Seeing & Heart

Exploring adveita and Douglas Harding’s experiments this summer and fall, I now see more clearly the difference between seeing & heart.

Clear Seeing

In clear seeing, I find myself as space & awareness within which the world of form arises. I am the groundless ground distinct from the world of form. And I am the world of form arising within this space, including my human self and anything else arising.

This gives me a new overview and allows me to see the world of form as a fluid seamless whole. My human self is a temporary vortex in the stream, with no separate or fixed existence.

This also allows any experiences to come and go as guests. There is no need to blindly fuel or resist what comes up. I can just allow it to come and go on its own, as it does naturally.

There is a great sense of liberation in all of this.

But there are also some pitfalls here. One is to get stuck in the emptiness of it all, the clear space within which anything and everything happens. Another is to get stuck in the One Taste of it all, to see it all as (only) the same and ignore or downplay differentiation.

I may see the One Taste of delusion and awakening, and not appreciate the difference between the two. I may see the One Taste of this human self and other human selves, again without appreciating the differences.

If we are stuck here, it too easily leads to a certain form of superiority, arrogance and cold heartedness, which in turn leads to a sense of separation on a relative (human) level.

In itself, clear seeing is a cerebral and incomplete form of awakening.

Fullness of Heart

The remedy of all this is to unstick from the absolute and integrate it with the relative. There is the One Taste, but there is also the differentiation and richness of the world of form.

Although there is the One Taste of delusion and awakening, there is a real difference. Although there is the One Taste of suffering and bliss, again there is a real difference.

This brings it all down into the body and the heart, into action and compassion.

I find myself as a human being, with a wide range of human experiences including delusion, confusion, blindness and suffering. And when I see this in others, it opens up for deepening empathy and compassion, and a desire to help relieve them of suffering.

And I do this knowing that temporary relief may be welcome in some situations, in any form it may take such as listening, practical help and so on. And in other situations, a nudge in the direction of more lasting relief may be welcome, helping them find themselves as formless awareness and eventually Big Mind.

This is an awakening on a body and activity level, bringing it more fully into the world.

Traditions & lineages

It seems that there is more emphasis on the heart expression of this in Christianity and Tibetan Buddhism, and more of the clear seeing emphasis in Zen and adveita. But both are of course included in all traditions, and expressed with different emphasis by different lineages and individuals.

The danger of an exclusive heart emphasis (as is sometimes found in Theistic traditions) is that the clear seeing is left out, and the heart expression left somewhat muddled. The danger of an exclusive seeing emphasis (as sometimes found in adveita) is that it never progresses beyond the absolute, down into the body, heart, actions and the world.

With both, we can clarify and deepen into clear seeing and fullness of heart, into view and engaged action. Tibetan Buddhism seems – again – to have the most inclusive, thorough and comprehensive approach here.

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