Wednesday, February 4, 2015

All I Want is Clarity

I have been blind for many years.  Because what I had was not what I wanted, I focused on what I didn’t have.  I chose not to see the good in my life and only focus on what I lacked.  This type of mindset obviously leads to despair.

To change this mindset, I have been working to open my eyes.  What we interpret about what we see determines how much we see.  We sometimes allow an automatic or cultural response to blind us.  I became unempathic to the situation in front of me.

Karla McLaren puts it this way, “No matter how much trait empathy we have, our empathy can drop to near-zero when we interact with someone unusual or unexpected. We’ve all experienced this empathy drop when a person or group we don’t agree with appears on the news; in fact, it’s completely normal to believe that people who are unlike us are suspicious and incompetent. It’s nearly automatic for us to drop our empathy in the presence of difference.

“We are all, every day, engaged in mind-blindness against people we do not agree with or comprehend. We are all unempathic about some people and some groups, and it is a normal feature of human nature to be unempathic toward people who are not like us. This is why it’s so important for awake people to challenge stereotyping and prejudice.”  Source

Jesus, “the rock of offense,” came into the world, “that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind.”  (Isa 8:14, John 9:39)  Why would Jesus’s message make some people blind?  Well, it was so unexpected that they immediately put up their “mind-blind.”

There are always two ways to interpret a situation — favorably and with acceptance and with skepticism and rejection.  With respect to Jesus’ message, a skeptical response results in blindness and a choice to disassociate.  I do not think there is no hope for the blind.  Rather, the light will be greater and more obvious in contrast to the “dimness of anguish” they currently inhabit.  (Isa 8:22)  Isaiah promises that eventually the light will shine and it will be “great”.  (Isa 9:2-3)

Here are some ways that we are blind by choice:
  • We try to deny the truth
  • We forget what happened
  • We ignore other people’s feelings
  • We distract ourselves
  • We blame others for our emotions
  • We repress our emotions
  • We minimize our responsibility and inflate the role someone else played
  • We "cast out” people who make us feel guilty
  • We go to sleep rather than face the reality
  • We drown out memories with TV
  • We “move on” to other relationships
  • We procrastinate
  • We fantasize what we don’t have
  • We don’t appreciate what we do have

image courtesy ilhu industries
We choose blindness over awareness to minimize pain, guilt, the nagging feeling that we ought to do something to help, and even to protect ourselves.  Often we have no idea that this is a choice we have made because it was a learned response.
I’m not immune.  I’ve done it too.  Shame is not the solution.  We need to move in the direction of awareness.  We need awareness of our own needs and feelings.  We can offer awareness of others even if we don’t have a solution.

Clarity comes when we face our fears and approach the truth.  It is possible to see double-vision on any issue.  We can see both our fears and the possibility that this is where we need to bloom and grow.  Reality is what we do have and who we are — right now.  Seeing reality is knowing and accepting the truth.  After seeing the truth we might want to judge ourselves harshly.  The healthy response is to love ourselves.  This is a learned response.  It is the beginning of all love.  Next we must believe that God loves us and has our best interests in mind.  If we have faith in His guiding hand, we will have “power to do whatsoever thing is expedient in [Him].” (Mor 7:33)  We will be able to bring down the “mind-blind” and see the potential for good in what we do have. 

Shifting our perspective to the potential for good is the beginning of hope and the opposite of despair.  I have some strategies that I’m using to shift perspective.  One is a Gratitude Journal.  In this book, I record at least one good thing that happened at the end of the day.  This helps me to see over time the pattern of good things in my current reality.  In terms of my marriage, I have created a document where I visualize the good in my spouse with words, pictures, and symbols.  I also use this document to imagine the good things that we have in our future.  If my “mind-blind” was toward the reality of God, then I might choose to focus on His good attributes, document His blessings as responses to my requests and even the little miracles that happen without my asking (like car accidents that don’t happen and storms that don’t do damage).

You can go from despair to hope!  Seeing is a choice.  Seeing is loving.  Love is real.

And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year:

“Give me a light, that I may tread safely into the unknown!”

And he replied:

“Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the 

Hand of God.

That shall be to you better than light and safer than 

a known way.”

So, I went forth, and finding the Hand of God, trod gladly 

into the night.

And He led me toward the hills 

and the breaking of day in the lone East.

Image courtesy opus moreschi
If you have this habit, please get help.  Porn causes blindness.

This is a short video about a woman who was blind and what it was like for her when she began to see again for the first time in years.

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Poem Source - "The Gate of the Year" by Minnie Louise Haskins

Cover image of eyeglasses courtesy 0four

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