The way we interpret things, the lens through which we filter information, shapes our world.
We’ve talked about it before, but it’s so important it bears repeating. Our perspectives, filters, issues, and interpretations shape our experiences, our lives, and our worlds.
This weekend, Pace and I took a spiritual class wherein we sang several powerful chants. One of them says “There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.”
This morning, Pace and I were singing again, and she said that one was her favorite chant ever. I responded, “Wow, really? I hate that one!”
She was blown away. Unsurprising, since the usual error makes us think our partners (and everyone else) will love the things we love. We started talking about it.
To me, kneel is a loaded word. It means bow and be subservient. Kneel in front of your master. Evil overlords make heroes kneel to humiliate them. Given this interpretation, it’s not surprising that I don’t like singing about kneeling.
But to Pace, it was part of the phrase as a whole – which she interprets as showing honor and respect to the earth and to the divine.
Huh, okay. That makes it suck less for me, which is nice because this is a very popular chant in our spiritual environment.
Then she emailed me another interpretation: The way in which the author of the chant (Rumi) worships may be to kneel and kiss the ground, but there are hundreds of ways to worship and all of them are valid and awesome.
I resonate with that so clearly, so deeply, that it completely changed the way I feel about this song. I’ve had it in my head for hours and now I’m delighted instead of irritated.
I looked at it in a different light, and that changed everything.
So often, we get stuck in our worldviews. We forget that others are different and get really upset when we’re reminded. We have a certain way of looking at certain things, and we’ll be damned before we look at it differently. But if you tilt your head to the left instead of always to the right, you might find beauty where you once found sorrow.
You might find freedom where you once found chains.
You might find truth where you once found lies – or the reverse: you might find lies where you once saw truth.
It can go either way. Different perspectives, different ways of looking at things can help you or hinder you – but it will certainly change you.
And we could all use a little change now and then.