Observing

Developing Resonance through Eight Ways of Seeing


 
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Seeing and Feeling: Feeling into what we see

Looking at plastic bottles littered on the path, a duck landing on the water, a leaf fluttering in the wind or a dying flower, I slow my thoughts to notice what I’m feeling. Each momentary event evokes a subtle emotion: a sinking sadness, a brief lift of joy, an impulse to dance, a wave of nostalgia… Meanwhile, well-honed neural pathways could make it easy to swiftly label and judge, but such automatic responses keep me blind and separate. When my seeing meshes with my feelings, I am fully present, vulnerable in the intimacy of the moment.


Seeing and Hearing: Sounds alter vision

I hear a bird before I see it, its call sweet and sharp. The sound of lapping waves is a lullaby; I close my eyes and drift on the soothing rhythm. When I see the bird, a shot of joyful recognition. ‘There you are!’ Opening my eyes to watch the waves, it is the rhythmic sound I remember when I leave the shore.


Touch and Sight: Touch deepens observation

An old black walnut tree beckoned. Willingly blind, my hands explore its body, fingering its deep ridges, trying to read the braille bark. I touch to understand, to caress, to connect and be touched. Do you feel me? Opening my eyes, I recognize my new friend.


Breathing and Seeing: Entraining through breath

As I watch the rabbit nibble the shrub, I match my breath with her small furry body. I’m in her body, my breathing short and shallow; while she is focused on the twig, she’s also alert, ready to leap away. Turning, I see swollen buds on the magnolia, readying to burst into pink joy. I breathe magnolia—slow, deep, luxurious, even sleepy. Everywhere I look, I see my garden breathing.


Rhythms and Sight: Moving to Nature’s rhythms

Try moving at snail’s pace. It’s not easy to sustain, even for a minute. Rippling with the languid sensuality of a big cat is also an unfamiliar gait. The mammoth weighted steps of an elephant require tremendous gravitas while being snake utterly defies rigidity. Though each is strange to me, I find kinship by mirroring their rhythms as the walls of ‘otherness’ dissolve.


Seeing with Heart-Eyes: Witnessing Love

Looking out my livingroom window, I let my focus shift from my head to my chest to gaze through my heart. The familiar scene begins to ‘swim’—the air becoming dense and heavy, trees and stones shimmering like water. Through this heart lens, everything is different. Intrigued, I hover between these two ‘realities,’ sensing both are true. My heart-eyes see love in motion while the other witnesses love’s manifestations.


Opening to Be Seen: Reciprocity involves Being Seen

Lying on the cool moss, I wait to see who or what will approach. I want to be a worthy guest in this bit of wilderness. A spider appears, dangling from a leaf; an ant wanders up my leg. I sense other creatures watching though I cannot see their faces. Snake, deer, otter, skunk. Do they know I’m here or am I sensing their lingering presence? Melting into moss, I wonder if they fear or welcome me.


Seeing Process at Work: Perceiving Change

What blossom will this bud become? What is this tiny seed’s destiny? How will this wave die on the shore? What shape will this cloud take in the wind? Where will this river-water be tomorrow? I hold each moment gently, knowing each scene is shifting as I watch. Feeling the certainty of each one’s evolution, I surrender, a little more aware of my own blossoming.