The Miracle of Seeing

by | Aug 29, 2018 | Formation, Reflections, Systemic change | 2 comments

The miracle of seeing!

What a miracle seeing is! So often it is taken for granted by those who can see. Lose your sight even just temporarily and your world changes. Technology is working miracles today, technology is helping the “blind” to see. But technology can never help us with the ability to see through another’s eyes. Yet, I just watched a video that helped me see through the eyes of the other!

Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each other’s eyes for an instant? Henry David Thoreau

The technology is actually rather simple. Closed Captioning!

A Cleveland Clinic video uses closed captioning to take us inside the minds of ordinary people as they walk through the clinic. This low tech device allows us to know the hopes and fears of ordinary people. (Of course, it does require Close Cooperation.)

Seeing the world through other people’s eyes

So often we walk right past immediate needs without seeing the person. What would happen if, seeing other persons, we entered into their world?
Imagine if you could stand in someone else’s shoes . . . hear what they hear… See what they see… Feel what they feel…

Would you treat them differently?
Would you be able to help them to see something they can not yet see?

Certainly, patient care, in fact, pastoral ministry in any setting, is more than just healing — it’s building a connection that encompasses mind, body and soul. But what happens when we make the connections with the lens of systemic change?

Systemic change and seeing the world through others’ eyes

As I watched this brief video on EMPATHY from the Cleveland Clinic my mind made multiple connections. This brief reflection concerns one of the directions I initially did not see. The connection between empathy and our efforts at fostering and enabling systemic change.

The key to systemic change is in empathy… first seeing the world through their eyes. Then seeing through the lens of what gives hope.

Systemic change focuses on designing projects that have a holistic vision, addressing a series of basic human needs– individual and social, spiritual and physical, especially jobs, health care, housing, education, spiritual growth– with an integral approach toward self-help, sustainable development, and the training of local leaders. These are all needs that too often we walk right past and do not see.

Learning to See

I suggest a simple exercise in seeing. It is a variation of sitting in a public park and looking at people as they walk by. But this time, it is an exercise in empathy.

  • What might each individual be struggling with?
  • What might you see that they can not yet see?
  • What systems are they trapped in?
  • What would help them see something that would give them hope of breaking the cycle?


  1. Fernando Teixeira

    Tem razao. Quantas vezes olhamos os outros e nao nos interrogamos:porque vao de olhos postos no chão, pensar, preocupados,interrogam-se o que vai acontecer. Se calhar porque nao querem que lhes fassam perguntas porque talvez estejam doentes e nao querem falar. Talvez seja esta a melhor desculpa de os seus olhos nao olharem frente a frente, tudo bem convosco?
    Pessoalmente ja fiz essa experiencia e tbem cheguei a alguma conclusões.
    Para mim, em termos pastorais preocupa-me ver o meu pároco passa pelas pessoas conhecidas na paroquia e olha tambem para o chao, para o telemovel e os outros espera uma saudacao de; bom dia, nada sai, vai olhar para o chao.
    Este tema me irar servir para voltar a pensar nisto e colocar aos vicentinos com quem lido, o sentido dos afetos que um vicentino devia ter para com o outros. Porque nao olha olhos-nos-olhos do seu semelhante?
    Sera que ele nao esta há espera que lhe perguntemos; bom dia, encontra-se bem de daude meu amigo?

  2. Fernando Teixeira

    Desculpe mas a traducao do português rscrito esta mal.