“Two men look out a window. One sees mud, the other sees the stars”. Oscar Wilde
When I wake up in the morning, I have a small window at the foot of my bed that looks out onto a steep wooded bank. Every morning the weather and the light create a wonderment for me – each day the colours are completely different, the atmosphere too, sometimes it’s just brown and more brown, other days light and misty, or lime green and grey, horizontal rain (honestly!), gently swaying branches, or absolute stillness, not a breath of air.
As an artist perhaps I’m sensitive, but I am amazed how the same view can offer so much variety; perhaps mindfulness training has honed this ‘noticing’ skill, …many people may look out at the same view and see not much going on out there. For me it is alive and vibrant and I have a suspicion that it somehow affects the way I feel about the day, or is it that how I feel influences what I see, somehow reflecting my inner weather?
Is the drama going on out there? Or in here?
Sometimes I sit on my bed for my meditation practice and use this view as my ‘visual’ support, in the same way that I enjoy using sound as my support at other times. We don’t train with visual support, but for me I have had to train myself to do this because I have noticed how what I see creates a whole dramatic story in my mind, and using the visual as a support has helped me to observe (almost)(!) everything in my daily encounters in a non-judgemental way. If I’m honest, of course judgements still appear in my mind quick as a flash, but I notice them and dismiss them as thinking. I went to a teaching with Lama Yongey Mingjur Rinpoche last year, and he said of course we can’t stop the judgements arising (he said he experiences that too) but we can choose not to listen to them or believe them. And this frees us from their grip.
Judgements are part of the mud – part of our fertiliser! When we see that, Krishnamurti tells us ‘the seeing is the doing’. We disidentify ourselves from them. If we can train our minds to observe what we see with non-attachment and equanimity – we will see the stars, in that spacious wonderment of the present moment.
This week see if you can be mindful and curious about times when you get lost in a storyline about what you are seeing, and ask yourself, is this going on out there? or is it all going on in here? Am I seeing the mud or the stars?
Wishing you well