I have only been friends with one blind person in my life, and it was a very long time ago, when I was still a teenager. But I wish I had a blind friend now that I could question about living without the sense perception of sight. I think those without sight must have a lot that they could teach most of us.
And while I am aware that all sense perceptions are delusional, I am noticing recently how powerful my visual senses can distract me from reality. (For a more compete explanation of senses, please read the Paticca-samuppada-vibhanga Sutta: Analysis of Dependent Co-arising)
Think about how powerfully influenced each of us are every day, merely by the appearance of something or someone. Not only do we look at a man or woman and think how beautiful or ugly they are, but we may even draw conclusions about their character just by looking at them. I remember, back in 1973 while in the Navy, another young man always seemed so angry with me for no reason. I finally asked him why he had such hostility toward me, and he responded that he just did not like my face!
Obviously I cannot change my face, and yet just the sight of it was enough to bring feelings of hatred from him.
The converse of this, of course, being love at first sight. And I would guess that most of us, in our youth, felt this way at some point. I can remember vividly as a young man, seeing a gorgeous girl, and uttering the words out loud “Oh my God, I’m in love!”. That’s all it took, one look at what I perceived as physical beauty, and I was done.
But as a mature adult, it may seem that most of us have outgrown these youthful immaturities and see much more clearly. But I find this to be so far from the truth. Our brains are constantly stimulated with positive, negative and neutral perceptions based on what we see with our eyes. A dark and ominous looking sky will instill fear, a beautiful sunset may cause feelings of romance, the sight of a cemetery may bring sadness and feelings of loss. And this happens over and over again millions of times each day, most of which without any awareness that we are being delusional.
Just imagine seeing a wasp in your house, flying near to your head.
Your eyes would signal your brain, adrenaline would cause an increase in your heart rate, your fight or flight instinct would trigger, and most likely you would find a way to kill the wasp.
A chain reaction happened in an instant that caused so many disturbing emotions, your mindfulness was completely absent, you suffered, then you killed a living being that had done you no harm.
While I would never suggest that we blindfold ourselves to avoid the delusions created by our sight sense, I do think we can practice greater mindful awareness. Observing the judgements we create, the passions we develop, the aversions that arise. And I do think there is a tremendous amount of wisdom to be gained in learning to see things just as they are, without judgement or delusion. And along with this clarity, I think comes a peace and radiant love for all things and all beings. Just as they are.
May you be well, happy and peaceful.