Zooming out: A big picture vision of your life

Zooming out: A big picture vision of your life


In everyday life, it’s completely normal and
understandable to be very focused on the details. Like the old cliche, one step at a time, you’re
paying attention to that one step. You’re looking at what is- or to use another
cliche, what’s on your plate. Deal with what’s on your plate. Eat what’s on your plate. There’s one thing in front of you. You’re focusing on that. Zoomed in on a particular detail of this moment,
this task, this piece of life. So that’s really the default operating mode. But it can be useful to sometimes zoom out. Sometimes, when I’m too focused in on the
one thing in front of me, it’s like it’s easy to forget that there’s anything else in life
and there’s anything else in the world. Like life becomes this one detail that we’re
working on. So if it’s a very unrewarding, unsatisfying,
and really dismal activity that we’re focusing on, it’s possible to feel like life itself
is just that, that there’s nothing else to look forward to, that this little thing, this
little hole is our whole life. Zooming out: instead of just looking at what’s
going on today, look what’s going on this week, even this year. What’s my vision for this year? What’s my life this year? And if even that can be too detailed sometimes,
it’s possible to zoom out to our whole life. What is the full picture of my life? And sort of zoom out on time so that I’m seeing
my whole life. So what does life look like in this zoomed-out
picture? Well, it’s certainly a lot simplified, because
you can’t see all the details, the every-day, every-minute kind of details that usually
fill our attention. Instead we have the big picture. And the big picture of life is a very open. It can be a very open vision, where you don’t
have a defined set of activities that you must do precisely. You have a lot of flexibility and freedom. Even if you have major commitments that you
have decided, well, you are deciding. In the context of your whole life, you are
deciding to take on those commitments. That’s your choice. At the ultimate level of life, there’s nothing
you need to do except live and die. That’s all you need to do. And you could argue that you don’t even need
to live. You could have a very marginal existence that
you don’t really need to-I guess you would need to live in some minimal sense, but there’s
really nothing that you really have to do except eventually die. So when you zoom it out to that perspective,
well, you can see how you can’t operate in that perspective all the time, because it
is so vague and you can’t see any details, and if you want to get anything done, you
have to zoom in and get those details done. But I like to be able to zoom out like that
so that I can get out of the details that I’m in in the moment, get out of that feeling
that I’m stuck on this one point, and my whole life is this one place, and remember that
life is a much bigger thing than whatever I am in at this moment. There is so much more out there. And even in my entire life, I can barely taste
a tiny bit of it. When I look at my life in this wide perspective,
it just makes me think- makes me feel grateful that I have a chance to have this experience. I don’t know why I’m here. I don’t know why we are existing. I don’t know what it all means. But I love the fact that I get a chance to
have an existence, a chance to have some of this experience. That base feeling of gratitude and wonder
at the chance to live a life in this universe is something that is always available. It’s always there, as long as we have life. As long as we have this consciousness, we
can look at that, look at the fact that we have it, and say, wow, this is great. But when your day to day- when your hours
are filled from waking to sleeping with activity after activity that is dreary and provides
no satisfaction, it’s very easy to forget that basic principle, and it’s easy to feel
like our life IS a whole bunch of painful and unrewarding things. But if we zoom out, we can see each of those
painful and unrewarding things is part of a bigger thing that we are choosing. We’re choosing to do dull tasks because they
support something bigger that we do appreciate, ultimately zooming out to the biggest picture,
our whole lives. So this is something I like to do if I ever-
whenever I feel stuck on a tiny piece of life. Always remember, whatever point you’re at
now is just one tiny piece of what’s there in the bigger picture.

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