To turn an obstacle to one's advantage is a great step towards victory.

~ French Proverb ~

Why You Need Fresh Eyes

November 29th, 2013 ~ Est. reading time: 2 mins, 8 secs

We see what we expect to see.

We see what we expect to see.

Ruth used to say, “You’re eyes are so lovely, I could pop them out and fry them”. But you know, I still married her anyway.

Why do we need fresh eyes? The answer is absolutely apparent. Stale eyes go off and aren’t much good for anything (particularly when it comes to looking).

Eyes that take everything in and yet see nothing. That’s what tired eyes tend to do. And haven’t we been there on so many occasions? We thought we saw what was there. But what we noticed wasn’t anything special at all. Which is to say, we have at times missed the best bits, even while – physically – we’ve been right there.

This is all hard to adequately identify. After all, sensing anything is inherently subjective. Yet, we generally agree that  the eyes of an artist, enquiring scientist, or inquisitive child see what most of us typically miss.

That’s why we need mindfulness. Because seeing requires much more than eyes? The painter who captures a scene may have no more visual acuity than anyone else. Yet, she sees with her mind, then crafts, and creates in ways that engage us, surprise us, and sometimes confront.

There is no right way to see, other than to allow novelty in and allow others their visions too. That might not sound like much. But it’s a world away from closed-mindedness, stale ideas, and dried up curiosity.

In case you’d like to get better value out of your sight, here are a few ideas worth trying as seeing exercises.  If they work for you that’s great. If not, make up better ones. Just be prepared to enhance your vision with conscious, open-minded decision, and enjoy:

  1. Close your eyes for a minute or two and try not to think about anything in particular. Then, open your eyes and drink in the scene. What do you see that you didn’t before?
  2. Observe a scene involving some kind of social interaction without thinking about it. Just watch open-minded to what is happening, passing no judgment, predictions, or whatever. After it’s over, have a think about what you could see and what you believe was unseen in that situation.
  3. Look around you, wherever you are, and only think in colors and nothing more. Try the same exercise later, isolating only: shapes, textures, shades, or movement.
  4. Drink in something that happening in front of you. Then slowly blink and look specifically for differences.
  5. Adopt the view that what you see is only part of reality. After all, the world right behind your back can only be imagined, no matter how sure you are about it.
  6. If none of these work for you, or you are looking for a good excuse to give yourself fresh eyes, it’s time to plan your next holiday. Choose a vacation spot that’s new to you and give yourself time to soak in fresh views. That is sure to do you and your vision a power of good.

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