Learning to See Each Other

PHOTO:  Taken at the Bowers Museum, Santa Ana, CA Permanent Collection:  Spirits & Headhunters:  Art of the Pacific Islands


In both the practices of psychotherapy and meditation we aim to see things more clearly so that we can see the intrinsic nature of things as well as the universal aspects of experience.  Often, given our habits of mind and less recognized biases and fears, we really don’t see things as THEY are.  We see things as WE are.

Sometimes this results in not being able to ‘see’ the common humanity in others who don’t look like us or sound like us.

Seeing clearly involves learning to see how our own minds work.  To do that, we need to learn how to quiet the mind and steady the heart.  We learn to stop, look, and listen to what is HERE, in this moment to moment exchange with our own thinking and human contact.  Even when we (uncomfortably) recognize an unwanted thought, feeling, or reaction within ourselves – a tightening, an unwarranted suspicion or perceived ‘dislike’ of someone or something, an opportunity arises.

This opportunity may take the form of asking ourselves ‘what is here?’  We learn to BE HERE with WHATEVER it is, be it positive, negative, neither. As we become more willing to be PRESENT with ‘what is,’ a different quality of attention emerges.

This question, in and of itself, OPENS an internal dialogue to question, to engage, to become curious and more open to what is present.  When we can see the mind at work, we are less apt to react.  Choices emerge that allow our attention to be more curious; to take more time to reflect; to loosen the potential and vast pull of human habit.

We might say to ourselves:  This moment is LIKE THIS.   Without this quality of compassion or kindness, investigation and inquiry cannot develop because there is not enough safety and openness for real or sustained contact.

Learning to (really) see each other becomes an invitation to learn to (really) see ourselves in a way that allows more space and perspective…a play space where MORE becomes possible.

We begin to actualize the insight of the poet Roger Keyes in his poem Hokusai Says…’keep looking, stay curious…there is no end to seeing.’

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