Perspective: Baking Bread
My friend Nagy is a Zen priest who volunteers in correctional facilities.
He told me about something he does that I want to share with you.
I will ask an inmate, “What’s your job here?”
Let’s say they answer me, “I bake bread.”
I tell them, “No, that is not what you do.”
When they look up at me for clarification, I explain, “You don’t bake bread, you provide nourishment for the community.”
Perspective can snap us out of our regular way of seeing the world and help us to see the world anew. (The word perspective is defined as “an assessment of a situation which relates the comparative importance of elements.”)
For example until recently, my least favorite day of the year was winter solstice – the darkest day of the year. When my friend Julie sent me an article about a pilgrimage to Mecca on that day celebrates it as the longest night of the year, something switched in my head and it all changed. (I’m still a little upset about summer solstice as I know that after it I lose a little sunlight each day.)
As we know, perspective can turn a half-full glass of water half-empty, and back again.
In a lesson that Nagy knows well after ordaining a few inmates who have taken Bodhisattva vows and become monks, perspective can turn a prison into a monastery – and, we ought to be aware, the other way around.
With hopes that you feel comfortable with your place in this world and love,