Sunday, August 29, 2010

Seeing with more than our eyes

The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt within the heart.
Helen Keller

When we think of seeing, we first think of seeing with our eyes. But Webster's dictionary defines seeing as something more: "to perceive as if by sight", "to come to know", "to perceive the meaning or importance of", "to imagine as a possibility" are a few of the definitions. Helen Keller could not see with her eyes, but she saw so much more through her dedication, curiosity, sensitivity, and appreciation.

When Helen was 19 months old she became ill and ended up losing her sight and hearing. At first she felt terribly frustrated and alone in her dark world, but then Anne Sullivan appeared as her teacher and helped her to "see" again. Helen's first major breakthrough was when Anne held Helen's hand under running water and spelled the word water with her fingers into Helen's hand. Suddenly Helen understood the connection of the wonderful cool something that was flowing over hand with the word water. As Helen expressed it, " That living word awakened my soul, gave it light, hope, joy, set it free!"

Without the use of her eyes, Helen began to "see" the wonders of the world around her. She tapped into her gifts to be able to communicate and connect with people. She could put her fingers on peoples' lips and understand what they were saying. Although she could not see the moon, she knew it was there. The feel of a breeze on her skin, the spaciousness of the air around her, the luminous warmth of the sun, all touched her deeply. She could not take her sight for granted because it wasn't there.

It was the love shared between Helen Keller and her teacher that helped her accomplish things that would never have been expected of a blind and deaf person. Anne showed her how to start learning the connection between words and their meanings. Helen had the fire in her heart to pursue her learning passionately. She opened herself to exploring all that life had to offer without holding back.

When you practice yoga, try closing your eyes and noticing. Feel your breath, feel your feet, feel your core, feel your skin. Go deeper into the pose by moving from your heart. Take time to notice your pinkie toe, notice the space between the top of your shoulder blades, feel deep into your hip sockets. Remember your intention, release negative thoughts about yourself and others, fill this space with love. Find a way of seeing without your eyes. Dedicate yourself to the art of awareness. Remember your teachers that have come to you in many shapes and forms. Practice being a beginner and finding wonder in the simple things of life.

Let the words of Helen Keller find a place in your heart: "Truly there is more in us than we dream; for we are parts or shadows of something more intense and greater. We know ourselves only imperfectly. We never fully realize our possibilities, but very near us, touching every one of us, is the Source of all Light, the Sovereign Alchemist who will enable us to transmute the lead of life into gold if we desire it with our whole being, and are willing to work faithfully for its realization."

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