Our Perception of Beauty, and the Beauty of Perception.

I watched a movie the other day where there was a scene with two characters who were sitting on a deck, by the water, under the stars. One says to the other, "I forgot how beautiful it is out here." The other character responded, “Well it has never changed. It just is. Maybe you just forgot to see the beauty." Now fast forward an hour or so after watching the movie, and I found myself laying in bed thinking on why this resonated with me so much.

As the age old saying goes, "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder". What I am realizing, is that it is far deeper than that. The one thing we seem to do in life is spend so much of our time externalizing on everything, from happiness to love, from beauty to fear. We think that everything external is what affects and creates our version of those events. When really, much like how happiness is merely a perspective in life, so is beauty. External objects are not beautiful. They just are. The human experience uses perspective, love and memory to create that beauty. And this is how we perceive the world around us, not the other way around.

So what do I mean by this? Put simply, why can a content man see the beauty of the night sky, yet a man filled with sadness or anger, only see darkness? The external elements never change.

This idea of perception is not bound by faith or religion, but rather linked to our very human experience on this earth. In order to live a fulfilled life, we need to be conscious of how we perceive it. If you want light, happiness and beauty, you need to first connect with it inside yourself. If you feel that your world is a continual story of drama, anger, or despair, then before you turn and lash out at the world around you, take a moment to reflect inwards;

Why do you see such hate or anger in the world?

Why do people speak ‘about you’ or ‘about those around you’ like they do?

Why are you never getting ‘that break’ at work you so desperately think you deserve?

We are all too quick to lash outwards, when really the answer to this lies within.

This lead me to thinking, where do we start? How do we actually “perceive the world differently”? I am learning myself, but for me, it starts here;

Firstly, we need to open our minds to the possibility that we are the reason for some of those things that are not working in our world.

(I can feel some of your backs tensing as you read this!) ’Responsibility’ requires a whole other post, and it can be quite a difficult topic for some, but for me it is the first step towards a more connected perspective.

Once we have taken responsibility for our lives, I believe using your time for things you ‘want’ to do, rather than what you are ‘obliged’ to do is the next important step forward. We spend so many of our hours meeting obligations, when really, we are the master of our own time.

These activities should ultimately be something that make you feel aligned with your inner self, and feel somewhat content. You don’t need to tell people about this, rather spend time on your own finding what this is. Many times, people find that the one thing that resonates the most, might be the one thing they are most challenged by at the start. This is not a bad thing, so don’t write it off. It just says that you are not aligned to your core self, and this is just the beginning of that change.

After this, it is all about practice. We need to be consistent with our practice of going inwards, in order to better our view outwards.

For example, I find watching a TED talk, a Tony Robbins documentary, or some Super Soul Sunday (Oprah’s best project yet!), really connects me to my source. It puts an external voice to topics and matters in life that I feel in my heart; it also challenges my own ideas and perceptions, and empowers me to work closer to my internal dialogue and purpose. I must say here, the Luke of a few years ago would have judged himself for ever admitting that. Be aware of this self talk and don’t be so hard on yourself.

Additionally, meditation, reading, writing and travelling (even just a weekend away) are some past times that help me disconnect from the external, and reconnect to the internal, in order to balance my world. At least once a year, I love to travel somewhere that will leave me in awe of the beauty of the world. Now that is a good exercise for finding perspective!

So what is the purpose of this and why is this reminder of perspective so important? Well, I believe that our perspective creates our reality. Quite literally. It's what allows us to operate each and every day, in life and in business. It's how we see our friends, family and colleagues; how we see our opportunities and future; how we evaluate whether to take risk, or to sit in fear. It seems to be our greatest human challenge, as it requires constant attention and work. Perception continues to be one of the most important skill sets I work on, and the most beneficial in my own growth.

If you master the ability to be conscious of your perception and enhance that growth, you will see your world change in ways you never imagined. It is a huge reason why I took such a shift in my own life, and why I continue to find ways to serve the world around me.

Always remember, the world will offer you only what you allow yourself to see. Once you find the capacity to connect with your internal self more consistently, will the world then be shown to you in the true magnificence that it is.