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Home : Essays on Being Human : Winter 1997



As an infant you come into the world with boundless awareness, you experience everything as "I." Your integrated consciousness knows and loves everything, even your own feces. Gradually you learn to adopt viewpoints and come to define yourself by the limits of your skin. You distinguish between "I" and "Other." This dis-integration process continues as you become identified with the viewpoints of your gender, religion, state, country, career, job, etc. These viewpoints filter your perceptions and experiences. As you identify with more defined viewpoints you lose touch with your more expansive awareness of the world. You see less. Colors are less vibrant. You experience the world through many layers of belief filters.

Your ability to process information, make decisions and operate effectively in the world is directly related to your ability to shift viewpoints. Children are taught this ability in kindergarten ("How would you feel if Johnny took your toy?") We are told that the best way to know another person is to walk a mile in their shoes.

Their are few problems in the world that can't be improved by a shift in viewpoint. If you find yourself in a situation that feels out of your control, chances are you've defined your viewpoint as too small, too restricted. You've compressed your own world and limited your ability to step back and create options. When we relax and take a step back from the world we see the forest from the trees. (The word "relax" has its roots in the Latin re-laxare, which means "to widen back.")

Tony Cecala,
Publisher, The Holistic Networker

©1997, Tony Cecala