Friday, December 26, 2014

Uses of the Gaze

In nondual spirituality, as well as in some other traditions, an awake person may gaze into the eyes of another person, for various reasons. First of all, it is fun to see the deeper dimension of consciousness in another, beyond the physical appearance. Second, it can be a way of helping another awaken: when that deeper energy is displayed for another, it can help another access it in himself or herself. This is sometimes called transmission, but that is a bit of a misnomer, because really the other person, while s/he may not be conscious of the awake energy, just as surely possesses it as the awake person.

It is a third use of the gaze that I want to speak of here, however. That is to determine to what extent someone else is awake.

A person might say, “I had an awakening,” or “I'm still waiting for my first awakening,” or, “I have no clue what awakening is.” But people can mean different things by these words because the mind has various definitions and stories about awakening. For some, being awake means having reached perfection on all levels of existence. They will see proof of their lack of awakeness in every “selfish” thought they have. For others, of an opposite psychological bent, if they have even had a glimpse of transcendence, they seem themselves as fully awake. Still others may have experienced an awakening but, not having been able to “maintain” it – which generally means staying in the same bliss as occurred when the awakening occurred – will believe that awakeness was in their past but not a current reality.

Thus, because there are so many definitions of awakening held by so many people, it is impossible to know what someone means when s/he says, “I'm awake.” Here is where the gaze comes in – because it removes the mind from the equation. When the awake energy in one being consciously meets the awake energy in another, both are awake; if it fails to meet itself, then one of the two is not.