A greater degree of self-empowerment can come from the way we look at things. We might not be able to change our life circumstances straight away, but we might well be able to immediately change the manner in which we perceive events, which will positively impact the experience we’re having, including our emotional and mental wellbeing. Moreover, the memories we’ll have about the experience in the future will also be more positive. Here’s an example. My life has been punctuated by periods of what I used to call isolation. This indicates times when my life appears to be going no-where, as if the existential button were on pause and all doors are closed, no matter what I try to do or how positive I endeavour to be. I gradually came to realise that these periods, in what I labelled my isolation unit, have given me the opportunity to discover more about my self – my human-spiritual constitution. Ok, good, at least I was able to see the situation as in some way benefiting me, but I still felt it to be painful and in some way unjust. It was only recently that the next click came and I began to perceive these moments of withdrawal from busy, everyday life as a retreat.
Already the new label – retreat as opposed to isolation – gave a totally different nuance to the experience. Moreover, I really jumped into the retreat with my heart and soul and did my best to totally throw out resistance any time it started to creep up on me. I suddenly realised: Wow! Some people spend hundreds, if not thousands, of pounds to go on a retreat with meditation, periods of silence, walks in nature, contemplation of spiritual teachings, etc. and here I am being offered the chance of a retreat by Life, totally free of charge, in the comfort of my own cosy home and the company of my three adorable cats. It hardly gets any better! [Of course, you know what the ego is like, next minute the rational mind is trying to tell me I should feel guilty for being able to go on a retreat – so many other people would like to get off the treadmill of life and get such a chance! “Yes, yes, rational mind, I’ll just put you on mute as you’re always the devil’s advocate.”]
Naturally, some life circumstances can be too extreme for this perception switch technique to be a useful tool; for example, when there is abuse or violence. However, in many other cases, perception switching might very well help us to feel much more positive and empowered, which is always a favourable energetic state – rather than depression and negativity – for attracting improved life circumstances.
Sam Red, 30 April 2015