It’s All About Perspective

You are walking down a green, grassy field.

Suddenly, out of nowhere, someone jumps at you, and tackles you to the ground.

You pick yourself up angrily, brush yourself off, and try to keep walking.

But a couple of seconds later, another massive person comes flying out of nowhere and smashes you back into the ground.

Your glasses simultaneously break but still make their way deep into your nose, and by now you are fuming.

Just as you are about to lash out at the 300 pound gorilla-man (not a smart idea, but now is not your moment of fullest clarity), someone walks over in a black and white striped shirt and explains:

“That ball you are carrying? It’s a football. This field you walking across? It’s a football field? Your worthy opponents? Football players.”

That changes everything.

Suddenly, it’s all a game! What fun! Please, by all means, pummel my face into pulp! The thrill of potential victory pumps through my veins!

 It’s all in your head

The previous anecdote was taught to me by my mentor, Rabbi David Aaron, to illustrate the importance of perspective on our emotional health and ability to process challenges.

The way we perceive things changes everything – running in circles on a soccer court for hours at a time can be your favorite activity if it’s part of a game. But if someone puts a gun to your head you and forces you to do it, you will find yourself becoming instantly resentful and do everything in your power to escape.

What changed? Only your perception.

Have you ever found yourself lying in your bed, exhausted but unable to sleep and worrying frantically about the myriad of problems the next day has in store for you?

What happens the next day? More often than not, the problems you were so worried about never materialize (and those that do, you probably didn’t see coming, but that’s another story).

The only thing that changed was your emotional state – when you are tired or worried, even smaller problems can seem huge. Conversely, major challenges can appear perfectly surmountable when you have a positive, empowered attitude.

By this point, it should be apparent that the only thing defining our reaction to things that happen to us is not the thing itself but our emotional state and our perception of that thing.

Try this.

Close your eyes and imagine a slightly challenging circumstance you experienced in the past. Let yourself feel the unpleasant feelings that came with that.

Now, as you continue to vividly imagine the scene, add some silly circus music to the background.

What happens? The entire setting changes – you’re not stuck in traffic, you’re part of a sitcom!

If you can change the emotional setting in which the event occurs, the result is a very different experience.

 Change through perception

Imagine the difference you can create in your life if you could control the way you perceived the circumstances that befall you.

What if you could live life like one big game, embracing failure as part of the process and taking pleasure in the effort you exert along the way. When we play games we experience the moment even while keeping the end in mind, yet in real life we tend to focus way too much on “finishing the game”.

This is a fundamental teaching taught by George Pransky and Health Realization practitioners: your perception of reality impacts your emotions, and you have the ability to change your perceptions – and subsequently, your quality of life – in an instant.

 With Hishtalmoot meditation, it is very easy to actively change your mood and consequentially, the way you perceive the life events that befall you.

We have already seen how easy it is to invoke feelings of being loved.

Similarly, in this week’s guided meditation, you will experience a simple technique for putting yourself into a positive, open-minded mindset, which will allow you to overcome the most challenging circumstances with grace.

You will practice accessing your “ideal spot” even when the going gets tough, and see that when you adopt this positive mindset it becomes much easier to handle, and grow from, difficulty.

 Summary

This week, we learned:

  • That our perception creates our reality
  • Having a positive mindset and perception makes it much easier to cope with challenges 
  • Hishtalmoot meditation makes it easy to adopt this type of positive mindset and create mental “safe spaces” at will

Next week we will explore how Judaism perceives time and space, and how Hishtalmoot meditation can help deepen the experience.

Previous topics in this series:

  1. What is meditation?
  2. What makes meditation Jewish