Shifting our perspective from form to oneness

Young woman/old woman?

Young woman/old woman?

We all know the fickleness of perspective.

Is she an old woman or young woman? What do you see? Can you view them both? Are they simultaneously one drawing with two images? What do your eyes see? Can your eyes be trained to see the new perspective?

An analogy might be made that it’s possible to shift perspective in the way we view this world.  However, it’s not like seeing a different picture.  It is more like shifting one’s view to see no-picture.

Please have patience.  Every time the mind hears no-picture, no-self, non-duality, no-form, it tends to freak out.  Our minds have been trained to perceive form.  We look around a room and see table, chairs, envelopes, coffee cup, computer.  We look outside our window and view trees, hear chirping birds or traffic, smell distant wood smoke.

Form mesmerizes our attention. We’re entranced by it, even if we don’t like it.  No matter how it appears.  We’re always delineating form, separating it, naming it, calling it forth.  Some might say we’re addicted to form.  We’re especially entranced by the form of ourselves, this being we call “me”.  We view it all as very solid, very permanent, very existent.

It is possible, though, for the view to switch.  Sometimes this happens unexpectedly.  Other times it occurs after a long period of practice in quieting the mind.  People sometimes label it as spiritual.

One vase, two profiles?

One vase, two profiles?

Here’s what might happen.  Suddenly fascination with form disappears.  What comes to the forefront is emptiness.  Some might deem it “the witness” except it’s not really separate from itself.  What-doesn’t-have-form, what is true spirit, what is invisible, what has no characteristics whatsoever dances into being.

This is not rocket science.  It’s actually so simple the mind tends to dismiss it again and again, begging for some more form or experience to entertain or define it.

Turn away from the computer after this paragraph.  Gaze around the room or landscape.  Simply watch your looking.  Can you see in actuality, in direct experience, that it’s one room?  One surrounding field?  One encompassing landscape? One seeing? Sure, form appears.  Yep, there’s that green plant over there in the corner.  But if you’re not labeling objects, can you sense the oneness, the field of existence?

I’ve sat with maybe four or five people in the past several months and asked them if they could perceive the oneness around them.  Every one of them said “Of course”. Some jolted visibly, surprised as the simplicity of it.  Others relaxed and said it felt like “love” or “peace”.

So simple.  Oneness is not a distant concept.  It is the base of our experience, our seeing.  Our essence.

Keep looking

Keep looking

The first time I sat down to meditate in 2003–there it was.  Everything for which I would search for twelve years.  Not missing, not absent.  There it was, totally present in the emptiness and revealed in the fullness of form.  Every single being in this world experiences oneness at a visceral level of sensation.  It is usually sensed in the gaps between forms, in the spaces between experiences.  In those relaxing moments where we’re not trying to fix ourselves or the world, where we’re not desiring a new happening, or pushing away something we don’t want.  Those are moments of grace.

However, we’ve been trained in the world of form and experience, so our default software usually returns to its viewing of the old lady/young lady.  Instead of the oneness of our original blessing, we divvy up the world into “me” and “other”.  This and that.  We create definitions and stand behind our definitions with guns and knives.

As the separate selves we imagine ourselves to be, we often feel confused and lost and frightened and angry.  We never quite feel whole, enough.  And we wonder why.  We strive to fix ourselves.  We project our confusion onto other people and attempt to fix them.  Nothing seems one, or whole, or peaceful.  Except in the gaps when we relax enough to sense that there is something larger which eludes us.  We often call it God.  We call it “other” as well, because in a world in which we’ve declared ourselves a “me”…then everything else is other.

Both halves of the shell

Both halves of the shell

It’s possible, if you’re called to see another perspective, to realize that oneness is simply another way of viewing the world. It’s possible to learn to inhabit this perspective.  Can you sense the wonder of existing in a world where form becomes secondary?  Where spirit dances forefront?  Where the mind becomes beloved as a servant of love?  Where every form shines as a manifestation of spirit?  Some even whisper that form is then revealed as oneself.

This new viewpoint reveals itself utterly.  Then even the word “viewpoint” disappears.  What remains is…something which can not be spoken.  Perhaps the closest word is Life Itself.  And Life Itself adores itself unconditionally.  It perhaps desires to identify itself as form…as you…as me…as this flower of existence.

Does Life want this through you?  Or is it still wanting to explore the form of you, the preciousness?  Is it still trying to decide if you’re a young woman or old woman?  Or is it delighting in the not-knowing?

Right where we are is the zenith moment of now.  We might embrace it, because it’s changing into something else in the next blink.  If we don’t embrace it, if we fuss and fight and fume, it’s still happening.  It’s arising.  It’s truth itself.  Don’t you want to bow in wonder that there is a way to perceive existence that knows no labels, no separate form, no story of young woman or old woman?  And to realize that nothing is diminished except the sense of separation?


16 thoughts on “Shifting our perspective from form to oneness

  1. Talk about being addicted to form – I can only make out an old woman, no matter how much I keep looking… Why does it frustrate me that I don’t see a young woman there?

    A picture of my granddaughter came in my email this morning – she’s sitting on the threshold between the carpet and the tile floor, exploring intently with her hands the difference between the smooth cold tile and the warmer textured carpet. To see her explore these things without words yet, it fills me with wonder… We get so tangled up in words and images…

    • Barbara … if it helps to let go of the frustration … the young woman is facing to the left on the screen, the dark part on the bottom is her wrap and the small dark part on the top is her hair. We all can get stuck in one perspective. Relax into it. Soften your view … ah there she is.
      As an older woman I am siting with the lesson Kathy offers of does it matter what perspective the world holds of us? I struggle as a professional woman with some fear (security) of loss of work due to that world perception. This post reminds me that “nothing needs to be fixed” my worth is not connected to my age one way or the other. Perhaps I have been focusing only on the image of the old woman. Today I focus only on the spark within and the presence around me.

      • Sigh… I remain stuck in one perspective for this particular brain-teaser… But it doesn’t matter and I surrendered. It is what it is. I love being an older woman (except for the aches and pains!) and am at peace as I flow through this present being-ness. I think this is why I find my granddaughter so enchanting, little as she is, and like you and me, I can see her so vitally (and wordlessly so far) aware of the presence around her. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with me.

    • I had to smile, Barbara. My grandma used to have a picture of Jesus in her house. You could stare for what seemed like ages and not see it. And then–there he was. And the next look he was gone again. (Shame on Jesus for disappearing like that. lol!)

      Yes, indeed, we conditioned folks do get all tangled up in concepts. It can be crazy when we actually believe the thoughts in our heads at times, can’t it?

      • It’s funny how our brains work on perceptions – oh yes, shame on Jesus for vanishing from your sight! My son turned me on to a show on the National Geographic Channel called Brain Games. (I think you can watch it online, too.) Each episode reminds me again not to trust anything I think I see, but the mind keeps returning to grasping, over and over. 🙂

        • Sounds like an interesting show, Barbara. I think the mind thinks it’s job description is to grasp. What’s fascinating is the discovery–sometimes over and over again–that it’s not “our” mind. 🙂

    • Susan, it seems to say anything about this one has to teeter on the edge of available expression. How can we speak from a place where dualities are not relevant without getting all tangled up? It’s a conundrum!

  2. You have such a beautiful way with words that even what may be difficult to grasp is easy when you write about it. I have shifted into the wholeness that even includes what’s not seen or has gone or will come. I am grateful it happened. Fondly !!

    • That shift seems to be a gift of grace, Deb. I am in awe lately at times. It feels such a relief not to be constantly self-assessing, figuring things out, focusing on a personal self. Except when it happens. ha ha. This essay seemed to write itself. That always feels good.

  3. In the first picture I could easily see the old woman and it took nearly 3 minutes to figure out the young girl. From the second picture, I could easily see the young girl and it took a while (but not much since I saw her in the first picture) to see the old woman. Is one emphasized more than the other in the respective pictures?

    Oneness – very complicated. I don’t know. I feel a terribly mixed up mesh into my brain when I think of oneness. 😦

    • Sonali, I don’t think one is emphasized more than the other. It just depends how the brain is seeing the picture.

      As to oneness, you are right on track. Our minds can’t usually fathom oneness. Our thoughts are so often seeing things in form. In duality. We think that it’s one way or another. Oneness often reveals itself when we’re not thinking. Suddenly we’re looking at a sunset and something larger presents itself. All right, it’s so hard to put into words. But I know I struggled for years & years to understand it before realizing it was NOT something that could be understood in the same way as a belief.

  4. Thank you, Kathy. Your words are beautiful, and make it all seem so easy. Like Barbara, I cannot see the young woman no matter how long I stare at the pictures, but that’s okay. (The strange thing is that I know where I should see her, but she never appears unless I look at a picture explaining where she is.)

    • I am smiling, Robin. If it seems so easy…it’s because it really is so simple our minds can’t fathom it. Too simple. Too ordinary. Too nothing. However, for years and years and years we can struggle to understand it. I can’t even find the words to articulate this any more. Am just pausing staring at the keyboard and thinking, Any words will not do justice to this. So shall meander away and start packing for my trip…or something…

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