I learned yesterday that humans have 3 types of photoreceptors (cones)—blue, red and green—which allow us to see the close to a hundred different colors (degrees and nuances of the rainbow, basically). Boggles the mind a little. Think of the millions of colors I can imagine, and it boils down to just those three cones. But get this (and thank you Radiolab and NPR, which is where I learned it): the most complex visual system on the planet (that we know of so far) belongs to the mantis shrimp. That being has 16 cones! So take a minute. Think of this rich world of color (3 cones), and then try to imagine what you could see if you had 16 cones. It’s almost impossible to know how things would look. But we can know that the world looks very different to us than to the mantis shrimp. We can know that what we see is not all there is to see. We can know that there’s way more than meets the eye. Literally.
When I am in meditation or prayer, there are times I notice that I’m still trying really hard. I feel a baseline of striving. Striving to see, to understand, to get it, to get *there*. Straining toward enlightenment is fundamentally no different than leaning into my laptop with knots in my neck, hoping somebody saw, liked, commented on or shared my last post. When I notice that vain hoping, that “not this” thought, there’s a tiny gap between the noticing and the next knot in my neck. Those sixteen cones are in that gap. A million and sixteen cones are in that gap. And if I look through those eyes, then the striving, the letting go of striving, all of it dissolves into that Larger place. And I realize – I was already *there*, the whole time. We all are. Soften the neck. Release the shoulders. Open the heart. Look between your thoughts. It’s all there.