Sat talks about how to have a passive gaze and how to be conscious of who is watching and who is hearing or tasting.
Sat: Anything that you see, hear, touch with every part of your being, without allowing your mind to interpret the scenery or the sound, you feel the presence, because you are feeling the presence of the tree. You are feeling the presence and they are one and the same, like we were talking just now. And then you feel a oneness between yourself and the nature because when we are fully hearing, fully seeing, we are not dividing it into a tree, water, a bird, a this, a that.
There are times that we give a compliment, we want to divide it because it is so beautiful, we want to be grateful and devotional. So, we do that, but for feeling the presence, it is totality.
Kavi: That practice of seeing and listening completely, has that effect on me, but the passive gaze which seems opposite has the same effect on me too.
Sat: They are both the same.
Sat emphasizes enthusiastically: Because you are passively looking at this (points to a flower on the altar), just because you are seeing, does not mean you are not passive. Passive is not about a 20.20 vision. Look at this flower, look at it wholly, you see that you are also passive.
Now let’s do this practice. Look at any place in your room, this time without analyzing, just give it a good gaze. It will be passive because the mind is not interfering, and see where it takes you. (Everyone remains silent)
Radha: It took me within.
Sat: Yes, that is the result.
-Adrienne talks about having put her gaze on a bowl she uses for yoga and how she felt gratitude.
Sat: This is very good; this is appreciation and devotion. Now, let’s do what I am asking you to do, look at that bowl for yoga and have absolutely no opinion. Just seeing! (Everyone remains silent)
After a few moments, Sat says: No opinion, just the object is in front of you, no story. (Everyone remains silent)
What was the difference this time Adrienne?
Adrienne: A lot of details and patterns that I was trying to make sense of.
Sat: Ok, forget about your bowl, look someplace else that you do not have as much memory of (laughs). Look at something that you have no memory of. Just look. If you have a window, look outside of the window and just be quiet and relax. Just leave yourself alone- as if there is nowhere to go, nothing to discover. Free to just look! Just relax your whole body and the only job you have is to open your eyes and look. Like a child who has no impression of what it is looking at, just looking. When you look the way I am saying, you are really being, you are just being. How does it feel or do you have some stories you want to share (laughs and says jokingly)?
Adrienne laughs too and says: It makes me realize how many layers there are to let go.
Sat says jokingly: Yes, we can sit here for the remainder of the time and peel the onion. But now you got a sense of it. I think there is a feeling of a lot of responsibility that you need to put down and a lot of explanation you need not to have.
A child is very fresh moment to moment; because everything means nothing to them, everything is the same. They are just looking, they are not looking to discover something and that looking translates into being, when it is quiet and relaxed. It is something that I highly recommend to you, even if it is for a few seconds.
-Mansour says that due to his training as an engineer, he tends to analyze everything he looks at, and it takes a lot of effort for him to move away from that. He then talks about how he was doing this practice as Sat was explaining it.
He continues: I was looking at that flower, I started analyzing its biology, and said to myself, “No.” Then I started looking at its shape and color and again said to myself, “No.” Then I un-zoomed, unfocused and the flower just vanished, I just went right into silence when I did that. It was as though there were no flower. There is only this (referring to the silence).
Sat says enthusiastically: Yes, yes, yes. That’s it, that’s it. Even if you see the flower, because you had to unpeel it just like Adrienne did, it gets to the point where you look at it and because there is no explanation, it’s just as well as it not being there. Then you see that there is only consciousness without shape.
Mansour: It is so spontaneous coming into that consciousness for me. I was not even thinking about it.
Sat says enthusiastically: Oh yes, because you released the obstacle to it. Namaste to all of you.
Excerpt from USA Chat 8.9.22
Sepideh: Sat, In the book I am the Child, You talk about the subtle five senses and You also give a practice on how to go back to that kind of sensing. I was trying to practice that as I was walking, looking and listening to things without any interpretations or side stories. For a second, I thought to myself, “But I want to hear the birds, I want to look at the beauty of the trees, etc. Why should I not?” Something in me replied, “Well what about the other side of the coin, what about when you are witnessing an ugly scene or tasting something that is not pleasant? It is a practice to give you the skill to be able to keep your equanimity in both situations, whether pleasant or unpleasant.” This was my understanding and I was wondering if You can elaborate on this. Thank You.
Sat: Well, you are taking it literally, when I say just look or just hear, it does not mean that your eyesight is not aware of the beauty of the nature. It is not that your ears are denying the beautiful sound of a stream, but in order to feel the oneness with what you love, this practice allows you to see the tree like never before- without the interpretation that goes with it. Instead of being devotional about nature and seeing how beautiful it is, which we should do at times, I do it all the time. But the thing is to know that beyond the beauty there is only one consciousness that exists that is no different in you than it is in the tree, on the ant in the ground, on the mosquito in the air, etc.
Then there is an understanding that comes with your loving the nature. Now, why does this help in a bad situation? If there is something you are watching or hearing that you do not like, again if you just rely on hearing, not that you close your ears and you do not hear the sound. It is not about the sound or the sight, then what happens is you find the unity and the bad does not look as ugly as it would, if you look at it as something separate from yourself.
Sepideh: Symbolically would this be like when you go up that high rise and you look at the scenery from the 100th floor vs. the 10th floor. Is that elevating yourself ….?
Sat: Yes, yes, it is and even beyond that. Yes, it is like that. The only way to see the unity is not by multiplicity, in other words, when you divide a tree from a mosquito, you have a tree and a mosquito. One bites, one gives shade. When our consciousness is imbued by the purity of just being, when you are totally watching, you are just being, you are being present, then the multiplicity sort of takes a backseat. You can call it being on a high rise, and what you see is the whole picture, rather than looking at people’s pants, what kind of shoes they are wearing, if they are carrying a designer handbag, or if somebody is overweight or underweight, etc. The pitiful things vanish that people hang onto!
Sepideh: To continue on this, You have said before, the way to practice this is to be conscious of who is watching, be conscious of who is hearing. Is it possible for You to elaborate on that a little?
Sat: Well, that goes hand in hand; you have to be aware that you are just watching, you can’t just doze off or just look and be involved with your mind and think that you are doing pure watching. When I say be conscious of watching or seeing, I do not mean you go around and you just look and think about your dinner at home. When you become conscious, then your practice is happening, then you know this is what you are doing. Then you become aware, you become all ears, all eyes, all taste!
I have heard that there are people who one of their senses is not working well, whether it is seeing, hearing, or even tasting during COVID. What happens is they become more alert, they have to become more alert, they are more conscious. But for us we take it for granted and we do not pay much attention, so being conscious is important. There is nothing that you can do that is unconscious and call yourself being present. Being present and being unconscious do not go together at all!
This is why I say be conscious, be alert in your silence, be alert in your seeing, be alert in your hearing, watch yourself when you are talking, be conscious of it. The Existence is conscious, the Existence is consciousness. I do not know if I am talking in a way that perhaps not too many people can understand but that is how it is. My experience and realization is what I am talking [about].
I think this chat that we just had would need a little bit of contemplation, and more than contemplation in the beginning just having interest to digest it and hear it perhaps one more time. Because the topic was pretty deep. Namaste to all of you until the next time we meet.
Sai Center & USA Chat
July 31 & August 9, 2022