What do you see?


A pair of nesting ducks, and the first butterfly were two of the wildlife signs of spring I saw today. On my bike ride, suspended directly over the path on slender, delicate branches was a porcupine, happily munching on delicate new buds and branches. People stopped, craned their necks back and took photos (and as you can tell, I did too.)

Most comments went something like… “Yes, it really is spring.” That may have come from the long and unpredictable winter we just had. Parting ways, as I turned to mount the bike a woman said, “I hope you see something!” I laughed inside, “I can’t not see something… I always see something – everything!”

That is the strange thing about common experience, people have come to see everything as ordinary, as mundane. For most, it takes a dramatic change of seasons for them to notice anything, for them to appreciate and enjoy anything. It is common place on my excursions in the woods to meet people who try to see what I am seeing by looking in the same direction, peering, narrowing, and squinting, only to finally ask, “What do you see?”

If I told them, they’d not believe me.

You don’t need to peer, narrow, or squint to see what I see. In fact, you must not do that.

The next man asked that question as I gazed on the trees where the “direct seeing” first happened. I answered, “Everything.” He looked at the trees and said “Yes, they are quite nice, aren’t they?”

I don’t see trees like I used to any more. I don’t see anything like I used to. I see everything as it is, an utter miracle, every moment. How does anything come into being? How does anything exist? How does anything change? Nobody knows. A seed sprouts, and boom! there’s a tree. The tree must have existed in that seed, or how else could it arise? How miraculous. How do we see anything? Feel anything? Taste anything? Smell anything? Are we tasting our senses, or the “object”? The vast, infinite richness of experience is continually changing, and it all comes out of nowhere.

There is nothing “normal” going on here.

The cause of not recognizing that, of not being in awe with obvious miracles is living through the mind. Identifying, labeling, judging things as normal, ordinary, or mundane, important or not important. You are not just alive between the ears. Come to your senses, all of them, and see if you can actually separate the sense from the sensed. Then see if there is even a hair’s breadth of difference between them. You will lose yourself, and then self-less awe can spawn, with gratitude growing so intensely that it cannot be discerned from infinite love.

“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”
― Albert Einstein

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