Lotus of the Heart > Path of Spirit > Sacred Interiority

 
 

Seeing beyond the Looking

This Sacred Interiority

Feb 25, 2018

Saying For Today: See, this 'seeing' is Love seeing Love, only Love. Love loves only Love, there is no other.


LOTUS OF THE HEART

Everyone is Welcome Here

Living in LOVE beyond Beliefs

insight

Note to the Reader: In writing and editing the following, the work appeared to become a series of meditations moving in varied ways around a common center, at times appearing to threaten to disengage from that center, only to show itself entwined purposely within the fabric of the whole. To read the following, or excerpts, with that in mind may prove most helpful to the reader. One may benefit most by savoring a segment at a time, at least after a first reading. I recommend reading through it all, at least initially, for the whole gives meaning to each part. Grace!

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Have you ever had a moment of seeing someone in which the details of your prior history of him or her were absent, you were, you could say, just seeing ~ I will use oft in this presentation 'seeing' in contrast to looking at ~ ? Or, possibly, you have looked at someone you have no history with, have never seen, but sense strongly, purely that you know him or her?

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Before proceeding, a request... In the following I will not refer to 'seeing' as arising from knowing someone from a previous lifetime. There is a more likely explanation of the 'seeing' I refer to. While not stating for or against a shared prior lifetime, my experience of what is shared in this writing arises to me as something that has nothing to do with theorizing about something previous, but something always present, timelessly so. I encourage you to read, reflect, and put aside, for a time at least, any shifting of this matter to an idea of reincarnation or transmigration of the soul. I am talking about now, a timeless now. 'Seeing' has no past or future, no previous lifetime and no future paradise.

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Icons, as religious art, usually a painting, is most closely associated with Eastern Christian traditions, but has been more accepted in the West recently. An icon is an image one gazes mindfully into to turn consciousness within. Through the icon one retreats from waking consciousness to encounter the Essence implied by the icon. If, for example, the icon is of Jesus, one seeks to connect to Jesus in spirit; some might prefer to speak of this as an experience of an energy connected with devotion to Jesus, or as an experience of a Jesus archetype in the collective unconsciousness.

This intent for connection is why icons are painted with prayerful mindfulness, and the meditation is a means of taking the Christian message of the Incarnation into prayerfulness. The Christian message of God-becoming-flesh honors, in a way many within Christianity fail to see, and many critics of Christianity criticize, that the unseen Presence meets us through matter, while matter is a legitimate means for us to retreat to meet and commune with Presence. See, Grace, by nature, meets and greets, whether this is a going out or a going within. Finally, this movement becomes spontaneous, and within and without merge into an indivisible communion-in-union, a flow that manifests more like one reality dancing both ways, and unpredictably. Grace does not try to dance, Grace dances.

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We find, furthermore, teachings in all the major world religions pointing to each person being an icon of the Sacred. In Sufism we find the truth of how one can meet and experience Allah through another, as Rumi with Shams. In Buddhism we are reminded of the Buddha Nature within, and sometimes that we are each Buddha. In Judaism and Christianity is the reminder each person is of the image, the likeness, of 'God'. In Hinduism we see teachings about the Atman, or Self, the one Soul we truly, timelessly are, while the person, or self, is a veil only.

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Several years past, I was cycling in Virgina, USA. Riding through an apartment complex parking lot, I came upon a young man, about aged 20, walking. Immediately, though I had never seen him before, I was startled into attention by a profound sense that I knew him. This was not a rational knowing. We smiled at each other. That moment still is imprinted strongly on mind and can be returned to at any time. This is an example of 'seeing'. With the eyes I looked at him, but the looking at was only the opening to 'seeing'. This 'seeing' of the Sacred in and through the self of another is free of story, there is no history attached to it, as in our general interactions with others. "Seeing' another is outside of memory or shared past. 'Seeing' is not touched or contoured with history. 'Seeing' is 'I know you' not 'I know about you'.

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My experience has become more and more experience of 'God' in and through others, while once it was mostly by going inward. After over 25 years of contemplative prayer practice, as well as varied other practices, what seems to have emerged is a spontaneous intuition, or 'seeing into' others. We could say I have experienced a transformation from simply looking at others, which is a subject-object consciousness, to 'seeing', and one could call this a subject-subject matter. However, here language breaks down, for I do not 'see' them, what is 'seen' is never a him or her or them. We are icons, we are images only. We are bound to time; 'seeing' is a meeting outside, for before, time.

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There is no technique for this, even as 'seeing' through the icon comes through effortless receptivity. Spiritual practices are designed to dissolve the effort to 'see' that keeps us from 'seeing'. That most obvious is the Sacred, though almost everything and everyone gives only positive feedback to us for relating with the less obvious and, so, missing by ignoring the Holy. Egoic consciousness, an essential but much-limited modality, is bound to looking at persons, not 'seeing', so do not expect anyone to encourage you to 'see' anyone. Most persons do not want to 'see', for they do not believe such is possible ~ they are sadly habituated into the blessings and limitations of being a person-centered person, even if that person-centered is himself or herself.

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And what would this 'seeing' have to do with love? In this 'seeing', I find spontaneous loving. This Love loving arises one with 'seeing', for in Grace all returns into harmony. So, this 'seeing' itself is loving. To 'see' is to love, nothing more has to be done to enact Love loving. Yet, the spiritual person, still in body, can consciously surrender the self into this modality of Grace 'seeing'. This means 'seeing' does not negate self, but summons self to surrender into the Love that is 'seeing'. See, this 'seeing' is Love seeing Love, only Love. Love loves only Love, there is no other.

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Now, is this 'seeing' a reversion to our early days, when an infant? That would be regressive. The infant is innocently self-centered. Likely, most, if not all psychologists, would agree with this statement, "The infant is all ego". Unfortunately, much spirituality teaches a regressive return to an infantile innocence, as though by comparison, if we demolished all cities and returned to living tribal in jungles and forests and on plains, that would be progress. Or, possibly, we should all crawl around, ignoring our capacities of climbing, jumping, walking, and running? 'Seeing' is mostly in our collective future, as far as evolution, not in any idealized past, even though 'seeing' is always now.

The 'seeing' I speak of today is not regressive, but progressive, meaning transcending-by-integration. Consciousness does not, in this transcendence, return to prior-to-individuation, but is beyond-individuation. This being so, 'seeing' is not a person seeing a person, but pure 'seeing'. Person seeing person is a contraction of all-inclusive consciousness. So, I do not write of returning to a first innocence, an edenic bliss so to speak.

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Following is a striking example of this 'in-sight', penned by John O'Donohue, in Anam Ċara.

In South America, a journalist friend of mine met an old Indian chief whom he would have loved to interview. The chief agreed, on the condition that they could have some time together beforehand. The journalist presumed that they would meet and just have a normal conversation. Instead, the chief took him aside and looked directly into his eyes in silence for a long time. Initially, this terrified my friend; he felt his life was totally exposed to the gaze and silence of this stranger. After a while, the journalist began to deepen his own gaze. Each continued this silent gazing for more than two hours. After this time, it seemed as if they had known each other all of their lives. There was no longer any need for the interview.

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Your receptivity to see the Essence of another sentient being is equivalent to your choice to love that being. This means love, evolved within you to this evolution of consciousness, has nothing to do with lovinf feelings, even as Love can embrace feelings for or against someone ~ though Love Itself has no such feelings. And, in case one would see this teaching as a teaching to negate the self, not so... ~ the person ~ the self ~ your self, my self, every self ~ is holy precisely in that the self is, yes, an icon of Life.

Insights

The Sacred in Me Bows to the Sacred in You

*Lotus of the Heart is an interspiritual work of Brian Kenneth Wilcox, Florida USA. Brian is a practicing spiritual contemplative, interspiritual Chaplain, and writer of nonfiction and poetry.

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©Brian Wilcox 2018