Perception: Learning How to View the Glass

When we focus on the negativity in our lives it forms a cascading effect of compounding negativity wherein each little thing that occurs becomes exponentially more severe and negative than it would if it had occurred independently of everything else. Humans have this tendency to seek order and to find patterns or reasons for things occurring and when we focus on the negative it tends to exacerbate the problem by assigning an underlying negative force focused on our personal lives.

This is problematic and it leads to a lot of harm, suffering and stress that could otherwise be averted by not linking everything together. However, this trait also tends to work in the opposite direction; i.e., when we focus on the positive the positive tends to have an escalating compounding effect of positivity. Many like to call this or liken it to “good luck” or a “stroke of luck” or “being blessed,” but what is happening regardless of the nominal characteristics associated with it is that the positive is being focused on and it changes how each particular event is analyzed and evaluated.

In a nutshell, the key for me is to not dwell on the negative things associating evil or harmful purpose to independent and mutually exclusive events, and instead focusing on the positive things in my life. This does not mean that I ignore that bad things happen because that would not be healthy and some things do not to be dealt with as they arise. But it does mean that I strive to not let those things consume my being by crowding out the beauty that surrounds me.

(Exercise)

Make a list of ten negative things in your life that come to mind. I think for most of us this should come fairly naturally and easily. Do not be concerned if you have a hard time with this because that means you are already on the path to achieving and maintaining greater peace and joy in your life.

Then beside or underneath that list, or even on another sheet entirely write of list of twice or three times as many positive things in your life or your world. For many of us, myself included this is often much harder at first because we are not accustomed to looking for the beauty in our own lives, but it is there I assure you.

When you are finished look at the two lists side-by-side and allow yourself to feel how seeing the positivity in your life makes your feel. You may even enjoy a practice that I like doing; I like to burn the list of negative things because it symbolizes my letting go of the harmful things in my life. I actually feel as though I am letting go of the negative thinking I tend to allow to harbor in my soul crowding out the light.

I was surprised to learn that it was not the things that happen in my life, no matter how problematic they may seem to be that cause the harm to my spiritual well-being, but rather, it was how I perceived and thought about those events that caused the harm.

(Conclusion)

This is the philosophy behind viewing the glass either half full or half empty and it one method I have found useful in helping me to envision and experience the world and myself as being full of opportunity and beauty. Perceiving the glass as half empty reveals a thought that something is being taken away from us that we feel we deserve, which dramatically decreases our level of peace and contentment. In contrast, viewing the glass as half full reveals a thought that something has been given that was not deserved, an unwarranted gift. Learning how to view life as a gift and not as something that is deserved which is being stolen from me has allowed me the freedom to live in the grace that abounds uninhibited by the feeling that the world is out to get me. It has made a tremendous difference in my level of serenity, and I hope it helps some of you as well.

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