Seeing or perceiving – what is it? It can’t be seen as an object, otherwise there would be yet another instance of seeing to see that seeing. We are talking about the seeing that actually sees everything. Its nature is awareness as it is aware of whatever appears in it, and it is aware of this very fact without needing to think that it is so.
Say we touch a hot stove. The knowing of the sensation is immediate. There is the sensation of heat, without first calling it ‘heat.’ The characteristics of the heat are sensed, and no definition of ‘heat’ is needed to sense the appearance of heat. Also, there is no need for a conceptual ‘me’ to be imagined first, so that heat can be perceived. Likewise, there is no need to label any appearance for it to be perceived. In fact, labelling an appearance has nothing to do with perceiving it while the appearance happens.
If labelling happens, it happens after or before perceiving an appearance.
By that time, the original appearance has become significantly less original. This type of copy of the original can be perceived by visiting the memory bank. Sure, the image (copy) of the original is an appearance as well, and it is seen by the same awareness, by the same seeing.
Prior to the appearing event, there was a visit to the memory bank. An imagination is seen that was derived from a previous event. Now, it is anticipated (imagined) that there will be either another original event happening or it is anticipated that the new event will be different from the previous one. In either case, the projection into the imagined future is based on memory.
When the event happens, we can either perceive it or we can perceive our memory while it happens. Why is it not possible to perceive what is happening and label it at the same instant? The very fact of the fleeting nature of everything that appears makes it impossible for any thought to attach itself to the appearing and disappearing instant while it is happening.
If we perceive our memory while an actual event happens, we basically miss out on the fullness of perceiving what is happening. Perceiving contents from the memory bank is a very poor substitute for perceiving what is actually happening.
However, most people seem to focus on memory, rather than on what is happening. Why is this so?
Thanks Dietrich for this very interesting post. “Seeing” is, indeed, a very subtle concept, especially when we don’t resort to labelling or use of memory. As well as being aware of whatever appears in it, it seems that awareness must also be “self-aware” or aware of its own awareness ( in a non-dualist kind of way ) Consciousness has to be “Self-conscious” if “Self-realization” is going to occur …. and this is a marvellously liberating notion if ever there was one!