THE EYE: THE LAMP OF THE BODY

In my school days, I used to play a game with my friends called the Blindfold Challenge. There are many variants to the game. In one type, one has to chase a friend who would call out the name and then run in a different direction. In another variant, one has to identify objects and name them. In another type, one has to trace one’s way out of the room and reach the spot where the rest of the friends are (it goes without saying that they keep on sneaking from room to room silently). The game is fun! Especially those who are on the running side enjoy it a lot. But for the one who is blindfolded, it gradually begins to feel as if a state of perpetual blindness is creeping in to take a grip. I remember many of my friends used to remove the blindfold out of frustration (even before completing the task) just to get rid of the darkness. And how relieving it felt to be in the presence of light once again!

I’m sure many of you would have played this game as kids! Blindfolds are often used in reality shows on the television when participants are to be given a surprise (either a surprise gift or to welcome a surprise visitor). Have you ever thought why the eyes are the ones which are blindfolded and not any of the other sense organs? The ears, the nose, the tongue, the skin are left to function normally, whereas the eyes are covered, when a person is made to guess/identify/recognize something or somebody. Ever thought why?

In human beings, vision/sight is neurophysiologically, the most dominant sense. Research says that thirty to forty percent of our cerebral cortex is devoted to vision while the other sense organs together make up the rest. Isn’t it now easy to understand why blindfolding is so much made use of?

So tough for those with partial or complete visual impairment!

To add a tinge of humour before delving into some serious lessons, I would like to share something that happened just a few days back. I stepped out of my house in the scorching summer heat around noon, all the while feeling that something was wrong with my eyes – especially with my right eye. All along the way, I was trying to figure out the reason for my blurred vision. The problem was not with my sunglasses. And yes, I had remembered to wear contacts in both the eyes. I closed each eye with my palm by turns and tried seeing through the other. A few times of this exercise and I was sure that my right eye was at fault. Somehow I managed to finish the chores and return home in a few hours. And when I set to remove my contact lenses, the one in the right eye wasn’t there! But, I was sure that I had put it in place. After a little bit of fiddling, I successfully traced and removed the lens from beneath the eye lid!! Though I did smile to myself, I also decided to check and rectify any fault without delay should a similar thing recur in future.

So crucial are our eyes! And, they are placed at just the right position to guide the other important parts of our bodies. That is why the Bible aptly says, “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light.  But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness . . .” 

A lamp lightens the place in the absence of other sources of light. And so, with the help of the light of the lamp one can find his/her way around without much difficulty. In order to get as much light as possible, three things are crucial. Firstly, the lamp has to be placed in a location where the light rays would cover the maximum area. Secondly, the glass/fibre covering of the lamp has to be clean. Thirdly, there has to be a continuous supply of energy to generate light (without which a lamp becomes an useless object).

You may visualize the above three requirements with respect to an oil-lamp or electric lights. Applies just the same!

These three requirements apply to our eyes as well. Our eyes are the natural lamps fitted in our bodies. They serve the body by being windows to the world. The eyes not only help the body to perform its function well, but also help the body as a unit to function normally and usefully with respect to others.

  • Imagine that you had your eyes near your toes. You would then be able to see only the area under your feet. The rest of your body would go berserk without a lack of guidance. Since you and I have had no role in placing our eyes (of the human species) where they are, we just need to thank the Master Designer for His remarkable design. So wonderfully are our eyes lodged that they can see and make seen the maximum.
  • Our roles gain significance in the second requirement, i.e, in keeping our eyes clean. Keeping the eyes clean not only refers to keeping the sclera (the visible white part of the eye) clean, but also to guard the eyes against seeing anything wrong. Here, I would like to mention that our sense organs are crucial gateways to temptation. It is important to keep our eyes externally clean and healthy. Eye exercises are a must. If nothing else, then looking at a stretch of greenery for 10-15 minutes regularly helps ensure good health of the eyes. Any irritation in the eyes, needs to be addressed on an emergency basis. However, once the eyes are clean, what do we see? For the sake of brevity, I will not go on to elaborate the wrongs that the eyes are exposed to, but I sure will leave some food for thought. Deliberately watching things that may be sensually pleasing but are wrong (acts of rage, injustice, sexual perversion, porn) or letting the eyes gaze around lazily and aimlessly – are sure grounds to invite trouble in our lives in the long run.
  • What do we fuel our eyes with? The sclera is just the visible outer covering. It is a protective layer. The mechanism of sight operates when light passes through the cornea and the lens and casts an image on the retina and this information from the retina is sent via optic nerves to other parts of the brain which process the information and allow us to see. If there occurs a disruption in any one stage, vision is affected. In all this, the electrical signals play a crucial role is transmitting to and from different parts of the eyes and the brain. What external signals do we permit our eyes to carry? If we fuel our eyes with sights that are good, healthy and edifying, the signals sent by the brain to other parts of the body will be good, healthy and edifying as well. In certain cases, people are forced to witness what is wrong (for example, a child witnessing the murder of a parent or a husband being forced to watch his wife being raped). These are cases beyond one’s control where the healing touch of God and the comfort of understanding people are needed to come out of it. However, when we decide to deliberately fuel our eyes with all that is destructive and wrong, we prepare grounds for our physical and spiritual destruction. In recent news in India is a couple where the husband has been convicted and jailed for forcing unnatural sex on his wife. Five years of marriage went by smoothly and happily, after which the husband entered into the world of pornography which resulted in his atrocious behaviour. A family shattered!

The eyes indeed are the lamps of the body. They have been placed in the appropriate position by the Creator. Let us resolve to keep them clean and fuel them with supplies of edifying energy!

NO ONE IS BEST BUT ME

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines ‘haughty‘ as being blatantly or disdainfully proud or which in simple terms mean having or showing the insulting attitude of people who think that they are better, smarter or more important than other people.

No doubt being haughty or rather having haughty eyes is considered to be one among the seven things hated by Lord Almighty. The eyes are the mirror to the heart. It is believed that if one looks into the eyes the mechanisms of the heart could be understood. So it also means, if a person has haughty eyes, the overall attitude of his heart is to look down upon and scorn others.

Now this is something we really don’t want to encounter. Haughtiness or pride is spontaneous and this gives rise to a host of other sins.

What causes a person to be haughty?

Friends, it can be anything one does best or a possession but the biggest thing that triggers haughtiness is a consideration that ‘I am above all’. A haughty person acknowledges less and attributes his blessings, his successes all to himself. A feeling that ‘no one is best but me’ empowers the heart of a haughty person. He or she doesn’t think for a second time to lie, shed innocent blood and spread violence. All this is done only to be at the top.

The scriptures speak about such people who wanted to be at the top. Lucifer, Nimrod, Belshazzar, King Saul were among them. The result of such arrogance is nothing but downfall.

The philosophy behind terrorism is haughtiness. Certain people are proud of the way they profess their love for their religion. Professing love for God without humility is not righteousness.

Haughtiness only leads to downfall as the person is concerned with gathering treasures of the Earth which is passing away.

The real treasure lies in not staying at the top but acknowledging the Most High and in building relationships of a healthy kind with your fellow beings in encouragement and motivation.

Now that’s called making a difference.

HAUGHTINESS OR HUMILITY – WHAT DO YOUR EYES REFLECT?

OUR EYES SPEAK

It is said that – ‘Eyes are the windows to the soul.’ So very true! Our eyes are one of the means via which we communicate non-verbally. They convey even more than our spoken words. Even when a person doesn’t utter a word, the expressions of his / her eyes speak volumes. Through the gestures of our eyes we communicate and also perceive the intents of the communication we receive from others. Eyes not only collect information from the outer world but also convey feelings and emotions. A gaze or a stare, the amount of eye movement, the dilation or expansion of the pupils are effective ways of conveying and perceiving conveyed information. And so, we have the innocent look, the naughty look, the sad look, the mischievous look, the angry look, the seductive look, the dangerous look and so on.

UNDERSTANDING THE HAUGHTY LOOK

This article deals with the ‘haughty look’. To explain simply, ‘haughty’ means ‘arrogant’ – bragging too much about oneself or showing oneself bigger and better than others. Haughtiness is a negative attribute of the heart. A person who is too proud of his / her intellect, wealth, accomplishments, looks, power, etc. is said to be haughty. A haughty person thinks and acts superior and looks down on others. To give examples – making fun of others and speaking in a cocky way when they are not aware of the new brand of mobiles that have been launched makes me haughty. To show off my accomplishments and boast of my degrees to prove that I’m more learned than others makes me haughty. To constantly boast of my looks and beauty in a way that pushes others to be ashamed of theirs makes me haughty. And yes, to show myself as too righteous and spiritual over and above others also makes me haughty!

When we refer to ‘haughty eyes’, we basically refer to pride in the heart which is conveyed through the gestures of our eyes. And so what we are looking at here is essentially an attitude of arrogance. Arrogance does not indicate confidence, as many may want to believe. Rather it is a reflection of insecurity and a fragile self-esteem deep within the individual.

HOW DOES HAUGHTINESS MANIFEST ITSELF?

When a baby is born, he / she perceives the world to be revolving around himself / herself. This is true to a great extent as everyone is fussy about the infant’s arrival. Infants generally outgrow this trait of egocentrism as they increase in age. However, the continual presence of egocentrism even in the adult years is perceived as haughtiness. Haughtiness is a negative character trait.

A haughty spirit emerges from a deep-rooted desire to cover up our shortcomings, to hide our fears, to protect our weaknesses from coming to the limelight by exalting certain other traits in a greater-than-life manner. A haughty spirit finds manifestation in the way we look at others. Have you ever been in a position where someone looked at you from top to bottom and either turned away their faces or gave a nasty expression? This is the work of haughty eyes. You couldn’t really understand the reason behind it, you thought there was nothing wrong about you and you deserved nothing of the sort. Perhaps you were hurt or you ignored the whole episode or decided to pay back to the person at an appropriate time!

REPLACE YOUR HAUGHTY EYES WITH HUMBLE EYES

Just as we would feel belittled by the haughty looks of others, our haughty eyes also have the potential to rob others of their self-esteem. The Bible tells thus – “Let someone else praise you and not your own mouth; an outsider and not your own lips.” When I praise myself and speak too highly of myself, I prepare the ground for a haughty spirit which is further manifested in my haughty looks. Haughty eyes are detestable in the sight of God. Our eyes are meant to express love and compassion for others – to build others and not break them.

Humility in spirit leaves no space for haughty eyes. When we accept our weaknesses with humility, we will rejoice over our strengths with the same humility. We all are designed uniquely and blessed differently. And so, it is for us to appreciate the goodness in others and lift them up.

We need not be like the egocentric infant, wanting to gloss over our own selves all the time. Let our eyes speak the language of a heart that overflows with humility. Eyes loaded with humility have a strange magnetic power in them which attract others, whereas haughty eyes repel. Those who humble themselves will find themselves exalted in due time. That’s the secret of success!

Author’s Bio: Rajnandini Sahu has done her Post Graduation in Clinical and Counselling Psychology and is presently working as a Counsellor in a school, apart from pursuing higher studies. She can be contacted at ‘rsahu1023@gmail.com‘.

BEAUTY IS THE UNLIMITED ABILITY TO PERCEIVE

eye-321961_1280During my internship, many years ago, I visited the visually impaired school of Ramakrishna Mission in Kolkata. Although I don’t remember many details, one small incident taught me a new meaning of the word “beauty”. As I interacted with the students, there was a young girl, visually impaired, who just wanted to sit with me all the time. She held my hand, touched my face and said, “You are beautiful.”

That day I understood the meaning of BEAUTY through the little girl’s eyes. As Plato quotes, “Beauty lies in the eye of the beholder”; the eye here, is actually the eye of the soul. Beauty is not just a visual medium but can also be auditory, tactual and olfactory. It symbolizes a sense of morality and honesty. It is possible that the little girl equated her definition of “beauty” to someone treating her well, giving her time and space, and making her comfortable.

Similar situations arise in all of our lives. We all appreciate “beauty” but end up limiting our ability to perceive it. We meet different sets of people not knowing what they are going through, and we know how to react to each one of them. But often, we miss out finding the beauty within them and within us too.

You may ask, “Where is the beauty in pain?” But ironically, pain often brings beauty; for instance, a mother, out of pain, delivers a beautiful baby, out of a painful loss, there is an awareness of the beautiful person or time spent with him or her and the beautiful life, out of painful struggle emerges a beautiful poem. Hence, there is beauty in our interconnection as human beings.

Beauty is in our lives if we stop comparing with others, especially our outward appearance. People might pull you down on that matter, however, let us remember- we all are beautiful in God’s eyes who created us and said, “…Behold, it was very good…”

Samarpita Sahoo