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3 Mindful Ways to Gain Perspective

3 Mindful Ways to Gain Perspective I write a lot about mindfulness. (See here, here and here.)

That’s because I think mindfulness is a valuable practice that perks up our lives. It helps us breathe in the beauty of everyday moments.

It provides us with perspective on life and teaches us to appreciate the things we rarely see (whether they’re as little as your morning cup of coffee or a flower blooming or as big as the sky or sunshine). And to witness the extraordinary in the ordinary.

It helps us release the tight grip so many of us hold on work, our partners, our kids and our lives. It helps us relax. It reminds us of the simple things in life that are actually the most powerful (family, friendships, nature, love).

The book Your True Home: The Everyday Wisdom of Thich Nhat Hanh, compiled and edited by Melvin McLeod, offers daily insights and instructions on paying attention and improving our lives.

Here are three nuggets of wisdom that may give you pause, provoke thought and change your perspective.

“What Is a Leaf?”

Suppose I hold a leaf in my hand. What do you see? A leaf is a leaf; it is not a flower. But in fact, when we look deeply into the leaf, we can see many things. We can see the plant, we can see the sunshine, we can see the clouds, we can see the earth. When we utter the word leaf, we have to be aware that a leaf is made of non-leaf elements. If we remove the non-leaf elements, such as the sunshine, the clouds, and the soil, there is no leaf left. So it is with our bodies and ourselves. We’re not the same as, nor are we separate from, other beings. We’re connected to everything, and everything is alive.

“The Real Miracle”

I like to walk alone on country paths, rice plants and wild grasses on both sides, putting each foot down on the earth in mindfulness, knowing that I walk on the wondrous earth. In such moments, existence is a miraculous and mysterious reality. People usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle. But I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air, but to walk on the earth. Every day we are engaged in a miracle that we don’t even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black, curious eyes of a child—our own two eyes. All is a miracle.

“The River of Feelings”

Feelings are born, take shape and last for a few moments, and then disappear. As with the physical form, birth and death of feelings occur in every moment. In meditation, we look mindfully at this river of feelings. We contemplate their arising, their remaining, and their disappearance. We witness their impermanence. When we have an unpleasant feeling, we say to ourselves, “This feeling is in me, it will stay for a while, and then it will disappear because it is impermanent.” Just by seeing the impermanence of feelings in this way, we suffer a lot less.

?Which insights speak to you?
What are your favorite mindfulness practices or lessons?

3 Mindful Ways to Gain Perspective

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Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S.

Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S. is an Associate Editor and regular contributor at Psych Central. Her Master's degree is in clinical psychology from Texas A&M University. In addition to writing about mental disorders, she blogs regularly about body and self-image issues on her Psych Central blog, Weightless.

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APA Reference
Tartakovsky, M. (2018). 3 Mindful Ways to Gain Perspective. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 1, 2020, from
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Last updated: 8 Jul 2018 (Originally: 10 Nov 2011)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Jul 2018
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