Have you ever spent minutes or even longer looking for something and not seen it right in front of you? You search through a kitchen drawer of utensils for a certain spatula and finally it appears as if by magic, but it was right there all the time. Some people do it more than others. I do it all the time. This is what I mean by the phrase “blinded by an idea”.
The problem is that we are trying to see with our mind rather than just the eyes. We can’t see for the looking. The mind is way too involved. It has a concept of what it should see which over rides the simple information coming from the eyes.
The interference of thinking with just being is a persistent problem in our busy existence. We are always multi-tasking. We even multi-task multi-tasking, ad infinitum! After awhile, we barely exist in the here and now. Ironically, that’s the only place where change and progress take place. Some thinking is good. But most of it is superfluous and redundant.
In fact, my thinking is more efficient and clear when I keep the bulk of my attention and perception in the space and time I’m in. I let go of thoughts which don’t serve me now, or which regard a problem which I need to gather more information on. I do not dwell on my past decisions beyond a gentle acknowledgment of any problems. I used to question incessantly what I could have done better. This kind of thinking is inefficient or detrimental. Even if a similar situation arises, the solution may be slightly different. If you have the idea of failure in your mind as you strive for or reattempt something, you will impede your success.
When I take my daily walks through the large park nearby, I am so used to seeing the same scenery, trees, buildings, bike path, river, that I often barely see these things as I pass. Familiarity causes a sort of blindness, especially when other thoughts fill my mind. I have learned to come “outside” my mind and just see, but it’s amazing how the mind chatters and clogs the view with things such as, “Now I’m seeing”, OK, I’m trying to see”, “What am I seeing?”. Try it sometime, and you’ll see what I mean. The background chatter rarely stops.
In order to overcome this, one needs to make a special effort to let go of all thoughts, all ideas, preconceptions, notions, familiarity. Shed them like so many skins coating you. Come to the portals of your body, your eyes, and look directly out through them.
Let your sight be broad enough to encompass your whole peripheral vision. It helps to soften the muscles around the eyes. Now let the area behind you come into your awareness, even though you can’t see it. This is where the ears can “see”.
Try not to look at specific things. Relax your head, jaw, eyes, temples, forehead, neck. Keep clear of thoughts. Think of a windshield wiper moving the words away as they splatter your clear awareness. Fill the space around you with seeing, hearing, noticing. Be passive rather than active. Just let seeing happen, rather than always looking for something.