On Seeing, and Seeing

comments 28
Course Ideas / Reflections

It is in my response to the world that I discover the thoughts most active within me, and it is quite often a humbling experience.  The movement stretches and pulls and teases to the surface residual uncertainties and doubt.  I have taken in reams and reams of information over the years intended to set me (and all of us) free, which my Undersecretary of Actual Motivations has taken under advisement, and accepted with a begrudging nod.

Did I misinterpret it as encouraging?  Very sly, that whole department.

The Spokesperson out front is under the illusion that taking something under advisement is code-speak for a done deal.  It’s only later, when I am doing something– doing something new— that I realize I’ve got vectors of intention dashing in every direction.  I’m a bureaucracy that’s closing ranks, hanging posters of gleaming enthusiasts in the cafeteria, holding after-hours meetings and coming up with a plan to return to safe territory.  I’m the point of origin of an air raid drill.  Everyone just doing their jobs.  Running across the yard, holding their helmets in place, looking frantically to the sky.

Yes, I took those ideas under advisement.  (We’re leaping over puddles and flinging ourselves down the stairs.)  They were very nice, but it’s not exactly the time or the place, now, is it!?

All this because responding to a calling pulls us into the open, forcing us to leave the (relatively) safe environs of our past.  It stirs the pot.  I think this is why our movement in the world is so important.  We can see and experience directly the way our patterns of thought play out.

* * * * *

Hafiz is seated with me at the center of the collapse.  He has brought his binoculars, as if we were going birding, and he is pointing out with great care the architecture of insanity.  Do I see that column over there?  It is on the verge of buckling.  He smiles.  There is no one to blame.  He has seen it a thousand times before, the ebb and flow of human suffering.  The way we construct it, the way we tear it down.  To him it is simply a movement, with laws no one can change, like the sea, but when conditions change the sea will change with it.

* * * * *

The thing I find is that the line between free and clear expression that brings to light the holiness within us and a demolition derby of dispossessed emotional tenants is razor thin.  The line is razor thin but the territories on either side are starkly different.  There’s just one thing different– the deepest sensation of identity– and it means everything.

The beauty of being in the world is that if we’re attentive this becomes quite clear.  We start to see what we’re doing.  We cannot hide from ourselves or the plans we’ve kludged together to navigate the crossing of the line, because as we march for the line a strange thing happens: we find ourselves more and more alone.  More and more transparent.  Right up at the line there’s nothing left but that gasping for air.  Like we’re trying to break the speed of light or something.  It’s all that primal discomfort that set this in motion.  I’m being driven forward by a strange whip that I once invented.

Jesus puts an arm over my shoulder, holds up his cell phone, shows our location on the map.  I can see the line.  I can see a cafe, a nursery school, the traffic conditions, an advertisement for a Buick, the weather… and the line.  Then he swipes for a while to a point several blocks over, and I can see the line doesn’t exist there.

So I run like hell over there.

By the time I arrive, there it is.  I’m crawling and wheezing again.  Like I’m climbing to the top of the Sears Tower wearing a bag full of books I’ve read.

Jesus holds up his cell phone.  Yup.  An advertisement for outdoor patio furniture, two more cafes, an update on the traffic conditions… and the line.  Swipes a few times and I can see the line doesn’t exist back where I was.

This universe is rigged, I suggest.  My eyebrow is twitching.

Jesus says to close my eyes and consider the street we’re on and imagine the most beautiful flowering of its potential I possibly can.

It comes with surprising clarity when it’s all that you’re after– the stunning goodness in things.  Okay.

Good.  Now can you see that living inside of the street your eyes show to you?

I look at the cheap construction, the scooped-out roads, the dented fenders and the squabbling birds.  I’m squinting pretty hard here.  That man on the corner is a beggar with violent eyes.  The vision is getting pretty wobbly.

The man on the corner is you, Jesus says.  He’s us.

I look a little closer.  The man is talking to no one and shaking his head to the sky, then he throws a seed to the pigeons.  I see it!

Jesus nods.  So live in response to what you see.  That is all.

* * * * *

Hafiz has never moved.  He is watching the waves come in, the buildings topple over, the streets crack apart.  The structures give way to a beautiful city just beyond, and all around.  The line is nowhere to be found.  He hands me the binoculars.

Thanks, I say.  Did you happen to bring any snacks?


  1. Another beautiful parable on our condition….running for the non line is what we attempt, but sometimes just accepting and letting go opens the doors we didn’t even know were there. Until we see them and we question ourselves, our responses, our ways and means and realize it’s kind of like going in to the big voting booth, closing your eyes and just flicking buttons…It doesn’t matter in the big scheme what we choose, sometimes to just sit back and watch the show can be enough entertainment 🙂 peace and love and not looking for the big new city because I know it’s there and I’ll get there when I’m gonna get there and not a minute sooner….petulant to the end..haha…in a joyful laugh… peace and love Michael, K

    Liked by 8 people

    • Thank you for the wise and affirming words, Kim! And the joyful laugh of a friend to a friend. So very much appreciated. I have laughed at myself during the writing of this and so a moment of running for the line has passed, and there is a great feeling of peace and possibility all around. It is funny how the dash for the line actually reduces the awareness of possibility, which you said perfectly. We miss the doors all around…

      Peace and Love

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Looking for the dividing line will inevitably shift the line. I find that when I am not looking, judging, plotting etc., my vision expands. Being human and spirit on Earth is quite a task if you wanna “do it right.”

    With the true view, all that ever is, was, or will be, cycles from Source to form to Source to form. How do we accept this fate and still live life with abandon?

    peace, Linda

    PS I am really enjoying your prose offerings Michael.

    Liked by 5 people

    • Hi Linda,

      You’ve said it perfectly– it does become quite a task when the idea is that it can and should be “done right”. There’s no joy in that. I get tangled up sometimes, in those inner debacles that involve a hint of fear, a dash of uncertainty, and a good-size helping of desire. It is perfectly human to wish to shift conditions that are causing us difficulty, but the challenge of course is that we don’t really have a clue how to do so in a manner that brings about the desired result. So, then we accept, surrender, take a deep spiritual breath and reconnect, and somehow the problem dissolves altogether in peace and unity. Funny how that works!

      I’m glad you are enjoying the prose…

      Peace and Love

      Liked by 3 people

  3. I can see the truth in that idea of our being “a bureaucracy that’s closing ranks”, Michael, and think it wonderfully analogous imagery. Even when there’s a dissonance within, there’s still a subtle sense of biasing such that the policy must hold above any non-conforming, insurgent inclinations, and that it’s the latter that are being corralled into holding the company line. Along with this, and resulting from it, there can be a certain brittleness of the emotions, don’t you think – a sense that the whole cumbersome bureaucracy could fall apart at any moment? What holds it together, I wonder? My instinct tells me that fear may well have something to do with it – the crazy principle of ‘better the devil you know’.

    Liked by 6 people

    • Thank you, Hariod!

      You’ve elucidated the matter very clearly I think– the conflict between the insurgency and the status quo signals that we are conflicted within. We are at odds with our own nature somehow. This is what A Course in Miracles calls a conflicted mind, and it runs extremely deep, deeper for instance than the day-to-day orbits of fleeting joy and fleeting doubt. Underneath it, we sense that we are conflicted, and if we are conflicted then indeed we are vulnerable. We are fragile. The telling blow could come at any moment it would seem…

      I can attest personally that fear certainly holds the shambling structure together. The devil you know concept rings very true for me. There’s this sense of moving forward, a desire to shed the skins, but also the worry of what will be lost. A Course of Love has a lovely idea I have hardly begun to allow to take root within me, which is that “there is no loss, only gain”, which I think leads to the end of this sensation of risk. What could be lost, particularly if what is lost is the cause of such difficulty to begin with!? Ha!

      Thank you for sharing such a clear-eyed view of this…


      Liked by 3 people

  4. Wow…hard to know where to begin!! This was so exciting to me, Michael. It feels so…comfortable…like something I really understand…or at least understand as much as it can be understood 😉

    ‘The thing I find is that the line between free and clear expression that brings to light the holiness within us and a demolition derby of dispossessed emotional tenants is razor thin. The line is razor thin but the territories on either side are starkly different. There’s just one thing different– the deepest sensation of identity– and it means everything.” WOW! This passage speaks to me…I walk that line…like a tightrope…and the one side can be quite frightening while the other side at times feels like I am an imposter! Then I step back and recognize that my ego is taking the reins and I gently take back control…no use getting that part all upset, eh?

    Thank you, my friend…for everything!

    Blessitude ♡♡

    Liked by 4 people

    • Hi Lorrie,

      I am glad this spoke to you. I think it is quite a common feeling, actually, if we are honest with ourselves. I think it hides for a while, and surfaces when the conditions are conducive for revealing those things we haven’t quite surrendered yet. But I also that we are quite capable of letting it all go for good… It is kind of a dance. Ooops, I’m out of step here a bit– I’m a beat behind, stepping on toes… We return to the rhythm of the whole once we realize we’re out of step. And these feelings of dashing for the line and sensing the futility help me to see what I’m doing or something.

      Who wants to be grasping at straws? And yet we do sometimes. And it’s okay. As Kim said, we get there when we get there, and maybe if we can kick back and enjoy the ride we’ll be able to forget all the ideas of here and there to boot!


      Liked by 4 people

  5. No place we can run to where we will not find ourself. Sometimes I really want to take things under advisement rather than having to come face to face with them, but am inevitably glad when I bite the bullet. Oh, and I love the line about how “It all comes with surprising clarity when it’s all that you’re after– the stunning goodness in things.” Yes, I can definitely drink a glass (or two) to that. Bring on those snacks!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Hi Julia,

      Wherever we go, there we are, right? Ha! I think I read that book a long time ago but I don’t remember it very well now. But I’m still here… It must have worked… Definitely something to be said for biting the bullet and looking the wind in the eye. We grow by turning to face the moment. I’m glad you enjoyed this. Raising a glass here.


      Liked by 1 person

      • Love the way even though we forget what we read, we deepen into an understanding of it through our experience and our wisdom grows.

        I’ve discovered biting the bullet and looking into my shadows – instead of seeking avoidance techniques – is the only way to bring healing.

        Sending you peace and best wishes for a beautiful week.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Yes, what we read burrows in and unfolds. You remind me of a passage in the book A Course of Love that says the book is a trigger. Just read it and don’t think too hard about it! Let it do it’s work, basically… Texts that carry the truth touch us whether we think about them too much or not. They deepen in time as you say.

          Wish you peace on your healing journey. I agree with you: we do have to at least share a seat on the bus with our shadows for a little while. Otherwise we would never go anywhere!

          Much Love

          Liked by 1 person

          • One of my fellow travelers on the path always says how anything we read or listen to is only like a finger pointing to the moon (I think it’s a Buddhist quote), and all the answers lie within.

            Having said that I’m so grateful for all the marvelous books and courses and mp3s available these days that have helped me on my way.

            A Course of Love sounds like another of those, I shall have to look into it.

            Much love to your day, too.

            Liked by 1 person

  6. Ah lovely – this practice of presence, of allowing the flowering of what is, the surrender into the moment, and above all the shift of allegiance from the Department of Actual Motivations and all its shenanigans to the infinite ineffable. Every day every moment I fight this fight. It’s not personal. Nothing’s personal. When we remember this there’s nothing to be and nothing to be done. Except to remember the snacks. Thank you for another sweet reminder Michael.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Alison,

      The infinite ineffable… yes! I get embattled with this one quite a bit myself, but you’re right… it’s that taking it personal thing that can keep us entrenched in it. Not just the taking it personal I guess, but taking it in such a way that the outcomes will define us personally. Is it the same thing? Some days I think we have no choice but to have our experience personally, but we don’t have to take it personally perhaps. The snacks are always there for us, though this has its own repercussions of course! Ha!

      Thanks for your visit. Always sincerely appreciated.


      Liked by 1 person

      • I think that ultimately absolutely nothing is personal and that people who not only know the Truth but have fully embodied it live from that perspective – no identification and no judgement, there’s no-one here and never has been.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Walking My Path: Mindful Wanderings in Nature says

    I love the way you dance with us, Michael. I always find myself laughing at an image…the whole bit with the helmets for example…then I find myself deeply engrossed in spiritual truths in amongst the human condition parts. It is always so real and genuine and deep, yet funny and light.

    Hafiz is so patient with such long term vision, so calm about the architecture of insanity and how he has seen it a thousand times before, the ebb and flow of human suffering.

    And then there is Jesus with his cell phone. Haha! But so wise in pointing out the line and that the man on the street is us.

    “I think this is why our movement in the world is so important. We can see and experience directly the way our patterns of thought play out.” I find this to be very true for me.

    I laughed at the image of being wheezy like climbing up the Sears Tower with a backpack of all the books you have read, referenced earlier I think as, “reams and reams of information over the years intended to set me (and all of us) free.”

    This comment is pretty dis-jointed, but like Lorrie, I just didn’t know where to begin because I was so blown away by it. It is just so good. They all are.

    Peace, Love and Gratitude

    Liked by 3 people

    • Hi Mary,

      I love your dis-jointed comments and don’t find them dis-jointed at all to be honest! It is fun to know that you find something in lines that I find something in, too. It brings a connectedness…

      I am glad to know you find the essence of this piece true for you also. I’m not the only one here, bumping into my temporary insanity as I bungle out into the whole wide world. We need the movement to create an echo, an eddy, a disturbance– then we can see what it’s signature is. It is hard to realize how good for us failure can be! I’m not very good at realizing that but getting better. Better to try and fail and grow then occupy a sort of stasis.

      Having said all of that, my comments here could be misconstrued, and I don’t want to suggest there is one way of doing this… I was just reminded in writing this of what is described as “The Way of Mary” in A Course of Love, which is a beautiful path of receiving and being. I don’t think it’s about not moving or creating expression– it is– but I think it’s a little different than this discovering by bumping into. I think it’s a giving birth by trusting completely or something. But I think it is truly a beautiful way and perhaps right along side of sound-testing the structure of our being by hitting it with the hammer of movement and desire, there is the creative peace of knowing and receiving sweetly and deeply…

      Peace and Love to you also my friend.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. You are on fire Mister! I don’t generally notice “tags” but I noticed, for some reason, maybe your Undersecretary of Actual Motivations called my Undersecretary of Actual Motivations to refer me to the tab, are you still using duotangs?, where it was highlighted “creation of the new”. I’m there and here and it doesn’t feel at all like being scattered. Peace brother, Harlon

    Liked by 2 people

    • Harlon, I thought I responded to this but it doesn’t appear as though I did. I think I looked up duotangs and that led me down some merry path and I forgot where I had begun… Ha! I haven’t used those in a while, but I surely did once. I love the extension of the metaphor! Joining you in the here and there and the everywhere that I am…

      Likewise, brother–

      Liked by 2 people

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