What color is the dress, blue and black or white and gold? Just a few weeks ago this was the question everyone was asking. The internet seized on an image of a seemingly ordinary cocktail dress and divided into two camps of people: those who saw blue and black, and those who saw white and gold. Scientists weighed in, explaining the finer mechanics of sight that account for such discrepancies. And as it turns out, this short social media frenzy teaches us a very important lesson about spiritual vision.
What we see and what is actually in front of us do not always match up. The color we see when we look at the dress, explain neuroscientists, has little do with the inner workings of the eye, and more to do with how the brain interprets the information presented before it. The neurons in our brains read the signals that hit the retina and interpret them based on the light in our surroundings and our own individual biases. The colors we see are different because we are different. Although, the designers of the dress insist that it is blue and black, many of us still see white and gold.
So too, in life, what we see varies from person to person. Our past experiences combined with our egos interpret reality. Unfortunately, our ego often gets in the way, drawing our attention to lack instead of possibility, preventing us from seeing all aspects of the picture. As a result, we focus on what is “missing” from our lives.
The way we see the world influences the way we live and interact with the world. Focusing on lack is a potentially downward spiral that can lead us off course, attracting negativity into our lives. Furthermore, focusing on what we don’t have can begin to eclipse the blessings we do have. “Although the Creator can be found in all things,” says Michael Berg, “the decision to look for Him lies in our hands.”
Kabbalists teach that in order to keep our egos from manipulating our field of vision we should move through life as if we were blind. In truth, we understand very little about the spiritual world, but by opening up to the possibility that we could be completely wrong about what we think we see, we are more likely to notice the work of the Creator, to notice the miracles around us. “Eventually, when we no longer question whether or not we are seeing the Hand of the Creator,” says Michael Berg, “when we acknowledge that absolutely every thought of a spiritual nature is a direct revelation from the Creator, we will begin to rise to the level of the prophets.”
Life is like a maze made of tall hedges. When you're in it, it's hard to see where the true path lies. At times we can feel lost or stuck. Sometimes the way out is just around the corner, but we can’t see it because our spiritual vision is limited. Our trust in the Creator guides us to find the way out.
No matter what colors you see, the world is full of blessings and the work of the Creator. Miracles cross our paths every day. By moving forward slowly, with eyes wide open and the knowledge that looks can be deceiving, we are more likely to see the full spectrum of the Creator’s good work in the world.