Published: July 27th 2010July 1st 2010
Sabadee, everybody! Been making my way down Laos. I've grown to really love this country. I feel like it's a country with a perfect balance of life. It's not "backwards" by any means but very simple. There aren't extremes of the rich and the poor. People seem to all live happily with a simple life. There aren't any slums but there are a lot of villages that farmers reside at. The best part about it is that they all use their money to buy a big satellite dish to watch TV! haha. Strange to see villages with huge satellite dishes. They love their lives here and I definitely love it here too! The Objective Eye
My first philosophical questions came at the age of 9 when I asked my brother a question,” Does everybody see like me?”
“What do you mean?”
“Is everybody seeing like how I see? I see outwards through my eyes, but I can’t see myself. Does everybody see the world like this or do others see the world like they watch a movie, where they can see everything?”
“Di di, everybody sees the same way, through their own eyes. Nobody can see
themselves from outside their own body. And that’s why the world has so much problems.”
“What do you mean?”
“One day, you’ll see.”
Now, I’m starting to understand my brother’s wise words.
In literature, there are a few ways to write a story, in first-person view or 3rd person view. 1st person view is a lot harder to write because it limits the storyline. The readers can only see through one character’s eyes and therefore, doesn’t understand the whole scope of things. We’re limited to only that one character’s thoughts, feelings and prejudices. 3rd person view uses the omniscient voice where it narrates the storyline so that the whole picture is painted. We see things more clearly because we understand all the different elements that are occurring outside just one character.
Life is something like that.
Self-awareness and self-reflections are admirable qualities because it allows an individual to step outside of the 1st person view and into the 3rd person view. From the subjective view to the objective view. In the 1st person view, there is the idea of “my pride” and “my emotions” that ultimately blurs the individual from reaching the truth. In
the 3rd person view, there is no “I” or “my”, there is only the impartial observation of what is going on. This is what Buddha means when he emphasizes the idea that there is no “I” and we must observe
reality as it is. Like a story, when we see the world with an objective eye, we understand everything more clearly.
As a 3rd person observer, we mustn’t make the mistake of creating judgments, opinions or generalizations on anybody. All we do is observe and strive to understand both sides of the story. Taking action is not as important as fostering compassion for both sides. Yes, compassion for the “bad guy” as well. We have to try and understand why that person became the angry person he is now. We could make the mistake of thinking that this angry person is “bad” because he makes everybody around him miserable but if we learned that his only daughter died a year ago, our perception of this “bad guy” suddenly changes. He’s not a bad guy, but in fact, a person who is in a great deal of pain. We have to have compassion for those who suffer, not hurt them
even more. How horrible of a person would I be if I hate on somebody who is already suffering?
But it’s not that easy to observe certain situations objectively, especially when I’m personally involved in the matter. It’s the strong attachment to my ego that keeps me in the 1st person view and hinders me from stepping out of my shoes to objectively see the whole story.
Suppose I mistakenly walked into a temple with my sandals on. A security guard confronts me and starts yelling at me. He calls me stupid, disrespectful and that I look like a lady-boy. Obviously, he hurt my ego by calling me a lady-boy so I start yelling back in anger. Soon enough we’re both yelling so loud at each other that we disrupted the peace in the temple.
My attachment to my ego was what escalated the whole situation. If I wasn’t attached to my ego, then I wouldn’t have been offended by the comment. I would’ve been another casual observer just like you are to this story. You weren’t angered or offended when the guy yelled at me, were you? That’s because you don’t have an attachment to my
ego or emotion. But because I have that attachment, my emotions start rising and my perspective starts warping into an illusion: I’m an innocent victim who doesn’t deserve to be treated this way by this jerk. Once I have that illusion, I start reacting with my emotions towards the man. However, if I could just let go of my own ego and remain equamanent with my emotions, then I can become a casual observer like you. Then I could see the objective truth and not react with anger but instead, find humor in the situation: A stupid, lady-boy looking guy mistakenly walked into the temple with his sandals on and is now getting hell from that other guy!
The third-eye is the one which I need to use more than my other two. I need it to be all-seeing so that I can understand clearer and learn more objectively. I need it so that I’m not thinking about myself all the time but also of the people around me. The success of a community hinges on whether it’s individuals can see things with their 3rd eye and act selflessly. Buddhism stresses the importance of the third eye within every
person. The Hindus put a “bindi” or a red dot on their forehead to signify the spirituality of the third eye. Even western countries like America celebrate the 3rd eye by illustrating an all-seeing eye on top of a pyramid on the 1 dollar bill. If I truly want to selflessly help my community do some good, then I have to start learning how to open my 3rd eye- the eye which only seeks truth. To be awake is to open this eye. “All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them.
- Galileo Galilei
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