There are a number of memes to illustrate the perspective of scarcity versus abundance. Maybe you have been asked if you are a glass half full or half empty type of person? Or told the story of the two siblings who find a room full of horse manure. One cries, the other starts digging believing there must be a pony somewhere hidden amongst the shit. It seems the point of these metaphors is the belief, and there-fore lesson that experience is a choice, perspective matters and the “positive” half full attitude is “better” than the half empty perspective.
The challenge I see to these metaphors is that they present a polarized world. One in which the world is either empty or full, shit or ponies, and in which your perspective is judged as being bad or good. You are placed in a struggle where you are a winner or a loser. You are on the inside or outside. You belong. You don’t belong. You have. You don’t have.
What if there aren’t two sides? What if there aren’t any sides? There just is.
We speak of yin and yang, not yin or yang. Yin and Yang are not opposites. They are not two ways of being. They are the whole. Wholeness has no sides. The appearance of sides, good, bad, top, bottom, have, have not, the illusion of half this or that is a divisive illusion. It is the route of suffering. In reality, each is of the other and of the self. You are whole. You already are. Wholeness is not a place to get to. You are already there. We are there. Any sense that we are not in wholeness is an illusion brought on by the stories we, in our (collective humaness) have created about the world.
Living in the world of the half full glass shackles you to the world of the half empty glass and all the divisive stories of suffering which come with both worlds. The half full world is still a world written by fear. You can choose another way. You can choose to see a glass with water in it. You can choose to notice it as it is. Notice its shape. Notice its colors. Notice the way it feels. Be curious about where it comes from, and where it might go. What about the water, where does it come from? Where might it go? And when you start to get a sense of the glass and the water within it, to know them, you can ask them about their potential (without any need to act on that potential). You can listen with wonder to their infinite stories.
The glass is a glass. It is a glass of being and a glass of potential. The water too, is water, water in itself, water with a past, and water with potential. Together the glass and the water have infinite potential, potential to show love, by bringing them to the lips of a thirsty loved one, potential to nourish, by bringing them to your own lips. They are potential to give life and sustain beauty, by quenching the thirst of the wild flowers you just picked and potential to fuel wonder, as the light shimmers through them creating rainbows. They even have the potential of emotional release as objects to throw and make an explosion with or to infuriate as objects to be thrown at another. Yes they are potential. They are also glass and water. And if all they do is sit on the table, unnoticed. They are still a miracle.
Practice letting go of seeing the positive side of life. Choose to see with wonder, curiosity and appreciation. Practice so that you develop this way of being as another tool in your “ways of being” tool box.
THE PRACTICE: Notice your polarized judgements. Notice if you choose to think, “this is good” or “this is bad”. These good/bad messages come with many different words. Look for them. It may be easiest to notice them when you initially have an uncomfortable reaction to something and then shift your perspective by “looking for the bright side”. When this happens, stop, step back, breathe and welcome what is happening or what has just happened into your awareness as an observer. Notice movements, sounds, colors, shapes, smells. Pick any one aspect of the experience and welcome it. Ask where has it been, where might it go (you can do this in your imagination or in reality). Listen to the answers with curiosity and without the desire or need to be involved in the story. Just be curious, and in wonder. Remember. It is all, you are all, the miracle.
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