We Can See At Three Levels
August 22, 2021
About a decade back, I came across a concept that completely changed how I viewed my life. The concept was actually this simple statement.
You can only see that which is apart from you.
While the statement in itself feels obvious, when you put it through a logical process of inference, it leads to a very profound realization.
Let me illustrate the power of this concept through what I call the three levels of our vision.
Level 1- That Which Our Eyes Can See
Anything that is in front of your eyes you can see. The tree, the book, the laptop, people, the sky- you can see all of this. The only thing you cannot see is your own eyes. You can see a reflection of your eyes in the mirror, or you can see a picture of your eyes. But, directly, your eyes cannot see themselves. Your eyes can only see what is apart from them.
Your eyes are the SEEer(the one seeing), and everything outside your eyes is the SEEN- This is the First level of seeing.
Level 2- That Which Our Mind Can See
Let’s now go one level deeper. You want to see something better, so you squint your eyes. Or, there is a repulsive creature crawling in your garden, and you want to close your eyes. Or, you want to read something, and you reach out for your glasses- who is observing the actions of your eyes? Your Mind.
Therefore by inference, your mind and your eyes are apart. That is why your mind is able is sense your eyes.
So at the second level, your mind is the SEEer while your eyes become the SEEN.
Level 3- That Which Consciousness Can See
Now, taking this same line of thinking to the next level- You know the condition of your mind. You know if you are happy or sad. Similarly, if someone tells you something, you know if you understand or don’t understand what is said.
So, whatever is happening in your mind, you know it even if no one outside has a clue.
By inference, if you know and can observe what is happening in your mind, your mind is the SEEN, and you are the SEEer. Your mind is an object of your knowing, and you are the knower.
And therefore, you, the knower of your mind, must be separate from your mind. The “You” that is a witness of whatever is happening in your mind is your Consciousness.
At the Third level, your consciousness is the SEEer, and your mind is the SEEN.
What Is The Point Of This Way Of Thinking?
We tend to lead our lives fully identified with our minds. You say, ” I am angry, happy, jealous, peaceful, in love, confused, etc.” Your emotions drive your actions.
Just as your eyes and what you see are distinct and separate, your mind and what it perceives are distinct and separate; your Consciousness and Mind are also different and separate.
If this line of thinking is valid, then it means that there is a real you, i.e., your consciousness that is in no way tainted by whatever is happening in your mind. All the tensions, stresses, ego, fears, and emotions you have going in your mind- That is not you. That is all a play in your mind, and your consciousness is something beyond it. It is pure.
This realization can set you free on a path of self-observation and self-discovery. You can observe your life unfolding through the lens of your mind as if you are watching a movie.
By becoming an observer, you can understand the working of your mind, tendencies, beliefs, and blind spots. As a result, you start maturing beyond your base emotional state.
Your Mind is the Movie. Your consciousness is the solitary audience watching the movie of its life playing out in real-time and enjoying every moment of it !!