Have a wiser perspective

March 12, 2006

It’s your life

Once a man with a serious illness was wheeled into a hospital room where another patient was resting on a bed next to the window. As the two became friends, the one next to the window would look out and then delight his bedridden companion with vivid descriptions of the world outside: the beauty of the trees in the nearby park, where leaves danced in the wind; the things people were doing as they walked by. However, with time, the bedridden man grew frustrated at his inability to observe the wonders his friend described. Eventually, he grew to dislike him and then to hate him intensely.

One night, during a particularly bad coughing fit, the patient next to the window stopped breathing. Rather than pressing the button for help, the other man chose to do nothing. The next morning the asthmatic patient was pronounced dead and wheeled out of the room. The other man quickly asked for the bed next to the window, a request easily complied with. But as he looked out the window, his entire being shook — the window faced a stark brick wall. His former roommate had conjured up the incredible sights that he described as a loving gesture to make his friend feel a little bit better. He had acted out of selfless love.

This story never fails to create a shift in my own perspective. To live happier, more fulfilling lives when we encounter a difficult circumstance, we must keep shifting our perspective and continually ask ourselves, “Is there a wiser, more enlightened way of looking at this seemingly negative situation?” Physicist Stephen Hawking has said that we live on a minor planet of a very average star located within the outer limit of one of a billion galaxies. How’s that for a shift in perspective? Given this information, are your troubles really that big? Are the problems you have experienced or the challenges you might currently be facing really as serious as you have made them out to be?

We walk this planet for such a short time. In the overall scheme of things our lives are mere blips on the canvas of eternity. So have the wisdom to enjoy the journey and savour the process.

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