I’ve thought a lot about what it means to live blindly. My father is completely without sight, so I know what it means literally. I do it all the time in a more figurative sense.
You might wonder how I live blindly even though I can see. It happens when I don’t think about what I’m doing. Too often, I react on instinct when I should be thinking first. I speak without thinking and it causes problems for myself and other people around me. I don’t see what’s really around me because I’m too busy reacting to what I think I’m seeing. I live on expectation.
The cure for this is self awareness, which is encouraged by mindful living. It can be tough at first, but it’s a habit that can be built. Just think about what you are doing – gently, quietly. Watch how you react to things. Observe the world and how it works. When you forget, fine. When you remember, start again. Eventually you’ll build a habit.
My dad will show anyone the meaning of perception versus reality. Because he is blind, so many people perceive him as helpless. He’s not! He’s built sheds and half a cabin, raised and butchered chickens and rabbits, hauled dirt, sawn logs, cut down trees with a two man cross cut saw, split wood, programmed his own word processor, designed robots, put together a 3-d printer from a kit, earned an aerospace degree and a masters in adult education, written several books, fixed a washing machine, and a whole lot more. His blog is here, if anyone wants to check it out.
Even though he moves confidently and independently, people still see what their preconceived notions tell them to see, rather than their perceptions. For instance, one time someone looked at him going up a set of stairs and gushed “that’s AMAZING!” Not one to overlook an opportunity for fun, he had something to say when he went down the stairs again. He paused, then said “Amazing Dave is poised on the pad, the gantry is retracted, and we are go for liftoff.”
My dad has helped teach me that living blindly can happen quite a bit in people with sight. My wife has taught me more, about how not to live blindly. The key is mindfulness.