I just came from a meditation class and was inspired to write about the experience. A simple phrase “looking out through one’s own eyes” struck me as profound. How much of the time are we looking out of our perceptions of other people’s eyes at our selves or the world? How often do we truly experience the world through our own eyes? Can we just look, just observe without interpretations, judgments and assumptions? In DBT one of the “what” skills of mindfulness is Observe. This skill is focused on just noticing without descriptions. This sounds simple yet is difficult to practice. Our minds automatically put labels on what we see. I like to think of having a Teflon mind, letting experiences, thoughts, feelings, come and slip right off the pan. Another image could be waves of an ocean, rising and falling or clouds passing by in the sky. The idea is not to have no thoughts, feelings or experiences but to just NOTICE. The practice is about watching neither pushing away nor clinging.
I have often used the example of training a puppy. That we have puppy mind, it is running all around in many directions, easily distracted. Yet, it can be trained. One can with practice bring the puppy back to the present moment. My teacher tonight spoke of having doggy mind. A similar analogy. He stated that our mind is throwing out sticks, lots of them and our doggy mind chases them. What would it be like to have a lion mind? Yes, I see that stick but it’s not something I will chase. I can just see it for what it is and let it pass by.
So, why is this helpful? How does being able to observe, to truly look out through one’s an own eyes going to help me? I predict some may ask this question. So much of human suffering come from non-acceptance. To say, “it shouldn’t be this way” or “if only ___, I could be happy”. These are forms of non-acceptance and freedom from suffering requires acknowledging what is. Acknowledging what is requires that we see what is, not our perception of what is, not how it should be or how we want it to be, but how it truly is. It’s about being awake and when we are awake to what is, we can let go of fighting reality, find freedom and joy.