“Now here is my secret, very simply: you can only see things clearly with your heart. What is essential is invisible to the eye.”
― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince
Were you aware that you have two pair of eyes? One set is located right above your nose. The other is located internally. The heart has eyes just as the body does. They are not literal orbs like physical eyes, but they do the same job – they see. The job of eyes is to take in vital information and process it quickly to help us make decisions in life. Eyes also bring us great pleasure by allowing us to see fantastic shades of color, view majestic shapes and forms, witness people showing love and kindness to each other and to take in the wonder of the world we live in. Eyes are a miraculous and astonishing gift that enhances our experiences in life.
We benefit so much from our eyes that we feel regret for anyone who cannot see. We can hardly imagine life without sight. But there was a famous sightless woman who pitied those who could not see with their internal eyes. Helen Keller was an astonishing and accomplished woman despite the fact that she could neither see nor hear. She went on to become a college graduate, public speaker, author and world traveler. She faced her entire life being unable to physically see or hear and yet this is what she said, “The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt with the heart.”
It was Helen Keller’s opinion that the deepest and best parts of life must be discerned
from an internal place of knowing. Helen Keller was able to see with the eyes of her heart. She knew that these eyes gave her an awareness of things that physical eyes could never apprehend. She mastered the use of her internal eyes and had much wisdom to share as a result.
So how often do you rely on your internal eyes for input into how you read the world? In our culture how things “look” is critical to whether they will be accepted or not. Think about it. To be a spokesperson or representative of almost anything in America you have to be attractive, of a certain height and weight, you have to have a “look”. Never mind what kind of person you are – what your character is and how you treat people – just appear attractive and that is enough.
The eyes of the heart can tell you a whole lot more about what is going on than your physical eyes can. They can see things that physical eyes will never see. The eyes of the heart function to discern the deeper story – they have a way of seeing and knowing the soul of a thing. For instance, looking with physical eyes at that homeless man on the corner will only tell you certain very obvious facts, but a look with the heart may reveal a miraculous story of survival. Looking at a polished professional will suggest certain conclusions about her life, but the eyes of the heart may detect a very different picture.
So how do you engage the inner eyes? The biggest stumbling block to using them is giving your physical eyes authority over how you see. You have to give room to the inner eyes – let them have a chance to see and discern before you come to any conclusions about a situation. Try these steps:
Acknowledge Your Inner Eyes – take a moment to think about the eyes of your heart, think about times when you have sensed something as a result of the inner knowing they provide you. Acknowledge how important and useful they can be.
Awaken Your Inner Vision – just like with physical eyes, if you have not used your inner eyes very often they may take some exercise to get them up to speed. Determine to practice the art of seeing from the heart.
Practice Makes Perfect – do some exercises to make your inner eyes stronger.
For example:A. When you meet someone new ask your heart what it sees about that person. B. Next time you are in a deep conversation close your eyes for a moment and pay close attention to what you are seeing in your heart. How do you feel? What pictures do you see associated to this person or conversation? C. Consider the immediate prejudices that you have when you use your physical eyes – we all have them – like what you assume about someone by the way they look or speak. Shut those prejudices down as best you can and invite your inner eyes to see the deeper truth. What do they look like now?
Life with inner vision in full function becomes MUCH more interesting as your experience people and situations in a new way. You may find that you avoid some pitfalls and pick up on potential problems much more quickly too. Wouldn’t you like for people to see who you really are – inside and out? Give them that same privilege. Look with your inner eyes and really see because what is essential is seen with the heart! (Just in case your answer to the question of being seen for who you really are is “no”, we suggest you read the post from July 23rd, “The Value of Vulnerability” it will help you on your path to Trueness and away from shame.)
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Rare footage of Helen Keller and Annie Sullivan
Awaken the eyes of your heart so that you can see what is essential!