Some time back I attended a training day where we had all been asked to come along with an object that might help to introduce ourselves.
One colleague came along with a large picture that he had received for his recent birthday. It was one of those Magic, 3D pictures (like the one in this posting).
When it came to his time to share he propped his picture up against the arms of a chair and he said to us, “What can you see in this?”
All of us took a long look and said, “It’s a lovely greeny pattern ... a sort of modern art.”
Then he said, “Keep on looking and see if you can see something else.” We kept on looking and we couldn't see anything different and the guy said “Can’t you see it? It’s fantastic!”
At morning tea time we were looking at the picture again when another person exclaimed: “Oh, yes!! I can see it! Isn’t that amazing?”
The others of us looked but we felt so dumb. I said, “I can’t see anything different.” And the two who now could see were getting rather cocky. One of them said smugly, “You’ve got to stand back, let your eyes settle on something outside the window and then without changing your focus, bring your eyes back onto the picture.”
We did that that. We really tried. We wanted to see it. Maybe we tried too hard.
After lunch and over another cuppa, we were having another look at this jolly picture when someone else said, “Oh, yeah! It’s so obvious!! Why didn’t I see it before! Can’t you see it? There’s the Statue of Liberty! There is the New York skyline up there? Isn’t it marvellous?"
By the end of the day half of our number had had this ‘Aha’ experience when they saw the picture in a new way, but the rest of us, me included, left feeling as blind as a bat, unable to see anything different and with a sense of being denied what appeared to be a wonderful experience.
So much of life and finding our part in it comes from being able to see. It is not a once and for all affair but an ongoing experience. It is usually not something that comes through a casual glance, but as we wait (often together) and pray (it is a gift) it will dawn upon us.
We will see what we are to be on about in a whole new light and we'll say “Ohhhh!.” “It is so wonderful.” “It’s so strategic.” And we will wonder why it took so long to see it and then it will be impossible to see our life and our task entirely as we did before.
When we come to see the world in all its varied dimensions it changes the entire way we think about our life, our values and our work.
Image: An example of a magic puzzle picture.