Looking at the Big Picture: Part 2

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Looking again at the Big Picture has been one of the most important lessons I have learned in life.    I have been contemplating on this concept in more depth.

When we have a problem, something that worries us, we tend to focus on that problem obsessively.  We don’t think about anything else except what worries us.   And while we continue to focus on this obsessive “problem”, we tend to miss everything else.  The rest of our lives which we miss is what I consider the Big Picture.

For example, I may start worrying about the car that I have in the shop under repair.  I would start worrying about how expensive it can be to repair it.  I can start obsessing about how I would go places without my car.  So I can go on and on focusing on the situation that I have chosen to identify as a problem.   But if I choose to Look at the Big Picture, I consider other situations that would give me a different perspective and therefore a new feeling.  I can choose to think about the good health I still have.  I can think about the job I still have.  I can think about the possibility of learning to catch the city bus or using a taxi.  I can so thinks of so many other scenarios that will diminish the stress of having my car in the shop.

Consider also how small our planet is compared to the rest of the universe.  When we think only about our community, our neighbor , or even our personal lives, we can easily become preoccupied with self righteousness and anxiety.  We can get easily upset when things don’t go our way and start feeling angry, anxious, or afraid.   But when we broaden our perspective to include the universe around us, we begin to see how miniature our worries are, and how small we really are.  Our “rights” become more insignificant.  The whole universe surrounds us and continues to function without caring about our individual preoccupations .  planet

When we also consider how we perceive ourselves individually and worry about our mortality , our fears can be alleviated by recognizing that we all experience the same fate of death and that we are simply in a journey to something bigger than our limited lives .

When we focus on our faults and shortcomings, we tend to put ourselves down. We tend to punish ourselves with rituals and traditions in an attempt to make things better. But again, when we look at the bigger picture , at the fact that we are all imperfect beings, and we all live on the same planet with almost identical needs, we can then begin to forgive ourselves (and others) and commune better with others.   We can begin to accept ourselves with our limitations.  We can better see the commonality among us.

So the next time you feel stressed, angry, or afraid, pay attention to what is it that you are thinking about.  What is it that you are looking at?  Are you looking at your individual preferences and desires?  Are you thinking only about your individual agenda?   And if so, consider looking instead at the Big Picture. 

Peace versus Happiness

There is a difference between being alert and conscious of your surrounding, and being distracted by thoughts, doubts, and illusions.  There is a great analogy I want to use from one of the famous stories from the Bible. In the Gospels, there is a story about Jesus walking on water while his disciples spot him from a boat.  His closest disciple, Peter, asks Jesus if Peter could approach  him by also walking on water.

Now, at this moment, did Jesus tell him: “No, no, no! Don’t do that! You will drown!” ? Or did Jesus say : “Are  you sure you want to come and walk on water?” ?

No, Jesus did not say anything like that.  How did Jesus respond? He said one simple word: “Come!”

So Peter got off the boat and started walking towards Jesus… on water.  How did he do this? By focusing on Jesus.  Again, by focusing on Jesus.  And what does that mean?

This is not a religious post preaching about following Jesus.  Bare with me for a moment. If you haven’t stopped reading so far, you are about to find out what this post is really about. …

There are many stories and teaching inside and outside of the Bible that can be used to describe what I am talking about here.  Focusing on Jesus was all Peter needed to do to remain calm,  stable and walking forward.  In our current lives, we would also need to focus and be aware of the Present moment, in order to remain calm and stable.  But as soon as Peter looked down and was “distracted” by the waters and his current circumstance, he began to feel fear, panic, and began to sank.  Jesus had to then reach down and rescue Peter from his “distraction.”

It is easy to lose tract of the present moment by paying attention to our thoughts, doubts and illusions.  But remaining conscious and aware of our surroundings will bring us peace and joy.  Not happiness.

Being happy depends on circumstances.

Being at peace does not.

 

The Beauty of the Present Moment

Every thought , every idea we have and memories, are not in the present moment.  We cannot experience the present moment if we are constantly thinking about other things, ideas … The only thing we can know for sure… what we can be certain of is what we are experiencing right now.

Everything else is an illusion .   A fantasy.  A fabrication of the mind.  Even if our thoughts and ideas seem like they are tangible and sometimes objective, the reality is that that they are simply subjective ideas.  Which can then create anxiety, sadness, and resentments.

Not all thoughts trigger anxiety and sadness; but being in the present moment never triggers these feelings.  Being in the present moment can only bring peace.

We can make ourselves feel peace and tranquility by simply being in the present.  Only with patience and practice can this be achieved.  As soon as we allow ourselves to focus on our thoughts, then we are prone to uncomfortable feelings.  We may start feeling insecure.  Sad.  Angry.  Anxious.

Focusing back in the present… the here and now, will bring contentment… and peace.

That’s the beauty of the Present Moment.

 

Looking at the BIG picture

Trying to look at the big picture is a skill that I learned a while back.  It is simply trying to see everything in a different perspective and considering all the possibilities.

The other night I was looking up at the clear sky… and contemplated on all the stars…. and thought about the inmense space and distance between us and the other stars.   And the distance between each star.  We are like a grain of sand in the middle of an ocean.

When I also look at the sky in the middle of the day, I contemplate on the clouds and the birds, and remind myself of how futile it is to worry so much about trivial things in this life.   We can simply be thankful for the air that we breath, the sun that gives us light, the clouds that brings us rain, and all the gifts that nature indiscriminatorily  and graciously brings to us on a daily basis.

So when I start focusing on small stuff, such as when is the next payment for my insurance due, or why is that other person treating me  unfairly, or what would be the next time I can take a vacation; it would benefit me instead to look at the big picture and consider the fact that I am in the middle of a humongous vacuum and we are all pretty much on the same boat.

It also helps alleviate anxiety and stress…. Significantly.

How else can we look at the Big Picture?

Adjusting my thoughts

 

If I can recognize that  I am feeling     anxious because of the thoughts that I am having at the moment… Then why would I not determine how I feel by changing my thoughts …?

Let me explain… I am having thoughts  about my mother’s husband possible getting progressively sick with a cold and losing his life (he is of advanced  age) and this thought is causing anxiety.  Not because it is actually happening, but because I am thinking about the possibility.  In the event that it does occur,  couldn’t I also adjust my thoughts so that I don’t feel as much anxiety?

I am convinced that feelings are caused by my thoughts . So, whatever I am thinking , “good” or “bad” , will determine my feeling.

Is it possible to train myself so that I can feel  whatever I choose to think about? If it is possible, then it will take practice.  Meditation, yoga, and a lot mindfulness.

I will let you know how I do  with this new task.

Living the Moment…. Now

Living the moment…. right now…   Nothing else matters.. If I remain in the present.

This is the first post of this new blog.  I decided to start this new blog fresh.   The existence that I have experienced has lead me to this point in life.

These are the things I have learned to cherish and appreciate:

Life is what I make of it.. in my mind.

Simplicity is the key to happiness.

Wanting what I already have is also happiness.

Being in the present creates inner peace.

Mindfulness is the act of being in the present.

Resistance and expectations bring suffering.

Acceptance brings relief.

Meditation and yoga are wonderful activities.

Staying close to loved ones is healthy.

Letting go of the past is also healthy.

Refraining from focusing on the future is calming.

Living the moment is true life.

Until next time….