Suffering and illumination

This is a shot of my office window, taken in the late afternoon or early evening a few nights ago, before the sun began to set.

For some reason that dozy period after I wake but before I get out of bed is ripe for dreams of art projects, and this morning I got an image of a painting of a window, mostly in blues.  Since I hope to paint what I saw in my dreams this afternoon,  I decided to post this picture as a sort of place-holder, to remind me of another window to come.

But, looking at this image and sitting here this morning, staring out at the rain, I can't help but notice how different this same scene looks.  This time all the light is outside, but it's very gray, so the colors you see are more natural but there's less definition of the interior, even though there's actually more light in the room with this picture than with the other.

In the first image you're struck by the blues in the water, but that small strip of view is framed by the appeal of the curtains and the driftwood mobile.  In the second image the outside has more definition but the curtains have become more an obstacle than a frame, and the balance of the image is lost.

The scene itself hasn't really altered at all; only the light has shifted.  Which makes me think of another one of the truths in last Monday's Mothers' Day advice list: Pain is inevitable, but you can control suffering.

So maybe suffering is somehow like light?  Perhaps that phrase, "See it in a different light" is connected somehow to this thought, and also, "things will look better in the morning."  It's not really that the situation we're observing has changed, but how we see it has shifted.  It makes me think of that Jack Kornfield story: if a man plunges a knife into another man's chest and he dies, isn't that murder?  Well, not necessarily: not, for example, if the first man is a surgeon and the other man is a heart patient he's trying to save...

So what situation is in your view this morning?  And what's the state of your inner illumination?  How are you seeing things today, and what might bring more light in to help you see things differently?


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