Creating Eyes That See

The other day, my 6-year-old daughter and her best friend asked me what an optical illusion is. I didn’t have the Merriam-Webster definition, “something that deceives the eye by appearing to be other than it is” at the tip of my tongue so we talked about examples of when you think you see something but your brain knows it can’t be real or vice versa. I showed them the classic example of the picture that is either the young lady with a necklace or an old lady with a prominent chin.

They were fascinated. But of course this is more than a trick for amusement, it’s one of the pillars of our life. As Albert Einstein said, “There are two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as if everything is a miracle.

It reminds me of a person I knew who believed she had to check on everything that someone did for her otherwise she would be cheated. In one memorable instance, she had left her dog with someone who was staying at her house and became convinced the dog sitter wasn’t walking the dog as far as she claimed. So she devised a series of questions to trip up the dog sitter when she picked her up from the airport. What time does the sun rise this time of year? What is the favorite route that you walk with my dog? How many times does my dog poop on her morning walk?

She was convinced that these questions would help her find the TRUTH which was predetermined in her head as a story that the dog sitter didn’t get up as early and walk as far as she thought.

In the meantime, she completely missed that the dog was safe, happy and healthy and that the dog sitter was willing to drive her to/from the airport, that the dog sitter loved to watch movies and also worked from home so that the dog had almost constant companionship while she was gone.

Because none of that mattered if the dog sitter LIED about the morning walk. No gentle reminders from me or anyone else could change the perspective.

This person might be an anomaly in that she didn’t believe anyone, more or less, in her life. She believed that the only reliable person was herself and everything that she got, had, earned was only because of her personal efforts. There was no idea of grace, coincidence, faith, or even luck.

The rest of us are probably not as extreme but I think what Albert Einstein implies is that it’s a way of seeing. We can’t consistently believe that life is completely up to us in one area of our life (work, relationships, money) without it affecting all the others.

We have to believe in miracles to see them. Whatever we have faith in – be it God, the Universe, optimism, magic – will deliver goodness if we develop our ability to discern it. When we open ourselves up to the possibility that miracles happen in our life, it’s amazing to find how many we see.

As an example, my daughter was sad because her best friend, the one that was with her when asking about optical illusions, is moving at the end of the summer. Then as we worked through that reality, she discovered that a family with three kids that she already knows and likes from school happened to move in one block from us. They’d been up the street for 7 months and we hadn’t even realized until one day we saw them on the street. What a gift! The miracle didn’t save us from having to say good-bye to one friend, but instead it was the gift of new friends.

Above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.” – Roald Dahl

How do you interpret Albert Einstein’s quote? What miracles have you seen lately?

For most posts like this – a little story-telling mixed with philosophy, please visit my personal blog at https://wynneleon.wordpress.com or follow me on Instagram @wynneleon

(featured photo from Pexels)


22 thoughts on “Creating Eyes That See

  1. Morning, Wynne. I need to think more about the questions you ask at the end of the piece. I mostly want to comment that it appears you’re really coming into your own as a writer. You were good when you joined PO, but I can see constant growth in your abilities to create artful AND thoughtful pieces. (Sorry. It’s the old writing teacher in me that notices such things; I hope you don’t mind if I put on my teacher’s hat from time to time.) My prediction is you’re going to get better and better. I can see it already, and I sense that you’re really just getting started…Thanks.

    1. Troy – what a wonderful compliment coming from you. I appreciate you taking the time to not only notice but also to encourage. What an incredibly fortunate turn to join with you and the other amazing writers in this blog from whom I learn so much. Maybe even a miracle! 🙂

  2. Wow, Wynne, perhaps one of my favourite (thus far) posts from you. Actually brought shivers as I read it. YES, all the way; as Wayne Dyer so aptly stated, “when we change the way we look at things, the things we look at change.” Ask and it shall be given!
    Looking forward to your next amazing post!

    1. What an incredibly lovely and encouraging comment, Art. You are so good at being tuned in and open to seeing things so I appreciate that this resonated with you. Thank you, my friend!

      1. Thank you very much, Wynne. I’ll be looking forward to your next post!

  3. Beautiful post Wynne. Reminds of a quote from the late Thich Nhat Hanh. “The miracle is not to walk on water. The miracle is to walk on the green earth, dwelling deeply in the present moment and feeling truly alive.” When you consider the staggering odds against which we find ourselves here it’s hard to argue that everything isn’t a miracle. Thank you for the uplifting post Wynne 🙏

    1. Thank you for the lovely comment, AP2. I hadn’t heard that particular quote from Thich Nhat Hanh but wow, you nailed it. So true, it’s a miracle just to be here. And I’m so grateful that as a part of this existence that I’ve been able to get to know you and the other wonderful writers and thinkers on this blog! Thank you!

  4. The post is indeed uplifting, though I think the proposition is complicated. Not that one shouldn’t be open to the beauty, good, and kindness of the world. Rather, for example, how much of the world is real as opposed to a creation of our sense organs and our particular experience, just to begin? How much should or need to create by the attitude we bring? What is a “miracle” and how do we define miracles? What do we do to ourselves if we almost always see the sunny side or the reverse? How can an optimist relate to someone whose life has just been crushed? To what extent is some distortion of our perception necessary to endure the world’s harshness? Is it wise to see the world in full, the wonders and the awfulness, both?

    There is a terrific Goya painting of two men battling each other with their fists, while behind them is a staggering view of the natural world. I heard a poet say “if only they could see the beauty perhaps they wouldn’t be fighting.” Indeed. Perhaps that would be a miracle.

    1. What a thought-provoking and incredibly engaging comment, as always, Dr. Stein. I love the kind and gentle way that you make me think. As a congenital sunny-side optimist, it’s impossible for me to know how much distortion I bring to the table. But I’ve also experienced my share of suffering and found that learning to sit with it is its own kind of miracle. Not the kind that feels good but the kind that allows me to know that I don’t have to spend my time girding against what will be tough because I can lean in when things are hard and find the small things that get me through.

      The questions you ask are so expansive that I know I haven’t touched on but a small part of them but you have me thinking and I love that! Thanks for reading and commenting!

  5. Indeed, a beautiful and wonderfully wise post. Miracles and illusions appear when we wish to see them. Isn’t life a miracle and an illusion? Aren’t our brains already capable of witnessing shifts in the dimensions of reality. I believe that’s what we term as perspective. It is a powerful tool that gives one the gift of seeing what they wish to see. And no matter what may be the opinions of others, condemning or supportive, perspectives aren’t so easy to alter. They too form with experiences, learnings, one’s intellect and innate nature. You really tapped into a magical aspect of existence. Your words are a tiny miracle that will hopefully influence many to see things with new eyes. 🙂

    1. What a lovely comment, Terveen. You are right, it’s hard to change our way of seeing and perspective. And I like how you comment on how that comes together with learning and experience in a way that makes a complete package that is hard to discern what is what. Thank you for adding these thoughts to the conversation!

  6. On the other hand :)..I think that having that healthy dose of awareness that humans aren’t perfect and that life can be imperfect is also necessary. I truly feel there needs to be a balance of perspective that takes into account both of Einstein’s two choices – some things can be magical and others not so much and both can co-exist in a messy, not always decipherable way. Thank you for food for excellent food for thought..

    1. An excellent point – thank you for adding this balance to the equation. Yes, life is messy and sometimes the miracle is just finding a way through the messiness. Awareness and sensitivity do indeed balance out our perception of life as we flow through it. Thank you so much for reading and commenting!

  7. I would need to think about a miracle besides the fact that waking up each morning is a miracle itself. I will think it over the weekend. Before that, let me tell you that your insights are beautiful!

  8. “She was convinced that these questions would help her find the TRUTH which was predetermined in her head as a story that the dog sitter didn’t get up as early and walk as far as she thought.”

    This person reminds me of many of us when we get political- not to mention our politicians .

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