October 19, 2012

Seeing Clearly

Vipassana–a Pali word meaning ‘to see clearly’.

Seeing speaks to understanding, illumination, discernment, and wisdom—seeing past stereotypes, cliches and preconceptions. Do you see?  To ’see’ is to look past the obvious, the expected; to take the time, to pay attention. Seeing is more of a right brained (non-verbal, intuitive) activity. Betty Edwards developed a hugely successful approach to teaching ANYONE how to draw based on the premise of drawing what you actually see rather what you think you see. Her book Drawing From the Right Side of the Brain has sold millions of copies worldwide since its’ publication in 1979. I took the class from her son, Brian Bomeisler, who teaches her approach out of his Soho Loft, and I can attest to its merits. Another benefit of ’seeing’ rather than merely looking is an enhanced quality of existence. Our ability to experience our surroundings, no matter how seemingly mundane, keeps us in the present moment.  It takes us out of our turbulent minds. Seeing can be a form of meditation. This has always been a gift photography has given me—the gift of awareness.

To better deal with change we need to see clearly as each moment unfolds, to allow things to be as they are and adjust, to find the joy, to be creative in connecting the dots, seeing patterns, recognizing opportunities. With so much uncertainty and paradigm shift we need new ways of seeing and new ways of thinking. We literally need to change our  minds. To do this it helps to understand how our minds work so we can control what’s in our heads, so we can calm ourselves down, so we can live from what’s really happening, not our judgement-infused perceptions and habitual mindsets. So how do we remain connected to the moment? How do we stop the chatter—internal and external—from taking over? We need to get better at paying attention. Seeing clearly–without the labeling/dismissing. Seeing with fresh eyes. Shifting perception. It’s a muscle we can build.

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Nancy Ney
Nancy Ney
11 years ago

This is the best medicine.. I was just listening to NPR yesterday and the featured guest had written a book about the psychology of personality. He was talking about how anger is the underlying cause of stress and disease. If you can control your thinking and as you said, calm yourself down and live in the moment you will be much healthier.

Clive Jacobson
11 years ago

Beautifully written…thank you for helping me to ‘see’…

Jean Kearney
Jean Kearney
11 years ago

I feel calmer and more at peace after reading your thoughtful words!


[…] My tagline for this updated approach, using photography rather than drawing to achieve the same end, is Use your Iphone to tune in rather than tune out. I’ve written here in the past about the difference between seeing and looking, and Seeing Clearly: […]

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