The whole and its parts

The whole & its parts

Seeing, curiosity and being seen

Curiosity is the single most powerful sense we have when it comes to transforming our ability to use our senses. For most of us, It’s so natural to see, that we don’t think much about it. We forget about all the processing necessary to become aware of what we are looking at.

And at the same time, most of us will have experienced situations in which we’ve been looking without seeing.

Seeing means to be aware of the object or person we are looking at.

The depth and clarity of our “seeing” depend on the attention we bring to the observation. And that attention depends on curiosity. Curiosity triggers the wish to know more, to gain a clearer image or better understanding. Curiosity also comes with the idea that the answer to knowing more lies with what we are observing. It’s the antidote to judgment.

Beyond the function of seeing, there is something more, it’s the process that is linked to seeing.

The more we observe something, the more we learn to know about it. At the beginning it might be to become aware of the details, later on, it can be to become aware of the meaning behind these details.

Seeing becomes a learning process.

This also applies to the concept of “seeing the other”.

In the beginning, seeing the other means to meet the person, to become aware of his or her presence. It might also mean to learn something about them that helps to recognize them. It’s the seed of a relationship. How this seed will grow, will depend on how connected or welcomed both felt on that first occasion. Or on how much sympathy there was.

From then on, seeing the other will continue to transform itself.

As the relationship establishes itself, being seen can be especially frightening. Others might see our flaws, our challenges where we would want them to see us in our best light. How that relationship will continue to grow depends on how our small missteps are welcomed or acknowledged and how our engagement towards the other is welcomed. It’s moving from sympathy to empathy.

When the relationship becomes one of mutual comprehension, seeing the other becomes more demanding. It’s a period in which being seen becomes, seeking to be understood, being supported and also being shown the mirror. The connection has moved from the surface to become able to connect with the other’s inner world and complexity of being human. It’s moving beyond empathy towards compassion.

If everything goes well, seeing the other can now go to even more clarity. The relationship now can allow for openness in which, one can ask the other to show himself. Seeing the other becomes mutual work, one in which both take up the responsibility to ask for help in seeing the other.


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