I had a session recently with a man who is taking a photography course, specifically, a miksang contemplative photography course. He sent me a link to his photos, and it was thrilling to see the connection between the class, and the lookin-simply-seeing work that we are doing together. The photography class is all about learning to see. The sessions are all about the seeing. Continue reading
“Hold on to the sense ‘I am’ to the exclusion of everything else. When thus the mind becomes completely silent, it shines with a new light and vibrates with new knowledge. It all comes spontaneously, you need only hold on to the ‘I am’…be silent and watch it expressing itself in action.” ~ Sri Maharaj Nisargadatta
“If you can recognize, even occasionally, the thoughts that go through your mind as simply thoughts, if you can witness your own mental-emotional reactive patterns as they happen, then that dimension is already emerging in you as the awareness in which thoughts and emotions happen — the timeless inner space in which the content of your life unfolds. The stream of thinking has enormous momentum that can easily drag you along with it.” ~ Eckhart Tolle
These are pointers—only until they become lived experience. If they are merely understood, then they are just more thoughts amongst many random thoughts that can “easily drag you along” in conceptual, mind-created activity. No pointer, no matter how eloquent, or how deep the resonance, conveys any kind of knowing, unless and until it is a lived experience.
So if the above quotes are familiar—seem to make sense—but the experience, the knowing of that to which they point, is not forthcoming, is there a way to take the pointer all the way home to the felt, lived experience? Can one stay with the looking, observing, “be silent and watch it” and finally see?
In the Look-Sees, what we’re doing seems to bridge the difference between understanding the pointer conceptually and seeing, or apprehending, the experience. The suggestion here is guided looking. When you simply point to the observing, the capacity to watch, there is a glimpse, and then mind steps in, oftentimes instantly, without noticing that one has gone back into the conceptual. When a facilitator is there, looking right along with you, the thought-train can be stopped, so to speak, and bring you right back to looking.
I used to watch my daughter taking piano lessons when she was younger. The piano teacher would sit on the bench with her, and as my daughter played, her teacher would occasionally touch her back, and she would sit straighter. She would touch her hands, and she’d remember to go lightly on the keys. She would even touch her cheek and the tension in her face would relax (she’d stop trying so hard). So my daughter would get the experience of playing better–and eventually, the better posture, lighter fingers, and relaxed face would become an integral part of the playing. The body, the playing would correct on its own, based on the persistence of these gentle reminders.
This is what guided looking is like—a few consistent, gentle reminders, or light taps, and one becomes the looking, the seeing. Mind can actually be seen for the habitual tendency, the tyranny, it seems to assume. When mind is put at this subtle distance (purely metaphorical, there is no distance), it seems as if there is room for genuine insight, or clear seeing (IN-sight), regardless of where the insight is spoken, whether seemingly from the facilitator or facilitated.
In this way, self-ing, other-ing, world-ing can actually be seen in action—the process, the mechanism of the mind constructing and maintaining a self, and the world and relations that keep it in place. And it can be seen, like a mirage appeals to the thirsty, the fascination, the lure of this self-ing activity. (Maya, the seductress) Once this attraction is seen, the gig is up; the curtain has been pulled back on the wizard, revealing the mechanics behind the smoke and mirrors. There were no armies, no tactics, no strategy required to expose the wizard–he was simply seen, the mechanics behind his power revealed.
The facilitator is not the expert in this equation. Facilitator obsolescence is built in, as the habit of observing thoughts eventually supercedes the habitual identification with thoughts. Thoughts, stories, tend to disperse as they are noticed. The seeing itself takes over, and the illusion of duality is exposed as the ultimate misapprehension. It “…all comes spontaneously.”
We invite you to look, and simply see—to go beyond the pointer to the knowing itself, to where the pointer is lived, and becomes clear. This seeing becomes the teaching (no dogma, or need to take, preach, or defend any position), and the attraction becomes greater to stay to stay in the seeing, rather than to be pulled in by the movie. It is both Self-nourishing and concurrently self-effacing. It all takes care of Itself; the pointing is in the seeing. It’s so appallingly simple. Have a look and see.
“The only way out is to simply observe. This allows us to take note of our physical reactions, our mental attitudes and patterns and our motivations at the exact moment they appear.” ~ Jean Klein