Last night as I was reading through parts of William Barclay's commentary on Matthew 6 I was struck by the following and its correlation to the cognitive distortions that I've been reviewing. See what you think.
Barclay writes, "The eyes is regarded as the window by which the light gets into the whole body. The state of the window decides what light gets into a room. If the window is clear, clean and undistorted, the light will come flooding into the room, and will illuminate every corner of it. If the glass of the window is colored or frosted, distorted, dirty or obscure, the light will be hindered, and the room will not be lit up...
So, then, says Jesus, the light which gets into any man's heart and soul and being depends on the spiritual state of the eye through which it has to pass, for the eye is the window of the whole body."
Barclay goes on to describe the distortions of prejudice, jealousy and self-conceit that can distort our view of reality, others and ourselves and then he adds
"But here Jesus speaks of one special virtue which fills the eye with light..."
He then explains that the word translated as single is the Greek word haplous, the corresponding noun being haplotes. He points out that in other places in the Bible these same two words are translated as generous, generosity, liberality. The footnotes in my edition of the Bible also translate it as sincere, and without guile and healthy.
All of those definitions point to a way of seeing reality through an eye that is clear and open-hearted, based upon truth, reason and an open generosity of spirit.
Cognitive distortions are the opposite of that. They overspread our window, our view of ourselves and others, with false assumptions and false extrapolations, misperceptions, distrust, illogical conclusions, and bleak judgment.
No wonder we feel "how great is that darkness" when we fall into patterns of using them.
Fortunately there are ways to learn how to change those patterns of thinking into clear, truthful, generous lenses that let in light.