If you are new to “30 Days of,” let me catch you up. Brent Bill and I are collaborating on a workshop and book entitled The Art of Faith: Awakening Your Senses to the Wonder of God. Last month, we offered our first Art of Faith workshop, with several others schedule for 2010. (See website for details.) We also began an experiment, 30 Days of Tasting, where we isolated the sense of taste and paid attention to how it helped us experience more of God and life.
So, today, October 20, we begin our second “30 Days of” by focusing on the sense of sight. Just a little background. When we focus on one of our senses, like seeing, that sense immediately connects us to the present moment. We become attentive to what we see and that intention unlocks the panorama of life before us and our awareness of the One who created it and lives in it.
With sight, I anticipate some challenges that didn’t present during our taste experiment. I see all the time—except when I’m asleep. I use my sight constantly, unlike taste that lies largely dormant between meals. As I isolate my vision from my other senses, the kind of looking I do must be different from my general seeing. Like a “Where’s Waldo” picture puzzle, I am scanning my surroundings to notice the unusual, the different, the meaningful.
Here’s an example: Yesterday, I took a walk and began to strengthen my “seeing” quotient. As I strolled along the path, I tried to take in a wide-angle view of things. When something glimmered or popped, I stopped and looked. That’s when I saw this unusual rock.
The path was laden with lots of small, rounded, light colored pebbles that crushed beneath my feet. Then suddenly, my vision picked up a glistening, foliated, black rock with sharp cleavage. (It’s a geology term—I promise.) I stooped, picked it up and examined it. I liked it because it stood out among the sameness of the other rocks. I liked it because it had personality—clean, dramatic angles and sparkle. It made a statement.
Quite naturally, my thoughts turned toward my interest in spiritual formation. The black rock made me think about what real transformation looks like. Though the light-colored pebbles have been worn and weathered—formed in one sense of the word—they have lost their unique distinctive and attributes. But God’s longing is that we grow into the person he created us to be and hold onto what makes us a unique individual—even one who has some sharp edges.
Some questions bubble up as I ponder the rock: Are there ways that I “conform” because I am afraid to standout? What has crushed or molded me (formed me) but not necessarily helped me become my true self? In what ways do I conceal my strength, my defined and muscular edges?
Pay attention to seeing and let me know what you discover!