Looking at the Big Picture: Part 2

hamburger-rock-big-mac-coyote-buttes-north_500

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. 

A New Perspective to be Mindful

Have you noticed that, when you visit a particular setting for the first time, either a new town, a new house, or a new park, that the first impression is always different than the impression you have on the same place a few minutes later?

I think this happens because our expectations increase once we become more familiarized with the environment.   And the more expectations we have, the more we are distracted by our thoughts.  But when we are  faced with a new environment, we are more likely to stop thinking and observe more.  Which leads to mindfulness.

I don’t know about you, but I  realized that when I make the attempt to perceive a familiar environment as a new and unfamiliar setting , I am inclined to doing mindfulness.  I discovered this when I visit a new setting.  Somehow it changes my perspective the more I become familiar with it.  When visiting a new place, there are less expectations and, therefore, less thinking.  There is more observation and attention to details.  There is more accepting.   And time seems to slow down.

When we are more familiarized with the same place, our expectations increase, and so does our thinking .  There is less observation and less attention to details.  Time will then seem to go faster.

When I try to focus on the details of my surroundings, such as the street and the trees, and try to perceive it as a new experience  , time will seem to slow down .  It is the same as living in the here and now.  Being more mindful.

When it is evening, I try to imagine it being morning.

Or when it is windy and rainy outside, I perceive it as being in a tropical island (which I am not but I wish I were.)

It is almost as if I can change the perception of my surroundings in order to make it soothing.

And be more mindful.