Seeing From the Heart - The Science of Perception


You see what you intend to see. As in all life, what we focus on is what we get.

The intention to connect builds trust. Most people try, they can tell when someone is looking at them with an open and loving intention, a desire to know more about them, and to connect. Just as we can discern the intention of the viewer, my intention when looking at anything determines the boundaries of what I am willing to see. The more open I am, the more revealing my subject will be. Transparency creates trust.

Humility or the attitude of "Not-Knowing" allows greater perception. If I already think I know about something, I bring all those pre-conceived thoughts to my experience. They can keep me from seeing what is really going on. Yet when I remember how selective and subjective perception truly is, I am humbled by the vastness of my "not-knowing," and the miniscule amount of my conscious knowledge. At the same time, the very act of humility opens my heart to the "field of possibilities" that is the expression of ALL life. This "opening" allows access to that field of KNOWINGNESS that is experienced beyond the limited scope of Newtonian scientific proof.

Honesty creates connection. When I draw a person's portrait, I find that the more honest I am about what I perceive, the more I open to seeing deeper. It is as if I go from initially seeing only 'omote', the surface; to seeing deeply within, or 'ura' - the "field of possibility" that is the totality of the being. Yet because it is me doing the looking, it is very much my "field of possibilities" (what I am willing to allow) that I am seeing as I gaze at another. Becoming aware of my filters - those thoughts, beliefs, and judgments that define what I am willing to allow - provides me the opportunity to choose seeing without them. It requires my full presence in this moment of now.

People who cannot see something simply have not yet learned to see it. Often when things are pointed out, they exclaim in surprise and wonder how they failed to see it before. As young children we revel in awe at the wonder of life. It seems we can see all of its magic and glory. Yet as we age, we often learn to selectively see. As a result, seeing openly and empathically must sometimes be relearned in adulthood. It is a choice, and humility is the doorway.

There is always more to perceive than I am yet perceiving. As I learn more about the selectivity of perception, I am keenly aware that there is always more to perceive, far more than just through the traditional five senses and the conditioned way I allow myself to use them.