Simple Things/ Lang Kenneth Haynes
“Eyes are important. Seeing is even more important. Don't assume that those whose eyes work necessarily see. In fact, it might
be better to not assume anything at all. At least, that is the way I look at things”
Them There Eyes. The eyes are windows to the soul. The Eyes of Laura Mars. The Bluest Eye. There must be thousands of songs,
sayings, movie titles, book titles and other references to eyes.
This column is brought about by many things. You might say that everything I write about is the result of multiple factors. But there
is one common element. For me, words are ways to try to give meaning to the apparently meaningless, or to lend form and
substance to things that seem to lack either. Maybe a picture is worth one-thousand words and perhaps eyes say all that need to
When I was just a little boy, I remember staring in the mirror at the brown irises of my eyes. I was convinced then as I am now that
the eyes held the answer to the secret of life; hidden in plain view, as it were, just waiting to be discovered. I have regarded the
eyes as the window to the soul. Many things have been jammed into my head over the years but I believe that the eyes are truly
the window to the soul. I was convinced that the eyes held the missing piece that would complete the mystery of life.
More recently I've begun to entertain the notion that a missing piece might not exist. We could be complete just as we are. There is
a good chance that there is no one answer. I'll keep looking for it though. There's nothing else to do. Maybe that's why I like
libraries so much. For those of us who still behave as though there is an answer to this thing we call life, a library is as good a
place as any to look for it. Surely out of the millions of books there must be a sentence that pulls the entire thing together. If I find
that book, I'll let you know. Of course what is true to me might not be true to you, but that's a chance I'm willing to take. After all I'm
going to the library within the next couple of days anyway.
Not too long ago I had the privilege of visiting a couple of Mayan cities in Central America. The guide said that Mayan cities were
built in layers or levels. Try to imagine one section of housing that is all at the basement level. Then envision a section that is one-
story tall and so on. It might be handy to think of a Mayan city as a huge split-level house that is much larger and has many more
levels than we are accustomed to seeing. The leaders of the Mayan cities assigned newcomers to specific levels depending on
how they were spirituality perceived. The assessment was made by scanning the person who wished to become part of the Mayan
culture. But the scan was not made with the eyes. At least it didn't involve the eyes that we can see.
It is said that the third eye was used — that invisible eye that is located in the center of the forehead slightly above the two visible
eyes. It is said that the Mayan rulers are known at or before birth and that the heads of the prospective rulers are bound in such a
way as to slant the forehead back. The reason is to make it easier to see with the third eye. It is further said that Mayan rulers
retain a fixed gaze on their third eyes and never look directly into the eyes of the people or things that surround them. But they
know without use of the physical eyes. How?
A rough analogy might be to imagine that you are blindfolded. You are taken to a place of sincere worship and then to a prison. At
the end of the visits, you know where you've been. Not because you've used any of your known senses but because you managed
to see where you had been without seeing in the usual way. Maybe you felt the difference between the places. Maybe the light that
surrounded the places was different. Maybe each structure gave off different vibrations. In any event you will have a hard time
explaining what you experienced. There are many ways to see.
The process of putting together a sort-of family tree breathed new life into old photos. I came across one of my father. In the picture
he looked calm and thoughtful. Not bad things. And what stood out, for me, in the photo was the fact that his eyes were not fixed on
anything that I could see. It was as though he was looking at another time and place. But whatever it was and whenever it was,
he was there. One big question that this raises within me is did he know where he was? Was his journey a conscious one? To
what degree do any of us now the extent to which we play out the hands we are dealt and why? Sometimes the answers are clear,
while they are quite murky at others.
For example, I have seen diagrams of slaving ships. I have gasped for breath at the thought of claustrophobic people in prison
cells. I believe that many of us carry awful impressions around from year to year, place to place and situation to situation. It's like
carrying around a back-pack filled with jagged stones. The bad news is that stones are generally heavy and it hurts to lug sharp
stones around on our backs. The good news is that we can put down the back-packs at any time. We can decide to see at any time
and now is as good a time as any.
I stared in the mirror at the brown irises of my eyes a few minutes ago. The experience was not unlike what I went through as a
child. I still believe that the eyes hold the answer to the secret of life; hidden in plain view, as it were, just waiting to be
discovered. I continue to regard the eyes as the window to the soul despite the things that have been jammed into my head. I was
convinced that the eyes held the missing piece that would complete the mystery of life. Maybe the missing piece is one that I had
all along. Maybe that piece resides in my eyes. Maybe the next step is to see you in me and me in you.