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Thursday, February 9, 2012

Perspective

Nietzsche theorized that there is no "reality," only our perspective of the world.  


The truth is that we see each experience--each moment--through our own lens.  We bring to it our own past, our beliefs about ourselves and the world, and our expectations for all those involved.  This, of course, makes clear communication a challenge at times.  

Which leads us to compassion.  To have compassion, we must first be able to see ourselves as a connected piece of another person. We must see ourselves as a part of the greater whole...no more, no less, than any other part.  The person living on the streets and I are connected at our deepest level...both human, both with needs and desires, both wanting to be understood and appreciated.  When we can see the world from their perspective (at least in part), we are then also able to feel true compassion for them.  We understand that we are each faced with challenges and suffering and are, therefore, connected in this Universe.  

Although it may sound backwards, sometimes finding compassion and having perspective for those closest to us can be more challenging.  They should understand us.  They should see our side.  They should know what we mean, what we want, what we need.  And...after all...we know them so well that, of course, we understand them.   

We want desperately to connect to those we love, yet so often we miss an imperative piece to the puzzle--seeing and understanding their perspective.  It truly is everything.  To be able to see the world from another's eyes, our first step must be to use our own ears.  To listen with openness, and with the honest goal of understanding, appreciation, and acceptance.  We may not agree, but we have heard.  And upon hearing, we are unable to fully return to our own previous perspective, because we arrive with new information and new knowledge.  This, in turn, helps reform our own ideas of the world...ideas that now incorporate pieces of another.  

The more we are able to do this, the wider our view becomes, the more able we are to see others as both the unique individuals they are, and as a crucial piece of our own giant Universe.  We find true and honest compassion and empathy for others, and are ourselves enriched with a greater, clearer, vision of "truth." 

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