Waking up to Wisdom
In Stillness and Community

Seeing Is Not Thinking

--by Jeanne de Salzmann (Oct 23, 2017)

The question is not what to do but how to see. Seeing is the most important thing—the act of seeing. I need to realize that it is truly an act, an action that brings something entirely new, a new possibility of vision, certainty and knowledge. This possibility appears during the act itself and disappears as soon as the seeing stops. It is only in this act of seeing that I will find a certain freedom.

So long as I have not seen the nature and movement of the mind, there is little sense in believing that I could be free of it. I am a slave to my mechanical thoughts. This is a fact. It is not the thoughts ­themselves that enslave me but my ­attachment to them. In order to ­understand this, I must not seek to free myself before having known what the ­slavery is. I need to see the illusion of words and ideas, and the fear of my thinking mind to be alone and empty without the support of anything known. It is necessary to live this slavery as a fact, moment after moment, without escaping from it. Then I will begin to ­perceive a new way of seeing. Can I accept not knowing who I am, being hidden behind an imposter? Can I accept not knowing my name? Seeing does not come from thinking.

It comes from the shock at the moment when, feeling an urgency to know what is true, I suddenly realize that my thinking mind cannot perceive reality. To understand what I really am at this moment, I need sincerity and humility, and an unmasked exposure that I do not know. This would mean to refuse nothing, exclude nothing, and enter into the experience of discovering what I think, what I sense, what I wish, all at this very moment.

Our conditioned thought always wants an answer. What is important is to develop another thinking, a vision. For this we have to liberate a certain energy that is beyond our usual thought. I need to ­experience “I do not know” without seeking an answer, to abandon everything to enter the unknown. Then it is no longer the same mind. My mind engages in a new way. I see without any preconceived idea, without choice. In relaxing, for example, I no longer choose to relax before knowing why. I learn to purify my power of vision, not by turning away from the undesirable or toward what is agreeable. I learn to stay in front and see clearly. All things have the same importance, and I become fixed on nothing. Everything depends on this vision, on a look that comes not from any command of my thought but from a feeling of urgency to know.

Perception, real vision, comes in the interval between the old response and the new response to the reception of an impression. The old response is based on material inscribed in our memory. With the new response, free from the past, the brain remains open, receptive, in an ­attitude of respect. It is a new brain which functions, that is, different cells and a new intelligence. When I see that my thought is incapable of understanding, that its movement brings nothing, I am open to the sense of the cosmic, beyond the realm of human perception. 

by Jeanne de Salzmann, excerpted from Parabola.

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Previous Reflections:

On Oct 22, 2017 david doane wrote:

Freedom in the act of seeing means to me the freedom that comes from seeing what is, free of judgments, preconceptions, and expectations, free of simply seeing my thinking, which happens so easily.  It means being free of conditioning be it my own or my culture's or whatever.  It means lifting the veil, removing the psychological cataracts, and seeing clearly.  I often experience "I don't know" and am open, searching, and receptive, all of which I value, and yet I don't know if I am ever totally free of seeking an answer.  I think of seeking as goal-directed.  I usually don't actively seek because it gets in the way of seeing, which I treasure.  I think the bible says something about the problem of having eyes and not seeing.  Knowing the value of non-judgmental non-goal directed seeing helps me see clearly.

On Oct 24, 2017 Jagdish P Dave wrote:

Reading this article reminds me of an ancient saying written in Sanskrit, " Yatha drushti tatha shrusti." Meaning as is my vision, so is the world. If my vision is clouded I see the world clouded. Fresh eyes are new eyes free form the bondage of the past, from the anticipation of the future; free  from  the attachments to positive and negative thoughts, wishes and desires, free from the the old mind. It is a fresh vision, a new vision, a new mind , a new brain, the "choiceless awareness"

When I read something like this, I get deeply connected with the vision of the vision. My mind becomes quiet and I feel the open space within me, like the clear blue sky. I am in the here-and now zone. I am no more attached to my thoughts, I am no more enslaved by my conditioned mind. To put iti n the words of the author, " abandon everything to enter the unknown." This is freedom -the inner freedom.It is the the womb, a birthing place of the new intelligence, the new mind, the new brain, open to the sense of the cosmos. Seeing is not thinking. It is beyond thinking, free from thinking.

Practicing mindfulness meditation opens and expands my inner space for perception seeing the reality, a new dimension that transcends time and space.I experience "The Power of Now." It enables me to relate to apparent differences with an open mind and open heart and creates and sustains my wholesomeness.

May we have an interval between a stimulus and an old response to see the reality as it is!


Jagdish P Dave

On Oct 24, 2017 Rajesh wrote:
 This is a beautiful passage. One of the key themes here seems to be the futility of thought and its inability to perceive beyond itself. We don't always see this, but certain circumstances in life seem to open that up for us. For example, the detachment and deep sense of sorrow one feels as one is burying or cremating a loved one in the burial/cremation ground. In that state, somehow thought seems to slow down and see its own futility.  

The last statement in the passage captures that nicely - "When I see that my thought is incapable of understanding, that its movement brings nothing, I am open to the sense of the cosmic, beyond the realm of human perception".

On Oct 25, 2017 SIDNEY DEKOVEN wrote:

Today I saw that much of my fantasy life revolves around the desire for fame, renown, glory. I imagine myself stunning an audience with my conducting a symphony I composed for example. What sees this is not the fantasy but my true self or knowing awareness. I ask myself: which is more precious, the fantasy or what sees it. No contest. What sees is far far more precious. I think the fame fantasy will diminish now it is in the light. 

On Oct 25, 2017 Sanjeev Verma wrote:

 “Where the mind is without fear. and the head is held high, where knowledge is free. Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls.

On Oct 26, 2017 Rick wrote:

 We see what we are thinking, what is in our own mind.

On Nov 7, 2017 Papy shanti wrote:

 May we create an interval between a stimulus and an old response to see the reality as it is!
Om shanti

On Oct 19, 2018 Jonathan Buckland wrote:

Nothing had a price actually. It's the humans who put price on everything and now we blame the system. we are the ones who messed up the system and still we don't see it.