People talk about memory being connected to scent and food being a motivator for everything, but what we fail to acknowledge is that we are visual beings. We aren’t terrified of bad smells and rarely have any idea what they actually signify without being told, ie Natural gas companies advertising that natural gas is made to smell like rotten eggs. We are terrified of the dark or, more precisely, not being able to see what is going on. Because seeing is how we understand and interpret the world. Humans do just fine without functioning ears, in fact there’s a whole deaf culture out there for those who don’t know with languages all their own. Humans do just fine without the sense of smell and there are plenty of blogs about them even being food critics, for goodness sake. Being without a sense of touch is dangerous just because we’re in a body and we have warning systems that prevent us from injury built into the system, but with eyes and a little help we can work around that, carefully.
Being without eyes is the most difficult of all because it is how we function in life. And yet the majority of people spend their life not seeing what is in front of them, where they are at, what they are doing, and instead look at everything else. Even worse, they spend their lives in their own head not seeing or dealing with what is going on outside. And, as most of us know, worlds of thought go on in our heads, most of it fantabulous concoctions that have almost nothing to do with reality and most often either in the past or in the future, and so our body runs around on autopilot, blind and reactionary, while we use our eyes to see things that aren’t there, were never there, and possibly will never be there. As Martha Beck has said, there’s a difference between real pain and dirty pain. Real pain is when you stub your toe. Dirty pain is when you worry about something that hasn’t happened yet and this affects what you are doing right now. That’s turning your eyes into your head instead of having them look forward.
Now, if I haven’t been explicit before, let me start now. I’m a great advocate of self contemplation or ‘navel gazing’. I think getting your mind quiet, thinking about things, and figuring out why you do what you do is an under utilized skill we humans have and if we did more of it we would do less knee jerk reacting and be much more productive and proactive. However, I don’t recommend doing it while walking on a busy street or while driving your car at 80 mph or while off-road unicycling. Everything to its time and place. Navel gazing while being quiet and possibly alone or with a really good friend who already knows you’re amazing/quirky is a gift. Having your eyes turned out of your own head and onto where you are in the moment attending to what you are doing in that moment, priceless.