Our recent trip to Hawai’i, in support of friends dealing with cancer, offered us another wonderful lesson on perspective (see earlier post on this subject: https://learningtoreawaken.wordpress.com/2014/09/14/a-simple-matter-of-perspective/). We came to realize that amidst everything else we were experiencing, we were seeing rainbows every day. Every single day! (No wonder this image is on the local car license plates!) As we gazed in awe at one of these apparitions, Judy observed that rainbows really are all about perspective. Not everyone on the island of Maui was seeing this rainbow. Science tells us that rainbows don’t really exist in some point in the sky. They are an optical illusion that occurs when a light source (like the sun) touches water droplets (such a mist from a waterfall, or rain). Not only do these natural phenomena need to come together, you have to be looking at the world from just the right angle in order to actually see the spectrum of colors radiating across the sky which we ordinarily perceive as white light.
This was a good reminder for us of how often the only determinant of whether we see beauty or are stuck in the muck of everyday life, has to do with where we are standing: Where and how we choose to “see” an event taking place outside of ourselves. (Granted, our ability to choose is at times due to our privilege….) What we see depends on where we are – or on where we choose to place ourselves.
Shanti’s (our pooch) biological clock wakes him up somewhere between 6 and 6:30 every morning. The fact that we currently find ourselves in a cozy and beautifully dark basement room practically devoid of natural light, in which we could certainly sleep a good part of the morning away (and Nicky has been known to do so!) means nothing to him. His senses tell him it’s time for his morning exploration of the backyard. Nothing we do can talk him out of it; at best we can employ delaying tactics. Regardless of what time we go to bed. Regardless of whether we slept soundly or not. And of course, Shanti insists that one of us go with him. Just last week, while wandering over the crunching, sparkling grass in the luminous pre dawn light, Judy came to realize that we have a choice of perspective every morning. We can resist and try to talk Shanti out of wanting to get up. We can do our best to keep him calm and scratch his belly in hopes of him dropping back off to sleep. We can put our heads under our pillows so that his cry isn’t quite as heart wrenching. Or, we can look upon it as an opportunity. An opportunity to go outside and gaze at the gorgeous early morning sky. An opportunity to watch the moon set. An opportunity to listen to the ice forming at the edge of the river as it makes a bell-like tinkling sound. An opportunity to ponder the miracle of seeing our own breath right before our eyes and to realize how many other beings have breathed in those very same air molecules across time. It’s one of millions of daily choices of perspective – resistance or opportunity?