The Sunglass Society
One reality, many views

What would you see if you suddenly had the eyes of an eagle? Or if you could hear and smell like a dog? Or have a sonar scanner like a bat? Or the infrared sight of a snake? Imagine! And what if there was more still. What if there were things to be seen and heard and felt that even all these animals combined wouldn't be able to see. Wouldn't you want to possess such powers? Shaoni would. Except nobody ever told him about such possibilities ... until the day that he met the wizard.


Shaoni had been traveling with the wizard for some time now. The wizard was sort of a silent man. Often his mind wandered off as if he was somewhere else. Then again, he had this deeper understanding about what was going on in the world. It was as if he was living in two worlds at once ... and all at the same time, he seemed to be able to see through things as it were. Yes, Shaoni thought, the wizard was special. Not like any other man he knew.

The one thing the wizard had in common with Shaoni's mom who had died a couple of months before was that he told stories too. Except that the stories the wizard told always ended with ... well, how could I say ... with a question of some sort ... or rather, not a question but a thought or an idea ... an insight maybe. Yes, that's what it was! An insight that came to grow in Shaoni's mind while the wizard was telling the story.


Shaoni was thinking about this when the wizard suddenly woke up out of one of his 'daydreams' and started to tell what happened to him a couple of years before.

"On one of my travels," Aneola started, "I passed through a village where everyone wore glasses. All of them! And not just any glasses but dark brown colored sunglasses. They wore them day and night, never took them off, not even to go to sleep. From the moment they were born, the elders of the community would offer a pair to the parents for their new born to wear. This was how it had always been and everybody was happy with it for they all knew that without those glasses, one could not see.

Once, there had been an old village fool, who had tried to take them off. He said that maybe, they didn't need glasses. Maybe they could even see better without them.

Some of the people laughed at him but most of them were really shocked and even a little bit afraid.

'You cannot do that.' they stammered, 'You will burn your eyes. You will become blind! Everybody knows you cannot take off your glasses!'

But the old village fool didn't listen and with a big gesture he took of his glasses. Immediately he felt a strong pain as if his eyes were burning. For just a few seconds he tried to look at the world around, squinting his eyes in an effort to protect himself from the sharp light burning his eyes. He tried to look ... but the light was too bright. Everything he saw was distorted, sort of with lines of color and sunbeams so he later explained. The village fool threw an arm in front of his eyes which by now where filled with tears. With his free hand, he searched around. 'My glasses!" he yelled, "Where are my glasses?'

The wizard paused for a few moments. Then he said: "Now, you may wonder how this can be Shaoni but if you wore dark sunglasses all of your life and suddenly took them off, you would simply be blinded by the light too. You wouldn't be able to distinguish anything clearly and on top of it all, your eyes would hurt. In short, you would quickly come to the conclusion that you needed your sunglasses too."


Shaoni thought about this for a second.
"But it only hurts for a short time, doesn't it? After a while you can see clearly, can't you?"

"Of course," Aneola said, "but these people don't know that!"

Shaoni considered these people to be pretty stupid not even to try it.
"But then, if they wear these sunglasses all their lives, they can't see the colors around, can they?"

"No they can't. These people miss out on a beautiful world full of colors as we know it, but if you were to go to that village and explain it to them, they just wouldn't believe you! And why would they? No, these people are convinced that there is nothing to be seen beside the things they see.

'Everybody knows that!' they would say. 'And besides, everybody knows you cannot take your glasses off. Remember the old village fool who actually tried it once!'

Yes, they all knew how that ended."

In his mind, Shaoni was trying to find ways to convince these poor people to take their glasses off. He would explain to them that, if only they allowed their eyes some time to adjust, they would find out for themselves.

Shaoni thought about all the different things he would tell them but the wizard interrupted his thoughts.

"The thing for you to understand," he said, "is that these people miss out on a wonderful world of colors just because of their convictions ... and it is almost impossible to make them see this world of colors because they are convinced that there is nothing to be seen ... beside the things they see. Even if you were to ask them how to explain then that 'you' can see without glasses, they would probably tell you, either you have a disease ... or you don't see clearly either , or you are just pretending. One thing however they would know for sure ... there is nothing wrong with them!!!"

Aneola paused for a second, then continued, "No, they wouldn't believe you ... just as you wouldn't believe me if I told you that you are wearing glasses too."

Shaoni was shocked. He didn't know whether to be insulted or not.

"What do you mean? I am not wearing any glasses!"

"Oh, but you are." Aneola replied. "In our life, we all wear glasses and we wear them all the time. Different glasses, of different strengths and different shades. And all of these glasses have one thing in common. They allow us to see the world in a certain way, conform to certain convictions. Each pair of glasses shows us the world in a certain perspective, allows us to see certain things but more important, hides other things that are just as real."

Shaoni looked at the wizard with a confused gaze in his eyes. Of course he knew some people who didn't see reality as it really was but for the wizard to say that he was one of them! Really!

No, Shaoni was sure about it. He had no glasses on!

The wizard saw how Shaoni was struggling.

"Don't be confused by the fact that you are wearing glasses, Shaoni." he said. "There is nothing wrong with wearing glasses ... as long as you know you are wearing them. The important thing is that you 'know' and that you understand that everything you see is colored by them."

Shaoni didn't listen. He was still caught by the idea that he was wearing sunglasses, sunglasses that prohibited him from seeing the world as it really was, sunglasses blocking of a part of reality to him.

Still, if this was really so, Shaoni thought, then he wanted to find out more about it. If there was more to see than the things he had seen so far, he wanted to see them. He didn't want to live his life in a world with shady colors as the people of the Sunglass Society did. No, he wanted to see the world as it really was ... in 'super color' as he now called it.

Shaoni went quiet as he tried to visualize such a world ... a world of 'super colors'. His mind wandered off as he heard the wizard say:

"The day you really understand that you are wearing glasses ... glasses coloring your view ... is the day that you can go beyond this reality ... and explore a world you never even dared to dream about ... a world of wonders ... and a wonderful world."

Later that evening

Later that evening, when all had gone quiet and a blanket of peace had unfolded over the world, the wizard came up to the boy and said, "Starting tomorrow, my boy, and in the days to come ...

If you see a tree, close your eyes and wonder, 'Can I feel anything else, beyond this tree I see?'. If you hear a bird singing, close your eyes and wonder, 'Can I feel anything else, beyond this sound I hear?' If you feel the sun on your skin, close your eyes and wonder, 'Can I feel anything else, beyond the warmth I feel?'

Soon, you will come to realize, that every time you close your eyes, there is always more! More to see, more to feel, more to sense."

"Is that all?" Shaoni asked.
"That, my boy," the wizard replied, "is all. All it takes to open your eyes and see the things that have been hidden all along."