My wife, Melissa, friend, Peter, and I were on Mt. Tam early this morning having a great conversation. Nature has a funny way of giving you a fresh perspective. At one point, we were discussing the notion of lifetimes. While we all agreed that the idea of having many lifetimes was hard to rationally accept, we all liked it as a lens to see our lives differently from.
To get the paradigm of lifetimes, consider the time it took the Buddha to attain enlightenment. According to Buddhist scripture, it took the same amount of time it takes for a bird to wear away at a mountain six miles long, six miles wide, and six miles high. This bird flies over the mountain once every hundred years with a silk scarf in its beak brushing the tip of the mountain with it. The amount of time it takes for the scarf to wear away at the mountain is how long it took the Buddha in lifetimes to attain enlightenment.
Peter and Melissa had an interesting perspective on lifetimes. If we have multiple opportunities to learn from our many lifetimes, then we can really of give ourselves a break and not take each experience as if we NEED to overcome it, achieve it, or transcend it. In other words, if you and I live multiple lifetimes, we need not be so hard on ourselves. After all, what’s the rush?
I, personally, would give myself much more of a break. That’s not something I am particularly skilled at. One thing I am in the early, early learning of is to both take it easy on myself and, in addition, to be sweet to myself. I suppose that this kindness that I am learning also need not happen overnight. Who knows, maybe in several thousand lifetimes, I will master it.
In coaching, we call this grand view on life a meta-view. We use it to help our clients to see the big picture and what’s really important. Often my clients get so preoccupied with the most minute of particles that they rarely look at the space in which the particles exist. This is what’s at the heart of a coaching conversation. As a coach, I am always encouraging forward movement, but only as long as it is in service to the big picture of my clients life.
In the end, we don’t want to look back on our lives and say, “Boy I did a bunch of stuff.” We want to say, “I did some stuff that meant a lot to me.” And that’s what’s important about being connected to the meta-view. It’s about staying connected to the deeper meaning we’re all looking for in our lives.