A friend of mine was telling me a beautiful story of her friend's mom who is affected by dementia. This story fascinated me because I thought it was such a great example of seeing.
For pretty much all her life, she would spend the evenings watching TV to pass the time, but because of the state of her mental deterioration, she was beginning to have difficulty making out the sound of the TV. It reached a point one night where she simply couldn't hear what people were saying.
So that night, instead of watching TV in the evening, she stayed in bed. When she awoke the next day, her daughter greeted her and asked, "how was your night?"She replied saying that she could see the moon out her window from where she was lying down in her bed... and she realized something quite profound in the night.
She realized she had never really seen the moon until that moment.
I'm speculating this, but don't think she meant that she literally had never looked at the moon before in her life. I reckon she was referring to a certain quality, or a depth, a state of mind from which the looking was taking place.
Throughout her life, I bet she looked at it just as much as you and I have throughout ours. She likely pointed at it perhaps, talked about it, glanced over, and noticed it, but until this moment, she had never truly seen it.
In the seeing of it, she was so mesmerized by its beauty that she stayed up for hours just looking at the moon, taking it all in.
For any human being to have the experience of seeing is a beautiful thing. But it's also a tragedy because, like her, most of us live our whole lives without really seeing at all.
Why don't we see things as they are? What gets in the way of seeing?
Everywhere I look I am looking at the past. Thought has generated images from memory. It superimposes these images on everything. People, places, nature...I don't see the moon. I am looking at what thought has put together about the moon. So I'm not really seeing it as it is, I'm looking at the past in it.
It's as though there is a middleman. An interloper, perhaps. Someone to inform you what you're looking at while obscuring the seeing of it, the truth of it.
I live in thought. Everywhere I look, I am looking at images thought has generated from the past and projected onto the present. I look at things as I think they are. And so I don't really see anything at all.
Why is it that we need to wait until we're dying before seeing anything? Why are always putting it off until tomorrow? Is it fear? Why are we so afraid to empty the mind of the past and see life for what it truly is?
Are we just too busy for it? Is it a waste of time? Maybe we don't know how? Maybe we don't know it's possible for there to be any other kind of state of consciousness because we've been living in the same one for as long as we can remember?
When there is no interloper between me and what-is. When the past isn't interfering with the present, there is something incredible that takes place. Something profound, something altogether transformative, something beyond description. It happens when we see what thought has done, totally and completely. In that, there is seeing of what-is with a fresh mind.
I am what-is. I am that. I am not looking at it. I am it. There is nobody looking. And when there is no interference, no interpretation, then there is this emptiness, and from that emptiness, a quality of beauty.
The beauty isn't in the moon. The beauty is already here. It's everywhere. It's never been anywhere else. It's just the mind hasn't been seeing, that's all. The mind has been living in a dream of thought.