Imagine that your life is like the light coming out of a projector.

Sometimes the bulbs are bright or dim, some seem to last forever while other’s lives seem to be cut short early. Some just hum away practically unnoticed, while others are in constant need of attention. The light shines forward, much like our progression through time. And while the light can illuminate many objects, it isn’t really all that interesting to look at.

But, of course, we don’t buy projectors for their ambient light.

The purpose of a projector is to place slides in front of the light, or have film pass through it, or however they make digital projectors work. These images are our experiences, memories, passions, desires. They are what fill our life with things worth looking at.

Now, I have to admit that I did not think up this projector analogy. I read it in a book, and that book’s author claimed to have found it in another book written by a mystic. I do not know the original source of the idea, otherwise I would provide it. But I find it really interesting.

I expounded upon the original idea quite a bit already, but I would like to do it some more.

I want to pivot away from a traditional idea of a projector, and more towards a kaleidoscope, which is a projector of sorts. The beauty of life is that we have time to develop several interests and pastimes. We can become experts in several things and hobbyists in several more. Each one of those can become a color or a shape that then becomes stacked and arranged in different configurations on different parts of different wheels.

And when our kaleidoscope spins, it shows small facets of our interests combining into our personality. Viewing our kaleidoscope as it creates beautiful arrangements of our personality can be thought of as our point of view. It can be difficult to fully understand where your point of view comes from without seeing how all of the underlying attributes of your personality have come together to form this ever-changing image. Things we didn’t think were important are casting large shadows, things we knew we enjoyed are everywhere we look, and things that we tried to push away end up adding the most diversity and interest.

The trick to making both a projector and a kaleidoscope beautiful is pretty simple, fill it with too much stuff and the light can’t get through, everything gets muddied. Having a clearly understood and vibrant personality, compartmentalizing your interests, making sure you have enough heart-ache to keep it interesting, that is all great. But the light, that is you, it needs to show through those things.

It is easy to become buried by our problems, our stressors. It is easy to live life as if we were only our title. It is easy to be influenced and to follow. And at times it is easy to find our kaleidoscope is varying shades of brown and black. It is difficult to create a really beautiful kaleidoscope. I certainly am no good at it.

I’ve always thought that people that were really happy had just figured something out that I had yet to run across, but maybe they are just looking into a more beautiful kaleidoscope.