Perspective

November 6, 2011

In the article, The Functional Mind, we learned that the mind carries out at least three primary functions: 1) to identify things, 2) to make associations between things, and 3) to store and retrieve information. In this article, we will learn that we can develop and choose various perspectives with regards to the ‘items’ of the mind.

As we experience life, we collect memories. Things happen to us. We identify those events, categorize them, make associations between those events as past events, and store them in the vastness of our minds. Some of the events in our lives become ‘repressed’ or ‘unconscious’ memories, driving us from a deeper place than we are aware. But many of the event in our lives are readily available for consideration and review at any time. These will be the subject of this article.

Given that our minds do categorize, make associations, and store information, one questions we might ask is, how are those ‘items’ organized in my mind? In other words: What is the relationship between your present thoughts and all the memories that you have accumulated in your life? Are your memories ‘close to the surface’? Do you often make associations between things that are happening in the present and past events? If you find yourself comparing what is happening ‘now’ with what happened ‘before,’ then this could be a major factor in how you shape your personal perspective.

When we ‘view’ the items in our mind through a particular ‘lens,’ aligning certain types of ‘events’ into sets and categorizing certain types of memories as groups, then we view those items from a particular perspective. In reality, all the memories we have are discrete. They are, in fact, not related at all, but our mind makes associations between things that ‘re-mind’ us of other things, so these ‘items’ tend to become grouped together – viewed as a group.

Imagine that all the memories you have are floating in a holographic space that is your mind. Some are in the back, others in the front. Some are to the left, others to the right. All your memories (and the thoughts and feelings that are associated with them) are ‘hovering’ in the space of your mind.

When we are re-minded of a particular mind ‘item,’ we can choice to ‘view’ that item by itself or in association with other items. Most people tend to do the latter, either consciously or unconsciously. Most people tend to view an event ‘in alignment with’ other events that they have identified as similar. It’s as if you are standing in front of a large three-dimensional model of your mind, where memories are placed on levels, like one of those 3-D chess or checkers games.

If you were to walk around the ‘game board’ you would find that you could, through your positioning, align various combinations of items on the boards, so they form a line or group. This ‘aligning to view’ certain types of memories, thoughts and feelings, is what we call ‘perspective.’ Your perspective is your chosen ‘line of sight’ when viewing those items of the mind. How you choose to view the contents of you mind will, in large part, determine what kind of experience you have when faced with new events.

We all have choices with regards to which ‘perspective’ we choose to use. This is obvious, as evidenced by two people arguing over what a shared experience ‘means’ or even what ‘happened.’ Both people have their own perspective–the viewpoint they each choose based on the associations they make between what they remember and what they identify as currently happening.

A Thoughtfulnerss Practice:

The ‘key’ to choosing your perspective, is to remember that every event in your life is unique and not related to what has come before–even if something that is currently happening reminds you of some prior event or situation. This truly is key. Making false associations between the present and the past, then viewing the present from the perspective of the past only takes us farther from the present moment. Adding layers of ‘past’ to the present blurs our vision of what is actually happening, coloring our perspective in some way.

Viewing the present from a neutral perspective, not aligning with any past events, thoughts, feelings, or emotions, helps us remain in the present and appreciate the beauty and unique qualities of every moment in our lives. Unless there is a good reason to take a specific perspective, as a means to maintaining safety, for example, focus on the uniqueness of the present experience, rather than making associations to the past-or future. When you find yourself ‘lining up’ similar ‘items’ to view them as a group, change your perspective so you see the present as a single item. This way, you will enjoy the unique beauty and power of being present.

In a future article, we will example how using a certain perspective repeatedly, over time, can cause someone to adopt a specific ‘orientation.’

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