Thinking with our eyes
Yesterday, I went to see the film The Karate Kid. I don’t generally do movie reviews, and won’t do an extensive synopsis here. I will say it’s a beautiful movie, and I recommend it. You will know the story: Kid gets bullied, kid learns Kung Fu, kid gains self-esteem. Every cliché from every martial arts film is in this one (and I’ve seen most of them) and there are some situations that are not quite believable. But, you knew that going in, didn’t you? The title character is stunning, and while a couple of scenes seemed unlikely at his age, his quirkiness and dedication kept me engaged. Jackie Chan gives the performance of a lifetime. There were gorgeous scenes incorporating the Forbidden City and The Great Wall of China.
But that’s not what this post is about. I found, as I watched, I wanted to take the training that the “kid” had. I’m probably slightly less agile *cough* than the kid, but, you know, I could work up to it! 🙂
At one point the kid is trying to ward off blows from behind a sheet. He wants to know how he could possibly do such a thing, since he can’t see where the punches are coming from. His instructor tells him he’s “thinking with his eyes”. I won’t give away any more of the plot, but this particular phrase struck me.
We’re a visually based society. Although I’m listening to a flute concerto as I type this, most of my attention goes to the computer monitor. I read; I type; I search the shelves to find my bread; I walk; I look; I dream. Even dreams are mostly visually remembered.
There are many stories of blind martial artists; this site has some, as well as a book to train the other senses. I haven’t learned Kung Fu, but I do some Tai Chi, and it’s a totally different experience doing the moves with eyes closed than with them open. As long as I have a safe space, and know I have enough room, I can do this.
When my eyes are closed, I can visualize how I want my body to be. When my eyes are closed, I reflect on the moment, without extraneous input, even from my own room, which I try to keep simple. When my eyes are closed, my awareness expands. There are no boundaries and anything is possible.
A wise man once told me: The Universe is Finite, but Unbounded.