To see more through a mind that receives impartially the stimuli that immerse it in the world. Is it possible to be a conscious participant in this process? Is the addition of interpretations and labels only a product of the so-called old, primitive brain, which is only responsible for survival instinct and not necessarily logic? Seeing more is certainly an attentiveness to which Western civilisation is increasingly returning.

The origin of the impartial mind

The art of careful observation can be shaped and trained within oneself. This was already alluded to by Leonardo Da Vinci when he mentioned the principles of the complete mind and the value of learning the ability to look at the world. Similarly, non-duality—the discovery of consciousness based on the pure self—has its origins in Hinduism. Practitioners of Chinese medicine referred to this technique as 'mind sculpting' along the lines of kaizen philosophy, where each day we try to work on eliminating the inner critic within ourselves, focusing more on the unbiased essence of what we encounter. Sometimes, what seemingly appears negative turns out to be salutary for us by moving us away from things that would not develop us at all in the future. For example, a redundancy or downsizing falls on us unexpectedly, and such situations are forced upon us by our own psyche to push us away from a place where there is no space to realise ourselves anymore. According to Western medicine, this is more mindfulness—the art of mindful living or focusing on the self itself. In fact, they are talking about the same thing, i.e., what to eliminate from our attention so that our mind becomes clear and receptive to unbiased observation.

Being a conscious observer requires certain skills of insight combined with the ability to simply let go. Depriving oneself of judgment and control, as well as non-attachment to meanings, is the key to the ability to 'witness' reality.

Dissociation strategies of the conscious observer

There are many dissociation strategies interfering with our art of mindful observation. You can observe without assigning meanings or labels. This does not mean that you cannot have your own opinion. The point is to be aware of your own interpretation and to be able to separate it from all other events.

You don't have to deserve to lie down. Clean up and rest. You can treat observation as a simple hygienic activity for your mind. Such states of creative standstill are treated in Chinese medicine and the 5 elements theory as the source of the most effective energisation for each element. Every person regenerates the fastest through temporary standstill. What happens if we do not supply it to ourselves? Can we program ourselves not to feel deeper feelings by anchoring a notoriously superficial contact with ourselves and the reality around us? Psychologists call such a state dissociation when we run away at all costs from ourselves as well as the deeper feelings that might say something about ourselves.

The state in which we see the surrounding reality but do not react to it is what some writers call 'blindness'. To be out of touch with the surrounding world is to not interact with it, to suck in the landscape like still life in an unreflective way.

The practice of mindful communion with nature is used in Sweden, for example, in the Swedish therapeutic and dendrological garden in Alnarp, which I had the opportunity to visit. Contact with trees is considered a remedy for any depressive state or burnout, as well as a starting point for further work on oneself. But do we practice mindfulness with trees in everyday life, or is it fleeting and only given by chance for a moment of single contact with ourselves?

Mooji, a famous Jamaican spiritual teacher, used to say:

Clarity of vision and understanding comes from the synchronisation of the 'me' with universal consciousness.


This sentence indicates that it is not really possible to fully possess a given moment. We are actors in a certain reality, to which we ourselves give meaning. However, in order for these to be meaningful and clearly reflect the state of affairs, it is useful to learn to integrate the states between 'have to 'and 'want to'. It is thus an agreement to be clear about what I hold and what I let go of.

Mindfulness practices

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to observe, in full awareness, the world around you? For example:

  • To watch a sunset as if a polar night is about to come and another one is due in six months.
  • To lie in bed as if returning from a long cruise,
  • To take pleasure in food, savoring every taste,
  • To shower in full awareness of one's body and what we want to offer it, and not in a hurry.

I remember experiencing such feelings precisely after losing these resources, such as coming from another country to my home country and celebrating favorite flavors and dishes that I had missed. Or another time, when, after a series of several cruises, I was able to spend a weekend in bed, which I resented for the rest as my body demanded attention. Sometimes, being deprived and cut off from a given resource, we are able, once we have regained it, to most easily activate in ourselves the so-called'seeker's mind', the attentive celebration of a given moment. This is exactly what the quote states:

It is only in the darkness that the eye begins to see.

(Theodore Roethke)

To see more means to stay on site, in oneself. It is a move away from any escapes, strategies, or interpretations. It is agreeing to stasis and getting in touch with the pure self. Is this a return to what was practiced hundreds of years ago? One thing is certain: being an impartial observer requires the art of conceiving this skill anew.