Stillness 2   Big Picture Mentality


So, here we’re going to talk about big picture mentality which is helpful because a lot of people get bent out of shape from such small things.  I think we need to take a good, hard look at ourselves before we really get too far down the track with this conversation.  If you go to Nepal, there’s a little child on the street. The cost to feed that child for one week is $1. You go into Sydney and you walk around the streets with people with their dogs, the cost to feed the dog for a week is $100, and we lost a little perspective that people in Sydney get stressed out because their dog’s sick and the vet bill is $13,000 when the same amount of money they’re spending on their dog could treat a hundred children in Nepal. But there’s no use getting bent out of shape over this and throwing good love down the toilet.

Comparing Sydney dog lovers to donations to Nepal is small picture, really I think it is a small picture mentality and we can get so easily stressed over our lives because of small things when we lose the perspective. And that perspective comes from small picture mentality because people benefit from pets and loving them, as well as we need funds for children. Both are appropriate for investment. It’s not either or, it’s and.

I’ll give you another example, once again a child in Nepal – and there’s thousands of them on the streets of Katmandu, and it’s not hard to go and fix the problem, you just throw a bit of money at it and go there for a couple of weeks and feed the children.  

But we walk around Sydney and we’re worried about polishing our car, which costs $45 or we’re worried about whether we’ve got the latest and the greatest watch on our wrist, and you know, we get stressed when we lose our watch or we lose something in the park and it’s almost like we get stressed the same when we lose our credit card or $50 or the car isn’t washed properly as if we’ve got a life threatening disease.  But if you go to Nepal and look at those poor children, man, they’re not even stressed but they don’t know if they’re going to be fed in the next three days, you know and they live for three days without food.  So to handle these conspicuous contradictions in life you must hold good love, keep your head above the mud and have a big picture perspective.

If we’ve got a very turbulent based perspective on life that’s running our inner being, a small picture perspective, we’re always looking for right and wrong. We become the judge, trial and jury.  And I think one of the things to have stillness is that you’ve got to get a perspective – we need to acknowledge that we live in the lap of luxury, and it’s a luxury to judge others.  Even if we’re not earning as much as we thought we should or generating as well as we could, we need to be putting it in context and be guilty about a poor child in the middle of Africa or Nepal or India that’s being abused. So, there’s got to be some way in our lives of keeping a context of our experiences so that we get a bigger story to tell and yet, allows us to give to those less fortunate.  And that way we don’t get so bent out of shape. We don’t get bent out of shape by somebody or something that happens to us as long as we maintain a sense of appreciation for how lucky we are, even in our bad luck. This is big picture thinking.

For me, when I hear an ambulance go down the street, I always say to myself, thank the Universe that it’s not me. So, I think a big picture mentality helps a human being create stillness inside of them because it leads to a state of inner gratitude, inner humbleness. We’re just thankful and we’re not comparing ourselves to a guru who’s told us that we can make the best out of our lives by staying small. 

And this is the first step in creating a big picture mentality, to stay humble to the experience that we have, or the opportunity we have by seeing things in big picture views. We might say today wasn’t great but this year is great.  And in doing that, I think there’s a second part, and the second part is in being humble to what we’ve got, and being humble to the luck we have in being born here, we need to be considering preserving the quality of it.  And that means not getting too wound up spending money on junk, and not buying a huge dog for some unreasonable purpose and feeding that dog more than some kid in Nepal.  

So, we need to consider how we spend our money, what we spend it on, whether we waste it on packaged food or whether we go to the greengrocer and buy a real apple, and whether we want to buy apple juice that’s in bottles or whether we want to pursue the idea of getting a real apple and chewing our way through it slowly, which of course still has the nourishment of the sun built into it.

So, a big picture mentality also includes the small things we do in life, just how we approach them. You know, I see a lot of people just throwing stuff out in the garbage because they bought too much.  Maybe it’s a wiser thing to say, well let’s not buy so much food to waste and with the extra money we’ll send it off to an orphanage in Nepal and feed some children.  And that way we’re kind of like saying that we have a big picture mentality where we are valuing the opportunity of the luck of our life and because we’ve got a big picture, we’re sharing, we’re sharing with other people in the world.  

We’re not sharing with those people who just need more weapons or more power, we’re sharing with people who want food and that need medicine and need looking after, and especially the children, especially the children because they’re the ones that are, in some ways, going to impact our future.  And if they grow up angry and starved and with poor nutrition, then those people are going to end up taking military action, and you can see a lot of that in the world right now.  There’s a lot of the kids who grew up hungry have actually now got a gun in their hand and it’s payback time.

So, investing in the future with a big picture mentality means taking a little bit of the lucky resources we’ve got and channeling it somewhere else.

I remember coming back from a health camp once and they taught me all about food and nutrition and I went to my family food cabinet and I took out everything that was junk and threw it in the rubbish tin, into this big barrel that we were going to give to the poor people, and my wife at the time said, what are you doing, you’re wasting all the food.  I said, no, eating it is a waste.  That’s the end of this chapter.