​Perspective

Aaron Zehah

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Awakin FeatureA poor man lived with his wife and six children in a very small one-room house. They were always getting in each other's way and there was so little space they could hardly breathe!Finally the man could stand it no more. He talked to his wife and asked her what to do. "Go see the rabbi," she told him, and after arguing a while, he went.

The rabbi greeted him and said, "I see something is troubling you. Whatever it is, you can tell me."

And so the poor man told the rabbi how miserable things were at home with him, his wife, and the six children all eating and living and sleeping in one room. The poor man told the rabbi, "We're even starting to yell and fight with each other. Life couldn't be worse."

The rabbi thought very deeply about the poor man's problem. Then he said, "Do exactly as I tell you and things will get better. Do you promise?"

"I promise," the poor man said.

The rabbi then asked the poor man a strange question. "Do you own any animals?"

"Yes," he said. "I have one cow, one goat, and some chickens."

"Good," the rabbi said. "When you get home, take all the animals into your house to live with you."

The poor man was astonished to hear this advice from the rabbi, but he had promised to do exactly what the rabbi said. So he went home and took all the farm animals into the tiny one-room house.

The next day the poor man ran back to see the rabbi. "What have you done to me, Rabbi?" he cried. "It's awful. I did what you told me and the animals are all over the house! Rabbi, help me!" The rabbi listened and said calmly, "Now go home and take the chickens back outside."

The poor man did as the rabbi said, but hurried back again the next day. "The chickens are gone, but Rabbi, the goat!" he moaned. "The goat is smashing up all the furniture and eating everything in sight!" The good rabbi said, "Go home and remove the goat and may God bless you."

So the poor man went home and took the goat outside. But he ran back again to see the rabbi, crying and wailing. "What a nightmare you have brought to my house, Rabbi! With the cow it's like living in a stable! Can human beings live with an animal like this?"

The rabbi said sweetly, "My friend, you are right. May God bless you. Go home now and take the cow out of your house." And the poor man went quickly home and took the cow out of the house.

The next day he came running back to the rabbi again. "O Rabbi," he said with a big smile on his face, "We have such a good life now. The animals are all out of the house. The house is so quiet and we've got room to spare! What a joy!"

Ari's Awakin Mar 6th Awakin Marin Reading (sent via email)

Seed questions for reflection: How do you relate to our perspective shaping our experiences? Can you share a personal story of a time when awareness of your perspective shaping your experience allowed you to shift your perspective and thereby, your experience? What helps you recognize your freedom to shape your perspective?

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6 Previous Reflections:

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    On Oct 2, 2018 Harman wrote:

     I read this story of some one somewhere..

    There was a guy who was a player, a sportsman.  One day when he was playing a crucial match of his life, he was injured and he lost the match..  He was very disappointed with that and asked god why me... but he got no answer.  He went to hospital and his leg was perhaps fractured.. Then in the next few days he started retrospecting his life about where things went wrong and he realized all through his life he had won so many matches where he did not even deserve to win and he never asked god why me.. but soon as he lost this match he started complaining god.. He felt sorry about complaining and accepted the fate.

    I hope you get the idea..

    Forgive me If I am mistaken with exact story.. as I dont remember who that player was..





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    On Oct 2, 2018 Jyotima wrote:
     Myself Jyotima, When i was very young i was diagnosed with disease names Takayashu. I was always sick and moving around doctors. I used to complain a lot, crib, cry and use to ask “ Why Me”. Why i have to suffer so much, why I am going thru all this. Why can’t i live a normal life. My life became a life of a victim. While this was all going there was so much good also happening in my life. My supportive parents, my well paying job,good life style, beautiful home,  my loving husband ,adorable kids and caring friends all around, which i never noticed and appreciated. In year 2010 when my health deterioted and life got me the situation where i could see death very closely , i got the awakening and realisation of life , how blessed i was. Every breathe was so precious , every moment is a blessing which i spent in complaining . That was a turning time in my life which shaped my perspective of life and started practicing “ Gratitude” for my every bre... [View Full Comment]

     Myself Jyotima, When i was very young i was diagnosed with disease names Takayashu. I was always sick and moving around doctors. I used to complain a lot, crib, cry and use to ask “ Why Me”. Why i have to suffer so much, why I am going thru all this. Why can’t i live a normal life. My life became a life of a victim. While this was all going there was so much good also happening in my life. My supportive parents, my well paying job,good life style, beautiful home,  my loving husband ,adorable kids and caring friends all around, which i never noticed and appreciated. In year 2010 when my health deterioted and life got me the situation where i could see death very closely , i got the awakening and realisation of life , how blessed i was. Every breathe was so precious , every moment is a blessing which i spent in complaining . That was a turning time in my life which shaped my perspective of life and started practicing “ Gratitude” for my every breathe. I start my day saying “ Thank you God i am alive”. Today i am grateful Life Coach helping people to practice gratitude  and live a happy blissful abundant life. Life is so beautiful, count your blessings. Thank you thank yiu thank you,  magical word. 

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    On Oct 2, 2018 Paul Hunter wrote:

     A couple of years ago my mother passed away and a separation also led to me being apart from my son for what seemed like unbearable periods of time. I have practiced Vipassana and Anapana for quite a while but even so I could not work with the pain I experienced and had no equanimity. 

    As a surfer I began to remember the pain associated with being held down by a large wave, the feeling of needing to breath but not being able to. I felt relief in my body that I could breath freely, without restiriction. From there I began to see that, though I was living in my van, I had shelter from the harsh weather. I began to recall that I had food that day and was not starving. 

    This practice of gratitude eventually brought me back to my breath, which brought me back to observing bodily sensations. It may be this practice of gratitude that saved my life.


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    On Sep 30, 2018 david doane wrote:

     I see the effects of our experience and perspective being circular, shaping one another, the circular process starting with experience which to me is basic and primary.  Oscar Wilde said, "Nothing worth knowing can be taught."  That is, it's learned by experience which shapes our perspective which shapes our experience.  That's what happened in Aaron Zehah's story.  Once the man experienced the increased crowding in his little home, his perspective changed.  And with a different perspective his experience in his home changed.  In all matters, my experiences have ongoingly shaped my perspective whch has shaped my experience.


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    On Sep 29, 2018 Jagdish P Dave wrote:
     The world is how we see it. What lense we are using shapes the experience of the world we live in. The poor man in this story saw his world, the small  house he lives in with his wife and  his six children sleeping in the small room as a source of  his misery. When his house was filled with chickens,a goat and a cow he realized how much misrable he became. Now he gained another perspective to look at the same house he lived in. This new and different perspective changed his old perspective. How we look at our life and  how we relate to it makes a big diifference.Our awareness of our perspective shapes our expereince. Mindful awareness helps us to create a clear perspective of living with deep contentment with the world we live in.Our house becomes a home. When I was growing up in a family composed of four brothers, three sisters and parents living in  a small house, We did not feel miserable. We learnt the art of living by living  in a small houe wi... [View Full Comment]

     The world is how we see it. What lense we are using shapes the experience of the world we live in. The poor man in this story saw his world, the small  house he lives in with his wife and  his six children sleeping in the small room as a source of  his misery. When his house was filled with chickens,a goat and a cow he realized how much misrable he became. Now he gained another perspective to look at the same house he lived in. This new and different perspective changed his old perspective. How we look at our life and  how we relate to it makes a big diifference.Our awareness of our perspective shapes our expereince. Mindful awareness helps us to create a clear perspective of living with deep contentment with the world we live in.Our house becomes a home.

    When I was growing up in a family composed of four brothers, three sisters and parents living in  a small house, We did not feel miserable. We learnt the art of living by living  in a small houe without grudging , comparing and complaining. This way of growing up shaped my perspective of living mindfully and happily with conentment.
    My freedom lies iin my way of looking at who I am and what I have without comparing  myself with others. I have not felt superior or inferior to others. I reconize and value the inner qualities of people in my life. I admire those qualities without me feeling low or high. Such a way of living has eneriched my life internally and harmoniously.
    Namaste.
    Jagdish P Dave

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    On Sep 29, 2018 Kristin Pedemonti wrote:
     We become the stories we tell and focus upon. I love this folktale and used to tell it when I performed for families at libraries and schools. :) In my own life I am currently wrestling with the idea of relocating out of Washington DC where I moved 4 years ago. I keep asking myself, "am I seeing the full picture" or am I focusing on a negative perspective: is it really too "noisy" here with the current political atomsphere and activism that's now nearly 24/7? I ask myself to remember all the good here too: the amazing Burning Man and couchsurfing communities, the deeply heartfelt All Souls Unitarian church I attend. The fact that it's a walkable city. My housemates whom I lovingly refer to as the Golden Girls as they are in their 70s and 80! So many blessings. And yes, DC is tough to live in at the moment too. So I meditate and pray and ask, "what is best for my heart and soul" and may I see the full picture with gratitude too. I hope this helps... :) To shape perspective in a b... [View Full Comment]

     We become the stories we tell and focus upon. I love this folktale and used to tell it when I performed for families at libraries and schools. :) In my own life I am currently wrestling with the idea of relocating out of Washington DC where I moved 4 years ago. I keep asking myself, "am I seeing the full picture" or am I focusing on a negative perspective: is it really too "noisy" here with the current political atomsphere and activism that's now nearly 24/7? I ask myself to remember all the good here too: the amazing Burning Man and couchsurfing communities, the deeply heartfelt All Souls Unitarian church I attend. The fact that it's a walkable city. My housemates whom I lovingly refer to as the Golden Girls as they are in their 70s and 80! So many blessings. And yes, DC is tough to live in at the moment too. So I meditate and pray and ask, "what is best for my heart and soul" and may I see the full picture with gratitude too. I hope this helps... :) To shape perspective in a broader sense I also myself, "what story are you telling yourself about this situation? and "might there be another story?" <3 

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