Looking through the eyes of a blind person

Author: Linmu

What does the world look like through the eyes of a blind person? Looking from a different perspective, in the eyes of someone born completely blind, is the world they see all black? No, not entirely. There are two types of people who are blind from birth, and there are also those who become blind later in life.

When someone blind from birth is asked if they see everything as black, they are often perplexed. To them, the concept of "black" is a complete abstraction. Everything related to vision simply doesn't exist for them. Even in dreams, they don't experience visual images or scenes; instead, their dreams are composed of other sensory perceptions like touch and smell.

However, it's different for those who become blind later in life. They've seen the world before, so when their vision is lost, they might perceive the absence of sight as a kind of darkness, like being in a completely dark cave. But even in their blindness, they sometimes experience brief or prolonged moments of seeing sparks, flashes, bright spots, and even vivid images of people, spaces, landscapes, or buildings.

These visual experiences are not truly happening in the moment but are illusions created in the brain due to the memories of what they had seen before. This is known as Charles Bonnet Syndrome (CBS) in medicine. Such phenomena do not occur in people blind from birth because they lack visual memories.

Understanding the sensations of someone blind from birth is quite challenging. However, when we close our eyes during meditation or focus our attention entirely on one point, we may experience something akin to the visual experiences of those who become blind later in life.

In moments of inner calmness, we, too, might briefly or for extended periods, perceive sparks, flashes, bright spots, spaces, people, or landscapes. When doctors explain that these are mere illusions and products of imagination, it's more easily accepted.

Blind people yearn to experience the actual visual world, but the reality is disappointing. Despite their significant efforts, they still rely on their other senses, such as hearing, smell, taste, and touch, and no matter how clear and focused their minds are, they cannot see even the tiniest bit of real light.

Ironically, many sighted individuals may not grasp this reality fully. It could be due to a fascination with superhuman abilities and supernatural phenomena. When some spiritual practitioners see these hallucinations, they tend to think that their consciousness has grown powerful. They might believe that they can see distant landscapes, entities, or even the subtlest material that surpasses human and technological capabilities. They even mistakenly consider these experiences as real while dismissing what their eyes perceive as illusions.

This distorted perception is common in various religions, where individuals, deluded by their imaginations and hallucinations, mistake the unreal for the real. Even when others point out their misperceptions, many remain entrenched in their beliefs, convinced that what they see with their eyes closed is the ultimate truth.

But if one takes a moment to think, if consciousness alone could reveal material substances, why would there still be blind people in the world? Let alone witnessing the most minuscule entities, merely being able to see their own bodies or a vague world should bring immense joy to those who are blind.

This principle applies not only to vision but to all five senses. Only the ear grants hearing; only the nose provides the sense of smell; only the tongue produces the sense of taste; and only the body offers the sense of touch. Anything perceived outside these five senses falls within the realm of recollection, imagination, and illusion within the domain of consciousness, rather than genuine sensory perception of the present reality.

So, when people practice meditation and see any visual or sensory experiences, whether they are bright, dark, black, white, hazy, clear, objects, entities, landscapes, colors, particles, points of light, birth, death, or space, as long as these experiences are not through physical eyes, it's crucial to understand that they are recollections, imaginings, and illusions, and not actual perceptions. The same applies to phenomena experienced through the other four senses.