If you’re like me, you probably think that what you see, feel, touch, smell, or hear is the real deal. However, with just a bit of reflection, you might agree that you are experiencing a very limited version of reality, just one, possible slice that’s filtered through your particular history and conditioning. This partial view makes up your personal reality and gives your life meaning. Thinking that your vantage point is real is only natural. You experience it, so it must be the truth. As long as life feels good, this limited view is fine. However, when your viewpoint conflicts with somebody else’s, or your slice of reality isn’t so satisfying, broadening your limited version of reality can really help to sort things out.
Opposites define one another: there is no Yin without Yang, no hot without cold, up without down, or even good without bad. Unless you’re very conscious, your view at any one time usually favors one side or the other. If you’re too far out of balance, you suffer. When you understand that your conditioning is not who you are, you can almost immediately detach from your position and recognize a broader range of possibilities. When you realize that your viewpoint is only one of many, you can open your mind and see beyond it. This is a valuable skill that can positively impact every aspect of your life.
Practicing the shift from being caught in the illusion of your perspective to the freedom of ‘awareness’ (that other perspectives legitimately exist), eventually becomes quick and easy. When you’re at odds with some aspect of your life, just remembering that you probably don’t see the whole picture helps you to relax and embody a larger, more expanded perspective.
For example, imagine you are looking at only a portion of a beautiful painting and you see a black blob, which appears ugly from your perspective. When you view the whole painting, you see that this black blob perfectly defines, accentuates, and balances the beautiful colors next to it.
According to Yin/Yang theory, everything in the universe is continuously moving toward equilibrium and balance. Understanding this helps allow you to trust in the moment. When you think about it, it’s humorous to think that you know how reality should be presenting itself. Especially when you consider that each person only sees a tiny slice. It’s as if you’re saying: “Reality, you should do it my way! I don’t care if my way isn’t the way everyone else wants it. My way is the way it should be.”
Exercise: If you find yourself in an unpleasant frame of mind, visualize the yin/yang symbol. Consider that you may be in a polarized position on one side of the image and are probably missing the ‘big’ picture. Take a mental step back and try to expand to see from a more holistic point of view. Remind yourself that when you argue with reality, you always lose. Ask your mind to align you with this truth. Trust that it will follow your command and wait for the larger picture to present itself.
The expanded viewpoint can threaten your ego, which thrives on taking strong positions and being so sure that it is right. It doesn’t care if you’re happy or not, its job is to stake out an identity by separating you from others and taking a stand. As long as your polarized position feels good, there’s no problem and no need to do anything. But if you’re caught in a bummer reality, you might consider taking control and giving the ego a little time off. Stepping into an expanded view feels good on a deep level. When you open to the awareness that it’s a stuck position that’s causing the problem, you can consciously let go and immediately access relief in the world of the inner Self who abides in the peace and joy of the big picture. Letting go is the key.