I certainly have given a great deal of thought to the many experiences of my life that have built my story. And I know my story has to fit within the bigger story of history to make real sense to what I have experienced. This picture of my existence contributes to the quality of life as I experience it.
Every now and again I seem to see something a little more clearly and I value the greater understanding. For me, I am the kind of person who almost compulsively works on this story to create my understanding of life. This is what we might call insight.
As a child my greatest fear was to be blind. I certainly needed a night-light when trying to sleep. Total darkness seemed too much to cope with.
As I’ve aged, I’ve dared to review my thoughts. I think I could cope with blindness a little better, but let me say, not by preference. Could I cope without insight, without the ability to make some sense of what life’s about, I don’t think so. I trust that’s a form of maturity. The kind of insight that is unique to human life is to be treasured.
Our gospel story is a scene from the edges of Jericho. Jesus is followed by a crowd, and from the side of the road, a voice of a blind beggar calls out to him, Jesus, Son of David. As often as is the case, the handicapped are easily dismissed. He is told to be quiet. Yet he persists, ‘Jesus Son of David,’ until Jesus hears his cry and calls him to come.The man has energy. He is not deterred by the negative crowd, or the caution one might expect of a blind person. He hurries toward Jesus, who asks him what he wants. The man replies, please restore my sight.
From where does the energy come? Let’s go back in the story. ‘Son of David’ is a very specific title. It is reference to the long awaited Jewish Messiah, who was to be the Son of David. Bartimaeus obviously new the Jewish history. He knew the expectation of his nation: That a Messiah would come. We can assume that in the physical darkness of his blindness his mind could see a wonderful story. He could clearly hear what people spoke of and connected their descriptions of Jesus teachings and miracles with the knowledge he carried of their faith tradition. He put two and two together and recognized Jesus as the Messiah. God’s anointed messenger.
Bartimeus was physically blind, but certainly not blind in his mind. Here he has displayed the wonderful insight of the mind. It was energizing. It is the source of his life.
What is possible for the wonder of our mind? Yes we all treasure our physical sight. But the insight that gives us understanding and meaning is energizing and life giving. But where does it stop? There is much more, for the mind is infinite.
Panikkar speaks of the third sight that is beyond even the insight of the mind. It is the sight that pictures how we are all part of the totality of the being of God. It opens the door to the intuitive knowing that we dwell in the presence of God. Such a relationship is what we call faith. We faithfully trust God or his manifestation in Jesus and bask in his spirit.
Our world is so committed to the less insightful. Matter is all that matters. But there is always so much more beyond the apparent. The story of Bartimaeus reveals how the richness of ones mind is far greater than anything that we may physically see. And as the story proceeds, greater depths of sight appear.
Sight, insight, enlightenment suggest this progressive path of the spiritually hungry. Persevere in your journey.