Imagine a house. It’s constructed well, has windows as large as theater screens to let in sunlight, and is furnished nicely to accommodate your family. Do you still see the house in your head? Now remove the windows and replace them with typical walls. Seems odd, right? I, personally, would feel imprisoned and panicked living in a house like that. Windows are not only made to allow light and air in, but they allow those on the inside to look out, to view the beautiful scenery that could be outside, to know what is beyond the four walls you call home.
Now think of yourself in all your you-ness; your personality and how you react to a situation that makes you happy, angry, sad, or hopeful; ponder about how you greet your closest friends when you have not seen them in a long while. Beyond all of these internal elements of yourself, you have external senses like touch and taste. You also have the gift of sight but imagine if you woke up and your vision had suddenly disappeared. You might feel trapped inside your mind and panic because the world you once saw is now unknowable to you. But you can see, and by this ability when you look outside yourself, you can see all that is good and beautiful. Like the windows in the house, your eyes allow light to be let in and allow you to look out.
Through your physical eyes you see many different objects and events, beautiful and ugly alike, and hopefully you hold these things in yourself, are formed by them and can recollect them and their values. These values ought to be the light by which you see the world. So, unlike the windows in your house or your physical eyes which do not change in size, your appreciation of the values and events that you see grows and should be built up, enhancing the ‘eyes’ by which you respond to values, storing them within yourself.
There are persons who see and respond to everything, but they are not formed by the values that they see. Even though they are willing to experience great values, they are swept away by the onslaught of new experiences, thus never truly being formed by the old ones. These new experiences seem to dampen the old because it seems they have not been previously experienced. When a person lacks continuity in himself, the newness of something excites him by the very fact that the person has not experienced it yet, even if they experienced something similar. To illustrate this experience, let’s take a look at the relationships a man named Johnny has experienced. Johnny’s relationship with his girlfriend Karen has just ended and he is distraught, for she broke up with him due to his lack of commitment. A few weeks later Johnny meets and begins a relationship with another girl named Jane. A few months later Jane breaks up with Johnny for the same reason Karen did, his inability to commit. It would seem that if Johnny really understood the value of his relationship and the errors that he committed, then he would be more reflective and willing to change his ways so that he might cultivate the good of his relationship. But Johnny was so overcome by the new experiences, he was unable to gather back and reflect on those that he had already experienced.
Johnny wan unable to see the value that was before him, thus he allowed himself to be taken over by a new experience of a new girl, only to result in the same issue as before. We must look out and see the value that is presented before us, we must accept it and understand why it is valuable in itself. After this, we must take every experience of value, acknowledging it as both good and necessary, we must be formed by it and this formation must illumine our eyes to see other values around us. It is better for us to have fewer experiences and deeply enter into them than to have many but never really reflect upon or understand them.