We rely so much on our eyes. Seeing is believing, the old saying goes. But what exactly do our eyes show us? If you think about it, all they see is form—shapes in motion. Yet what we really want to discover is what things mean. We want to know if something is good or bad. We want to know which road is worth taking. And we want to know the biggest meaning of all: the meaning of life.
Yet our eyes can’t show us meaning. Can they see a meaning like “worthy” in the way they see a color like red? No, “worthy” is an interpretation made by the mind. It has to be, since we change our minds so easily about such things. When you fall in love with someone you think he is extremely worthy, but after ten years of living with him you might think differently. If meaning was something your eyes could plainly see, could you change your mind about it?
So, our eyes don’t see meaning. Yet meaning is what is really worth seeing. This brings us to a shocking conclusion: Our eyes don’t really see. They are blind. And since we rely so heavily on our eyes, perhaps we too are blind. We all know that appearances can deceive. If we have let appearances tell us what things mean, might we not all be deeply deceived?
A Course in Miracles openly calls us “the blind.” It says that, like the blind, “you stumble and fall down upon stones you did not recognize, but fail to be aware you can go through the doors…which stand open before unseeing eyes” (T-21.I.8:5). Isn’t this how we go through life? We rush into enticing situations, thinking the path lies smooth before us, only to find ourselves stumbling over rocks we didn’t see. Likewise, when we think there’s no way out of the pain, perhaps right in front of us lies an unseen open doorway. We see the forms, but we don’t see the meaning.
How does it feel to consider that, even with your eyes open, you are blind in the most important sense of the word? I remember speaking of this at a seminar, in response to a question from a physically blind woman. She then exclaimed, as if thinking aloud, “Oh, so you’re all…so we’re all blind!”
If it is true that we don’t see, perhaps there is a glorious meaning waiting for us if we will only open our eyes. Perhaps if we can the let go of the meaning we have taken for granted, we will see something we never saw before. According to the Course, if we repeat, “Above all else I want to see” (or a statement like it) just once, with perfect sincerity, we will see in ordinary objects “something beautiful and clean and of infinite value, full of happiness and hope” ( (W-pI.28.5:2)). At that moment, we may find ourselves saying, like so many saints and mystics before us, “I was blind but now I see.”
[Please note: ACIM passages quoted in this article reference the Foundation for Inner Peace (FIP) Edition.]