I had never seen so many cops before. Every light I passed, there seemed to be another one lurking. What was going on? Or were they always there, and I just hadn’t noticed? Until I got a ticket. Okay, two tickets in a very short time span.

I remember how, when I was pregnant with our first child, suddenly it seemed like everyone around me was also pregnant. And, funny enough, they must have all given birth around the same time I did, because as soon as my baby was born, everyone else was also toting around a newborn.

When you are running late, have you noticed that every single light is red? We generally find that whatever is going on in our lives, whatever we are thinking about, is what we are apt to see. And no doubt, what we see is there to be seen. But there is so much more happening around us that we are often blind to, because we simply are not looking in the right place or in the right way. When you are running late, have you noticed that every single light is red? And when you are having a great day, they are somehow all green? Yet we know it is not the case. It is just that we don’t pay attention to those few green lights if we are anyway behind schedule, yet don’t even mind them when things are going well.

There is a concept in Jewish philosophy that the reason we are given two eyes is because we need to have two ways of looking at ourselves and at the world. Our left eye is our critical perspective, the eye that sees with judgment, whereas our right eye is the one that sees through a lens of loving­kindness. The challenge is to achieve the proper balance, to know when and what to look at with a critical eye, and when and what to look at generously and optimistically. And ideally, to make sure both eyes are working together, so that we are both discerning and loving simultaneously. We want to ensure that we not overlook that which could be unhealthy or negative, but to also have a positive and kind outlook.

There is nothing wrong with noticing the things around us that relate to what we are experiencing. Yet we need to be careful to notice and appreciate what happens around us that may not be as relevant to our lives. If everyone around you looks pregnant because you happen to be, look more carefully and notice those who don’t have children and may want them. And if you are having a miserable day, with everything going wrong, pay a little more attention to all the things that went right, from the biggest gift of them all, that you woke up this morning!

The reason we are given two eyes is because we need to have two ways of looking at ourselves and at the worldAfter my children say their morning blessings, they recite a number of verses established by the Lubavitcher Rebbe. One of them is a phrase from the Talmud that translates as: “If one says he has looked but has not found, don’t believe him. If he says he has found but didn’t look, don’t believe him. But if he says he has looked and he has found, believe him.” I always assumed this was speaking of tangible, material things, and would remind myself of this passage whenever I was frustrated about misplacing something. But to be honest, it would sometimes only serve to further annoy me, as I would shout aloud, “I have looked and I have not found . . . believe me!”

But today, as I was getting exceedingly annoyed with the long line at the grocery, I tried to look around a bit more. I remembered the nice guy at the deli counter who gave my son a lollipop, and the woman at the bakery who made sure to get me my favorite bread even though it hadn’t yet been shelved. Then there was that sweet old woman who stopped to offer her blessing for a great day. And, just as I glanced at my watch for the hundredth time, the guy in front of me in line who offered that I go in front of him since I was in a hurry. Was the line still long? Sure. But it was no longer the only thing I noticed. When I made sure to look with both eyes and not just one, I saw a whole different picture. And a much prettier one at that. Actually, I saw exactly what I wanted to see, since we really do find what we are looking for.