Monday, August 31, 2009

Thoghts: On Seeing

Sometimes my mind goes in the strangest places. The other day I was at Hollins University working on their TV studio. In front of the library were three trees standing in a row, like kindly guardians overseeing the tiny benches below them. I liked their symmetry and the contrast of the bright even grass and the dark swirl of summer leaves on the trees, and quickly snapped a shot with the tiny compact camera I carry around for work use.

As I was taking the picture, a person walking by spoke - "Why are you taking a picture of that? All those trees do is block the view to the theater."

After he said something, I realized that the trees did block the view to the little theater in the distance. But at the same time, they were beautiful in their own right. And it struck me how we choose to see things influences how we feel about things.

This is not a new lesson of course. Writers far better than I write to it in articles and books all the time. But it's one worth being reminded of again and again, because too often the temptation is to fall in negative views that while they may not be entirely false, may not be entirely correct either.

And in the process, we can miss the beauty right in front of us, and that's sad.

The problem, of course, is that it takes work to look at things differently. Poets, writers, artists and photographers often consciously try to do it on certain levels. Sometimes we succeed. But in my experience, we also often fail, our own lenses are clung to desperately, even if our chosen way to see is destructive and prevents us from seeing the beauty and the gifts we have here and now as completely, or well, as we might. It affects everything we see.

Just like the trees.

I am not talking about delusion here, but a willingness to say, "hmm, maybe if I looked at it this way......"

I was reading on the Oprah site the other day (yes, I confess, I actually like the site and the magazine.), and read an interesting article about the physiology of the brain, about how fluid it is, and how it adapts and changes as we change our thoughts, and how we can change what we believe and what we see by telling it certain things, good or bad, whether or not we believe them at the beginning of the process. The brain follows what we feed it, and adapts it's beliefs to what we feed it.

Too often we think it's the world that is feeding our brain, but what we don't realize is that we can do it ourselves.

Think about the implications that has!

Happy Monday, back to poems later this week.


1 comment:

Mark Kerstetter said...

I like this post. You've said something important in clear, simple words that many an academic would muck up with turgid language only a handful of readers could appreciate.