Out of Sight… or Insight?
Is blindness a blessing or a curse? People can be physically without the gift of sight, but are perfectly able to understand and sense things, while people with sight can be literally blind. So what does it really mean to be able to see? The ability to see is not restricted by our two physical eyes. With our eyes we see things on the outside, but an ability to see from within we would call insight, and that comes from an inner knowing, an inner truth.
This theme has been used in art for millennia to depict various facets of truth. In Oedipus the King, Tiresias ends up telling Oedipus that not only is he the murderer, but he will end up physically blind once he finally accepts the truth. Although Tiresias may have been blind himself, he has a gift because he can see the truth. Oedipus on the other hand is not blind, but he cannot see the truth.
As with many epic dramas, the plot becomes very twisted and entangled, and the complications in those twists and turns means that we can be caught up in the external dramas without really catching the moral of those stories. They can quite simply go over our head.
In the Mahabharat, the theme throughout the story is that the King Dhritrashtra was blind, and his wife Ghandari bandaged her eyes to share in his darkness. Their sons were not blind, but the Kauravs were blind to their own jealousy, arrogance and false ambition. The brother-in-law the deceitful Shakuni was blinded by his love for his sister Ghandari. In Shakespeare’s King Lear, it is only when Gloucester loses his sight that he begins to see the truth! And Surdas the mystic-poet seeks the boon of physical blindness from Krishna after becoming ‘enlightened’. These are all such complicated stories.
Falling in love has often been called a sort of blindness. Not in the literal sense of course, but because when you love someone a lot you cannot see their faults. You only see their virtues. You are blind to their shortcomings. It is only after you return from the honeymoon that their weaknesses begin to become visible. The weaknesses were always there, but we were blind to them. So what kind of a sight is that? A sight that only allows us to see the good and not the bad.
The blind cannot lead the blind, is a famous idiom mentioned in Hinduism in the Upanishads, as well as in Christianity. The metaphor suggests that if someone does not have a clue about something, how is he able to guide or advise another. So, in our own life how many of us would choose to get advice from a fool?
Sometimes we are guilty of ‘turning a blind eye’. But is this not really a rejection of reality, where we are refusing to see, even when we can see perfectly well. Is this not a self-created blindness when we ignore undesirable information? This is why the story is the perfect way to share a message, and Jesus used stories all the time to share his teachings.
“Therefore, I speak to them in parables:
because they seeing see not;
and hearing they hear not,
neither do they understand…”
Matt: 13: 13
When someone is physically blind, we do not question why he or she is blind. We accept them for what they are, we can either work with them or work around them. We do not keep asking them why they are blind! In the same manner when someone cannot see the truth, or they are not aware or conscious, it is a waste of time for us to keep asking them why they cannot see right from wrong. Because at this moment in time they are temporarily blind. It is best to just accept them and work around them!
In meditation we talk about the opening of the third eye. Our blindness, which is our ignorance or lack of awareness is removed with the acquisition of knowledge, this brings insight and truth. Once we practice this knowledge we are no longer blind; we can now see. Which is why when we understand something, we say: “Ahaa Ha! I see!” Simply meaning that we have moved from a place of darkness into the light of understanding.
We are all blind in a sense in one way or another to our strengths and weaknesses. Sometimes we too are unable to see ourselves fully, because to see the real self takes a great deal of courage. Sometimes we are deceived not only by ourselves by others too, just like the emperor in the children’s story, The Emperor’s New Clothes.
The poor emperor was surrounded by ‘yes’ men, and no one was brave enough to challenge the king. He was trapped by his own ego and his own foolishness. Then one day the tailor came with a non-existent dress. Not wishing to appear foolish because the king’s ego was so big, the king went along with the lie, because in reality there was no new dress or fine costume. The whole kingdom colluded with the king in this lie, that he was a clever king and wore a wonderful new outfit. That is all but one honest and innocent child. He alone was able to tell the king the truth from that place of innocence, at which point the king could see his own delusion and foolishness. It took the purity of a child to awaken the king.
It’s Time… to check our vision. Can we see? Or are we choosing to see only that which we want to see? Check your reality. Who do you have in your life who can really tell you the truth with the innocence of a child?
© ‘It’s Time…’ by Aruna Ladva, BK Publications London, UK