Close your eyes. While you are at it, take off your socks and shoes. Walk around the perimeter of wherever you are—with a goal in mind. Get up, take a breath, and feel around. Maybe your hands will graze the edge of a dry, painted wall, the familiar comforter of your bed, or the damp bark of a tree. You will grow impatient without the immediate satisfaction of clear cut vision and color. The moment your lashes part from the rim of your eyes, light and vibrancy will flow into your view, and a craving you didn’t know you had will be satisfied.
I called my grandmother. She has not had her sight for twenty years now. My aunt picked up the phone, and after a brief twenty minute conversation, she most likely placed that home phone into the fragile, speckled hands of my abuelita. Her fingers probably found the familiar orange textured dot stuck to the number six, that she normally presses to let people into the apartment building, when they buzz in. I imagine it’s like when you press the home button on your iPhone, and the familiar lock screen pops up that you unconsciously register, but do not actually look at. Or better yet, when you press the phone to check the time, but forget to actually pay attention to the numbers lighting up the screen. She says “Hola, mijito”, thinking its my brother, and I say “Hola, bonita. Soy tu nieta, Sara”.
Despite not being able to see, my abuelita is the most exuberant person you will ever be in the presence of. She speaks with more enthusiasm than one is used to, and most sentences she utters sound as if they were scripted by a passionate Hispanic speech writer, that works for the Latino version of Joel Osteen. She blesses every soul she comes in contact with.
How can someone be so genuinely happy, thankful, and at peace without the sense that gives us so much pleasure and reassurance? Your eyes seem to be the gateway of understanding of the world. Or maybe they make things much more complicated…
What would it be like to experience the world without your sight? My guess is that it would be much more difficult to derive pleasure from shopping, watching television, playing games on your phone, admiring the beauty of an attractive person—or sex for that matter, taking a photograph, or enjoying travel. These activities all fit the description of characteristic materialism. The definition of materialism is “a form of philosophical belief which holds that matter is the fundamental substance in nature, and that all things, including mental states and consciousness, are the result of material interactions”.
Without being able to see the physical, it seems as though you would be apart of a unique club of people who are able to experience this world with less attachment to materialism. What is that like? Even without your vision, you become more focused on other important aspects of being. Think back to when everything went dark for you. Most likely, other senses got sharper. Your hearing became a bit more keen, your sense of touch became more receptive, and your smell more active. Imagine, all of your interactions with people without sight. It is most likely easier to skip the judgments involved with appearances, so you can then move gracefully to who they are at their core. Right off the bat, your mind will cling to their speech patterns, voice, and their words.
That is why my abuelita has so much compassion. Even through her cloudy—once vibrant green eyes—she is able to see a person better than I can. That is why she does not bat an eye before stepping onto the elevator and greeting the people timidly lining its walls, with an “Adios te bendiga”, which means “God bless you.” Language, sight, or social expectations are not barriers.
So, with this concept in my head, I said goodbye, and sat on the floor of my room, atop two carpets, a fresh breeze flowing through the trees outside, into the room, and then flowing through my hair ever so slightly. A plate next to me held my sourdough toast with a wad of sunflower butter and honey spread evenly on top. Next to that, lay a cup of coffee. I thought of how no writing description could do this moment justice: of how perfectly the light shone, illuminating everything in HD or of how that breakfast was a match made in heaven. I closed my eyes and meditated. It was not the things themselves that I noticed that carved this special moment into the day. It was the fact that they were noticed. Seeing through the physicality of it all—if you will.
I thought, “What if this is enough?”
Enjoying being is enough.
Experiencing your surroundings is enough.
Feeling the ground below holding me up is enough.
The sense of my stomach being full is enough.
Having my hands, arms, feet, toes is enough.
Breathing is enough.
I hope that you are able to recognize your own “enough-ness”.
Anyone who is reading this probably thinks I am a hippie. I am just a grateful person.