Saturday, September 21, 2013

One Ocean, Many Points of View

Have you ever heard the old saying about not seeing the forest for the trees? What it means is that some people get so caught up in little details that they are unable to see the bigger picture. They see the individual trees, but not the whole forest.

But it occurred to me that sometimes details do matter, and you need to look at the little picture too. So, just as it's possible to not see the forest for the trees, it's also possible to not see the trees for the forest.

One example of that would be like seeing the earth from outer space, and thinking you have the broader view of things, but not seeing the individual life stories enfolding below. In one sense, your view would be broader, but without the details on the ground your view would also be quite limited, and you'd be missing out on a lot.

Or, like thinking that paper documents -- things like bank records, tax records, court records, property records, medical records, school records, resumes, photographs, etc. -- give you a good overview of a person's life, without ever actually talking to them. While you will know certain facts about them, that will give you some insight into the kind of person they are, much of what makes a person a unique human being are never recorded in documents.

There are multiple ways of looking at the world, more than one way of seeing and interpreting the facts depending on your point of view, whether you are looking at something from the perspective of the sky or the ground, the microscopic or the macroscopic, the big picture or the little picture, the individual or the totality.

Everybody talks about how important the big picture is, that really, the smart view is the long view, the big picture is what matters most. The whole is greater than the part. The self is just a single drop of water in a vast ocean of eternity. What really matters is the ocean, not the individual drops. All is one. Bla bla bla.

True, but that's not the only perspective. There are multiple perspectives, as many perspectives as there are forms of life. Just because one perspective is limited, does not invalidate it. You know, we are limited by our senses, the world that we see as human beings, the collective hallucination that we call reality, is not the absolute reality, because reality may look and be totally different to other forms of life.

Our senses act as filters, our brains interpret the world in a way that is much like translating a foreign language that you don't have absolute fluency in, into a language that we can understand but is actually vastly different than the original. The meaning changes somewhat, and there is much that is lost in translation. Each species and even to some extent each culture and individual being translates the language of life a little differently, and much of it is happening at a totally unconscious level, where we are not even aware of how much we think we know about reality is the result of our unconsciously programmed beliefs.

Point is, even if there is a greater truth that transcends human understanding, a reality behind and beyond the reality that we know from our senses, a reality perhaps far truer than anything we could ever know while in this form of life, it doesn't invalidate the truth of our experience, nor does it make the meaning and purpose of our lives as individuals any less true.

Just because the ocean is greater than a single drop, it doesn't negate the value of those individual drops. If an individual drop of water has consciousness and self-awareness, even if at another level, from another perspective, they are in actuality not merely an individual drop, but the entire ocean, a whole body of water acting in unison as one, they are actually both.

There is a big picture and a little picture, an individual life and the totality of all life, all have their place, all have their value, one is not ultimately superior to the other. Yes, the ocean is greater than the drop, but to have awareness of your individual existence is like the ocean's ability to zoom in to that one spot of itself, and to experience the richness of life from that particular perspective, which although it is a limited perspective, that does not negate the value of it.

There is a suitable place for all, depending on the circumstances and needs. Sometimes it is desirable to be small, to be limited, to be an individual, to have a unique identity, to see from the perspective of a tree or a drop of water or a human being, to be mortal, and to live and die in time. It doesn't matter if there is a greater perspective that encompasses all, the point at which individual trees become the forest. There are important lessons to be learned here too, on the ground, and on the level of an individual, with a unique personality and sense of self, as well as great joy to be experienced that would not be possible from any other perspective.

All perspectives great and small have their purpose, and contain a certain element of truth appropriate to their situation. It may not be the ultimate truth, more of a relative truth, but it is a truth befitting the particular perspective in time.

The world as seen by a grasshopper is not the world seen by humans, and the world seen by humans is not the infinite ocean of truth that lies above and beyond and greater than the individual existence of being human, but it suits their needs.

You may aspire to expand your consciousness to alter your perspective, and to experience a deeper and more comprehensive point of view, but really, no matter what you believe, you are still limited by your human form -- your senses, your brain, your biology -- you may believe that you are one with the great ocean of infinity, but you are still seeing it and other perspectives filtered through your human consciousness, and that same ocean of infinity may appear vastly different to other forms of life.

It's the same ocean, but there are many different points of view.

*This is post 12 of 20, part of my 20 Posts in 30 Days challenge.

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