This past Saturday I accompanied and assisted my wife Angela as she gave a presentation at a summit for medical doctors. At the summit I learned that among the many changes in the medical field the past few years, doctors are now required to maintain digital versions of the paper charts of all their patients’ medical and treatment history. Since this has been a source of great stress and consternation for many of the physicians, Angela suggested that flexibility and letting go of attachment to how things used to be may relieve some of the anxiety around the issue.
A Buddhist teacher gave a similar recommendation to the question on how to bring greater harmony during this time of great division in America and the world. The teacher suggested that we must not hold onto our point of view too tightly, for when we do, we create an “I’m right and you’re wrong” mentality that often leads to conflict. The Buddhist teacher went on to note we must have an expanded point of view in order to see a greater array of solutions to the challenges we face. Having an expanded point of view can not only help bring about greater peace and understanding between people, it can also help us rise above our individual problems by giving us access to the “Ideasphere.” In the Ideasphere there are only divine solutions and, as spiritual beings, our ability to self-reflect gives us the power to choose from among these solutions. Other species do not have this capability.
The Persian fable about a bug in a rug emphasizes this. According to the story, a little bug was crawling around a rug and the strands of wool surrounded it like giant trees. It kept bumping into one giant tree after another. The huge strands seemed to be everywhere, acting as barriers as the bug tried to get to a small crumb of food to eat. If the bug had been able to raise itself above the rug and look down, it would have been able to see the obstacles as part of a beautiful woven pattern. Unfortunately, all he could perceive was what was getting in the way of his livelihood. If we don’t expand our point of view, we will be like the bug in the rug.
Nelson Mandela was one of many who successfully moved beyond his grip on his learned point of view, which enabled him to make a significant contribution to the world. Due to fighting apartheid in South Africa, Mandela was sentenced to a life of hard labor in prison. Initially he was consumed by the limited belief that his vision of harmony and an apartheid-free country would never be realized. Then one day, like raindrops falling on a parched field, he expanded his thinking by saying to himself, “maybe my vision can still happen.”
After much contemplation he had the revelation that what appeared to be a hopeless situation was actually exactly how it should be and that his idea could in fact be manifested. Perhaps being in prison was the means to the end of apartheid. As this idea settled into a fully embodied mindset, it occurred to him to write letters to western news media. Prison guards he befriended mailed the letters on his behalf. A worldwide movement soon started and put pressure on the government of South Africa to change its ways. Eventually, his efforts led to his freedom and Nelson Mandela became the President of the country that unjustly imprisoned him.
Mandela’s case proved that tapping into the limitless possibilities of the Ideasphere can incite the achievement of anything. We all have the capacity to do this and are here to do the same.
Peace and Blessings,