Detritus from the past floated to the surface of consciousness upon my waking this morning and has been gathering since then. I’ve been watching, noticing how momentum builds quietly, noticing how the pull of my attention gets stronger, narratives more elaborate.
When I look for a contrast, something to counteract, what arises is You Seeing, Enlightened Seeing, Being Seeing—an idea P came up with in the insight group Play-as-Being, which some played with vigorously for several months back around 2009, logging observations along the way.
Enlightened Seeing wasn’t part of the original framework, a friend reminds. It was introduced to help make a logistical jump for the struggling, but was dropped swiftly. I’ll still include it here because it’s part of the exercise to see what remains of these ideas this much later, whether the framework is still useful or not.
I think it is. Useful today, anyway.
Image: Patch of Heaven Sanctuary, Miami Florida
What is You Seeing? You Seeing is how one normally sees whatever, what’s in front of one filter through through preferences… regrets, plans. Or at least it’s a view that can be easily taken over by that kind of thing. It’s the conversations playing in my mind today running on their own… what I should have or could have said if I had been smarter, stronger, had more that people wanted from me, healthier, etc. It’s survival skills, I guess, fortressing, shoring up.
The effect isn’t hard to fall into, even if it isn’t as easily triggered as once was for me. This time, it popped up with a FB post, an in-law reaching out to a closer family member in a kind way. I saw this before going to bed, then found myself carrying on conversations with the person as I woke, propagating scripts and scenarios that eventually grew strong enough to propagate even more spin-offs.
A thing about “You Seeing”: it’s a fixer. It figures things out. It wants to go back or forward, even sees that as freedom. It’s not useless, just limited when it’s out of a wider context, like living in a bathroom when a whole house by the ocean is yours to enjoy. You Seeing isn’t what is before one exactly, but what one sees when projecting a glass darkly.
I don’t mean to demonize it, which can be a mistake of spiritual teachings. How amazing, how creative, that this so-called self sees at all!
Enlightened Seeing is a less personal view, but still a view. There’s far more spaciousness, outwardness. I want, but I want peace for you, love for you, resolution for everyone. Enlightened Seeing recognizes there is more to see than the seeing self sees, that there is richness and possibility accessible by questioning, exploring, looking up, out, testing. To see in an enlightened sense is not to be constricted by fear but rather expanded by love.
There is a you/me in Enlightened Seeing, though. One has gone from a Me at the center, to a YouMe at the center. Elevated view, but still view.
This might be represented well by a dream in which I tried to climb to the top of an overloaded vehicle in response to there not being a place saved for me inside. Rather than argue for my place, or sabotage the trip, the pain was accepted, folded in as part of the whole of human experience. It was pain, but not suffering. Suffering was right there, offering a sneaky-spiral energy, but I saw it, and that there were many possibilities other than being part of that trip.
Perhaps enlightened seeing is when the observer is prominent, confident and steady to be with what arises in a loving way. There’s some picture I have in mind when I consider this, where there is no barrier to seeing behind one and in front of one simultaneously, including seeing inside one–no barriers into eternity. Whatever comes up then greets so much openness.
Enlightened Seeing is more stable. It leaves space. Liu bai.
[P.S. I’ll write about the concept of liu bai soonish. For now, here is a lovely article: The Art of ‘Liu Bai’
I think Enlightened Seeing is the “better me” … the one who rolls with what’s happening and builds capacity to offer more and more ‘to the world’ — to indeed, even save and heal the world through higher and higher motivations and intentions. Certainly, better me is happier than constricted me, and actually, I live this much of the time. I feel when I slip and do what’s needed to get back. Not this doesn’t feel like ‘me’ to me.
The me-first view is ‘right there’ though, and there are times I don’t catch it for a long while… so there can be a lot of effort involved in not giving into the pull. This is why we call it spiritual ‘practice’.
Being Seeing is not a view. These days there are many wonderful explorers and writers on non-duality, in part because there is just so much information flow via YouTube and other avenues. There is language that comes very close. There are also lots of people articulating ways in which teachers from different traditions overlap, or rest at the same points.
There are ways to describe what it is for non-self to ‘see’.
It might be argued that Enlightened Seeing is what non-duality is about, too… beyond you and me, and this perhaps is a bit why Enlightened Seeing was dropped back then. Some found it more of a hindrance than help, felt enlightenment was already the highest aspiration. Which of course it is. There is no thing higher.
The language has always been around, in phrases like Let be, or Let go and let God, or Be Here Now, etc. And guidance to ‘surrender’ has always been part of even mainstream Christianity. But so few have been able to surrender without disconnecting from human life. My sense is that we are more able to have friends and vocabulary and ways to spend time without having to merely You See, now, and are enjoying our time being able to Enlightened See. It already seems so much better, so unthinkable from earlier times.
To attempt to distinguish Being Seeing, again I’ll resort to dream because it comes closest. On my first trip to Japan, after a long travel, whirlwind walk around Kyoto meeting my host in person for the first time, then finally arriving at the wonderful little place I would stay, I fell asleep deeply, in a way that didn’t feel like being asleep at all. Rather it was like being taken over, like being inhabited. There wasn’t any ‘me’ directing, nothing resisting a beautiful tour through streets and gardens and the whole of Kyoto.
It was it, an impartation–so much at once, yet easy. It took a long time, but also no time at all. Total welcome without difference between inside and out. Actually there was only Japan, not a me appreciating a place, and never any point in which to assert myself, nor any need.
To be on a deep awareness journey is to have dipped toes into this sensibility, I think; it’s what keeps us on the journey. We can’t forget. We are changed. We’re aware that’s there. We’ve tasted Rest.
Script is flipped.
No me or you, but also no no me and no you – just experience without need for a self-in-control (an exhausting mode of being). The thought to ‘do’ something would not even show up, would not make sense. I think this is why P always tried to get at it by focusing on wu wei.
Wu wei is not a state of being that comes and goes, not a flow state, but flow states are effects of Wu Wei. Flow states are places where we are nudged into giving up, nudging toward surrender, toward Being Seeing.