Tuesday, March 1, 2011

"We See The World As We Are"

"We see the world not as it is but as we are" Someone made this comment at the second day long of our intro to Vipassana/ Insight meditation workshop. This is something that rings so true for me these days and something I am paying a lot of attention to.

How could it be otherwise? Even scientists will tell you that there is no such thing as objectivity. Every researcher influences the outcome of her research. Even by the very questions we ask, we influence the results, the information we uncover. And of course this speaks to the unfathomable connection between everything, large or small. A big tenet of Buddhism is, "we are all connected". Someone said, and I love this way of expressing it, something to the effect, "tug on one small thing in this world and you will find everything is attached", kind of like the cosmic thread in our universal picnic cloth.

But I digress. I think I love this comment about "seeing things as we are" because it reminds me that if I change how I think, I can change how I see the world. This is another tenet of Buddhism, "we can change". We can become more compassionate, more relaxed, more friendly to ourselves and others. There is such a huge field for us to play in here. We are not our thoughts, not even a collection of them. The mind is simply a sense organ, sensing thought in the same way your nose detects scents. Where do our thoughts come from? Good question. All 72,000 if them that we are supposed to have in a day.

By working with our minds we can nourish new ways of seeing the world. When people talk about fate or karma, this is where the very fixed view falls apart. We create karma, we come here with certain karmic residue, but by our actions, by our intention we can work with our lives. We are not victims, we are co-creators of our world (no rose coloured glasses here kids, I am not getting all new agey on you).

So I am loving my new Vipassana training which is helping me focus on, well focusing, bringing intention and a fresh presence to my meditation, to the minute details of my life. I love the metta practice which I have never done before. It is like eating this wonderfully nourishing and sweetly, delicious meal. Wish yourself well, wish others well. Does this sound hokey, or silly or like some overlay? Try it. Try repeating. May I be relaxed and content. May I be open and spacious. May I be healthy and strong. This is a re-educating of the mind that says, "man this day sucks" and lists all the things that didn't work out.

It's easy to see the relation between what we put in our mouths and how our body feels but how about what we fill our minds with. If you're like me it's easy to get hung up in a litany of small grumbles, about the weather or the neighbour or the driver who cut us off, or the friend whose neglected us, the family member who irritates us. It takes intention for most of us to see the world differently but I tell you it is worth every bit of effort. The sweetness of the day awaits you. Unwrap it and pop it into the lips of your awareness.


  1. Wow! What a great painting! Its worth every bit of effort!

  2. 72,000 thoughts and 71,000 are irrelevant to the moment! Take a look at the video "Coming Home to Compassion" on www.Upaya.org/videos/watch/5farDR3eFe4. One of th emost beautiful rendtions of the metta sutta in pali I've ever heard (or participated in). We chant it every evening at Upaya.


  3. Thanks, Leslie. Almost done and no visitations by the frustration gremlins!

    108- Make that 71,999 in my case! lovely video. that place looks nicer than the hotel we stayed in in Santa Fe!

  4. wonderful painting, complex yet calming. thanks for your post. so good to be reminded of all these things. and you speak of them so well.