Discover more from Beyond Self Improvement
Be the Seer
Avoid judgment and conflict by seeing clearly
Welcome to the 8 new Beyond Self Improvement folks who have joined us since last Wednesday! If you aren’t subscribed, join 382 smart, curious people by subscribing here:
Dear friends 👋 ,
In any exchange, one person must be the seer.
The seer is the one who is aware of what’s happening as it’s happening. They are the witness, the observer, the one that knows. They are wise and objective without judgment. They remain calm and composed in the face of confusion, doubt, and uncertainty. They keep a level head.
Without a seer, arguing and fighting arise from confusion and misunderstanding. The ignorance of fear, wounding, ambition, or greed can occur between anyone. But if one person can keep perspective, conflict and hurt can be avoided.
Anyone can be the seer in any situation. It could be a woman or a man, a parent or a child, a teacher or a student, a manager or an employee, a politician or a constituent, a guru or a layperson.
The Buddha said, in the seeing, there is just the seeing; in the listening, there is just the listening; in the sensing (smelling, tasting, touching), there is just the sensing; and in the knowing, there is just the knowing.
So here we are in our human body that connects us to everything around us through our eyes, ears, nose, tongue, and touch. The information coming in through our senses could be called raw sense data, and it arrives independently. Through this information, the world is continually revealing itself to us.
But the raw data doesn’t just pass through. Instead, it mixes with our inner life to form our whole view of existence.This mingling of outer information and inner thoughts, feelings, emotions, memories, views, experiences, and mental states shapes our perception of reality. All the troubles of the world and all the pleasures and joys are bound up in this dynamic.
When we talk, we may be in a world of volcanic eruption, going on and on about something and not connected with the real issue. In such instances, speaking becomes more about the speaker than what is being said.
In the end, there are only three things present: the seer, the seeing, and what is seen. There is the listener, the listening, and what is listened to. There is the speaker, the speaking, and what is spoken.
Misunderstanding, hurt, and anger occur when all are blinded by ignorance and no one is the seer.
My family tends to eat late due to my stepkids’ schedules. One evening, I felt tired and grumpy while eating. After dinner at 9:40 pm, my stepson Preston started playing a song from the movie Inception on the piano, which my stepdaughter, Amelia, had been practicing for weeks.
Knowing Preston intended to one-up his sister, Kie asked him not to play the song, but he played it anyway. So Amelia started playing the same song on a second piano, only louder.
Both pianos playing simultaneously was noisy, especially since I have issues processing sound. After a few minutes of chaos, I asked Kie, “Can we make it a policy not to have noise, I mean sound, after 9 pm?”
“No sound after 9?!” Kie said with exasperation.
“Yeah, can we just not have them play instruments after 9,” I said. “This is your rule anyway.”
“But now is the only time they get to practice,” she said.
“I thought you’d be happy that I’m supporting you,” I said. “This was originally your idea.”
“So what do you want me to tell them,” she asked. “Ryan can’t handle sound after 9 pm?”
“It’s not that I can’t handle it,” I said. “It’s just that I don’t want to.”
“Okay, kids, stop playing piano,” Kie said.
“No, not now. Let them play tonight,” I said. “We can start tomorrow.”
This went on for another minute before Preston returned to the kitchen. “But this is when I practice violin,” he said.
“What if he practices upstairs,” Kie added.
I was too tired to be rational or argue, so I got up, cleaned the dishes, brushed my teeth, and went to bed. I woke up in the middle of the night restless and frustrated. Kie awoke the following morning looking hungover with a migraine headache that lasted three days.
The more calm and clear we are, the more listening can take place and the more we can discern what is present, valid, true, skillful, and helpful versus what is gossiping, backbiting, lying, or malicious.
When aware of our speech, we sense a difference in the quality of our speaking versus when inflamed, fearful, boosted up, or whatever may arise in us as the speaker. And we can see how this awareness positively affects our communication.
Much of what I have said in the past and continue to say today doesn't matter. I may not always know what matters, but I could have the courage to say, “I know this doesn't matter.” The hype, drama, and fuss I create are unnecessary.
A remarkable capacity that you and I have as human beings is the ability to stand outside ourselves, not in some irrelevant, out-of-body experience, but in a way that accommodates the whole of life, allowing us to respond wisely to what's happening as it’s happening.
When we can stand outside ourselves, it's as if we are no longer a prisoner of existence. This way, we stay true to what is present rather than getting lost in our fears, egos, and grandiosity.
Last summer, Kie and I visited Toronto, Ottawa, Montréal, and Quebec City. Before Canada, Kie took the kids to Japan to see their grandparents while I stayed behind due to Covid restrictions against non-residents. By the time we got to Toronto, both of us were tired.
On the bus from Toronto to Ottawa to days later, Kie was still jet-lagged, and I sensed she wasn’t in the best spirits. Meeting her sour mood with aversion would only lead to more irritability. Instead, I tread lightly, soft and gentle, patient and understanding.
Awareness of her mental state and my potential reactivity allowed me to be in such a way as to keep the peace and avoid drama. We arrived in a lovely, shaded plaza, ate soup and salad, drank unexpectedly bad coffee, and all was well enough.
That evening, Kie was back her usual self, and we strolled along the plaza with people dining, buskers busking, and us walking arm in arm.
There is a knowing that we can be in such a way that makes all life workable, even amidst the ups and downs, challenges, and difficulties. Being the seer allows us to respond to situations gracefully while avoiding disagreements, petty arguments, hurt, and anger.
May all beings live with awareness. May all beings know that which is knowing. May all beings live a free and spacious life.
Thanks for reading. If you enjoyed this, I invite you to click the little heart ❤️below. It’ll help others discover this post.
That’s all for this week. I’ll be back in your inbox next Wednesday.
Whenever you’re ready, I can help you transform chronic stress and worry into ongoing calm and feeling in control in 90 days. Schedule a free, 30-minute discovery call today.
Thanks for reading Beyond Self Improvement! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.