I was asked; how it is possible to see the beauty of life when you are surrounded by so much pain?
I believe that your perceptions of life are determined by your own philosophy of life. You continually interpret life’s experience through this personal philosophy. This philosophy is self-recursive; connecting your experiences with your beliefs and assumptions in an ongoing, unfolding way.
I have my own life philosophy that helps guide my understanding. My model has 4 inter-dependent and interactive components to it. Each component looks at life from a different vantage point. But the holistic totality of this philosophy has helped me access and experience the beauty that life offers.
The co-operative life: your mirror
If you look through the co-operative lens of life, you will notice that your intentions will be matched or mirrored by life in some way. Life is predominantly an information and energy exchange, so what you think and feel, will be reflected back to you. This has to do with resonance and matching and is akin to the law of attraction.
Linked to this, is the ability to see both sides of the coin – it requires ‘both/and’ thinking and especially asks you to review and reflect on your part in any situation. It requires that you become sensitive to the relationships that exist; and in particular to the energy and information movement, between you and others.
The main aspect of this lens points to the nature of your relationships with others.
The expansive life: your evolving
If you look at life through this lens, you will sense that you are on an unfolding journey. It relates to your movement in life over time. On this journey there are processes of growth (your learning) and also of decay (the need to unlearn or to let go). The decay is nothing more than letting go of old destructive patterns that may be limiting you in some way.
In the expansive life, you will also be aware of two interdependent, yet contrasting evolutionary processes; (a) your differentiation (which is your uniqueness due to your separation from others), and (b) your integration (which is the realisation that ‘we are all in the same boat together’).
The main aspect of this lens points to your learning and unlearning over time.
The perfect life: your acceptance
Viewed through this lens, life requires you to have faith and trust, and to acknowledge and embrace a life force that is greater than you.
You will find that you are grateful and appreciative of what life can offer you if you align yourself to this perspective. Saying ‘thank you’ becomes part of your everyday exchange with others. And since we are also dealing with the co-operative life, it will say ‘thank you’ back to you. While this lens suggests that you are ‘perfect’ (or unique) as you are, the expansive life challenges you to develop all of your potentiality to the full. Life wants you to shine and to be the best you can be.
The treatment modality of Alcoholics Anonymous is deeply embedded in this philosophy. The alcoholic or addict has to surrender him/herself to a 12 step programme that contends that ‘only a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity’.
The main aspect of this lens points to your attitude of appreciation and gratitude.
The random life: your response
The random life, adds the new element to the unfolding life process, that can catapult you onto a different level. On a negative level, the random event comes in the form of trauma or crisis. On a positive level, the random event comes in the form of amazement, miracle, or quantum leap.
Just recently, I was chatting to a colleague who had qualified with me over 25 years ago. While she continued to retain her registration as a psychologist, she had not practiced much over this period due to personal reasons. She mentioned that she had felt immobilised for most of this time, but was wanting to re-enter the profession and begin working with clients. Anyway, a day or so ago, she received a notification from the Health Professional Board that she had been ‘selected’ via a random computer draw for an audit of her Continuing Professional Development (CPD) training points. This had surprised me. I knew that the Professional Board had made it known that they were going to do audits – but I had never heard of anyone who had been audited. While she had not done all of the required training, she viewed this audit as a ‘blessing’ since it would activate her to acquire new skills. She was viewing the random life in a perfect way and was appreciative of this.
The main aspect of this lens points to your creative response and embracing change.
I met Alfred for the first time yesterday. It wasn’t a planned meeting. As I approached my home, at the end of my afternoon run, I heard the sound of a trumpet. It wasn’t the most eloquent sound, but I could feel the energy and passion coming from the music.
Alfred was walking down the road, playing his trumpet. I was running up the road, towards my home. Our eyes met and we both stopped outside my home. He wore a shirt with a logo ‘Jesus Christ Saviour’.
It was obvious that he was poor. He had a beautiful smile. I asked him if I could take a picture of him playing his trumpet (I wanted to share him with you in this blog). He agreed and continued to play while I took his picture.
While we didn’t discuss why he was playing his trumpet walking up and down the roads in our middle class suburb, I had this strong feeling that he wanted to awaken us from our slumbers. ‘Rejoice’ seemed to be the predominant message that was emanating from his trumpet. It was a touching random encounter.