BY: T. Franklin Murphy | January 2017 (edited 2018)
We must step back and see the world from a much wider view than the confining meanings of self. There is more; much more.
The expanse of the universe, with all its wonders, stretches beyond our limited understanding. We feel experience, being drawn towards an event or repelled away from one, depending on our interpretation of the benefits and dangers. The feeling instructs us which path to take. Feeling responses motivate action; but this guidance system isn’t without reproach—feelings are subjective; biased by experience, want and society. For cognitive ease, many treat feelings as the truth, allowing the story-telling mind to create a logical explanation justifying the feeling. When we want something, or feel discomforted, instead of a skeptical review, we just take first and then justify, blame and retaliate—because we felt it.
When selfish views curtail experience, narrowing our vision by excluding the complexities, we drift from reality. Our new positions, arrived at through deceptions, require escalating lies to maintain our fragile little world.
Our fears of abandonment may easily be triggered by the slightest incident. Our emotional response to the fear generates the negative feeling. Although we feel angered at our partner, there may be no act of abandonment—just our fears of abandonment. It’s not their fault; it’s our internal functioning. But we yell at them. Without stepping back and viewing the reaction, from a wider perspective beyond, “I hurt, and you should solve it,” our lives become fractured, ignoring the future implications of our behaviors. Life exposes limited perspectives. Reality doesn’t march to self-created meanings. Protecting our storybook world built around a limited perspective demands exhaustive mental work, we must constantly filter the facts, filling in the holes with rationalizations, distortions, and denials. The more experiences we encounter, engaging under false pretenses, the further we drift. We become so tainted and disjointed from life that all we lose all freedom, becoming automatons to our stories and lies.
In contrast, when we widen our view, seeing a world that includes others, we gain a clearer vision of reality. We gain a deepening appreciation for differences, including considerations for the well-being of others in our decisions. Other people’s views, feelings and experiences have meaning. Through the eyes of others, we see the personal follies conveniently hidden in the darker corners of our mind. When we have a “we” perspective, our world expands. Events no longer appear as unpredictable and scary. This perspective accepts events beyond our explanations without disrupting emotions—because life is no longer completely about us.
We still can be hurt; but now the pain brings wisdom. The lessons improve navigation, winding through complexity without the condemning blame or stunning resentments—we move forward. We Flourish.