Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Ash Cochrane's Eyes

Ash Cochrane is a skater who is not afraid of heights. He lands his tricks cleanly and consistently, and regularly receives applause from other skaters at the skate park. And the tricks he lands are certainly nothing to sneeze at. I've observed him backside blunt slide hand rails, casually Ollie a set of ten stairs, kick flip boxes at shoulder height, and smoothly perform an assortment of flip tricks over a hip with formidable height.

Surprisingly, however, whenever I praise him for a trick he's landed, he almost invariably replies with mild self-criticism: 'That was so sketchy!...I can't believe I managed to stay on my board!...'I was so crooked!', etc.

What makes his self-criticism even more unexpected is that he has a pronounced capacity to see others in a positive light, in terms of their skating ability, personality, and overall style of living.


This reminded me of a teaching in the Chassidic tradition concerning the eyes:

The chassidic masters, Rabbi Zushia of Anipoli and Rabbi Elimelech of Lizensk once debated the proper path in meditation: should one first meditate on God's greatness and thereafter meditate on the smallness of man, or vicsa-versa. Afterall, each approach has its advantage: awareness of God's greatness helps one, via contrast, discover one’s own smallness; alternatively, awareness of one’s smallness assists one to percieve God's greatness.

In Kabbalah, the right eye is associated with a positive perspective, while the left eye, a negative one. The right eye is to be directed toward others; the left, toward oneself. And the two perspectives are complementary. Seeing the positive in others helps one see personal impefections in need of improvement, and seeing one's own flaws helps one appreciate the beauty in others.


                On this basis, Ash's dual perspective is not paradoxical. On the contrary, the two perspectives help him appreciate and learn from those around him, while always leaving him room for personal growth and development.

It seems like Ash has both eyes WIDE open...

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