The Contemplative Companion for the Week of November 20th, 2017

Then Jesus stopped and ordered that he be brought to him;
and when he came near, Jesus asked him,
“What do you want me to do for you?”
He replied, “Lord, please let me see.”
Jesus told him, “Have sight; your faith has saved you.”
He immediately received his sight
and followed him, giving glory to God.
When they saw this, all the people gave praise to God. – Luke 18.40 – 43

Sight is a source of human judgement. As seeing beings, we perceive others and we often judge them by appearances. Yet others are always more than what we see.

The dilemma is that we tend to see through the lens our being. We see through what we be. We see through what we perceive: through our level of understanding. Through our lenses of personality, judgement, preferences, and criticisms, etc. So how blessed it is when we can see through the grace of love, acceptance and harmony!

The wisdom of Jesus invites us to experience an interior healing and changing in our seeing. Another way of saying this, is that on our journey deeper into Christ, we learn how to transform incoming impressions. We learn to see not by sight but also by consciously chosen love. We learn to see by the depth of the soul and not just by the surface of the body or behavior.

This is not easy for human beings. Apparently, our brains have been hard-wired to make significant decisions – some for our very survival – by sight alone. So, in part, to see by a deeper level of our being, is an opportunity for our inward freeing from our more instinctual level of reactivity, in favor of our more conscious level of perception and awareness – our spiritual level.

We can do this in very practical ways. And holiday family gatherings are an ideal time to practice this practically – that is to say, with effort.  Here’s an idea: when you notice something that triggers your typical reaction or judgment of the other, work at not saying or thinking things like:

He is so [Adjective/Adverb]…”

“That is so [Adjective/Adverb]…”

“I am so [Adjective/Adverb]…”

And instead, work at replacing that thinking with this interior process:

“This is called feeling [Adjective/Adverb] when…”

“This is called thinking [Adjective/Adverb] when…”

“This is called seeing [Adjective/Adverb]…”

“This is called experiencing [Adjective/Adverb]…”

This feeling, thought, perception or experience is NOT-I.  Nor is it [Fill in the Name]. I am a child of God, and so too is [Fill in the Name].”

In the Gospels, sight is often a symbol for our understanding and wisdom. Sight is tied to our “purity of heart”. Recall that Jesus teaches, “blessed are the pure in heart for they will see the kingdom of God” (Matthew 5.8). It’s astounding that we have the capacity to determine whether we see heaven or hell – right now, in our midst. In our family. In our marriage. In our world. Just by shifting the lenses by which we see. That is, by a development of purity of heart.

What if we applied this to our family gatherings? To our marital conflicts? To our conversations of judgment and analysis about all that is occurring in the world? Could it be that our lenses of perception are preventing us from seeing the presence of God right in our midst in the guise of the person we call our “problem” or “enemy” or “source of conflict”?

Image result for the book of joy

As a source of encouragement toward the process of replacing negativity with joy; the lens of judgment with the lens of love, check out this new and wonderful book of conversations between the Dali Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. What a wonderful model they demonstrate – of a joyful love even though they see through such unique perspectives and back grounds. Love has a way of connecting hearts deeply in oneness, without dissolving individuality. Love is the key to relationality and all our different ways of being and seeing.

Happy Thankseeing.



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  1. Happy Thankseeing to you,too. Great food for thought to take to the table and elsewhere. I.will definitely be using these ideas to adjust perception with on the coming days. Book of Joy looks wonderful. Thank you for these holiday gifts of perception.


  2. Wonderful message to take into my whole holiday season starting with “Thanksseeing”! Have saved it to read daily to remind me. Thank you, Peter.

    Love to you and Shannon. What a fabulous time together we all have to look forward to right now! Absolutely unimaginable. I will be in Arkansas with family for 12 days but retuning in time for big celebration & transition in January, would not miss it!


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