Click for Audio: The Whole Picture
Suppose that a dozen persons are standing on the dark side of a wall in which are various sized openings. Viewing the scene outside through the opening assigned to him, one sees all there is within a certain radius. He says, “I see the whole world; in it are trees and fields.” Another, through a larger opening, has a more extended view; he says: “I see trees and fields and houses; I see the whole world.” The next one, looking through a still larger opening, exclaims: “Oh! You are all wrong! I alone see the whole world; I see trees and fields and houses and rivers and animals. The fact is, each one looking at the same world sees according to the size of the aperture through which he is looking, and he limits the world to just his own circumscribed view of it.–Emilie Cady
In this final part of my series on the wisdom of Emilie Cady, she gives one of the best explanations as to why people see things so differently and why we, in Unity, are reluctant to engage in proselytizing. Emerson said, “You can only see what you are,” meaning, we see the world according to the way we see ourselves.
Each of us is looking at the world through the aperture of ideas we hold. What seems perfectly clear to us may not even register as important with another, and vise versa. The important thing to keep in mind is that we see the world, not as it is, but as we are.
The importance of this idea is in the understanding that if we don’t like the world we see, the first thing we look at is the way in which we are seeing it. When things do not look so good, it is because we are seeing life through a tiny hole in the wall that restricts our vision. We take time to let go of our perspective so we can see through another, larger, hole. The time comes when we rise above the wall altogether, or at least we come to know the difference between peering through a small opening and seeing with clear spiritual vision.
I am grateful for people like Emilie Cady who have helped me come to know there is a difference between what is and what I think is. Am I seeing the Whole or am I looking through a hole? When things are not looking so good, this is a good first question to ask.