Years ago, the spiritual director I was working with talked with me about a Japanese form of self-defense called aikido. She talked with me about how when we are surprised and thrown off guard, we want to fight or free. We want to narrow our world and our vision to create this protective force around us. Rather than do so, she suggested I practice what she called “soft eyes.” Practicing soft eyes meant that I challenged myself to expand rather than contract my view of the world.
When we open our eyes, and allow ourselves to see the greatness of the world and the grace which surrounds us, it softens our heart, mind, and soul. Rather than want to resist or run when taken by surprise, practicing wonder allows us to open ourselves up to the great mystery of the world.
It is a message that seems to come from so many directions, regardless of what type of writing I read. As I have been thinking about soft eyes, I was reminded of a Christian hymn that starts off:
Open my eyes that I may see
Glimpses of truth Thou hast for me;
Place in my hands the wonderful key
That shall unclasp and set me free.
Silently now I wait for Thee,
Ready, my God, Thy will to see;
Open my eyes, illumine me,
When we open our eyes, especially in times we want to fight or fleee, we open ourselves up to receiving gifts from the Divine. We open ourselves up to receiving guidance and wisdom which helps us grow and evolve. However, opening ourselves up means we have to be willing to surrender that which separates us from a deeper relationship with the Divine.
The question is are we ready to wonder? Are we ready to see the will of the Divine for our lives? Are we ready to be illumined? If not, then we are we really open to wonder?