View: how we think the world works

View: how we think the world works

The way we conceptualize ourselves and the world largely affects how we go about doing things.

Whether we are conscious of it or not, we hold a particular mental outlook—a view.

A view is a set of beliefs about how we think the world works. It is a cosmology. A mythology. Much of this view is formulated in childhood by the dominant assumptions of our culture. Many of the core notions that make up our culture’s worldview are established by religion, politics, and advertising. Each of these has its own agenda.

As we mature, we adopt certain beliefs based on what we deem advantageous. Maybe you are an optimist. A realist. A believer. A skeptic. A mystic. Maybe you have adopted science as your chosen mythology. Whatever the case may be, like a fish in water, your view is the medium you swim in. It’s easy to forget that you have a view. If you do not check frequently, you will only operate within the framework of your view. Seems harmless.

Yet, if certain aspects of this view are not representative of reality as-it-is, you will find yourself feeling claustrophobic, uncomfortable in your own skin. No matter what you do—how much success or fun you have—there is a nagging sense of unrest. It doesn’t matter how much others love and respect you, genuine fulfillment somehow seems to elude you. Even though you do everything “right,” secretly inside yourself there is still a sense that something is missing.

The cause of this predicament does not lie with you or the world. Both are perfectly imperfect. The glitch is in the view. We do not taste true satisfaction until we go beyond the veil of our own concepts. We are not free until we cease to be defined by what we believe.

In the next blog post, we'll see how the art of self-reflection is the central endeavor of spiritual cultivation. We'll also examine its three main aspects: exposure, contemplation, and embodiment.