All things are perceived in the light of charity, and hence under the aspect of beauty, for beauty is simply Reality seen with the eyes of love. -Evelyn Underhill
Can we change our perception of the world simply by changing our hearts? Can we see the world as much more beautiful, engaging, and fascinating simply by looking at it with love in our hearts rather than judgment, scorn, or criticism? There’s a lot to be said for having a critical eye, but does that perspective help us see how amazing and beautiful our world is? Generally not. But when we look with the eyes of love, we know what’s lovable and most in need of love.
Our perception is a huge part of what makes the world the way it is. I’m reminded of the story of the man who had an axe stolen from him, and he was sure that a neighbor boy had taken it. Every time he saw that boy, he saw a thief, until the day that he found his axe in his tool shed misplaced. From that moment on, when he saw the boy, he saw only a little boy.
It’s a beautiful story that helps us remember that our thoughts and perspectives shade the world we see. They act as a kind of filter that makes us see things only in the ways that we’re willing and able to see them. A beautiful sunset on a day when we feel good is beautiful; a beautiful sunset on a day when a loved one has died doesn’t hold nearly the same splendor (unless we connect it with the loved one, of course). Our perspective is strongly affected by love–by the willingness and ability to see things through the lens of love.
I want to do my best to see the world through love, though I often see it through the eyes of fear, tension, regret, or even stress. These negative feelings keep me from seeing the beauty and wonder of the world, and that’s a shame. My goal is to keep these feelings from affecting how I see things, and though I often don’t accomplish that goal, it’s a worthy goal to keep shooting for.
Questions to consider:
How do you see the world around you? What contributes to the way you see things?
What would the world look like if we always were to see it through the eyes of love?
How many people do you know who see the world through the eyes of love consistently?
For further thought:
Even the common articles made for daily use become endowed with beauty when they are loved.-Soetsu Yanagi