On life’s scale of experiences, extreme sorrow is on one end and extreme joy on the other. Between the two extremes are a range of everyday experiences that cause differing levels of emotion. Envision the scale like a black and white spectrum–the sorrowful half of the scale is a darker tone and the joyful half is a lighter tone.
The majority of our experiences are at the center of the scale, where they comprise both dark and light tones. Much of reality contains both positive and negative aspects, and the power of either one depends on one’s perspective. The shade you focus on is what colors your perception–much like when your eyes focus in on something, your vision is consumed by that thing and the rest blurs in the background.
If you continually focus on the darker shades of your experiences, your perception of life in general grows dim overtime. You might struggle to find meaning in life, you may feel depressed, you may drag yourself along your journey feeling weighted down rather than lifted.
Alternatively, focusing on the lighter, more positive shades of your experiences leads to a life of fulfillment in the long run. The mind becomes trained to see the light, even if it appears as just a sliver in moments of darkness.
With many of our everyday experiences, both light and dark tones exist equally. Life is simultaneously beautiful and troubling. How we interpret a particular experience has less to do with the experience itself and more about what we, the perceiver, choose to focus on. Seeing the light over the dark doesn’t mean pretending the dark doesn’t exist. It means choosing to see the lightness as the foreground of what you perceive. The dark exists only to emphasize the presence of the lightness around you.