Saturday, February 14, 2009

Who is looking?

What do you see right now?

Suffering? Bad times? Anger? Sorrow? Evil? Rudeness? Confusion? Mistakes? Discontent?

Joy? Peace? Love? Contentment? Fun? Excitement?

Any mix of the above?

Notice how what you see affects how you feel. Whether the anger or peace arises outside you or inside you, notice that there is a response inside you. What is that response? More feelings? More thoughts? Notice.

Notice that all of these are objects in awareness. You are aware of the anger, the peace, other feelings and thoughts. They are not aware of you.

We get caught up in what we are experiencing and looking at. But who is looking?

No matter what is being looked at, there is always the one that is looking.

What is seen depends on who is seeing.

See this at work in your own life.

Start with the most basic thing that we take so for granted - the physical world. What appears as a red flower to us human beings appears differently to different species in the animal world. Some species can perceive only one color and others can perceive a wider range of colors than the human eye.

Then there are functional differences. What may appear as an insignificant ant to a hiker on a trail appears as food to an anteater.

And of course there are emotional variances. Two people faced with the same circumstances may see different things and respond differently.

At many levels then, we can notice that what is seen depends on who is looking.

The world of objects is so fascinating to us that we keep going from one object to another in wonder. Built into this fascination is a desire to find better and better objects. This fuels the looking. And it is natural and fine as long as it lasts. But many of us begin to experience a kind of dreariness to this endless looking. Then at some point we tire altogether of what seems like a wildgoose chase. That's when we can get interested in the question: Who is looking?

This question begins to draw us inward, as we begin to get interested in the perspective that looks out. At first when we ask ourselves this question, we may come across different perspectives. An example that many people can relate with, is that when we see anger within ourselves, asking this question Who is looking? often reveals somebody filled with fear. And we can simply acknowledge this fearful one. And we can see that when fear is looking, then anger is seen and experienced. Now we have stepped back, behind the anger.

Similarly other sights may reveal other perspectives.

When we continue to ask this question, (at a pace that does not feel forced in any way) we begin to step further and further back. So to continue the example above, when we contact the fearful one fully, we may see that even this fear is only an object - it is being seen and experienced. So it is natural to ask the question again - Who is looking? And we may find yet another perspective.

I am not suggesting that we do this as a process to reach a certain objective. What I am suggesting is that if this question interests you, then this process may arise quite naturally. There may appear to be a little effort in asking the question at first, and then it may just start happen quite frequently on its own.

We begin to see that all the perspectives, or the ones who are looking, are finally objects in themselves. And as we step further and further back, we begin to be what we always and already are - that empty self-aware awareness within which everything arises.

There is no gain from this. And the curious thing is there is no interest in any gain.

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