Life Is Perspective

We don’t see the world as it is, we see it as we are.
—Anaïs Nin

Do you feel stuck? Do you find that you’re often preparing for the worst? Where are you putting your attention? When we step back and examine our worldview it can lead us to question our belief systems and our perspective. Yoga often initiates this exploration: As we experience being in our body, being in the moment, and fully feeling our experiences, we open to the possibility of being comfortable in the uncomfortable. How do we integrate this practice into our daily lives?

Kripalu Yoga teacher and life coach Coby Kozlowski says that we can approach our experiences as “the observer, the witness, open to seeing the way we frame our own experience in the belief systems that we’ve codified in our perspective.”

We all have stories we tell ourselves: “I’m not good enough”; “She's better than me”; “He's smarter than me.” These stories define our experience and can affect the way we feel about ourselves. Coby teaches us, however, that we can reframe our perspective. Here are some questions she recommends we ask ourselves to alter our perspective:

  1. What are the beliefs that created your past?
  2. What are the beliefs that are helping you today?
  3. What do you need to accept or reject in order to be happy?
  4. Can you have compassion for yourself and start over?

When we make it a point to regularly ask ourselves these questions, we inevitably uncover the ideological imprints that inform our attitudes. We notice that we often get swept up in habitual patterns: We judge, we criticize, and we undermine ourselves with deeply rooted belief structures. Coby says that when we examine these beliefs through various spiritual practices, such as yoga, meditation, and mind/body awareness, we see that our thoughts may not fit with our true beliefs. Like an over-sized shirt, or a pair of pants that is too small, these thoughts might simply need to be tailored to suit our lives.

Fostering the ability to question our internal monologue—to challenge and ultimately change our beliefs—is empowering. Self-compassion allows us to choose beliefs that lift us up, instead of feeling undermined by negativity.

Coby emphasizes that experimenting with our perspective, by asking ourselves the above questions and reframing our thoughts, removes our painful attachment to negative belief systems and opens the door to the possibility for true happiness.

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Coby Kozlowski, MA, E-RYT, is a faculty member for the Kripalu School of Yoga and author of One Degree Revolution: How the Wisdom of Yoga Inspires Small Sifts That Lead to Big Changes.

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