Tuesday, April 30

Depth Perception

Two Views

"We have two eyeballs in order to give us depth perception – comparing two images allows us to determine how far away an object is from us. "- Lenstore, 101 Amazing Eye Facts

Life is full of jarring moments and I don't mean surprising moments, or terrible, shocking moments which carry with them judgment. I mean moments that shake and grind. The nanoseconds before realizing that something is real and has impact, like the moment I am nudged out of deep sleep. Eyes closed. Ears open. Mind searching and detecting. What woke me? Will it kill me? Should I run or hide? The autonomic questions stir bitter chemicals that pierce my body haze and force open one sticky eyeball which perceives shallow gloom, no movement. My brain checks body functions and recognizes the urges of lungs and bladder forcing open the other eyeball, and, satisfied with a clearer perception of the depth and gradient of gloom, becomes aware of sound and vibrations of a barking dog, coyote howls, snuffles and snores of my husband, wind in the cypress branches, crickets, owl, benign life.

Jarring moments create perception, the grandmother of meaning. Granny works to create a time-space for contemplation where all human organs function to provide greater depth perception and an image of reality. This space allows people to respond. We stretch, check in, think. Awakening seems to be a melding of frantic nudges and calm thought: Part A meets Part B. The mind meld needs space between the nudge and the decision. Space, time, grace to absorb stimuli and toss it from one hand to the other, feel it, weigh it, move with it and keep it or throw it away.

I am finding that the barrage of visual and audio danger cues in today's overstimulated world is slicing away these precious time-spaces, pulverizing barriers between fight or flight. I am not alone in trying to understand what has caused me to have psychic shell shock, a numbing mental laziness where I no longer perceive with two eyeballs and two ears, but with half of my faculties and sometimes even less that that. This half perception produces very little meaning and sometimes no meaning at all to the point where I cringe when I hear the ever present question: "What do you think about..."

The ellipsis is a blank for daily outrages reported with acid angst in almost every news cast. Just the mere whisper of "Trump" or "shooting" or "melting ice cap" or "sexual assault" or the unwelcome image of the latest mass murderer and the gun he used triggers that distressing jarring sensation. The Talking Heads news has degenerated into a bunch of ugly, ill-mannered, pundits with zero human feelings. They seldom move past the jarring moments of impending gloom. They are like workers in a slaughterhouse wielding their sledge hammers to stun the cattle before they are sliced and diced. Bloody work, but it pays well.

Jolts, wake up calls, alarms are jarring and necessary. I don't know a way to eliminate them without wallowing in ignorance. But, ignorance is the end result of too much jarring and eventual shut down. Balance is critical. I can't help but feel the jolts. How to make sense of them requires response time-space. How do people find the time to think, to process, to grasp reality, to find meaning which serves them and their communities? Hundreds of books, TedTalks, podcasts, TV specials deliver valuable info about being out of balance, recognizing balance in our lives, cultivating balance, but one simple prayer is my "go to" reference when it's time to gain perspective and turn down the noise: "God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference."