The very meaning of the word universe is to “turn around one thing.” I know I am not that one thing. There is Big Truth in this universe. —Richard Rohr
An ethical and moral life is about letting go of indifference and learning how to see. It’s about waking up to love ourselves, love our posse, and love our world. Imagine love as our shared spiritual practice, binding us to one another, enabling us to see our connection—that we are kin. —Jacqui Lewis
Somehow staying Christian is about staying in and with and through Jesus. Jesus has everything to do with it. And that really matters to me. Yet Jesus has not stayed the same for me through my whole life’s journey. —Diana Butler Bass
What is being asked of us in this moment is patient attention; a willingness to slow down, listen, and look; a willingness to let go of our expectations, to accept the possibility that our efforts may not bear any fruit—or at least not in the way we have been hoping that they will. —Douglas Christie
This is / the pressing question /of every age: / What is it that we cannot see? / For life is hiddenness, / as is God, / and we have been given / the gift of searching. —Drew Jackson
It is hardly an exaggeration to say that “us-and-them” seeing, and the dualistic thinking that results, is the foundation of almost all suffering and violence in the world. —Richard Rohr
Three Ways to View the Sunset
Father Richard describes how a simple experience such as viewing a sunset can be an opportunity for contemplative “third-eye” seeing:
Three people stood by the ocean, looking at the same sunset.
One saw the immense physical beauty and enjoyed the event in itself. This one was the “sensing” type who, like most people in the world, deals with what can be seen, touched, moved, and fixed. This was enough reality to consider, without much interest in larger ideas, intuitions, or the grand scheme of things. This is first eye seeing, which is good.
The second person saw the sunset, and enjoyed all the beauty that the first person did. Additionally, like all lovers of coherent thought, technology, and science, this person also enjoyed comprehension of the cyclical rotation of planets and stars. Using imagination, intuition, and reason to see with a second eye was even better.
The third one saw the sunset, knowing and enjoying all that the first and second people did. With the facility to progress from seeing to explaining to “tasting,” this person also stood in awe before an underlying mystery, coherence, and spaciousness that created a connection with everything else. Engaging this third eye is the best, for it is the full goal of all seeing and all knowing.
Where might you be able to practice seeing with your “third eye” today?
Adapted from Richard Rohr, The Naked Now: Learning to See as the Mystics See (New York: Crossroad Publishing, 2009), 27.
Explore Further. . .
- Read this week of Daily Meditations inspired by the podcast Learning How to See.
- Learn more about this year’s theme Nothing Stands Alone.
- Meet the team behind the Daily Meditations.
Image credit: Young Shih, Untitled (detail), 2021, photograph, Taiwan, Free Use. Charles O’Rear, Grasses After Spring Rain (detail), 1973, photograph, Nebraska, Public Domain. Mohsen Ameri, Untitled (detail), 2021, photograph, Iran, Free Use. Jenna Keiper & Leslye Colvin, 2022, triptych art, United States. Click here to enlarge the image.
This week’s images appear in a form inspired by early Christian/Catholic triptych art: a threefold form that tells a unified story.
Image inspiration: Dewdrops on grass, sunlight on the path, trees reaching skyward. It’s easy to overlook things we think we have seen already seen before. How can we look more deeply, allow our sight to be shifted so as to see anew?
Prayer for our community:
God, Lord of all creation, lover of life and of everything, please help us to love in our very small way what You love infinitely and everywhere. We thank You that we can offer just this one prayer and that will be more than enough, because in reality every thing and every one is connected, and nothing stands alone. To pray for one part is really to pray for the whole, and so we do. Help us each day to stand for love, for healing, for the good, for the diverse unity of the Body of Christ and all creation, because we know this is what You desire: as Jesus prayed, that all may be one. We offer our prayer together with all the holy names of God, we offer our prayer together with Christ, our Lord, Amen.