Here are the people of Ghent, going to and fro.  Bicycles, toddlers, holding hands, shopping, lining up, walking in centrum … all of it.

It’s so easy to live in our heads, not noticing anything ordinary or extraordinary. On my better days, I see. I look at lives from the outside and glimpse the inside. I see folks bigger than their bodies … flowing out into the air.

Thomas Merton had many better days. He was a Catholic monk and mystic who died in 1968. One day he was walking downtown in Louisville, Kentucky (USA). He looked around at everyone passing by. And …

I was suddenly overwhelmed with the realization that I loved all these people, and that they were mine and I theirs, and we could not be alien to one another. It was like waking from a dream of separateness. It was monastic holiness. The sense of liberation from an illusory difference was such relief and joy that I laughed out loud. I saw the secret beauty of everyone that was passing, and the only problem was that I wanted to fall down and worship each one as they went by. No more need for war, cruelty or greed when we could see each other in this way. This is really the miracle – that each person who passed me is walking around shining like the sun.

Here is the man. Would you notice him on the street? Probably not. But oh … the spirit that resides here. The “secret beauty” that is visible to the open heart.

We ordinary folks also have eyes that can widen, that can include the next person in an embrace.

Perhaps we don’t spend much time looking

Even less seeing

So … glance around. Who’s here?

4 thoughts on “Vision

  1. Secret beauty is everywhere! I find my photo a day project leads me this way a lot of the times, but towards the secret beauty of the nature world or the everyday world, I rarely photograph people unless I am at an event specifically. love this story.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s