Sunday, May 31, 2009

How are you seeing?

How are you reading these words?

You say - because of the eyes... But are the eyes seeing? Aren't the eyes receiving the light and then passing them to the brain?

The brain is in darkness - it gets no light at all. It receives this data in the dark. It takes the data passed by the eyes, ears, nose, tongue and skin - it receives it all and then bundles it all together.

Where is this "picture" of the computer screen appearing? The brain is in possession of the data. The eyes aren't creating this picture - the brain creates the picture.

Where is the picture appearing? Is it appearing to the eyes? The eyes receive the light and pass to the brain? Does the brain send it back out the eyes again to be seen? Wouldn't there then be two screens?

Where is the picture of the screen appearing? Where are the words appearing? The eyes have done their job - they have received the light, the reflection, and they have broken it down to pure data - electrical signals. These signals have been relayed over nerves to the brain, which sits in darkness. The brain has received the data sent by the eyes. Now what has it done with it?

How are you seeing?

The brain creates this picture of "computer screen". Where does it do this? Is there a projector screen inside the head, with the brain shining the image? Is there another set of eyes inside the head, seeing this projected image?

The sounds, the sensations, the tastes and smells are all happening the same way - the brain receives all this raw data. Where is this picture of the world happening?

How are you seeing? Where is this picture appearing?

When we dream at night, we close our eyes, lie on the pillow. We don't receive any sensory input, yet a world appears. A world complete with computer screens, with this body and thoughts, with the complete arsenal of beliefs. This world appears in the very same way. Are the eyes and senses open during sleep, passing through all this information?

This picture is appearing once again, only the eyes are shut. The picture is not diminished. Where is this picture appearing?

The eyes are not windows - they are not openings through which the world is seen. The eyes are not little viewing portals - with you somewhere behind looking out.

How are you seeing?

Seeing is happening - that much is obvious. But the mechanism of the senses is very much in doubt. Where is this picture of the world appearing?

Notice that the hands, the body, and thoughts appear in this picture of the world. Notice that everyone you see appears in this picture. Notice that these words are appearing in that picture.

Where is the picture appearing?

Isn't the mind also in the head? So maybe this picture is happening in mind?

Maybe the world is only in your mind... Maybe this picture IS Mind...


jacob said...

cheers randall man, when put like that , any thing that appears as an object, felt seen, ect is not i, the mind pannicks, thoghts flood in exhaustion dispare is realesed from it. giving off the feeling yiur never going to see this. to negate all how is this best done just to notice that anything that appears is not me. the mind trys to see where the seeing and who is seeing is happening from and for , it cant work it out. this game of life is nuts isnt it, much love to you . Jacob

Randall Friend said...


Hello my friend.

Every single thing you know, every single thing you take to be yourself, appears to you. It appears in this picture somehow, through some means of knowledge.

Every bit of this comes and goes - thoughts come and go, the body comes and goes, the entire waking state comes and goes - the entire picture comes and goes.

This "I", taken to be this and that, is necessarily part of the world, made up of separate parts and pieces.

But where is the line drawn between "I" and the world? We say "I am thinking". Is that true? Thoughts appear TO you. Is that "I" thinking or are thoughts appearing TO "I"?

We say "I am hungry". Is it true? Hunger appears to you, as a sensation.

It is in the habitual identification with appearances that the Self or "I" is taken to be only a limited being.

If all appearances are negated as "not-I", then the line is moved from the skin boundary as the boundary of "I" - where is it moved? Where is the line drawn between "I" and the world? The body, thoughts, sensations, emotions, feelings, pains, desires, fears, memories, imagination - every bit is known TO "I" - every bit of it is "not-I".

So "I" is not a thing - "I" is pure witnessing - pure knowing - pure experiencing.

"I" is being/awareness - the certainty of existence - all appearances come TO "I" - "I" survives all coming and going of the picture.

Knowing what you are is knowing what "I" really is - seeing how "I" is mixed up with objects. Seeing that "I" is pure awareness.

And then it's flipped upside down, so to speak. This pure awareness is independent of all objects - all objects are dependent on that awareness-"I" to be. No object can appear without that presence of awareness-"I".

Therefore no object is outside of that awareness-"I". "I" contains the entire world perceived.

This isn't some spiritual revelation - it's direct experience already. A concept of separation MUST be present for reality to be taken as what it is not, for direct experience to be translated as "ME seeing a world", "ME in a world".

The world is in you.


jacob said...

Thanks Man , love Jaocb x

VIDA said...

...The world is in you...

And How beautiful, it is to share this Knowing with myself.



Randall Friend said...


Love to you.

As we walk outside and look up at the trees, the sky, the birds singing... Life is functioning, Life is the very form appearing and the functioning - the movement and knowing.

There is no one in possession of the knowing - Life is knowing itself, looking at itself.

The idea of ME-seeing is only a thought - thought which is more functioning and appearing - patterning as one of a million billion patterns, none separate from Life itself.

No one walks out - no one sees the trees - no one hears the birds.

Life is experiencing itself. We may call this Love.


Roopa said...

Dear Randall,
i have been reading this whole blog for the past weeks, but still not able to "live it" moment by moment. Its all in my head trying to visualize who i really am, but not getting any closer...can you please help??

to me, my children, my husband, my parents, my friends, the chair, the tree, the bird is all so real and i can touch, hug and feel them.

what you mean by "no one walks out", no one hears the bird??

also what is "Life is knowing itself, looking at itself"?

i just seem to be getting nowhere in this very tricky game called life!

kindly help! Thank You.

Randall Friend said...


Hello my friend. Good to hear from you.

You say you're "still not able to live it".

What is the expectation? What is expected to come which will be seen as "living it"?

Is this a special state or experience? Is this peace, happiness? What exactly are you looking for?

Help can come but there must be openness - a desire for knowing reality directly, which overwhelms all other desires. Then there is a willingness to lay aside assumptions and take a direct look.

Advaita Vedanta is not about acquiring new beliefs - it's about seeing through existing beliefs - questioning assumptions - doubting the platform of knowledge upon which you build this self-image called "roopa".

If there is this earnest willingness - email dialog can begin - possibly phone conversation. But if there is some expectation of gaining some spiritual state, disappointment will be the result. There is nothing to gain - Vedanta is only about knowing reality as it is, not as it's conceptualized.

You already ARE what you're seeking. There is a certainty of existence, a simple feeling of being - somehow you know you ARE, you know you exist. This sense of existence is tied up with all sorts of experiences.

Simply look at how this certainty of being (I AM) is mixed up with obvious passing experiences.

If the desire to chat via email arises, the email address can be found in the profile at the bottom of the blog.

love to you

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RB said...

Randall: I'm lost on this 'sharing'. I confess I am a man of many faults and mental acumen is also faulty. Would you open this presentation a little more? Thank you for your indulgence.

Anonymous said...

Hi randall!
I appear as it so there is only seeing and not even that is true.
++love dennis++

Randall Friend said...


Hello my friend.

Lost on which sharing? This particular post or in general?

This particular post is questioning the very nature of seeing - the knowledge we have gained tells a story of eyes and a brain - that mechanism is of a brain which receives raw data from the senses - a brain that is in the dark - this picture we see is created from the various sensory data yet it's not as we think it is.

Therefore this post is pointing to the fact that the eyes are not windows, which is the way the mind conceptualizes seeing. And if the eyes are not windows, if you aren't sitting behind these two little open portals, then how are you seeing?

Is this picture being projected by the brain? Is it inside the brain? Where is the picture appearing?

The picture is Consciousness. Everything which appears, appears in Consciousness. Just like the dream.

The waking state is nothing but a dream.


Randall Friend said...


Hello my friend.

Yes - there is only seeing. And seeing is still a conceptualization.

Everything that appears IS the seeing. So that label falls away.

What remains?


Anonymous said...

Hi again Randall and thanks for the fast answer!
What remains?
Seeing IS
++Love Dennis++

su said...

blessed randall,
the latest podcast here is absolutely brilliant.
could not be clearer, simpler, more damaging than anything else.
damaging to the illusory self that is.
the gratitude arising is an experience.
the understanding is an experience.
the loving unfolding is an experience.
the financial concerns an experience.
all of this are experiences - simply experiences arising in that space that I am.
nothing to seek.
nothing to find.
no behaviour modification needed.
no prayers to be answered.
no breathing techniques to be mastered.
no vedantas to be studied.
no guru to lead.
no thing to be achieved.
ever present. ever avaialable. unknowable, beyond space and time that is the truth of What I am.
Nothing new or different to what has always been present.
In this experiencing
much love

Anonymous said...

++Hi Randall++
There is some trouble whit trusting the experience any advice?
++Love Dennis++

Randall Friend said...


To what experience are you referring? If it's an experience, it should not be trusted. All experience comes and goes. All experience is only name and form, like the flower.

What is necessary for experience to arise? Is that an experience or pure experiencing?

Pure experiencing is what you are.


Randall Friend said...


Beautiful, my friend. All seeking and finding happens in the space of knowing that you are.


Viv said...

Hi Randall

What do you mean by mind? If the world is only in the mind, if the picture IS mind.... what IS mind?
This? That's seen, heard, felt, tasted, smelt, known?

Is there dreaming? Sleeping?

Love, Viv

Randall Friend said...


Hello again my friend.

Mind is only a concept - there is no such thing as mind. It's a concept or bundle or category for the appearance of thought, memories, imagination.

In concept, these perceptions attributed to the senses are bundled together and called "ME seeing". The presence of a ME is assumed and then the immediacy of seeing is taken as something the ME is doing, some function the ME has.

If that assumption wasn't there, was is direct experience? Is there a ME seeing? Or is the ME appearing as another thought?

Waking, dreaming and sleeping are more conceptualizations of direct experience - taking that ME as doing something, as "awake", as "dreaming", as asleep".

It all hinges on this concept of ME. But where did that idea come from? Where is that idea? How do you know it? How do you know of a ME?

It must come either as a conceptualization of something appearing, or as an innate knowledge. Is ME an innate or given certainty? Is ME absolute?

Is "Viv" absolute knowledge? Is it an absolute certainty?

"Viv" is confused with the obviousness of existence - the immediate and undeniable presence of beingness - "Viv" is a name, a form - there is an idea of "Viv" in thoughts, in memory - "Viv" is an image that is being constantly created and shaped and reformulated - an image that is constantly changing - an image that always has an "Under Construction" sign.

"Viv" is an idea - a facade - like the storefronts where the awnings are perfectly pressed and the landscaping is only slightly in need of pruning.

"Viv" is a collection of memories - a bundle of stories - an assumption which bundles together the appearance of the body and the chattering personality - this image must be properly adjusted to fit the situation. Much suffering comes in relation to this "viv" image.

The image of "viv" is subject to attack - subject to modification - subject to harsh criticism or endearing praise - it's subject to withdrawal at the comment of a passerby. It's the source of suffering.

Yet something prior to is aware of all this - something which isn't under construction - something solid and unchanging - something aware of the "viv-facade".

That "something" is pure being/awareness. It's functioning in the immediacy of this moment. It's a pure knowing - registering all this conceptual nonsense without judgment, without being affected.

That "something" isn't a "thing" at all - it's a "no-thing" - not a thing - it doesn't appear so there is no need to look for it. It is what is doing the looking, right now.


Roopa said...

Manu, thank you for the online books.
Randall, thank you for your guidance.

with gratitude,

Anonymous said...

Hi Randall "don't trust experiences"
and there is no one experiencing only pure experience.
I am not the doer
Seeing,Hearing IS
What about Stay empty?
++Love Dennis++

Anonymous said...

Hi again Is there "people" in life It seams that what i see is only concept and picture of what a human is and this feels very strange because if they don't are human what does that say about me?

Randall Friend said...


Whatever appears is given a label in the mind. And then that concept is further abstracted into many various concepts - people is just one of these.

There is nothing else in the world to which you refer as "I". You are "I". "I" is pure subjectivity - pure knowing. Even the body and thoughts appear as objects - "I" objectifies thoughts and body, sensations and perceptions.

"I" is not an object of perception - if it was there must be another "I" or Self prior to, to objectify that "I".

"I" is self-evident - always known yet not dependent on any object for it's existence. Pure knowing is what "I" really refers to.

The body-mind and concept of "dennis" all appear to this pure formless "I" - this idea of "dennis-the-person" must appear somehow - otherwise it could not be talked about, it could not be identified with.

So "dennis" is an object TO "I". "I" is not "dennis".

Recognize that this pure "I", this formless knowing awareness, is your actual nature - it is only mixed up with the objects of body and thoughts, with the concept of "dennis".

"I" is the space in which "dennis" appears.


Anonymous said...

Hi Randall! Yes the I is self recognizing and Dennis appear in and as it. What a shock ;)
Thanks Randall.

Randall Friend said...


Yes. So what-you-are is prior to "dennis". What-you-are is the "space" in which these thoughts and ideas and perceptions and experiences come. What you are is formless knowing - being - absolutely untouched by whatever thoughts may be - this chattering intellect is not YOU. You are simply the pure background upon which the intellect arises and dissolves.


Anonymous said...

Randall when your body dies what will be your experience?

Randall Friend said...

Hello anonymous,

Of what body do you speak? I know of no body - I only know the Self. You assume a separate self and then ask about it's experience.

Only the idea of body was born - that came and will go along with the Consciousness that brought it. Consciousness itself comes and goes, taking the entirety of the waking and dream states along.

The Self remains as it is - throughout this apparent progression of states.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for answering. I am actually David - who has wrote a number of times.
hhhmmmm. So from the position of the self you truly do not mind the detah of the body? I am possessed my fear of death lately to the point where i can hardly function. 'I' am just 31 but i can see the 'end game' already. and doing things and enduring things seems pointless. Yet I even feel lazy about inspecting the Self because i am not convinced that the self position will be free of these chnages. I mean i know intellectually that is so - but i cnat snap myself out of this depression.
Let me ask fromt he position of the self does reality seem more true. i mean i just feel bewildered about reality. i have no clue whats going on, i have despaired of ordinary life - yet there doesnt seem to be anything else.
you told me last time that you let 'your story' go. i can see that i am holding to my negative story. i ignore everythiong objective for a time - let things 'go to the back' and i feel a space of happiness and some distance from the 'stuff' and i feel sometimes various energies - but then i dwell on something which from my naive point of view that seems justified - sorrow or whatever for the endings - and i just dont trust that anything could make it ok.
Please - from the position of the Self - when all other identity is let go why does suffering of beings seem ok?

Randall Friend said...


Hello again my friend. Love to you.

Suffering is only in the mind. You are not the mind. You are aware of the mind. You are pure and perfect - untouched while the mind does it's acrobatics and spins it's stories.

The best or worst story imaginable cannot touch THAT which knows the mind. Verify this in your own experience.

You are simply the pure "I" - the Self which is ever-known through any passing experience. That "I" is intimately known already - it is the obvious sense of existence which is unquestionable yet cannot be located as objects are.

The Self is the Heart of all experience - it is never absent. The Self is "I" without the added concept of body-mind, without the false identification with the passing perceptions and sensations called "body" and "thoughts".

No experience can arise without the presence of the Self. You are the Self. There is no need to seek it. The Self does not suffer.

Does that Heart-center of all experience suffer, or does suffering come and go with the "space" of your true essence?