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Mindful : April 2017
Sight is the overwhelmingly dominant sense. As much as 80% of what we learn comes through our eyes. When you look at something, you may think you’re seeing the object, the thing itself, but you’re really seeing light reflected from that object (unless something is actually self-luminous, like a light bulb). We only see a nar- row spectrum of light, which does not include ultraviolet, infrared, x-rays, or other wavelengths. Yet, within this narrow band of perceived reality, we have discovered planets, solar systems, and galaxies. We have looked inward at cells and molecules. We have painted masterpieces. A mindful approach to seeing is being in the present, without judg- ment, and taking a fresh look at the world, one that broadens our percep- tion. Our habitual approach is to make judgments that narrow what we see. We accept this and reject that. We like Take A Look Stand quietly with mindful- ness, with your eyes open. Don’t focus on any one thing; simply notice what is in your visual field. You see colors and shapes. You see move- ment, shadows, light pass- ing across the room or the landscape. Then very slowly turn your whole body from left to right and then from right to left. Take five minutes to complete both sides. Then look ever so slowly from top to bottom, and then from bottom to top. What do you discover? How do you feel before, during, and after? sight DIDYOU KNOW? There are many phrases in our language that reflect a connection to vision: We use the idea of “seeing” to mean much more than physically seeing someone. blue but we hate pink. This person is our friend, but that guy is a “jerk.” We have no idea what the “jerk” is wear- ing. We don’t notice how sad he is. Or we may see the forest, the over- view, and not the trees. When we’re looking for our car in a parking lot, we don’t notice the other vehicles or whether there are clouds in the sky. Our habitual patterning often leads to pigeonholing, limiting our vision, both literally and metaphorically. But some habitual patterning is essential. Our brains organize visual input into patterns that allow us to recognize what we see. Our brains tell us that the soft red layered ball with a green stick coming out of it, emitting a sweet smell, is actually a rose. For one moment, it might be worth seeing the petals, feeling their soft- ness, inhaling the scent—experiencing the rose rather than simply labeling it. That’s where mindfulness comes in. An eye is composed of more than 2 million working parts, and is the second-most complex organ after the brain. WE DON'T SEE EYE TO EYE THE SENSE LEXICON I’LL SEE TO THAT WE’LL SEE WHAT WE CAN DO SEEING IS BELIEVING YOU’RE A SIGHT FOR SORE EYES OUT OF SIGHT, OUT OF MIND 42 mindful April 2017 discovery