Your Mind's Line of Sight


What happens when you’re on a plane and you put on an eye mask to try to get some sleep (all the while praying the baby three seats in front of you will stop crying soon)? You can’t see anything because your eyes are covered.


What happens when a large truck pulls up in front of you on the road? You can’t see anything beyond the truck because your line of sight is covered.


What happens when someone makes an offensive comment about your race, sexual orientation, or physical appearance? You can’t think of any other thoughts other than how offensive that comment was and how hurt you are (and maybe, just maybe, how you will get back at them and make them ‘pay’ for what they said).


Did you notice what just happened? Parallels were drawn. You see, just as how you can see light bouncing off of physical objects with your eyes, your mind can ‘see’ different thoughts that roam around in your head – it has its own line of sight. Moreover, just as how your vision can be blocked by a large object or one that’s close to your eyes, your mind’s line of sight can also be blocked by certain thoughts. Having blocked mental vision is not quite as noticeable as blocked physical vision, which is deeply concerning, because it creeps and lurks, and can occupy your head space for hours, days, weeks, months, and for some of us even years without us really realizing our mental vision has been obstructed the whole time. At least with a physical blockage, you immediately notice it, and can move around it or move it out of the way. A mental blockage can stay for a long, long time.


But what’s the big problem with that? If I’m functional, I can go to work, I can socialize with friends and loved ones, and I’m healthy and alive, what’s wrong with thinking about one thing disproportionately more than other things? It’s true, you can go through your entire life with a mental blockage, no problem. Some people even lead highly successful lives and achieve greatness even with a ‘blind eye’. The problem is you wouldn’t be experiencing everything that life has to offer. You’re distracted, not present. You’re talking to one person, thinking about another. You’re walking on one street, completely absorbed in the memory of another street which this one reminded you of. You start to live in your own world.


I want you to understand something. I’m not trying to tell you to change who you are and how you think about your thoughts. I’m not saying it’s bad to be fixated on one thought. I’m not even saying you need to let certain thoughts go in order to move on with your life and enjoy it more. All I’m really trying to do is to make you aware of this reality that our mind has its own sight. Sometimes, you do need to be fixated on a particular thought (say an important task) and you do need to block out all other thoughts to concentrate on the one task and do it well. Sometimes, you do need to look at a bad situation closely, to examine it and understand why it happened, why you reacted the way you did, in order to learn from it. But be careful of staying too long on a train that is traveling in the opposite direction of time, on one that is going nowhere really far away.

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