Nondual Zen Article:

The Eye of the Eye

nondual title

The Eye of the Eye
by Kathleen Sutherland

Student: "At whose wish does the mind proceed on its errand? At whose command does the first breath go forth? At whose wish do we utter this speech? What god directs the eye, or the ear?"

Teacher: "It is the ear of the ear, the mind of the mind, the speech of speech, the breath of breath, and the eye of the eye."

Kena-Upanishad, 1st Kanda

In a moment of relaxation bright morning, a big clear eye opened behind my eye. I saw myself, from afar. I saw I was a part of everything else. This eye that opened has always been open. It has always been watching me. But I had been so intrigued with the myopic view of this life that I barely noticed it.

When it opened, or, I should say, when I noticed it open, I saw that this was the real gift. Not my life, but the seeing of my life. This life and its content amuse, frighten and distract, in turn. But if I fail to see that I am watching it all, then I am no different from my cat. He enjoys his life – or sometimes complains. And one day his life will be over, a series of moments of contentment, bliss, annoyance, anger, hunting, fighting, good food, long naps, love, affection and quiet moments. But little self-reflection. Little awareness that he is living the life of a cat.

My eye has opened to see that I am living the life of a human. I can watch this life, and know it’s not mine. It is not me. I can see that I am the one who sees all this, who understands all this. This is a rare state of perception, and such a precious gift.

Could it be that my cat’s eye is wider than mine? That he thinks, ‘How blessed I am to see all this so clearly, not fumbling about like the dear apes who serve me? I transmit my grace to them quietly, but do not dare speak of this directly, for they are not ready for such teaching.’ And so he knows that he knows, and shimmers with bliss. Perhaps even the trees, whispering with light, rejoice in their secret knowing.

If so, then how perfectly poised we all are to see that we are each uniquely blessed. But none of this matters, so long as you yourself can see. For you are here alone. You are the only one. And always the seer, never merely the seen. You are watching from on high. Your eye has opened to see your own eyes, to see your cat’s eyes, to see the eyes of the forest. You are the eye of the eye, the eye of all eyes.