What Are You Looking At?

By Marjorie Foerster Eddington

Every screen, billboard, video game, music video, tweet, TV or print ad, comic, etc. is clamoring for attention and cluttering our vision, our minds. How is this affecting us? What are we doing about it?

Have we checked our eyes recently? I’m not talking literally, but metaphorically. Have we checked to make sure our eyes are pure and clear so that we can discern between what best promotes our health, happiness, success and general well-being and what doesn’t?

If our eyes aren’t good—if we believe everything we see or hear, even if it’s a lie; if we accept images that degrade humanity; if all we see is violence or hatred and can’t see what’s good—then we’re not seeing very well.

But we want to see well. Jesus says that the eye is the “lamp of the body,” (Sermon on the Mount, Matt 6:22). A lamp is only good if it works—if it shines light so we can see. If the lamp is covered or the bulb is burned out, the lamp is useless. We’re in the dark. So it is with our eyes, with our mental vision. It’s hard to make good, ethical decisions when we’re blinded, not sure what’s good or true. Jesus continues:

If your eye is pure, there will be sunshine in your soul. But if your eye is clouded with evil thoughts and desires, you are in deep spiritual darkness. And oh, how deep that darkness can be! (Matt 6:22-23 TLB)

How do we keep our eyes pure and feel the sunshine in our souls?

  • We turn toward the Christ, to the light of Truth and Love and stay focused on God, who gives us clear vision and understanding.
  • We shine light and dispel any darkness that would creep into our experience.
  • We realize that the light we shine actually comes from God and cannot be darkened by fear, lies, greed, or evil of any kind. Nothing can extinguish God, so nothing can diminish our ability to see as God sees—with the eyes of Love.
  • We make wise choices and “overcome evil with good” (Rom 12:21).

So when unhealthy temptations come to us (and they will always come in the form of something that is appealing, or they wouldn’t be considered temptations), we can:

  • Refuse to take them into our mental make-up, consciously or subconsciously. Instead, we can cast them out of our focus.
  • Reject as invalid any “input” that does not provide spiritual insight, joy, health, harmony.
  • Realize such suggestions are powerless to influence our decisions, pollute our environment, or control our experience. They are like shadows, which have no inherent power to harm anything; they have no substance.

Maintaining our God-like focus may mean making different choices—not going to a particular movie, not playing a violent video game, not buying that too-revealing dress, or not spending time on social media. Sometimes it means not joining in conversations that degrade others. Sometimes it is just a matter of not dwelling on or engaging in the darkness that crosses our path. Sometimes it simply means not believing what we see or hear about others.

Saying “No!” to the images that bombard us may take work in today’s visually distracting world. But we can do it. We have the mental strength and spiritual poise to focus on God and to not be fooled by shadows. There are so many good, pure, beautiful things to see and appreciate. Looking at God will reveal them to us. Remember Jesus blessing: “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Matt 5:8). Let’s claim our blessing, our right to an environment free from visual and mental pollution. Let’s feel the sunshine in our soul. We’re worth it.