I am indebted to my sister Anthea "Anth" Sarah Platt Haupt who
inspired this conversation and contributed material.
In our day-to-day living, there's much we take for granted. Some of
what we take for granted
us. For example, when I park my car in the city, I take it for granted
that barring any exceptional and unfortunate
it will be there in the same place as I parked it, when I return to it
to drive home again later.
There are other things we take for granted which aren't like that, the
taking for granted of which more than merely doesn't
us: it gets in our way of living a full life - or spoken more
it gets in our way of
and living who we really are. For example, we take seeing
for granted (that's right: common or garden variety, vanilla seeing),
and it doesn't serve us to take seeing for granted. The phenomenon of
seeing (notice I didn't call it the act of seeing) is
largely unexamined, unscrutinized, unquestioned. The fact that
there's something there which we see, isn't in question.
But the way in which we see what we see ie the way in which what's
there registers for us, is.
I have the ability to see in both an ordinary way as well as in an
extraordinary way. The ordinary way is I look at
whatever's there (that's how we say it: "I look at ...").
of "I look at" implies a doing on my part, yes? The table
is in front of me. I look at it. And because I do looking
at the table, I see it (that's the cause and the effect). Now: if the
table was in front of me and I didn't do looking at it, would I see it?
More interestingly, if the table was in front of me and I didn't do
looking at it, would it be there? (the latter is a subject
for another conversation on another occasion).
On closer examination (and please try this on for size - don't accept
it just because I said so: that'll ruin it) I notice if the table is in
front of me, I see it's there - whether I purposefully do
looking at it, or not. So I like to say instead (as
says) the table "shows up" for me. The deception implicit
in the concept "I look at the table" is if I didn't do looking at it,
then I wouldn't see the table. My rationality agrees with that; the
truth of my experience doesn't. The truth of my experience
is the table shows up for me whether I do looking at it, or not. And
that it shows up for me, whether I do looking at it or not, is what
extraordinary seeing is.
As I allow this distinction to use me, as I allow it to inform the way
I be with the world (and as I allow it to diminish and disappear the
tired old concepts which have governed the way I've been being with the
world in the past), I notice how differentiating between "looking at"
(like a doing) and "showing up" (like a phenomenon) is actually an
Differentiating between two ways of seeing, is an access to
(isn't that just a tad grandiose?).
The idea of doing looking at something with my eyes in order for me to
see it, begs the questions "What sees what I see?" and
"Where does what I see, register?". The ordinary answers
will most likely be "My eyes" and "In (or on) my retinae" or "In my
brain.". But the extraordinary answers to the same questions when what
I see shows up, are "My being" (not "My eyes") and
(not "In or on my retinae" nor "In my brain").
When what I experience (as a phenomenon) shows up for my being as
rather than when what I look at (as a doing) registers for my eyes as
on my retinae, that's when I'm
And that's what it is to have new eyes - or that's one possibility of
what it is to have new eyes. "Having new eyes" is experiencing (as a
with my being. That's way different than looking (as a doing) at what's
there, with my eyes. The latter is old eyes; the former, new.