HomedotMagisReflectionsRemoving Our Blinders

Removing Our Blinders

I drive pretty much the same route to work each morning. This can mean mentally shifting into autopilot and getting to work without much thought about the drive. We often do things with narrow vision, in our routine, without really “seeing” what’s going on around us. Routine can make us into robots, and we don’t always recognize this. Robots don’t know they’re robots, after all. But God has no desire for us to go about life as robots, not peering beyond the blinders that keep us honed in on the task at hand.

wispy cloudsOne morning, stopped at a traffic light, I inadvertently looked up, and what caught my eye was a bright sky with a long, white, wispy cloud stretching across the blue dome. It jolted me out of my norm. I realized that morning after morning I just looked straight ahead at the frustrating traffic before me, never gazing heavenward to see that the world was bigger than my commute.

In the Spiritual Exercises, St. Ignatius offers two ways to remove us from our robotic ways. First he asks us to meditate on the Trinity looking down at the world and all that is going on, the joy and sorrow, the life and death, the hatred and the peacemaking. It’s a chance for us to see the big picture from God’s eyes, that the world is so much bigger than we are. It reminded me that while I was upset about traffic on my commute, somewhere in another part of the world, under a similar blue sky, there was someone without a commute to a job, struggling to feed his or her family.

Ignatius also encourages something I call sensitivity, that is, being more aware of our five senses. In the car I came to a new awareness of the gift of my vision through the blue and white of the sky; I could feel the cool morning temperature through the open window; I could smell the fresh air. Sensations let us tap into the presence of God that surrounds us and draws us outward, beyond our narrow perspective.

When I looked into that blue sky at the top edge of my windscreen, my blinders were ripped off, and God broadened my world just a bit more. I was reminded that there is a world out there filled with a God I need to pay more attention to.

Andy Otto
Andy Ottohttps://godinallthings.com/
Andy Otto is an Ignatian blogger and spiritual director. He currently works in adult faith formation and retreat direction at a Jesuit parish and retreat center in Atlanta, GA, where he lives with his wife and daughter. Andy is the author of God Moments and holds a master’s degree in theology and ministry from Boston College.

6 COMMENTS

  1. I enjoyed this a great deal. This helped me raise my perspective from my small view of a great big earth. Thank you. I don’t want to miss the rest of my journey.

  2. I wrote this a long time ago. Somehow, it reminded me about this reflection.
    Sitting still by my window pane feeling
    quite melancholic and wondering
    My gaze fell onto the beauty of the heavens
    burning and bursting with radiance
    golden amber of a sun slowly falling
    from the horizon as it sets and daylight fading
    Filled with much awe
    as the canvass over which God paints
    one more masterpiece , I silently bow
    in silent prayer giving thanks
    all the sadness that was there just moments ago
    now gone and in its place, gratefulness in tow
    As I sit to watch the magic of the sky unfolding
    of the mighty wonders of God how awe inspiring
    only to be broken by the door abruptly opening
    my sister entering even without knocking
    with her monotone voice saying
    dear brother, your window needs cleaning

  3. I am following the month long celebration and journey of Ignatian spirituality for the first time; so it is totally apposite that today’s relective blog by Andy Otto is “Removing our Blinders”, because yesterday I had my first cataract operation! Thanks be to God and to the skill of the Opthalmic Consultant, just 24 hours later, after 12 months of virtual blindess, I can see!
    This is what Ignatian spirituality is all about – looking – having an awareness that opens one’s eyes to see God, who is always around us and within us, and in everything that we see, hear and feel – AMEN to that! …and …”Thank You”… to all who have thought about me and offered their prayers – THANK YOU!

  4. Ever since I walked – again and again – the Camino to Santiago, I have learned to notice the grandeur and beauty of Godde’s creation. Possibly thanks to my getting older and slower, I find every little bit of the world more and more beautiful. Godde is everywhere 🙂

  5. I remember, while my three kids were still in graders, I wanted to work and earn big in another country by the use of my talent in music. Surely, I reach the goal signing contracts to the best I could as a musician in the entertainment world. But we all know that the nature in the entertainment world, is much more in vain than of poverty, much more of pride than of humility. Yet, I understand, I also need to work to help the needs of my growing family.
    Yet, later did I know a decision came to just stay home and take care of my family. It was such a hard time doing an all around household job without compensating my work, I thought…
    Today, all of them are grown ups with children of their own, a musician too doing a task like I used. But wherever they may be in their field accomplishing their own, and as a christian, in following the flow of how to be a musician, they ought to be without giving the appearance of the doubts that could raise questions about how to choose the bigger picture, as a family of God upon which He build us for our future. This is God’s work. Being grateful in everything he has done, I will pray to continue reaping the fruit of labor He gave us with deep appreciation of his love to us, in deeds.

  6. I know that I must practice an attitude of gratitude. My mind knows yet the routine events of the day prevents me from removing my blinders. I yakkity-yak about my job not being thankful that I’m still alive. It is this everyday tension of grappling between apathy and living a full human life. Dear Lord, yank open my blinders.

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