The gift of sight is an amazing capability – with our eyes we make out colour, shape, and patterns. We see outlines, contours and distance. We see frowning foreheads, smiling faces, and every expression under the sun! Seeing with our eyes is taken for granted by nearly all of us – except perhaps when the gift becomes impaired by the onset of a optic condition or a debilitating head ache.
Our eyes, yes, are our primary sense in seeing, but it is true we use our hearing, our smelling and our touch to gain a picture – and those who see really well – who see three dimensionally – are those who habitually, by instinct, use the whole range of senses.
Jesus invites us all in the gospels to see with nuance, without bias and with an openness – to see as though we are not in control. You see, when we look at life as though we are in control, we manipulate, arrange and live according to our own need – yet when we look while simultaneously not being in control, we see actually what is in front of us. Sadly, we tend to do everything whilst being in control. We rationalise, understand, sort it all out in our heads – and then we live. Unfortunately this is the surest way to limit life, to miss its wonder, and to de-generate into a joylessness so endemic in our so-called civilised societies.
To see life as though we are not in control, is to simply see what is in front of us without pre-judging, analysing or measuring. It is to see and not react – often we engage with life in this reactive state… ‘how can I re-arrange everything to my own interests…?’ Reactive living is a desparate curse of our modern structures. The simplest way to untangle our lives from this reactive misery is to learn and practice seeing without judgment. Just looking…stand and stare at what is before us – all the contradictions, paradoxes, colour and contours. For too many of us, me included, we see what we want to see, rather than the complicated, mysterious and fragile truth of what is.
As we begin to see without bias, we open ourselves to the truth of being loved. Love cannot be understood, rationalised boxed up. It is something dynamic – like the wind which blows in this direction and that – and it is all that matters. This seeing without judgment is the action of faith – it is this faith which opens our hearts and minds to a life bigger than our own parameters. It is this action of faith which saves us – perhaps this is the reason Jesus so often says to the people he encounters ‘your faith has saved you…’.
As we begin to ‘see’ in the Jesus way, the Beatitudes (described in Matthew chapter 5) become the attitudes of our lives. These beatitudes are all about gladly forfeiting control… yet the impact and blessing is bigger than we could ever comprehend – ‘for yours will be the Kingdom’… ‘you will be comforted’… ‘ you will be called children of God’… ‘you will inherit the earth’… ‘you will be filled’… ‘you will see God’… ‘you will be shown mercy’… this is the Kingdom of heaven Jesus tells us is ‘at hand’ (in other words is right in front of us whatever the circumstances) – and it all starts in the manner of our seeing – moving away from the need to know, join up all the dots, and manipulate to our own way… and moving towards a way of seeing all living beings without judgment, bias or control.
Using all our senses in this way – well this needs to be practiced. And the practiced can start today… blessings as we learn to live in the very kingdom of heaven!