My favourite line from the first season of True Detective is towards the end of the series, where detective Rust Cohle forces himself to watch the entirety of a horrific piece of video evidence he finds. When his partner asks why he watched the whole thing, Rust says:
I will not avert my eyes. Not again.
I have been playing a bit of basketball lately, just shooting some hoops like you do. What I have started to notice is that the more clearly I am able to look directly at a specific spot on the ring, without being distracted, the more likely I am to shoot accurately.
I know there are times when I have averted my eyes and not look directly at a thing, because I am distracted, unable to summon the will to hold a gaze, or afraid of what I might see if I continue to look.
Usually I get a sense of the thing I need to look at. It is often a feeling I get in my body. It might be a hunch about a relationship that is not quite right. A thought that I need to stop for a second before I do something I feel compelled to do. About the reason I want to eat a whole lot of rubbish food even though I am not hungry.
For Rust, averting his eyes cost him years of his life, and many others their lives altogether. For me, I know averting my eyes has cost me years doing things I know have not been quite right for me.
I sense that although it is so difficult to look at reality sometimes, so difficult to hold a gaze in the heat and pain of discomfort, the sooner I am able to see things as they are, the sooner I am making decisions based on facts rather than my version of a distorted reality.