"In your youtube videos you mention that seeing is all that's necessary for spiritual growth. I don't understand this – are you talking about physical seeing with the eyes or using that term as an esoteric meaning?”
What you see with your physical eyes is what you value personally. The question is, “Are you seeing what actually IS or what you believe IS?” And you'll find that someone else might not see exactly as you do even though the physical appearnce might seem the same. What you see with your eyes, you also see with your conditioned concepts, beliefs, judgments and childhood values. No one sees purely what-is until they awaken to their true nature.
The less love we have known in our life, the less clearly we see. All emotional dysfunction is distorted-seeing which seems real to the observer. For instance, I have been conducting hypnotherapy sessions for several years and every person I meet are convinced that what they see is true to them. An anorexic person might seem so skinny and fragile to the average person and yet to the anorexic itself there is a desire for greater loss of weight. I have had many people who didn't like themselves, and some of these people were quite handsome, yet their self-image was to them less than handsome.
No one can convince you against your own seeing. Seeing is very individual. How you see the world and the people in it is all based on how you feel about yourself. It is all a mirror. You and another might look at the same person but when you exchange feelings, opinions and views about that person you'll probably differ according to personal values and conditioning. Who is right or wrong? There is no right or wrong but only love or fear.
Fear can be so subtle – skepticism, doubt, hesitatancy, indecision, uncertainty, not knowing what you want and so on are subtle fears. Love, on the other hand, is often seen as romantic love. Romantic love is simply a conditioned concept of love based on emotional values. Yet love has no limit to its expansion. Love is when we rise above the personal into our greater seeing of our wholeness and oneness. You start knowing love when you see yourself in another. Love rises as you expand your self into the greater Self you really are. In other words, Love is wholeness, it is the wave seeing itself as the ocean.
We start knowing of our limited seeing when we recognize that our feelings are often contracted. It is through our feeling nature that we start discovering our true seeing. Just as fear is the bottom rung of the huge ladder of life, so is love at the top of the ladder of life. Yet, there is no limit to love. Love is happiness, meaning, joy, abundance, inner fulfillment and clarity. However, there is no end to love because it is infinite and beyond our ability to intellectually understand it. Fear can drive you to depravity, ugliness and total darkness yet love can raise you to heights undreamed of. So, one way to gauge your seeing is to ask yourself, “How do I feel right now after seeing this?” and your answer will be your indication whether it is real or not.
Fear is only real to the conditioned aspect of ourselves but when it is seen in its expanded truth (higher seeing) we will see something we might have never suspected – it was the need for love! Fear is a hunger for love and when it is not satisfied it seeks control through anger, need for power or manipulation.
Your feelings are a direct reflection of your seeing. For example, take a good look at this statement from A Course in Miracles where it states, “We are never upset for the reason we think.” All upsetness, hurt feelings and personal pain is ALL made up from seeing our past (unconsciously). Then we blame it on the person or persons that triggered that feeling and this projection increases our blindness and pain. It also brings guilt, which is part of the personal pain that demands self-sabotage towards the people we love. You see, guilt always looks for self-punishment in order to convince oneself that the hurt or pain was justified. In other words, fear creates its own vicious circle. Until we start seeing this we remain locked in our self-made prison. It is all about the willingness to SEE!!
Once we see something clearly it stops on its own from hurting us. After all, who in his/her right mind would continue torturing oneself?
What you see is always yourself. We grow spiritually NOT through practice but through seeing the fear (pain) that we have held on from our conditioned past. It is not wrong but misguided. We are not being 'bad' but simply blocking our seeing from what is good and beautiful.
Our nature is wholeness pure and simple. Anything that doesn't feel good is not good for us. We feel 'good' when there is love. There is no happiness without love. There is no peace without love. There is no joy or meaning without love. Yet, love is not an attainment but our true nature. However, it has to be allowed!! Remember, when we choose fear, we are still needing and seeking love but choose fear because we feel we don't deserve love. This fear, known as ego, has created a self-image so strong and so seemingly real that unless we start witnessing it in our actions and reaction it will escape us.
Relationships are a perfect way to see our seeing. They are the perfect mirror. “What is it that disturbs you most in your mate?” “What is it that hurts you the most?” and there you have it. It is our closest relationships that trigger our past the most. It is the close relationships that also trigger our capacity to love and makes us aware of our vulnerability to fear. What you love and hate in the other is what you love and hate in yourself. It is the perfect mirror.
We never truly see what-is but only what our conditioned concepts have instilled in us. If we had a background of prejudice against certain races then that's what we see. When we look in the seeming present, we see with the eyes of the past. This conditioned seeing is so unconscious and so blinding that we have no idea we are caught in it until we check our feelings. Our feelings are the perfect gauge of the truth. Ask yourself often, “How am I feeling right now?” That is, are you feeling happy or a little out-of-sorts? Are you feeling vitally alive or bored, fed-up and tired? This questioning is the perfect picture of what you are seeing. When you awaken to your love nature you'll only see its beauty, its grandeur. Its glory.
The stages of seeing
All seeing initially is unconscious based on our past conditioning. We start expanding our spiritual awareness step-by-step through love. This ladder of awakening is a long one and it starts with the first step. The first step is acceptance (acknowledging) that our emotional problems are a self-created defense mechanism.
Initially we are pre-occupied with the personal ego-self. This is a self-image of separation that is so imbedded in our psyche that we don't even know it exists. However, we carry this picture of ourselves in every situation, every encounter and every moment unless we are triggered by a great feeling of love. This feeling of love is the only time that we forget ourselves. In this self-forgetting we expand towards our true nature of Being. Have you ever felt such love that for a few moments you were engulfed in that love to the point where you were totally relaxed, happy and unself-conscious? Wasn't that wonderful? In that moment you were truly yourself – your True Self!! Remember that such moments are the true nature expressing.
The first stages of our growth start from personal self-image of separation and into seeing such a self-image. The moment we start seeing our self-image and how we have created it (without judging it as wrong) through conditioned concepts, then we have taken a leap into greater awareness.
From seeing our self-image we also see how we have been judging ourselves and others; how we have been prejudiced, self-protective, fearful of being controlled and controlling; how we had created our drama through our own thinker-system. We start seeing how our personal self protected itself from intruders and 'others' when in truth there are no 'others.' We can expand this to see how we favored our country, our nationality, our belief and our tradional system above others.
Our stages go from physical, emotional, mental and finally spiritual. For example, a man would look at a woman and the first thing he sees is her body. If she turns him on sexually then he is infatuated until the sexual feeling is exhausted and wonders, “What did I ever see in her?”
When we look physically we see more than just the physical but don't know it. We see with our judgments, prejudices and acquired beliefs from our religion, tradition and childhood orientation. We see with the personal ego-viewpoint.
Ask a hunded people about God, Life, Politics, or Religion and you'll get a hundred different beliefs. Are they real? Is there truth in them? As we expand in our seeing of what is real, we will also discover that the real is not a concept but that which is lasting, infinite and eternally unchanging. It is here, when we discover this, that we awaken. This dscovery does not happen through beliefs from reading but from direct knowing from our own SEEING.
Some people pray, others meditate or chant or practice charity or whatever, but spiritual growth does not take place until we see what-is as it actually IS! Then, after this SEEING, we can take up the practice of meditation, prayer and chanting because then we will be fruitful and productive. Seeing always comes first in spiritual evolution.