Celtic OrthoPraxis: Deep Seeing 101


I’m told that in many cases, when the Police ask eye-witnesses to come forward and report a crime, and testimonies are recorded, that it’s very rare for such accounts to completely ‘agree’ with each other. It’s as if we all see most of what is going on, but not the complete picture! It’s as though we then, unknowingly, fill in the gaps to give a false picture of what (we think) is going on.

It’s written somewhere: seek and you will find. A call to ‘deep seeing’. Perhaps if we look, we’re in with a chance of finding, and the more we look intently, the more we’ll find.

If there’s buried treasure in my garden at Capel Curig, for instance, and you dig, the more you look and dig the greater the chances of finding treasure. Don’t seek, but just look on, inactively, from the side-lines, without any commitment, and you’re guaranteed to find nothing. Just in case you’re motivated to dig my garden, I should point out there is no buried treasure there (well, so far as I know!).

So much depends on how we see things. More often than not the style of gaze determines what we see. There are many things near us that we never notice simply because of the way we see. The way we look at things has a huge influence  on what becomes visible for us …. Each of us is responsible for how we see, and how we see determines what we see. Seeing is not merely a physical act: the heart of vision is shaped by the state of soul.” ~ John O’Donohue

Seeking, or a commitment to ‘deep seeing’ is important to finding treasure, and more so if we want to come closer to nature, and identify, appreciate and revel in ‘natural’ treasures eg animals, trees, plants, weather, events happening around us etc, as the ancients did.

So, how do we as latter-day Celts, emulate those ancients Celts? How do we honour the Source, appropriately to our belief: Christian, Pagan, Druid etc? What do we do to ‘see deeply’?

Some might suggest something like:

Put an autumnal leaf on a table in front of you, and meditate upon it, say for twenty minutes. So, why not?

If you’ve chosen a leaf you can meditate without intentional thought initially (though thoughts may come and go) by gazing at it (without analysis).

And then you might like to spend time looking intently at it, and describe to yourself its colour, its shape, its texture, and maybe smell?

Then you might like to imagine the life that lives on it, but which is beyond our range of visibility. You might imagine further atoms, quarks and ‘strings’?

Then, imagine, its colour when on the tree, the change, the ‘sacrifice’ the leaf has made, and why?  How about, imagining it’s place in the scheme of things, and its ‘connectedness to you? (And, the latter may ‘move’ you from analytical thought back to that initial ‘no-thought’ as words seem too small for such a cosmic arena?)

Orcourse, it doesn’t have to be a leaf. It could be anything. A fallen leaf is seasonal, but you could ‘see deeply’ using a household item, a piece of food etc.

There is a lot to ‘see’ with ‘deep seeing’. And then you can ‘see’ beyond. And, not only with a leaf. Events that happen around you, interactions with other people, all can benefit from ‘deep seeing’, that is in going beyond just visual perception.

“Earth’s crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God,
But only he who sees takes off his shoes;
The rest sit round and pluck blackberries.”

Elizabeth Barrett Browning

It is easy to see things only at surface level, but how about taking time to go deeper, deep seeing?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.