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?
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.
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
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?