Seeing and believing

Seeing and believing

Seeing, it is said, is believing and few will think of denying this. What we witness comes across as Truth and this inevitably goes on to shape our ideas and our behaviour.

But how much of what we see is really true? Is there not a considerable disconnect between what we perceive and what we term reality? For instance, we see the sun rise in the East, travel across the sky and set in the West. Yet, as science has proved convincingly, the sun is stationary, a fixture in the firmament. We believe, whether we are standing, sitting or lying on the ground, that we are on terra firma. The fact is that the earth is rotating as well as revolving at the rate of many thousands of miles per hour.

We are unable to see the air we breathe, yet it is vital to existence. It is clear that there is much more in this world than our eyes tell us. It follows that we have to take this significant factor into consideration in order to lead meaningful lives.

The thinking person will pay attention to what exists in the abstract. Our eyes gather information from and about the outside world and succeed in creating pictures in our minds. It is truth as far as the individual is concerned, but in reality only a partial image.
What is more, these images lead to beliefs that pertain not only to the outer world, but also the inner one that each one of us inhabits. They affect our feelings and shape the relationships that we have with others. For instance, someone may strike you as good looking, but another individual might consider him or her quite plain.

Parents routinely regard their children as beautiful and bright; others may not share their views. A good friend may strike you as attractive until an act of betrayal shows him up as quite displeasing.

Even more important is the way others regard us. We tend to see ourselves as others do. A person who is criticized constantly will quite likely condemn himself.

A student told time and again that he is no good at a particular subject will end doing badly in it though he possesses the innate ability for it. We are much like the six blind men of Hindoostan, even though sufficiently sighted. The story goes that each felt an elephant and came to a different conclusion. The man who felt its ears likened the animal to a fan; the one who felt its legs thought it resembled a tree. And thus it went on.

To see clearly, we must allow ourselves time for reflection and self-appraisal. The meditative saint is often portrayed with half closed eyes. This indicates that he is present in the outer world while engaged in exploring with his inner eye.

Seeing is not always believing, because there is much more in this world than meets the eyes.