When I was six years old my parents sent me to Cairo, Egypt to visit my grandmother. What I did not know, is that I was also going to have my tonsils removed! I remember waking up from the anaesthetic, being carried into my bed and later given a large bowl of ice cream to expedite the healing. “Nice” I thought! It was also the time when I first visited the Egyptian Museum and the Pyramids at Giza for the first time.
As a child, the pyramids seemed doubly enormous. All I thought about was “how would you climb up the pyramid?” Each stone seemed as high as I was tall. Luckily grandma took me around in a taxi, but my eyes remained fixed at the peak. We went around the pyramids in the taxi, several times at my request – struck me then how each side of the pyramid stood against a completely different background; and how the vista changed respectively with each side as we toured around.
In my early teenage hood, I ventured inside the big pyramid along with a group of tourists on a guided tour. I stopped at about one-third up from the top and waited for others as they tried to climb their way to the top. I was impressed then by our tour guide, who was one of the few people perhaps who had ever climbed all the way to the top of the pyramid and down in a record time of 5 minutes. “What a national hero” I thought. However, as I waited for the group to return, I could not stop wondering about what was the view like from the apex. I closed my eyes, and imagined what I would see.
My fascination with the pyramids deepened as I grew older, and those early experiences of visiting the pyramids, contemplating their shape, their respective vistas, and imaging the view from the top; stayed with me as when I was studying civil engineering.
So much so, that when we are asked to design engineering drawing of the inside of a turbine, during my first drafting class, the only way I was able to do it was by imagining myself to be inside the turbine itself, and walking through it as if I was on a tour!
While some us are more visual than others, my point is that my fascination with the pyramids as a child triggered my experience of contemplating shape and perspective which has helped me in practical way when I was studying design, and had eventually lead to my understanding of how perspective changes according to where you are at. Literally, that our point of view is limited to where we are standing.
Visualisation: when you’re at the top, you have a full view
Personal development is about awareness. It’s about opening up to whatever has not been the conventional, and about staying open to the ever-changing and relative perspective of what seems to be our reality at that point in time; and understanding that perspective can be limited by our view-point at that particular point in time or level of awareness.
If for example, you hold a fixed point of view of yourself, “I know who I am, and I know what I want,” then there would be nothing develop or at all, and your understanding of your life’s experiences will not evolve!
Close your eyes and imagine or pretend that you are at the ground level of a building that you are familiar with, your home or office, a favourite building, whatever it may be. Look out of the window, and note what you can see. Write that down.
Now imagine going up one flight of stairs, or two, and look out of the window again. What can you see now? Make a note of what’s different. Now imagine going two or more levels higher and looking out of the window. What do you now see? Imagine that you are at the highest level of that building, looking out of the window again. What do you see? How far can you see? And how different is the view? How did your line of vision differ?
As we move up the ladder of awareness, more comes into view and we are able to gradually see not only a different point of view, but the whole picture.