Monet Refuses The Operation

Lisel Mueller

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Awakin FeatureDoctor, you say there are no haloes 
around the streetlights in Paris 
and what I see is an aberration 
caused by old age, an affliction. 
I tell you it has taken me all my life 
to arrive at the vision of gas lamps as angels, 
to soften and blur and finally banish 
the edges you regret I don't see, 
to learn that the line I called the horizon 
does not exist and sky and water, 
so long apart, are the same state of being. 

Fifty-four years before I could see 
Rouen cathedral is built 
of parallel shafts of sun, 
and now you want to restore 
my youthful errors: fixed 
notions of top and bottom, 
the illusion of three-dimensional space, 
wisteria separate 
from the bridge it covers. 

What can I say to convince you 
the Houses of Parliament dissolves 
night after night to become 
the fluid dream of the Thames? 
I will not return to a universe 
of objects that don't know each other, 
as if islands were not the lost children 
of one great continent. The world 
is flux, and light becomes what it touches, 
becomes water, lilies on water, 
above and below water, 
becomes lilac and mauve and yellow 
and white and cerulean lamps, 
small fists passing sunlight 
so quickly to one another 
that it would take long, streaming hair 
inside my brush to catch it. 

To paint the speed of light! 
Our weighted shapes, these verticals, 
burn to mix with air 
and change our bones, skin, clothes 
to gases. Doctor, 
if only you could see 
how heaven pulls earth into its arms 
and how infinitely the heart expands 
to claim this world, blue vapor without end.

by poet Lisel MuellerThe painter Claude Monet had cataracts and when his doctor wanted to perform surgery, Monet refused.  He wanted to paint light.  He loved seeing the blurred edges of everything as evidence of our interconnection. 
 

Seed questions for reflection: What comes up for you when you lean into the connection between how we see and how we make meaning? Can you share a personal story of a time your vision revealed the interconnectedness of life? What helps you develop a vision that can dissolve distinctions?

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6 Previous Reflections:

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    On Oct 15, 2019 Norma wrote:
    I was so touched by this poem. Talk about finding the gifts in aging. Refusing to be restored to youth to hold on to the images that show the interconnectedness of life. It’s not just nature and buildings that shine their auras - so do our relationships which are embraced in the halo of our love. Loving light is the best. As I enter my final life chapter I would like to remember and notice all these gifts of aging.

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    On Oct 15, 2019 Susanne wrote:
    How beautiful, if only we could all train our eyes to see the world this way. It helps to articulate it. For us to begin to imagine such a world, not only visually but emotionally and spiritually as well, the beautiful indefinable interconnectedness...thank you. I have a new vision for the day...

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    On Oct 15, 2019 Kristy wrote:
    When I dance in the rain with small children, forgetting the "rules" and modern "grown-up" habits of staying dry, avoiding the elements and mud. I become one with them and grow happier with each fallen rain drop, each splash of mud on my legs and squish of earth in my toes. It feels true and natural and real. No us or them, no elements and humans, just joy and senses engaged with nature, light, energy and life.

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    On Oct 15, 2019 Anilkumar Pandit wrote:
    Space (prefer to call it Aakash) pervades all through, being present in seen material objects, unseen stuff, and non-visible entities. Touch it, feel it from the space within us and we get connected with oneness with the universe. I like this quote - "Even when I just pluck a flower, the remotest star is disturbed!"

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    On Oct 12, 2019 David Doane wrote:
    Such a beautiful writing by Lisel Mueller. Anais Nin said "We don't see things as they are. We see things as we are." I agree with Nin. What I see through my eyes comes through what remains of the conditioning I received and the assumptions and expectations I developed. Some times I do a little more of simply seeing what is, seeing things as they are -- and a little more makes a big difference. A couple examples I see of the interconnectedness of life are: The planet suffers what we do to it, and we suffer what it does to us. The planet and we are thoroughly interconnected. Also, a wife is like a mother toward her husband who acts like a child, and the husband is like a child toward his wife who acts like a mother; their behaviors support each other, they are interconnected, a yin and yang, a bilateral arrangement. What helps me have a vision that dissolves distinctions is knowing that all creation is one, knowing that distinctions are differences that may appear separate... [View Full Comment] Such a beautiful writing by Lisel Mueller. Anais Nin said "We don't see things as they are. We see things as we are." I agree with Nin. What I see through my eyes comes through what remains of the conditioning I received and the assumptions and expectations I developed. Some times I do a little more of simply seeing what is, seeing things as they are -- and a little more makes a big difference. A couple examples I see of the interconnectedness of life are: The planet suffers what we do to it, and we suffer what it does to us. The planet and we are thoroughly interconnected. Also, a wife is like a mother toward her husband who acts like a child, and the husband is like a child toward his wife who acts like a mother; their behaviors support each other, they are interconnected, a yin and yang, a bilateral arrangement. What helps me have a vision that dissolves distinctions is knowing that all creation is one, knowing that distinctions are differences that may appear separate but aren't really separate, and knowing that everything affects everything.[Hide Full Comment]

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    On Oct 11, 2019 Jagdish P Dave wrote:
    The world is in the eye of the beholder. So true! There are two worlds-the outer world and the inner world. When I see the outer world with my outer physical eyes, I see parts of the world distinct from one another. The outer world is made up of natural objects like trees, leaves of trees, flowers, waves of oceans and streams of rivers. The human world is filled with all kinds of differences. If I see the world with outer eyes, I see the world of separateness and divisiveness. Black versus white, rich versus poor, east versus west, life versus death, me versus you, my religion versus your religion.These differences create distances , conflicts and wars. We lose the seamless thread of the reality, the oneness in manyness. When I see the same world with my inner eyes I see the interconnectedness and even oneness in the apparent divisiveness. The world appears as we see it. In my daily life, when I see the outer world with the eyes of my heart, I see the interconnectedness of life. At ti... [View Full Comment] The world is in the eye of the beholder. So true! There are two worlds-the outer world and the inner world. When I see the outer world with my outer physical eyes, I see parts of the world distinct from one another. The outer world is made up of natural objects like trees, leaves of trees, flowers, waves of oceans and streams of rivers. The human world is filled with all kinds of differences. If I see the world with outer eyes, I see the world of separateness and divisiveness. Black versus white, rich versus poor, east versus west, life versus death, me versus you, my religion versus your religion.These differences create distances , conflicts and wars. We lose the seamless thread of the reality, the oneness in manyness. When I see the same world with my inner eyes I see the interconnectedness and even oneness in the apparent divisiveness. The world appears as we see it.

    In my daily life, when I see the outer world with the eyes of my heart, I see the interconnectedness of life. At times I experience the outer world as an integral part of my being and at times as an extension of my being. Seeing people with the eyes of my heart, with empathy, kindness and compassion builds a bridge between the seer and the seen. This way of living enriches my inner life. I find it difficult to relate to self-centered and unkind people with empathy, kindness and compassion. I know I am not perfect. I am working on myself. Loving Kindness " Metta" mediation helps me to relate to such "difficult" people.

    I have been practicing Mindfulness way of living. Such a way of living helps me to develop interconnectedness with life, oneness in manyness, and unity in diversity. It is a life-long journey and I am not in a rush. I remember and implement the wise saying, " Hasten slowly!

    Namaste!
    Jagdish P Dave













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