I got my first pair of glasses when I was in 6th Grade. I had reached the point that I couldn’t read the chalkboard at school. I thought that was “normal,” because that was all that I knew. I don’t remember if I ever observed that some kids could see and I couldn’t. I just knew that I couldn’t read it.
That first pair of glasses changed everything. My glasses had dark frames and made me look geeky, but I didn’t care. I could see!
At some point, though, I started thinking about the difference between the way something looked when I was wearing my glasses and how it looked after I took them off. I started asking questions like: when was I seeing the thing as it really was? Was I truly seeing the world around me with my blurry vision when my glasses were off? Or was I really seeing when my glasses bent the rays of light to focus differently so that I could see clearly?
That led to other observations. When I wore someone else’s glasses, I couldn’t “see” as well as when I wore my own. Did we always see things differently? When I wore sunglasses on a bright sunny day, I could see “better.” If I wore my sunglasses in the dark, my sunglasses made things worse. The filter provided by my sunglasses was no longer helpful.
All of this leads me to this point. “Reality” is both the way things are and the way we see it. People are fond of saying, “it is what it is.” That may be true, but how does that help me if I can’t see it?
I have learned that the spiritual journey is about a way of seeing. Of seeing that the world is out there, whether we recognize it or not. That when we can “see” in focus, we can live in greater harmony with the world around us. But we all tend to see through a pair of glasses—through the lenses of our own experience, prejudices, loves, and understanding. And the conditions change.
Spiritual seeing requires that we open our eyes to the world around us and inside us that we accurately focus on it. It is what it is, but it is also the way we see it.
For some spiritual seekers, the process can be fascinating. But ultimately, the question is “how well can you see?” Occasionally, we are blessed with the experience of capturing the vision. I think this is how one man felt after Jesus restored his vision. He was challenged by the skeptics: what exactly did he do? They challenged the character of the healer. The man replied, “I do not know whether he is a sinner. One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.”(John 9:25, NRSV).
My prayer for you, seeker, is that you will be able to see and to see clearly!