How To Imagine Another Perspective From Another's Shoes
We don't consciously recognise how we are all unique because we see everyone as defined by our own beliefs. E.g we believe that person is feeling unhappy because they have that "unhappy" expression on their face yet the expression they have may not signify unhappiness to them.
If we never have cause to consider something different then the possibility of "more" or "differences" has no reason to exist and arise to expand our world vision.
This is one of the reasons why travel broadens the mind, at least it does if you pay attention to where you are!
Different cultures grow up with their own unique thoughts and observations of their own unique circumstances, so when we immerse ourself into a completely different culture, old thoughts of absolutes are challenged and begin to fade and soften into options and choices.
Living in Finland, even though it is still a western style democracy has pulled me out of a few rigid mindsets. One such instance was noticing how the word for north had the same root as the word for bottom. To my English mind north always points upwards and it just confused me to associate it with bottom.
My partner explained thus, that when we look up at the night sky we can see the north star fixed in the north. Imagine that from where we stand on the earth, the stars are curved around us like dots painted onto the inside of a large bowl surrounding the Earth. At the bottom of that bowl lays the north star!
I have long since given up the arrogant and pompous idea that other peoples' thoughts are preposterous. Instead, in the spirit of real growth, I put myself into their place (as much as I am able) and see things from where they are standing, physically, emotionally, mentally, culturally, socially, energetically, causally, spiritually etc. These instances result in an opening, I don't lose my self, I gain new perspectives and am quicker to recognise our unity rather than our separation.
The gift of stepping into another's shoes has always been mine. It wasn't until I began to realise others didn't have it that I recognised it as a gift. I've also had cause to find it a hindrance too and spend time blocking it out.
The first moment of realisation came when I was about 8 years old. One day at school someone mentioned how I always said something nice about others. I was a shy child so I never said very much to anyone! But this person wasn't saying it as a compliment. That day I learnt how I was different but now had some way to change to fit in with the crowd a bit more.
About 26 years later whilst staying with a friend I would give her a back massage, not because I'd had any training. She loved my back massages because I always knew where to go and what to do. I remarked that was because I could feel it exactly in my own back so all I had to do was follow that - didn't everyone do that? Apparently not!
A few years ago there was a second tragic school shooting in Finland and as I read some of the news on the net I spontaneously dropped into the mind/body of the shooter. I felt his pain, torment, frustration and sadness (sadness isn't a deep enough word to describe what I felt that day, there is no word). I quickly pulled myself out of there. Of course I don't condone shooting anyone but I understand how it came to that. Imagine how much pain someone must be in to believe that shooting all those people was an ok thing to do.
Occasionally a septic spot like that appears on the surface of our society and we quickly rush to apply some ointment and concealer to make it go away. We look to outside forces to determine where it came from. We never seem to consider how its roots lay on the inside, the poison rose to the surface of society from within.
More recently I was visiting in England and by chance happened to be in a large book store at 11am on the 11th November. This is the moment a 2 minute silence is given in honour of what I call victims of war. I hadn't been in the UK for over 2 years and had already felt quite sensitive to the crowding and noise (crowding of auras and noise of thought forms). As I noticing people and escalators slowing to a halt, it dawned on me what was about to happen. All around me people stopped their mind chatter to focus and tune-in on war, grief, soldiers, heroes, loved ones, lost ones, wounds and the sheer enormity of human horror. It did not feel good.
I wish for the future that I could just for 1 second touch my hand to the forehead of humanity and show them what I felt and saw. To show the combined perspectives of war from the smallest supposed insignificance to the mass inflicted horrors. Because if you saw/felt/experienced/knew that feeling it would be impossible to inflict pain ever again without feeling.
That time is coming. Our children are coming and they won't be able to stand the noise and infliction. Then the world will change.
For now I remain wary of being around too many people for too long. It hurts too much and I fear it will break me. But I know that my fear will pass and this long dark night will explode into a new dawn.
I also know that we all have the same basic senses.