you are depends on what you see. Right now, I am at home in my living room, sitting on my favorite sofa, with my ancient macbook pro in my lap. This is exactly what I see. Oh, I take that back, I also see the ever-so-full trash that I have to dump in the morning on my way to work- which seems to be full everyday. Now, you may say, that none of that has anything to do with you or your life- but I kinda beg to differ. You see, my trash bag, my ancient laptop, my favorite couch, all come together in order to infuse me with a psychological feeling of either contentment or discontentment. Emotion is energy in motion, which means that when stuff moves or presents itself, it affects the way I feel. So when things appear in front of me, they definitely affect what I feel. If I don’t like the way I feel…believe it or not, a change in scenery can do both my mind and my body some good. So as annoyed as I am by that trash bag that seems to be the odd-ball, that’s throwing off my sofa/laptop/macbook comfort zone, i’m probably gonna have to stop what i’m doing and take it out…if I really want to feel better. Again, how you feel is directly correlated to what you see.
Everyone, at any given time, is always communicating from their own metaphorical “sofa state”, where at any given time, to the degree in which they are comfortable or discomforted, it shows up in the way they present themselves to the world. And it’s amazing to notice the vast number of folks that are communicating from their pain. In fact, I personally thing that folks reach for pain mechanistic-conversational tools (insults, sarcasms, etc) because those emotions make us feel good. We become addicted to what we see, how we see it, and the strength of the feeling that arises when we choose to buy into the emotion that makes us see things like that. They use to call it “tripping’ back in the day…I wonder why we still say folks are “tripping” when they get upset?
This cycle is really a vast circle that we either have to accept or continue to float around in, until one day we fall out the bottom of it. So yes, life is what you make of it. The root of suffering is desire. But your life’s experiences are neither sufferable or pleasurable unless that’s how you perceive them to be, within reason. If you’re sitting in a prison cell right now and you’re trying to make the best of your sentence-then to the outsider, you’re suffering. But to you, if you’ve made peace with your decision in your own way, then it may not feel like suffering. If you’re in a relationship or a marriage where you’re just there to raise the kids because the costs, both financial and emotional are too high for separating- then to the outsider you maybe suffering. But again, both scenarios are about perspective. What you see in life depends on where you see it from. So if you want to change what you see, you can change where you see it from. And if you want to change where you are seeing life from, you will also change what you see. The parable is like a reversible T-shirt…you can flip it inside-out and it’s still wearable.