In the teachings, a phrase recurs, something like “to see things as they really are”.
When we hear it, our temptation is to think of something akin to looking out through a smeared window—the smearing of our karmic conditioning.
And somehow, through practice, we will clear the window, so we can look through it undistorted, and see the tree as it is, the mountains as they are.
But this is just playing a familiar duality in a slightly different key.
A way out is to consider the other senses.
We wouldn’t say “to hear things as they really are”; “to smell things as they really are”; or “to taste things as they really are”. We wouldn’t say it because it’s obvious that there is an interweaving. There isn’t the false objectivity inherent in the unexamined act of seeing.
With taste, there is a ‘something’ to be tasted. There’s my capacity to taste and there’s my subjective experience of taste. We can see, obscurely perhaps, that this all forms a wholeness.
And applying that back to “seeing things as they are”, we need to reject the idea that there are specific things ‘out there’, just waiting for our eyes to fall upon them. Likewise we need to reject the opposite idea that, somehow, everything is just a process in my brain.
And if we do, the whole world is re-enchanted.
Seeing the tree through a million, billion smeared windows. And that is one aspect of the full expression and aliveness, the full dynamic functioning of the tree. And of all things, all windows.