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Ten Benefits of Seeing

by Jim Clatfelter

(See also Jim's 'Headless Dao')

1. Seeing is honest and complete. We see and are aware that we see the complete field. We see both the "seer" and the scene. Use different terms if you like. There are dozens of them. View in and view out. Near side and far side. And these two are not separate. They arise together.

2. The view in of two-way seeing demonstrates in real life the meaning behind ideas of the infinite, the eternal, and the great void. It is timeless (the eternal now), spaceless, and empty of content in the inner direction. Why are these ideas comforting? Maybe in part because they give us an expanded identity.

3. Seeing takes your focus away from ideas of self-improvement. How could you improve upon eternity and infinity? Finding this at your center can ease any dissatisfaction you feel about your experience of life. You have to find out for yourself if this is true for you. It's not up to me to say. It may make it easier to deal with difficulties as they arise, because you cannot be thrown off-center as easily as you used to be. Things work better when you're calm, and better yet when you are centered on the ultimate calm.

4. Seeing centers you on what is, rather than on what should be. If you are centered on what you think should be, you can't help being dissatisfied. When you find the fullness of the present moment, you see its necessity.

5. Seeing steers you away from believing nonsense. Seeing is based on experiments. It's experiential, not dogmatic. Dogma divides us where seeing unites. Maybe the jury is still out on this one. Dogma dies hard. Crazy ideas are numerous among so-called "spiritual" teachings. Those who take seeing seriously may find they have no need for dogma, doctrine, and certainty on all fronts. They can live without knowing everything. Why? Because they experience everything about nothing, a nothing they can locate at the heart of their own being. To echo Laozi, it's enough!

6. The nature of the seer (awareness) is openness and acceptance of all that appears. If you see this as your core identity, surely it will make some difference in how you regard and act in the world. Douglas never specified what these differences would be. He said they would be different for each of us.

7. Seeing shows that at center we are all identical. One who truly sees should be inclined to egalitarian ideas. We are more than equal. We are identical where it counts. Maybe this realization can spill over into our attitudes toward other people. When we see others as identical to ourselves, how can we think of them as less worthy than ourselves? Deep down, they are ourselves.

8. The way to do is to be, according to Laozi. The whole idea of spontaneity as Douglas writes about it and of the Daoist term ziran is that action follows being. Get being (seeing) right first, and "right action" will follow. I don't like that expression very much. Right action sounds preachy to me. It sounds outer directed. Seers aren't followers. Seers don't follow direction, outer concepts. They honor inner direction. "See, and see what happens" is the way Douglas put it.

9. Seeing also shows us that the view out is also part of who we are. Douglas used to say that seers "can wash their hands of nothing." If this is seen deeply, we can trust our responses. We can trust that true seeing is true being and doing. Seeing abandons no one. Your neighbor is yourself.

10. All of this happens without the need to preach to anybody or to draw up any moral codes for yourself or others. Action is "spontaneously applied," to use Douglas's phrase. It happens ziran, to uses Laozi's expression, on its own, self-so. There are no rules that apply evenly to all of us. We are all individual. We have different experiences and different talents.

I imagine someone else could find ten different benefits of seeing. Everybody explains it differently. I know that Douglas expected this to happen. He welcomed the different expressions of headless seeing. When you see your own void nature, do you trust this void, this unknown, to come up with appropriate actions? Or is there something in you that wants to control what happens? It seems obvious to me that we all go the way we go. There's nothing to be done about it. Trust what appears or try to control it? See and see what happens is one answer. I go for that one.

Jim Clatfelter

See also Jim's poetry   

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