Picture this: Learning from the follower

posted Nov 17, 2009, 2:08 AM by ash ‎(evermindful)‎   [ updated Nov 17, 2009, 2:15 AM ]
In the previous “Rubbernecking our way to further stress” article I subtly introduced the topic of right view. In this article I will define right and explore it further.

“Right view is to see and to understand things as they really are and to realise the Four Noble Truth. As such, right view is the cognitive aspect of wisdom. It means to see things through, to grasp the impermanent and imperfect nature of worldly objects and ideas, and to understand the law of karma and karmic conditioning. Right view is not necessarily an intellectual capacity, just as wisdom is not just a matter of intelligence. Instead, right view is attained, sustained, and enhanced through all capacities of mind. It begins with the intuitive insight that all beings are subject to suffering and it ends with complete understanding of the true nature of all things. Since our view of the world forms our thoughts and our actions, right view yields right thoughts and right actions.”[1]

A few months ago a follower made a connection with me on Twitter. Over the course of time this follower has grown to be one of my closest Twitter friends. However, it was not until very recently did I gain some insight had it not been for a change by the follower. Let me explain…

Whilst I have known the follower for some time I have only known the alias name, the interest in mindfulness and a photo. For me the photo was blurred with a contrasting background. In the photo I see the follower wearing a garment similar to a robe. The robe and its color arises a pleasant feeling for me. I perceive the robe to be worn by one who is wholesome. Then, whenever the follower tweets, I note the pleasant feeling, the wholesome perception, and the generous and/or compassionate intent in a possible reply.

Then a few weeks ago the follower changed their Twitter picture. It completely threw me. The new picture had characters from a foreign language. The picture was syntax but it had no semantics; it was pleasant with a soft colored background. For weeks on end I was accustom to following the same logical process reviewing the follower’s tweets. However, now the process was following a different path.

At that very moment I stopped, closed my eyes and contemplated the process. I asked myself: Has the follower changed? No. Have I changed or the way I view things changed? No. Then what has changed? A picture representing the follower has changed. How then has this picture affected my connection with the follower? The pleasant feeling that arose is now gone. The feeling is now neutral. The intent is still one of generosity and compassion but the attachment is missing. Suddenly I was overcome by a sense of freedom. I was given a glimpse of how to skillfully look through one’s eyes. It is all just form that rises and passes. The form has syntax, but the semantics was added by the ego.

Dear follower, thank you for this lesson. With metta Ash.

Comments are always welcome.

1 - http://www.thebigview.com/buddhism/eightfoldpath.html