Seeing with X-ray vision (August 28, 2010)

We rely on our eyes all the time, so completely that most of us view the prospect of blindness with dread. Yet the Course has little good to say about our physical eyes. Why? One answer is found in this quote: “To this distorted form of vision the outside of everything, the wall that stands between you and the truth, is wholly true” (T-22.III.5:7).

It  is hard to dispute that our eyes see only “the outside of everything.” As the old saying goes, “Beauty is only skin-deep,” and it often doesn’t even go that far. The same person with some paint on her face can seem like a different person to us.

Our eyes cannot see past the very surface of something. They cannot see inside a person’s body (without X-rays). And even more important, they cannot see inside a person’s mind. How often have we wanted that kind of X-ray vision? Think of a disastrous relationship you have had and imagine that you had been able to see inside that person’s mind and heart at the moment the two of you met, just as plainly as you could see the color of his or her clothing. Couldn’t that maybe have saved you months or years of pain?

This the problem with our eyes. They cannot see past the surface. They cannot see inside things. They cannot see the real truth. All they can see are surfaces that have been carefully composed to give us a certain (usually false) impression. This is why again and again the Course equates physical sight with blindness. Referring to the body, the Course tersely says, “Its eyes are blind” (T-28.V.4:8).

Wouldn’t it be incredible to have eyes that could see inside things, that could see the real truth? Imagine seeing past the skin of a person, past the muscle, past the  body altogether. Imagine seeing into that person’s mind, seeing the private thoughts, hidden feelings, and unconscious attitudes. But imagine seeing past even that—imagine seeing into whatever that person really is, into that person’s fundamental nature, and seeing that just as plainly as you now see the nose on his or her face.

Amazingly, the Course says that we already have such eyes. It calls them the eyes of Christ, and what they do, according to the Course, is look on the innermost essence of things, just as our physical eyes look on the outermost surface. What the eyes of Christ see is divine light wherever they look, “a light beyond the body, an idea beyond what can be touched” (W-pI.158.7:3)—not as a concept or theory, but as plainly and immediately as what our physical eyes are seeing now. 

We all have these eyes, the Course assures us. Yet we have closed them. They are sleeping now. They can, however, be awakened. And that is the purpose of the Course: “To open the eyes of the blind is the Holy Spirit’s mission, for He knows that they have not lost their vision, but merely sleep” (T-12.VI.4:2).

I have been thinking a lot about this in recent days. I am tired—I think we all are—of trying to figure out what things are based on the scattered, indirect clues provided by my eyes. I want to see into what things really are. I want that X-ray vision the Course promises us. I want to see with the eyes of Christ.

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