What do you see when you look at this photo of a dandelion clock? What does it evoke for you? What thoughts and feelings arise?

When I took the photo, my aim was to capture the beauty of it. The perfection of form and symmetry, the fragility. I was captivated by the extraordinary within the ordinary.

Perhaps you are gardener though. Perhaps you see a weed that is just going to spread more dandelions in your carefully tended lawn. I know someone who carefully picks them and disposes of them in plastic bags so the seeds don’t escape.

Perhaps you played dandelion clocks as a small child. Does it bring back joyful memories – one o’clock, two o’clock? Or less comfortable memories of getting in trouble with adults for spreading the seeds?

Perhaps you are a photographer and are thinking about how a greater depth of field would have improved the photo.

On the day I took the photo I was struck by the sheer beauty and perfection of it. At other times I have looked at dandelion clocks from all of those other perspectives. Sometimes my mind is so busy I don’t even notice them. Yet the essential nature of the flower is always the same. We each have our own unique responses to the same objects and situations. Essentially it is our thoughts that colour the way we see things.

And therein lies the key to a clearer understanding of life. Everything we encounter in life has infinite perspectives from which it can be seen. My feelings and opinions are not telling me something essentially true about any object or situation, just about the thoughts I am having at the time. The quantity and quality of my thoughts create my perspective and how I experience life.

The best news is that the very nature of human perspective is that it changes all by itself. Just like time which we count with the dandelion clocks, our thoughts are always changing. We sometimes notice this with the passing of time. What once seemed unhelpful may be seen as a blessing with the benefit of hindsight. But change can be rapid too. We can have a sudden change of mind about something when we get insight.

Getting a glimpse of the fundamental truth of this can have a significant impact on how we cope in life. I have discovered that it doesn’t really matter what challenging situations life brings these days because I now understand that my response to what is happening is only a function of my thoughts about it; just one perspective. I know that there is a perspective from which it can be seen differently and that it is guaranteed to change. As Sydney Banks says:

“Negative thoughts are like scratches on a window: they stop you from seeing life with clarity. When negative thoughts cease, the scratches disappear and the window becomes crystal clear. Then the beauty and positive aspects of life can be seen.”

Knowing this often gives me foresight to pay less attention to the pessimistic and negative thoughts that arise in response to some aspects of life…..including dandelion clocks.

I hope you see the beauty in life today.