Inner Work Friday: Week Two of Eight Week Series by Thomas Telhiard

September 3, 2021 – Inner Task Week Two – SEEING DIMENSION

Last week’s task on STOPPING SEEING may have presented us with that distinction of the energies of urgency and immediacy that Jonathan presented to us several weeks ago. In our day-to-day engagements, we often find ourselves blindly going through motions that support our daily tasks and responsibilities, as well as our forms of entertainment. Although functionally important as these daily tasks are, the urgent energy is a blinding one.

This awareness of blindness is something that I personally experienced as arising within me during the STOP SEEING task. The invitation I heard was to lean more into the energy of immediacy and presence. It is not so much what we are seeing, as how we are seeing. Indeed, how we see informs what we see. The more present we can be, the more un/non-identified we can be with what it is that we are seeing. Note that this non-identification does not mean indifference. Actually being interested is key!

This week, we are literally going deeper into seeing. The question is how do we see and how can we see something new? In HOW WE DO THINGS, J.G. Bennett elaborates on how the extreme automatism which characterizes how we take in mental images can handicap our capacity to see or think about anything in a novel way. Our ‘sleep’ state of habituated thinking and seeing holds us captive and, moreover, unless we have a strong desire or wish from a three-centered posture, then we cannot even begin. To wish to see differently must employ all three centers – mental, emotional, physical. In addition, time must be set aside daily to practice any new way of seeing.

The task that Bennet suggested to his students involving depth in vision particularly strikes me. It is worth quoting:

“Most people see things simply as flat projections. I propose that, in the course of the various things you may be doing today, you set yourself to remember to look at things in depth; that is, to remember that you have two-eyed binocular vision, and that thanks to this you have the power to seeing the depth of the field of your visual image of the moment. You will see that in order to remember to return to this from time to time, you must really arouse in yourself a feeling of interest in acquiring this perspective vision more strongly, so that things really stand out in depth.”
(Petersham, MA: The J.G. Bennett Foundation, 2017)
This feeling of interest is crucial. ‘Interest’ here can be aligned with Presence.

This is the task for the week:

  1. Either use the stop practice, or intentionally set yourself in a particular environment.
  2. Notice what is in your field of vision, but more particularly, begin to sense the depth and dimension of the visual field itself.
  3. Cultivate a presence through your three centers, while taking in these dimensioned images.
  4. What arises?

As I sit in my dining room, I look into the adjoining living room and see what is there: the floor rug, the coffee table upon the rug, the sofa, the chair, the fireplace, my dog Sophia lying upon the rug, the fireplace mantle, the bookcase, the chair, the lamp, the pictures on the wall, the opening into the sun room, the light rays streaming onto the walls, the sun room rug, the piano, the book shelves and window blinds. I notice the dimensions of depth in the placement of the items within my visual frame. I have a sense of presence about myself – mind, body and feeling. What arises?

We are attempting to see dimension and perspective.