Episode 4: Look

An article by on October 28, 2017

#seeandbeknown I have found that every time I have moved, I become more ill than usual. I learned quickly that each new place harbored new bugs, and the first year is one of accepting new illnesses while my body’s immune system learns how to fight them.

When I finally discovered some of my physical pain was due to autoimmune disease, I began a life-long journey to finding a balance to supporting my immune system. Autoimmune disease is basically an internal overreaction. Certain sectors of the immune system no longer focus on disease but attack healthy cells. So, many “normal” modes of targeting a virus can trigger a heightened attack on my joints and nerves. It requires listening to my body, noticing how it responds to certain supplements and foods, exercises and activities. It is a mindfulness practice that, for me, holds some urgency.

It seems as if we do a similar thing to ourselves psychically. That is, maybe I am overreacting to an internal judgment about my inadequacy and undermine – attack – the healthy strengths I do possess, and render myself socially or professionally infirm. Also, perhaps we do this as a society by passing judgment without thought, without real insight, and attack the whole of another’s position. In doing so, we debilitate constructive civil conversation.

The German-Jewish philosopher, Hannah Arendt, writes about an “inner dialogue, that happens before we speak and act with others. “What she called ‘the banality of evil’ was the inability to hear another voice, the inability to have a dialogue either with oneself or the world, the moral world.”

She also elaborates on a concept she coined, “organized loneliness.” And here we move from yesterday’s practice of hearing to today’s practice of seeing. It is this experience of living in a society in which individuals are unseen and disconnected, of feeling superfluous in the world. It is certainly something that I wrestle with as I dive into year 50. And it seems to be an overarching universal experience in our globalizing world—more connected and more isolated. But just as I cannot really see a truth about my capabilities until another person observes it, sees me as I am, so as a society we cannot see our system for what it is until we can understand it from another cultural perspective.

Of course, that is certainly an oversimplified observation. Still, though I feel like I cannot really change a political system, I can be a part of changing myself in the context of culture. One way is to open my eyes to see another person, another culture, another belief system. And when my eyes are open, they remain open for another to return that gaze. It is vulnerable. It is frightening. It is thrilling. How beautiful it is when two people extend trust and really look at one another. I am changed, and just maybe, we can change the world.

So, let us begin today with really seeing. I like this practice because it reminds me of the childhood game of eye-spy.

Begin by choosing a color. Let us say blue. Look and see 5 different things that are blue. Notice the variation on blue – are they different hues, shiny or dark?

Next look to see 4 objects that move. Name them. Notice how they move (does it fly, float, move with the wind, roll).

Again, let us choose types of trees. Find 3 different trees. What distinguishes them? What are the shapes of the leaves? Are they changing color yet? Notice the variations in color and visual texture. If you must snap a picture for instagram, go ahead. Just edit after your done!

Now look for 2 people you didn’t notice a moment ago. Do you know them? If not, are they ones you would feel comfortable getting to know? Consider why.

Finally, find 1 object that is less than an inch.

How do I need to change my perspectival lens so I can really see someone today?

 

 

Share the love:

Tags: , , , ,

Categorised in: , ,

Leading Together Cover

If you like this article, grab a copy of my book, Leading Together: Mindfulness and the Gender Neutral Zone.

Take a Look

About Nicole

Nicole Oliver Snyder’s expertise lies in the areas of leadership, gender issues, and mindfulness practice as it affects both. Leadership, particularly in an urban setting, requires community-relations skills, and an ability to clearly convey justice issues as they relate to felt, spiritual ones. Dr. Snyder is author of Leading Together: Mindfulness and the Gender Neutral Zone, and specializes in teaching mindfulness leadership development, formative spirituality, counseling, and Old Testament theology (emphasis on justice issues). She has a diverse background in international community-relations work combined with volunteer work in multi-ethnic communities, and with local institutions. She is an ordained Clergy; holds a BS in Human Development and Family Studies, w/Education Certificate, an MA-Counseling, MDiv Equiv., holds a Doctor of Ministry and Advanced Certification in Formative Spiritual Direction, and is a Licensed Professional Counselor (MI).

Recent Articles

Inner Tranquility

“Peace that demands unreal conditions is a deception. There is no life without work, anxieties, or tensions. Peace is not found in avoiding these but in understanding them and confidently controlling their force.” [Sister Wendy Beckett] From this inner tranquility peace enters relationship through practical involvement in the distress of another. It understands – knows… Read This Article

Read More

Be Present to Joy

On being present to Joy, Sister Wendy Beckett says: “It is inadequate, even misleading, to speak of ‘experiencing joy’, though it is impossible to find another phrase that can suggest what is meant. Joy is too great to be experienced. It is never our own, never within our power. It is rather that we are taken… Read This Article

Read More

A Nose For This

My dad comes from a proud line of prominent nosed peoples. I take after my father in many ways, and the nose is quite obviously one of those. My parents were always generous with their love toward their children and I grew to develop a fairly good sense of self. But my nose was always… Read This Article

Read More

Advent – Anticipate With

Make Advent meaningful. Anticipate the celebration of Emmanuel’s birth with another. Designed to guide you into personal, centering prayer during the Advent season, and intentional prayer for a young person (or anyone, really!) Download the pdf document to share and write in, or link to the eBook version. Start today! It is 4 weeks until… Read This Article

Read More

Apathy – the Enemy of Justice

After the preparation and partaking of Thanksgiving’s feast, I might be forgiven a bit of indolence. Yet, as we shared a veritable bounty in the more-than-sufficient space of our home, the reality that there exists countless others with no home and insufficient nourishment persists. It is an immeasurable gift that I enjoy an overwhelmingly gracious… Read This Article

Read More

Listen

One of the most difficult activities for human beings, perhaps the most difficult, is to listen. It asks that I remain still for a time, that my focus lingers on the object of my listening attention for the duration of the message being communicated. It is active. It is intentional. It is human. When Louis… Read This Article

Read More

Never Miss A Thing

© Copyright 2018. All rights reserved.