Choosing the right lens

There is no examination fee for this fitting, and when it is over, you will have a clearer perspective.

by Kim Seiferth — 

Are you viewing life through frosted windows or rose-colored glasses? This is another way of asking ourselves whether the glass is half empty or half full, or if the grass is greener on the other side. How we choose to experience our world is all about perception, and we always determine our perception. Before we examine where our perception leads us, we must acknowledge the hidden briefcase of multiple lenses with which we are all inherently equipped.

These lenses determine the quality of our perceptions, which then shapes our reality. As with any material matter, an evolutionary process occurs before the actual lens itself is produced. First, the lenses are created and colored by our past, softened or hardened by our hearts, and then placed on our eyes to reveal our “vision” of how we see the world.

If not changed often, they can cause clouded vision. Some lenses are slightly smudged, some are specked with debris that resemble fingerprints and others are so foggy that we cannot see through them. Unfortunately, no amount of Windex® can wipe these lenses clean.

It is the particular lens we are using that determines how we see each moment and each situation which, in turn, affects our past, present and future. Also, just because we possess a multitude of innate lenses does not mean we are required to use them all — just as the fact that our food pantry is brimming with goods doesn’t mean we will ever select that can of mint-flavored tuna that sits dutifully in the cabinet corner year after year. Why would we, when there are so many other choices? Fortunately, the supply of lenses available for us to choose from is nearly as vast and diverse as the food in our pantry.

Let’s take a look at some common lenses. Feel free to try them on for size and see which suits you best. As you look through each lens, notice which one distorts, magnifies or helps bring your vision into focus. Which lens benefits you the most, and which ones can you do without? There is no examination fee for this fitting, and when it is over, you will have a clearer perspective. Who says doctor visits can’t be free, self-affirmed and 100 percent correctable via the non-medical treatment of changing one’s perception through self-actualization?

So, let’s pull out our case of lenses and get started.

Telescopes: The telescope symbolizes the future by catapulting us beyond our present moment. When used correctly, it can reveal infinite possibility. Telescopes can project us years into the future and create images of accomplished dreams, places traveled and debts paid. This powerful lens of magnificent force can show us the person we aspire to become, which can be very motivating.

However, when used incorrectly, the telescope robs us of the “now” by allowing us to see only what is “out there” in the distance, and not in the here and now. The problem with having things closer in the mirror than they appear is that the magnification gives us the false sense of being in a place that we are not. With telescopes, the space between the actual distance and the time it takes to get there is eliminated; and we all know that the experience is the best part of the journey.

The space in-between is the “yellow brick road” we need to follow in order to reach our goal; without a road, our path is void of direction. Telescopes, therefore, are great for glimpses into one’s future; just remember that the space they visually exclude is potentially the most developmentally important. So even if you can see a snapshot into your future, know there is still a distance to be traveled to get there.

Kaleidoscopes: Looking through this funky, fluid contraption of morphing shapes and dancing colors is like watching a symphony of fireworks in a tube. Viewing life through a kaleidoscope can signify heightened creativity or, conversely, complete chaos. When in a creative frame of mind, this lens can bring an idea into motion or a daydream into reality.

Its brilliant effect of light and mirrors can either be inspired or overwhelming. However, be careful with this lens, because when used in abundance, it can cause overstimulation, which can warp perception and leave our heads forever bobbing in the clouds. You may want to take care not to make a spectacle of yourself.

Monocles: Ah, the good, old-fashioned monocle, reminiscent of the well-dressed, upper-class, scholarly men of black-and-white movies. This piece of nostalgia was a single lens that hung from a thin chain and was housed in a breast pocket when not in use. It was cased in metal and held into place by the eye orbit. The problem with the monocle is that it allows one to see only half the picture. A monocle brings one side of experience into focus, while disregarding its entirety. That being said, the monocle should be preserved as a fashion statement of yesteryear, its one-sidedness no longer necessary to our generation.

Rose-colored glasses: Rose-colored glasses are back in style. They are my lens of choice and the ones I strive to wear as often as possible. They are the middle ground, and will not catapult you too far into a future of worry and guesswork, the way a telescope can. They also offer the whole picture, unlike the monocle, and they do not force you to look at life through smoke and mirrors. The view is simply beautiful, rose-colored glass with no added flavors, mirrors or preservatives. The rose tint allows you to see everything with an attitude of cheerful optimism, in an attractive, pleasant light.

We all have this great briefcase of lenses available which shape our views according to how we use them. Although some are more powerful than others, we are not stuck with only one kind. Each lens has its own special characteristics. We can dabble with each one for a more diverse experience. It is not as important to select the right lens as it is to know how and when to use it. As Helen Keller once said, “The most pathetic person in the world is someone who has sight, but no vision.”


Kim Seiferth is a communications graduate with a degree in public relations and a minor in Asian studies. She is a freelance writer who lives in Cave Creek, Ariz. or 480-766-9966.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 27, Number 1, February/March 2008.

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