Posted on November 20, 2008



“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeing new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” (Marcel Proust).

Little round planet
In a big universe
Sometimes it looks blessed
Sometimes it looks cursed
Depends on what you look at obviously
But even more it depends on the way that you see” (Bruce Cockburn, Child of the Wind)

Concerning perceptions, awareness, seeing with new eyes, we must “silence the familiar and welcome the strange.”

May I not waltz through life without “seeing”.

Following is a paragraph by Sam Keen in “To a Dancing God”:

“(‘Seeing’) requires that I go beyond the idiosyncratic and egocentric perception of immediate experience. Mature awareness is possible only when I have digested and compensated for the biases and prejudices that are the residue of my personal history. Awareness of what presents itself to me involves a double movement of attention: silencing the familiar and welcoming the strange. Each time I approach a strange object, person, or event, I have a tendency to let my present needs, past experience, or expectations for the future determine what I will see. If I am to appreciate the uniqueness of any datum, I must be sufficiently aware of my preconceived ideas and characteristic emotional distortions to bracket them long enough to welcome strangeness and novelty into my perceptual world. This discipline of bracketing, compensating, or silencing requires sophisticated self-knowledge and courageous honesty. Yet, without this discipline each present moment is only the repetition of something already seen or experienced. In order for genuine novelty to emerge, for the unique presence of things, persons, or events to take root in me, I must undergo a decentralization of the ego.”

The more I become self-aware,

the more I observe myself,

the more I pay attention to my thinking,

the more I perceive my feelings,

I am overwhelmed with the extent of the influence of culture, community, family, childhood teaching, church, and long-held beliefs have on my assumptions about life. Don’t forget we are human; therefore all of these entities are tainted by assumptions and past experiences.

This then colors my perception of everything that I “see”, unless I can learn to let go of those forces (good and bad) and just “see”.

For without truly seeing,

I will never understand,

I’ll just assume that what I’m perceiving is real.

I’ll think I know, without even looking, thinking, or questioning.

This is human nature and it is scary stuff. This has been the first step of every major human atrocity in this world . . . and still is.

This is how fundamentalists become terrorists (both Muslim AND Christian).

“If one wants to see a thing very clearly, one’s mind must be very quiet, without all the prejudices, the chattering, the dialogue, the images, the pictures – all that must be put aside to look.” (Krishnamurti)

“It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you in trouble; it’s what you know for sure that ain’t so.” – Mark Twain

“The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts.” – Bertrand Russell

“There is more faith in honest doubt than in all your Creeds” – A. L. Tennyson

“There’s roads and there’s roads

And they call, can’t you hear it?

Roads of the earth

And roads of the spirit

The best roads of all

Are the ones that aren’t certain

One of those is where you’ll find me

Till they drop the big curtain.”

(Bruce Cockburn, Child of the Wind)

(written May 14, 2006)