The Journey Continues – Looking at Life from a Different Perspective

Walk a mile in my shoes

Last week when I wrote “Musings” I mentioned how we were first astonished and then amazed when we saw pictures of Earth as seen from first the Moon and then Mars. Most of us only get the view as seen on the ground of this planet so our perception is kind of narrow as to how things appear from “out there.”

That got me thinking. It’s not just our perception of the appearance of our own planet that we are unaware of. No, it goes much farther than that. It’s almost as if most of us have a set of blinders on that only allows us to see what is right in front of our faces. We don’t seem to even be aware that Life is happening to others in different ways than it’s happening to us.

I got my first real wake-up call on this when I became a teacher of Wicca. I would explain something to a student and I would get this “deer in the headlights” look from them. It puzzled me. Why didn’t they see or understand this as plainly as I did? I would try to explain it another way and the same thing would happen. Sometimes it would take as many as a half a dozen different explanations before I would see the lights go on behind their eyes. Hmmm….

You see, it never occurred to me that they didn’t see Life as I saw it or that they might not be working with the same tools I had to work with or that their Life experiences hadn’t brought them to this moment with the same perspectives that I had. Duh…

As the years have gone by, it’s become obvious to me how very, very different each of our journeys is and how different our perspectives of Life, because of those journeys, are. Here in lies my tale.

My observations and thoughts began with the violence and racism that we have been experiencing just within the borders of the United States. It’s of deep concern to me that, in this land of freedoms (compared to many others), there appears to be so much hate for one another. Anger, rather than Love, seems to be the prevailing emotion/energy and it is tearing us apart. The foreign terrorist we so fear, need not come here. They can just sit back and wait as we slowly turn on each other. Domestic terrorism is at a high and yet people are still looking, in fear, at a threat from outside our borders. Our very attitudes toward one another are the real threat, but we refuse to see it. Why is this?

It comes back to perspectives, folks. We seem to have a vast inability of seeing Life from anyone’s perspective but our own and that narrow perspective is turning us all into intolerant, fearful, bigots who don’t want anyone that doesn’t think the way we do or live the way we do to rock our boat. They must be dealt with! So let’s suppress their rights or deport them because, heaven knows, we can’t tolerate anyone making us uncomfortable about how we live our lives. It’s not just about race, like in the 60s during the Civil Rights Movement or  gender from the early 1900s when women sought the equality of the vote. It’s about anyone that’s different – race, religion, gender, and so much more. We’ve come to believe that no one has the right to live their lives in their own way (harming none), if that manner of living makes us feel uncomfortable.

For peace to return to this country, to any degree, we must learn to step outside of our own perspective of Life and see it from the viewpoint of another. This holds true even in our own personal relationships. If we only look at things from our own minuscule perspective, we can never understand and truly relate to anyone else.

Can we do that? I don’t know. It would require many of us to drop our “holier than thou” attitudes and recognize that we are all on the way “home”, just taking different paths to do so. It would require us to take on the quality of humility and recognize that not everyone can learn what they need to by using the same methods. It would also require us to stop our need to be “right” and recognize that there are many correct ways to accomplish something – not just the way one particular individual has chosen to do it.

Even more than not knowing if many of us are able to do this, is the fact that I don’t know if people can move beyond the fears they have of other people being different from themselves and be willing to try to stand in their shoes and view life from their perspective. It would provide greater understanding of each other, but I don’t know if there are many ready for that.

Greater understanding would bring answers to questions that seem to divide us. However, I sometimes get the feeling that there are those who don’t want the answers. Those answers would take away the justification for treating their fellow human beings so badly. It might even take away the justification for their anger and reveal what that anger is really all about. We can’t have that! That might mean we would have to take responsibility for our lives instead of blaming another or their way of life for our feelings.

I guess what I’m trying to say here is that, just like how the view of our planet from space opened up our perspective, we need to now step outside our individual, minuscule perspectives and view life as others see it, if we want our lives and the life of our country and planet to change for the better. I know I’m not the only one who feels this way. I just felt the need to say it.

Walk a Mile in my Shoes 2

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