If you know the story of the philosopher’s stone, then you know that it is the alchemical idea that somewhere somehow there is a material that can transform, or transmute, lead into gold. While now in the current age we can acknowledge that is probably a really unrealistic idea, understanding how gold is properly formed, the practice and study of Alchemy ran much further than materialism.
Reflecting on this idea made me think hard about how it could be true, and what exactly it meant if it were. I took it upon myself like a riddle and really sought for what I knew could transform something from lead to gold. Not in thousands of years, but now, looking for what had that ability.
What has that ability? Can you think of anything?
It took me a while. Some hard earned life lessons, and a few really meaningful trips to understand what I thought it would be. The only answer I could derive, Perspective.
My Perspective on Perspective
Sure, there isn’t a magical item or spell I can cast on lead to make it Gold, but if I could just convince myself it was gold it wouldn’t matter right. It made me realize that as long as my perception of that lead was gold, then I was transmuting that lead into gold via my alchemical “philosopher’s stone” of perspective. I can only live in my own perspective after all, so my reality exists inside of that perspective.
Now a sensible person would argue that if you “convince” yourself you are in a different reality, you’re not enlightened, you’re crazy. However, what is “reality”, other than what the human collective accepts as facts? How often have we seen new information, new facts, new technology change our reality overnight? If you perceive the lead to change to gold, and so does 50% of the rest of the population of the world, then it is reality. It is reality because the most common experience perceives it as reality. There would be more proof of it existing the way you perceive, than not. What is more “real” than factual evidence after all?
This might lead you to believe that I’m saying the entire human experience is all a mental illusion, and while I do think that is partially true, it is also equally untrue. Just another example of this experience’s dualities explained in the post on Duality.
What I mean by that is that everything we experience in this world is because we have received a signal to our inner computer telling us to experience that thing. That does not mean, though, that the world does not exist outside of our heads. The world will continue with or without our individual conscious participation, as we are all extensions of the same conscious participation. Our experience will end though, as all things do, regardless of how conscious we are in it. Our experience is entirely within us, but it is the tool by which we interact with existence around us. Our perspective is our “control” over that experience because it allows us to slip in and out of different experiences within the same exterior existence.
“It’s all in you head” ~ Papa
When I was young, my father had a very common response to the minor trivial problems my adolescent self would bring to him. This common response was “that’s all in your head” and while some people might think that is rather abrasive and invalidating to younger emotions, I did realize he was doing it with an intention to teach me something he learned.
For whatever reason in my father’s life, though I can’t pinpoint when exactly, he learned that if he convinced himself that what was happening was just “in his head” then he was giving himself the power. He was maintaining control over his perspective. This is why my father was never quick to temper. He was mostly always calm, cool, collected and had control over how he was experiencing this existence. Sure when I was younger I may have hated to hear “it’s all in your head” especially in response to something like temperature, or hunger, bathroom stops, but I see now what skill this taught me. Better yet, what muscle it helped me exercise: Perspective.
So how would I suggest we go about exercising our perspective? Luckily there are many ways. The harder ways are those mentioned above. Proving to ourselves that biological urges are all “in our head”. We can do this by pushing our body against its base urges. Sit in uncomfortable temperatures to teach ourselves power over that biological response. Do the same with hunger. Skip the snack to feel the hunger, to teach ourselves that we are in control of that signal. Do not hurt yourself to do this. I am not telling you to sacrifice your health for anything, merely to push against our comfortability. We can do the exercise while holding your breath too. Teaching yourself where those signals come from and training yourself to bring your consciousness out of those base urges.
This is the most physically demanding way to build this muscle, but there are other ways also, however they rely more on other strengths. Where the practices above rely on our physical strength and conviction, there are also exercises that will work on our emotional, mental, and spiritual strengths. Exercising this muscle in all of these different “languages” will help us bring our consciousness completely to our perspective and the perspectives around us.
Emotionally: Push ourselves to love someone or something we feel like we cannot. Forgive someone because we understand their mistake. We should try to put ourselves in their shoes, they love themselves, why? Love them for them. Empathize.
Mentally: Stretch our awareness to different perspectives. Ask ourselves what facts our beliefs are currently based on? What facts would have to change for us to accept new perspectives? Hypothesize.
Spiritually: Map out the perspectives of our lifetime. Look at our life as we have grown and changed. How have we changed our perspective, or how has our perspective been influenced by our experience? How many of those times were we affected primarily by the way we perceived them.
These are ways that I have found have helped me to strengthen my ability to exercise my perspective over this experience. This is what has brought me real power and happiness in this experience and I know if we can strengthen our perspectives, we will bring consciousness to the forefront more frequently, and achieve a better reality. We owe it to ourselves and each other to be as conscious and present in our reality as we can. Being intimately aware of our current perspective. That is how we will fully embrace our experience in this existence. That’s all we can ask of each other and ourselves after all.
There is an idea that the Divinity inside all of us, (God, Source, Spirit, The One,) is experiencing this creation through our experiences. The creator experiencing creation through the created. This idea fuels the concepts discussed above, bringing divine importance to each and every perspective and experience within existence. Our perspective is important, because it is, in this way, God’s Perspective. God’s experience, experiencing us, the creation. I have tried many ways to look at this idea through different religious perspectives, be it christian, pagan, or atheist. What I found is that each brings with it an importance on the experience. In each of those perspectives we are here to experience this existence. So if each perspective shares that importance on the experience itself, then we owe it to all of existence to experience existence to the best of our ability.