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Wednesday, October 2, 2013

How We See Reality...

I am posting this beautiful piece from the Moon Mountain Sangha Newsletter on how we see reality by Spiritual Director Dorothy Hunt.  It is something I have been contemplating lately…

Moon Mountain Sangha Newsletter 
Volume 71, October 2013

Using the mind to look for reality is delusion.
Not using the mind to look for reality is Awareness.

from The Zen Teachings of Bodhidharma, transl. Red Pine

"The mind of separation imagines it sees reality when, in fact, it is only seeing through its own conditioned filters, the “virtual” reality its mental constructs, interpretations and judgments create.  Look at anything in the room you are sitting in right now.  Look at it using your mind.  It will tell you the name, color, shape, whether it is pleasing or not pleasing to your conditioning, whether the moment seems boring or interesting.  The mind will deliver its opinions, and probably quickly move attention on to other thoughts that tell you how you really should clean your desk, or answer another e-mail, or have a cup of coffee.

Now look at the same thing “not” using the mind.  What is the experience?  For one thing, when the mind stops moving, stops telling itself what it sees, stops reacting--even for a moment--we become deeply present.  We see from a different dimension. When we are simply aware, it does not mean we lose our ability to remember names, shapes, and colors.  It means that we are seeing from the dimension of our being that is undivided, that does not place a “self” between the seeing and the seen. We become aware that the name is not the thing, and neither are our beliefs about it. The moment becomes more vivid and “alive,” more mysterious, and our experience more intimate.  Awareness itself is free of self and free of division. It does not “think,” yet is the light that illumines thought.

Look at the reality of “you,” who you take yourself to be.  Using conditioned mind to look, you will find many ideas and images of a self, a self you like or do not like, a self that is always the focus and center of your attention. There are many things about this self and the world it sees that your mind judges, resists, denies or attaches to.  Awareness, our own awake essence, sheds light on conditioned consciousness, sees it for what it is, but it sees without judgment, without separation, and without a need to escape a single moment or a single experience.  The reality it sees is simply an expression of its infinite ways of Being.  There is a seeing that is timeless and indefinable.  And in this clear seeing, there is freedom to respond to any moment from Openness.

Conditioned consciousness is not our enemy.   It just does not happen to define us. Conditioned mind has been programmed to think, feel, and behave in particular ways, some of which have been very useful in surviving and thriving, some of which bring great suffering. Conditioned mind cannot be avoided, as we are born conditioned humans in a conditioned world.  However, conditioned mind cannot free itself from itself.  

At some point, if we are looking for reality, for the freedom of our true nature, the egoic mind that thinks “it” will be the liberator, has to realize the futility of its own struggle.  We have to open to a power, a seeing, an awakeness, a compassion, a love, a grace beyond what the mind can produce or even fathom.  Whether we call this the grace of Truth, Awareness, or the Divine, it seems to appear when we have surrendered our demands on reality, our intellect’s insistence on its views, and have opened to the Unknown. In those moments, we may discover that we are the abiding reality we have sought, and that our mind is simply a phenomenon."

© Dorothy Hunt, 2013

Photo: Raindrops on screen,
 digitally colored


  1. I too, love this.

    1. Thank you Alan :) Good to see you here. Loved your most recent post as well. I didn't leave a comment cause there just wasn't anything else to say! :)


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