Waking up to Wisdom
In Stillness and Community

Looking With Head, Heart, and Hands

--by Jane Rosen (Jun 25, 2012)

When I speak of seeing, I feel that the mind is open and in a relationship to the hands working, which opens a feeling of being more fully alive. That is what I call seeing.

More than one part of you needs to see. You can’t see with your head alone. You can’t see with your heart alone, because it’s very partial. You can’t see with your body alone because, basically, I don’t want to put down the cigarette or the cake.

One day I heard the dogs barking in the living room. Not a bark like, “Some­one is here,” which is an announcement. Not a bark like, “Get away from my stuff.” That’s a territorial thing. Not a bark of fear like, “Oh, my God there’s a bobcat on the deck!” It was a bark I ­wasn’t used to, a kind of “What are you doing?”

I walked into the living room and there was the raven underneath the chair at the dining room table. I looked at this big raven with huge claws and this huge Roman beak. The raven somehow had walked into the house before we had become friends and had gotten stuck underneath the chair. I believe it was a mom and she was coming in looking for food.

I looked at the raven and the raven looked at me. She had these beautiful eyes and she blinked at me. It was clear she said to me, “I’m stuck. I don’t know how I got under this chair. I can’t get out, and you’ve got two pretty big dogs. I’m in a situation here.”

So I looked at the raven and said, “Okay. Here’s the deal. You’re big. You have sharp claws and this beak. You could hurt me. I’m going to pet your back and if you don’t try to peck me or claw me, I will get you out from under the chair. If you try to peck me or claw me, you’re on your own.”

She looked at me, cocking her head like she was thinking about it. It wasn’t like she understood my words or I understood hers. There was something in my tone that was explaining to her that I was about to make a move. So I pet the back of the raven and not only does she not claw me, she pulls her claws into her belly and tucks her beak into her chest. I pick her up and I hold her like this [cradled in her arms] and she is ­perfectly still. I put her out on the picnic table figuring she would make a beeline out of there. She turned around, she looked at me, and she nodded.

--Jane Rosen, from "Looking With your Whole Body"


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Previous Reflections:

On Jun 15, 2012 Conrad P Pritscher wrote:
 I love Jane Rosen's words.  She acts like a whole person.  I still am afraid of wild animals and wild birds.  I would probably not have had to the courage to do what she did. After hearing her story, I will be more inclined to help in a situation like that in the future.  Thanks for the opportunity to respond.  Warm and kind regards to everyone.

On Jun 23, 2012 madhur wrote:
This piece explains a beautiful connection! Its unbelievable how kindness can be understood and responded to. Loved reading this. 

On Jun 23, 2012 BCKMishra wrote:
 To me seeing with your head, heart and body means make heart your leader, brain the follower and body the doer. 

On Jun 25, 2012 aarteestic wrote:
 I can so relate to Jane's experience here. I have experienced this heart, head and body talking numerous times in the past few months, well 9 months to be precise. I'm a new mum and I seem to be the only one to recognise 'what' type of crying my bub is crying in that instance. I know when it is 'I'm hungry' crying or 'I'm tired' crying or 'I need a cuddle' crying. I find this communication magical and I never knew I could ever tell a difference in baby's crying until I experienced it myself. I know  my bub understands me so well when I look straight in his eyes and talk to him. That eye connection is very telepathic and I feel that motherhood is just magical.

On Jun 26, 2012 Amy wrote:
 in stillness . . . all senses alive (and ready "to see") when still.  

On Jun 26, 2012 Ricky wrote:
Part of Rumi's quote, "none of this is outside you" comes to mind, vividly.  To follow up on many of the previous reflections here, stillness and quieting are important components to really seeing.  For me, it is cultivating daily, and especially in difficult relational situations, what is true for me:  the most exquisite interconnectedness on this precious orb. A person wrote to me recently that the trouble with me is that I don't really see her.  Disturbing as that is to me, when I quiet myself, and set aside ego, who I see is not the person who wrote that, but the essence within.  Until our language with each other shifts to it's less about me and more about us, what she expressed will remain true for her.

I remember the first time I 'heard' the quote about being placed on this earth to be in dominion over the plants and the animals on earth and in the sea, and not connecting completely with it because already at a tender age of five I knew deep within that we can not exercise control over what seems to be a part of us.  Now that I have been privileged to live longer than five, I understand deeply this to be true...
The story of the raven is beautifully written and shared.  Seeing is an act without expectation, judgment, nor assumption.  While it is wonderful to live being able to use our five senses, it is by trusting many of the other senses that our existence is enriched here.  Many times the head (the thinking brain) steps in to dismiss what our body is telling us in those quiet seeing moments, and many times this action of rationalization overrides our experience in that moment.  The thinking brain makes judgments, has strong opinions (who really is thinking here?), and makes decisions for us based on our very limited experience in this life.  What may actually help is stepping back for a moment, pausing for that magnificent inhale, allowing the exhale to fully release, and begin to allow the senses of the ages that lie deep within our DNA to surface and live from that deep inner knowing about how none of this is outside us.  Witness this radiant energetic expression of seeing arise.  Let go of reaction, and embrace action.

Each of us is blessed with gifts of all sorts.  And, we have the remarkable ability to learn, and apply.  Many of us lack the confidence to do so, and thus miss out at times on seeing opportunities.  Many of us have eyes, and do not see.  Many of us have hands and do not see.  Many of us have fully functioning bodies and do not see.  We admire how people who are blind or have bodies that are not to the standard we expect rise above these conditions to inspire us and overwhelm us with their gifts.  

I know when I really see.  I tear up.  I also have given up apologizing for this action, and am grateful that my body helps remind me that I have seen.

On Jun 26, 2012 Edit Lak wrote:
The first thing I thought of after reading this wonderful  piece was all those dedicated farmers talking to their animals, vegetation, herbs, berries and trees and being one with all – stunning.. The experiences of living  life in the moment, no matter how hard, fast, complex , confusing or even rewarding, but living with all the senses, believing in every core of one’s passion being to see, feel , touch and think outside the reactionary box, embracing and communicating with all beings in nature – for we are nature itself.  Was the stuck bird any different to a large and dark universe we talk to and negotiate with - yes I think so,  as this lovely lady trusted her own being and cut through the fear to talk to the moment  and work with nature.. A gift is the bird that scared ego not to have a say and put mental nature in its place for that moment while the true loving self spirit was free to see, think, feel and do...  Beautiful,  just a beautiful piece to read, with a great soul lesson of something to aspire to..  

On Jun 26, 2012 ganoba wrote:
 We have 5 sense organs. They are meant to be used as a set to understand our environment. In our hierarchical way of living the visual is placed at the top of the pyramid and considered the most important. As a result the other senses are underused and we don't get the full picture.
We also have 5 organs of external action. These also have to be used as a set. Here again we have given speech the most important place neglecting others. Is it any wonder then that we cannot communicate effectively.
I have tried to live a wholistic (some consider it simplistic). As a result i have been able to relate with the world joyously.

On Jun 29, 2012 David Doane wrote:
 Seeing with my head, heart and body means seeing with my whole self, using my intellect, my compassion, and my intuition.  Where I go with the questions for reflection is that it is important to see what is, not see my thinking, not see my prejudices, judgments, expectations, assumptions.  When I do this I see and relate to what is and not to what I think is or should be.  When I do this I am open.  I cultivate such seeing by becoming aware of my not seeing, that is, becoming aware of my prejudices, judgments, etc, and practicing seeing.  Experiences of such  seeing have been revealing, surprising, and refreshing for me and the other.  Learning to see is an important learning. 

On Jul 6, 2012 Taz wrote: