For me, this is what happens when I come to that place when all of my excuses and constructs fall away. I see who I really am just for a minute without the incessant gap filling commentary my mind creates. There is space around the continual story my mind tells about myself, you or the situation. Clear seeing seems to be about allowing things to be as they are without adding anything extra.
This is not easy for me. I have spent a lifetime being afraid to look at anything closely, with intimacy, to really want to see what's there. Instead my life has been about insisting that what I see matches what my head tells me it should be. I have spent a lot of time running from who I really am - hiding so that my ego stays in tact and can reign supreme over who it wants me to be. If I am honest, I do not think that I ever thought about attempting to stop the internal deluge of thoughts and see what was real. My thoughts were my jailer and I their prisoner whose actions and behaviors were ruled with force and dominance...until recently.
Not long ago, I realized there is this other thing that happens inside my head. In fact, it appears that there is this completely other person in there too: The Watcher. The Watcher, well, watches things. In direct contrast to The Talker who is forever commentating (she never shuts up...I mean like ever). The Talker is constantly talking about what she likes, doesn't like, if she is comfortable or uncomfortable. I am not sure when I noticed there was this other person in my head, just watching. No commentary or judgment, just watching. All I have to do is be still for just a minute and I get to see my life from both perspectives: The Watcher and The Talker. While I will not go so far as to dismiss The Talker as being wholly irrelevant, she is pretty much always saying the same thing...over and over again. The Talker is preoccupied with judgment. It is as if she is an assembly line worker - her only job is to watch shit come by - judge it and comment about it: "that one is good", "that one is bad", "that one produces discomfort", "that one induces pleasure". Over and over and over again. The Watcher is different, she is somewhat removed from what is happening and she is seeing all of it with this bemused detachment. She is almost the antithesis of The Talker, she just notices without judgment or commentary.
When I can shhhh The Talker for a minute, I can sit quietly with The Watcher and simply see all that is around me. The quality of the air, whether there is sunshine or not. The temperature of my current location. How my stomach feels. Where tension is being stored in my body at that moment. Allowing The Watcher to take center stage allows clear seeing to deliver me where The Talker is quieted and I have complete access to my life without all the chitter chatter. The Watcher sees without commentary - concerned only with the facts. The Watcher doesn't add anything extra.
When I allow The Watcher to hold center in my mind this amazing thing happens...every, single time. When The Watcher has been allowed to override The Talker, I inevitably see some aspect of myself, you or the situation in some new way. I can't hold TheTalker off for very long because The Talker is incessant and demanding; her only goal is get back to storytelling. Once The Talker resumes her command of my mind, it feels I am hostaged to her tales. However, because I have allowed for The Watcher to have held court in my head for just a few moments, there is this space and openness and I get something new and different. It seems that instead of The Talker's incessant ramblings restarting seemingly uninterrupted by anything The Watcher observed, I can now see something different that I couldn’t access before which allows me to show up for life in some new way. It is truly amazing.
This "clear seeing" involves a lot of compassion - for myself and others. Clear seeing lacks the judgy, harsh critic that usually accompanies anything The Talker has to say.
So how to create a space for The Watcher to surface? For me, it starts with sitting quietly and allowing all the thoughts to come and go. I don't grasp - no one thought is more interesting or true than the next. They are all just thoughts and they are just there.
I watch the thoughts come and go and am amazed at how they never stop. Almost like an underground spring with an endless supply of water...flowing without beginning or end. So I just let them be. I watch them. I allow them to be there without adding anything else.
I am pretty content just sitting there allowing the thoughts to pass through my head and then I realize that I am gone. One of the thoughts has captured me, engaging The Talker and my mind resumes the storytelling. At first, I struggle to regain my footing, then I realize that this is the nature of my mind, it is a natural thing to be accepted not resisted. So I return to watching my thoughts, come and go, come and go. Drifting without tension or insistence.
This process happens over and over again for as long as I sit in meditation. This is The Watcher's turf and it seems The Talker respects that. Eventually, I have to get up and begin the day. The Talker back in charge, moving me through my day.
However, later (sometimes a lot later), I get a completely new thought about something. There is this radical thing that happens with my thinking which I can trace back to the time I spent just watching my thoughts come and go. I see something ordinary, habitual or mundane in a new way and I am set free. I don’t just get relief. I get free. I see clearly, somehow gaining the ability to inhabit myself more fully while be emptied of myself in a new way and manner. I feel peaceful, compassionate and loving towards myself which in turn allows me to feel that way about you.
It is really pretty kick ass. And it all starts by doing nothing but being willing to sit long enough with The Talker for The Watcher to make her entrance. Clear seeing is the only thing that I can think of that comes from nothing. It is born out of sitting and watching. Seriously, what else in my life happens because I am just sitting there? Pretty much nothing. Almost everything that occurs in my life is because I am out there in the world being busy. Clear seeing comes from my continued willingness to allow myself to just sit there with all the intense, judgmental dialog that The Talker prattles on and on about. Somehow, in this less than ideal environment, The Watcher rises and reigns. This process in turn gives my busy life meaning and direction and new ways to be in this world. So in this day ahead, when faced with whatever the day will bring - I am not going to just do something, I am just going to sit there - I never know what I might see more clearly.