Saturday, January 23, 2010


One of my favorite books is Zoom, by Istvan Banyai, a truly unique book with barely a word in it beyond the cover page. It opens with a drawing of a rooster. On the next page, however, our vision expands just a bit to place this rooster, no longer center stage, but within a larger context. The picture on the following page places that context within a larger one still.

This process continues as each subsequent image incrementally enlarges our vision, often taking us in surprising directions. An object becomes part of a toy village, the village a placard on the side of a bus, the bus embedded within other scenes viewed eventually from an airplane~~and then beyond even this heightened perspective. We think we know what we’re looking at~~until we turn the page.

And thus, a powerful truth is conveyed in a very simple way. Our viewpoint is limited. At any time, we are seeing so much less than all there is to see, and what we do perceive is colored by many factors and subjected to instantaneous and largely unconscious interpretation. As I seek to bring my own vision into alignment with the message inherent in most schools of spiritual thought, this simple book serves as a reminder and suggests an approach to handling life’s challenges.

For example, if I respond with hurt and anger to the actions of a loved one, I can remain frozen in that scene, or I can consciously “zoom out” to a larger perspective. I can expand my vision a bit to see the other person within the context of his or her life, temperament, and personal struggles. I can also regard my own responses in a similar light.

I can enlarge my viewpoint further by seeing this incident within the fullness of our entire relationship, including the potential growth we consistently offer one another through smooth times and difficult.

I can extend my awareness again, seeing our interaction as a particular example of the human dilemma experienced by all who work to blend personal perspectives with the needs of a relationship.

Expanding further, I can recognize the play of opposing energies contained within this incident as one expression of the tension~~the yin and the yang~~which runs through all aspects of life and nurtures new possibilities into being.

And I can zoom out to a place beyond my powers of comprehension and touch at least the edge of the Mystery often called God. From this vantage point, although I cannot fully understand it, I can choose to see the small and seemingly insignificant incident that provoked me as one reflection of that vast, unknowable Force which lies beyond and within all things. And I can also choose to rest here for a time, nurtured by the Ineffable.

While playing with my viewpoint in this way could be an effort to avoid hurt and anger, I can also zoom out in order to place these emotions within their true context. My reactions are not nullified; they are honored as part of a greater whole. Anchored in this larger perspective, I am more likely to take helpful action when I choose my response. Regardless of the outcome, though, this incident has already taught me much through this process of progressive expansion.

Reaching for the largest perspective we can attain allows us the best chance of acting consciously, of choosing wisely. This, it seems, is all that is asked of us.

Zoom, zoom!

Loanne Marie


Anonymous said...

Isn't all life, taken into perspective, a teacher of some sorts! Great essay!

Loanne Marie said...

Absolutely! And I am sometimes the student in the back of the room, daydreaming. Of course, I am often the one shooting spitballs as well! That you so much for writing. Hope to hear more from you.

monica wood said...

Beautifully written, Loanne. I love your posts. xo Monica

Loanne Marie said...

Thanks, Monnie!

Bonnie said...

I am much moved by these images of backing off in order to get a wider and wider view of an immediate emotional situation. It is a wonderful way to react and I thank you for putting it such a charming and clear way!

Loanne Marie said...

And I thank you for writing, Bonnie! We all know that, at any given moment, we are only seeing a small bit of all there is~~yet we usually feel and act otherwise. I think books like Zoom are wonderful reminders of this truth. And the more we're reminded, the more likely we will be to remember. Re~member~~to recognize ourselves once again as a wee member of a complex whole. Yes, indeed!

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Leia Marie