When we approach the concepts of seeing clearly much of the focus seems to be with an external orientation. We want to see what’s “out there” in a clear way. Much of what we seem to be processing is the idea that if we can see other people, events, and experiences in a clearer way then this would add to the quality of our lives. And, this would be probably be true . Except, the real issue in seeing clearly relies on the awareness and removal of what’s keeping us from seeing in a clear manner. We need to clear the window of perception.
Some years ago I started studying the writings of a few people who changed my perspective on how I lived my life. Their names are Cheri Huber, Anthony D’Mello, and J. Krishnamurti. I went to workshops and retreats with Cheri Huber. I picked up books that were authored by Anthony D’Mello and J. Krishnamurti and took the time to study and read them. These three people were giving me a clearer orientation towards life that I was minimally aware of by paying attention. I had started being aware of life experiences and interactions with other people but needed to find additional clarity. I was open and willing to learn from everyone. (Anthony D’Mello had started out as a Jesuit Priest. I think that fact, and the fact that much of his writing is about relationship with God, put a lot of people off. Particularly those who were studying Eastern philosophy and religion.)
One of the things I had learned by then is that wisdom teaching comes from all areas in life. We have different beliefs about different things. But, because another man or woman’s beliefs are not the same as mine doesn’t constitute a reason to disregard all of their message. The reason I write books and produce this blog is because I see the underlying messages through years of studying everyone. I don’t care how we decorate them the Dharma messages remain the same. We can all exist, evolve, learn, and flourish, on parallel paths.
The Dust in my Eye
The life changing message I received from these generous people is that if I want to see clearly I am going to have to let go of everything that created the me through conditioning. The message was pretty clear, how can I love you if I cannot see you? To see you I need to see without the blinders of, concepts, categories, prejudice, conclusions, projections, and labels. When I am using these concepts I cannot see the person you are, only the person I think you are. I am not seeing you moment to moment I am only seeing a static thought built image.
The second part of the message is my success, prestige, and power all rely on needing your approval, attention, and appreciation. If these needs and rewards are there I cannot possibly see you. I simply cannot focus on the relationship in the here and now. I am too busy with my constructed thoughts of who you are and what I need from you. How can I say I see you?
If we don’t see all of this before attempting to see clearly we are not going to be skillful in seeing. We will be stuck seeing our ideas of another person and our wants and needs. To clearly see another we want to remain within the following.
Be present with the other person
This involves attending to the other person while using our ability to remain aware of our own status. The very first thing we do to remain in focus is to return to the breathing cycle. Breathing allows two things. One, it automatically brings us into the proximity of now. We are there with the other person in body so we have to be there in mind. Two, breathing calms us and helps filter through those emotions and reactions that come up. We breath, listen, and respond to the moment in Being.
View the person without all the filters and needs
Sometimes people will argue that they do have an agenda or they probably wouldn’t be talking to another person. I agree. But, we need to be aware of the agenda in truthfulness and acknowledge any hidden agenda’s. Of course we may have wants and needs that need to be fulfilled but are we presenting them in truthfulness? We need to be totally present, clear, linear, and focused on our need. If we are reacting to secondary information, Say, we are intentionally manipulating. Or, perhaps I can’t stand this person. Maybe this person insulted me last week. Then our communication and relationship will be muddled and unclear because it’s being filtered through other information. Therefore it will have that undercurrent of being less truthful than it could be otherwise. We change this dynamic by remaining aware. The awareness is all that is necessary.
Practice hearing what the individual is saying not hearing what we want to hear
Much of the time we are simply hearing what we want to hear or are cherry picking things that support our conditioned mind. If we are serious about listening in clarity I suggest echoing the words in your head. This seems difficult at first but in reality it enhances your ability to actually hear the actual wordings and meanings to the best of your ability. People don’t seem to have a problem listening to the voice and attitude in their minds but rebel at echoing someones speech. The echoing serves to diminish the ideas and concepts that keep trying to insert themselves. The practice also makes reflective responses easier and honest.
During any interaction it is inportant to be aware of our own thoughts, emotions, and needs during the interaction
If we mirror the other persons speech this allows us to focus on them. We will still have random thoughts and concepts. These are usually thoughts in the forms of judgement and opinion. We hold them lightly in awareness. We remember that they are only judgement’s and opinions.
NISARGADATTA: “TO KNOW WHAT YOU ARE, YOU MUST FIRST INVESTIGATE WHAT YOU ARE NOT.”
J.KRISHNAMURTI: “THE MOST DIFFICULT THING TO LEARN IS SOMETHING YOU THINK YOU ALREADY KNOW.”
So do you have any practices that allow you to see clearly? I would love to hear what your practice is and what you think!