August 3, 2009
Blinking Yourself Wise

I blink. I wonder, how many times in a day? When I was 15, I had a boyfriend who was looking in my eyes one day and said, “You blink a lot.” So, perhaps I blink more than the average person.

When I blink, information seeps in. Not visual information from the outside world, but information from the inside. Maybe from inside my own head or my own heart. Maybe from some unknown inner world I wouldn’t begin to explain here, as there are many other more gifted and credible resources on the unknown.

Whatever you believe, you know that the minute you stop trying to think of the words to that song of which the tune is stuck in your head, they come to you.

I am supposing – just supposing – that it is entirely possible that this is somehow related to what happens when we blink.

I walk down the street, taking in an exorbitant amount of New York City street information – colors, people, signs of danger, oncoming traffic, cultures, religions, sales pitches, images, architecture, communication between people, sounds of the train coming or going – and all of this information is processed by my brain, in order to decipher what of it, if any, is pertinent or needs reacting to. I have what seems like a million strains of thought going at once, from all the external stimulus, not to mention new business strategies, new creative ideas, what’s going on with my family and friends.

Yet, somehow this information seeps in.

Information like, “I would like to spend more time in Europe.” Or, “There is still more to be said about the peacefulness of watching the sun go down on a warm night in the lush green summer of Ohio.”

How does it get in? Every moment possible is filled in this city, and whatever’s not full I take the opportunity to fill with ample use of my iPhone’s capabilities.

There must be some secret portal where wisdom sneaks up on you, so that you get it, even when you are not thinking about getting it – even when you are thinking about everything you possibly can BESIDES getting it. Reading on the subway while listening to one’s iPod can’t even stop up this magic portal!

So, I am supposing, it has something to do with a blink.

In meditation, or in deep concentration, we close our eyes, we let images and thoughts come to us, and we release them just as easily. Anyone who has practiced any exercise to help clear one’s mind, can certainly attest to the fact that there is wisdom there, once the clutter has cleared. “Ah ha!” we think. “There really is something brewing with all of this life experience! Insights are forming – I just need to give my mind the space to see them clearly.”

But for me, lately, I haven’t made time to sit and meditate. I just keep going about the day, enjoying my portable electronic devices as a well-loved distraction from the otherwise bombardment of stimuli from city life. And yet, this information is still seeping in.

“Go for a walk,” says the information to me. And when I take that walk, a connection occurs to me, or I run into someone I’ve been needed to see.

One would think, if it’s just a blink, as opposed to a long period of concentrated close-eyed-ness, maybe not as much information can come through. But as a photographer, I wonder if it’s something like a camera – there are two ways to let light in on a camera: 1) the length of time the shutter is open (blink versus long meditation), and 2) the size of the opening of the aperture. So, maybe, if I am toying with larger questions in life, it is like the opening of the aperture is VERY wide, and all it takes is a blink to let the information in.

Here’s an experiment, when you’re walking along, minding your usual business of incessant multi-tasking, just notice whether there is other information coming to you. You will know “this” information because it will seem calmer than other details, and speak to you in command sentences. It will be merely suggestive, yet firm. It will make you aware of an alternative to the way things are.

What wisdom can you find in a blink?

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