The Eyes of the Heart

We depend so much on our senses to show us the world, but have you considered that there is another way of looking at the world –through the eyes of the heart? Through the lens of love? When we meet someone, known to us or unknown, our senses would definitely notice someone’s projected state of being, see what they are wearing, feel any obvious vibes they are putting out, and note any discrepancies between tone and being. Our minds might even judge what the senses report. The eyes of love would pick up the unconscious tensions, acknowledge where that person is, just noticing without judgment or condemnation.

I had an experience of these two kinds of seeing over Christmas as I spent a week with my daughter, her husband and their four boys aged 7 to 13. I live such a quiet existence normally that the kids’ excitement/anxiety over Christmas, the raised voices and energy levels, were often two much for me. After a few days I realized that in many ways my grandsons have no choice about how they behave.

Yes, their parents discipline and train them, but really all the enthusiasm that comes tumbling out of them is just what they have to do, how they have to be at this stage of their lives. My eyes and ears saw and heard the jumble of noise and excitement, my mind reacted negatively, but my heart could see them with perspective and love. And so I could relax.

Jesus so often asked of the people before him, “what do you want?” Instead of judging them for where they were. He turned to them and listened. He wanted to know who had touched his garment, who was before him. He looked at everyone with the eyes of love.

Seeing through the eyes of the heart takes us closest to how God sees. We see the surface stuff and the deep stuff. We love whatever is before us. We forgive. We have compassion. We move closer to them.

We stop choosing what we prefer and ignoring or judging what we don’t like. We stop condeming from our own point of view. We give up our own assumptions and expectations in favor of seeing from a wider perspective. We learn to see from the eyes of the heart as we learn to love.

The difference comes down to this: we either live from the false self’s needs—to put ourselves at the center of attention, to judge, to protect ourselves– or from the true self’s needs—to love, accept, embrace, connect, integrate. Interestingly, it’s as we take the judgment off of ourselves, as we begin to see ourselves with love, that we have no need to judge anyone else. It’s a principle of psychology that we project out onto others what we find unacceptable in ourselves. By accepting all that we are we take back all the projections.

So our own selves—the good, the bad and the ugly– also need to be seen by the eyes of the heart. What a difference that can make! No judgment of me, no impatience with me, no disparaging of me naturally leads to an acceptance of all that I am. I can relax for the first time, since I am not on my case every minute of the day. This is also how God sees me, us—sees with understanding and compassion, love and embracing. Of course he sees our faults, but still he sees us with love and welcome.

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Questions to ponder over the week: Am I able to see myself and others with the eyes of the heart, the eyes of love? If not, why not? Have I asked for God’s help with this? Am I willing to love myself?

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