I have a walleye, or lazy eye when I look to the left. I remember as a child thinking everyone saw double when looking to the left until my mother noticed it and took me to an eye doctor. Later as my lazy eye crept around to the front, I got glasses with a prism to correct the focus so I could drive without seeing two of everything.
When I had cataracts removed I was surprised to be told there was an operation that could fix it partially, at least to give me a window of focus when I looked straight ahead and I could not depend upon the glasses.
The window of focus is small, so I must close one eye when I read, moving across the lines of words as if reading by a small beam flashlight.
My point is here that I thought seeing double was normal. And when that happens the eyes compensate by making one eye the foreground and the other eye a passive background. This is a great metaphor for our polarized culture.
We are left or right dominant in our cultural mind/reality. It’s interesting that the world our there is always one, but when you have walleyes, you perceive to different worlds that are out of focus, which means you don’t have any depth perception, and if you try to hit something you miss the mark. So we shut one eye.
But the reality of the other eye does not go away. In our metaphor of our collective walleyes, we shut one eye, but what we close out does not go away but becomes our enemy, for it wants to be open as well, but only one can be used. Our left and right eyes fight for dominance, the one focused reality. We gradually become cross-eyed, unable to focus on the external reality but only on each other eye as the cause of our dis-focus.
Corona has come to the rescue by refocusing our eyes on the one reality. There is no left or right Corona.
I whittle Zen down in my writing and talks to your everyday mind, to your experience that you can check out for yourself. Don’t believe me; check out what I say for yourself.
Close one eye and watch what happens to your depth perception. Try to put two fingers together. Now, most likely, you cannot make your eyes not focus, but if you could you would see that one becomes dominant so you won’t bump into things.
In our political polarization, one eye tries to be dominant. But here is the questions. Are both left and right views equal but opposite? Are there two realities, opposite but equal? Or can there only be One, and the other false. That is the view from each of the eyes: it’s the other eye that is false. My view is the right view.
That is not Zen. So what is the view of Zen? It’s not one or the other eye. The reference for the walleye is the other eye, the Other Eye that is wrong,, the view that keeps me from seeing what’s real, a depth 3D reality.
There is always this tension between the two eyes each struggling for dominance. In the Zen viewpoint, there is no tension, no struggle, and no wasted energy. Cross your eyes and feel how much effort it takes. Then feel the relaxation and release when you let go of the effort.
That is the Zen experience. When the tension of trying to focus is released, of trying to be the dominant viewpoint and making the other viewpoint in your relationships subordinate, that energy is now free, and free energy creative energy, joyous energy. While we are in our own custom relationships, the ultimate relationship is You versus the World. Can you feel the tension in that relationship when you lose your focus? When we lose out focus, we look around for someone or something to blame, and then we increase the tension as we try to remove it.
But this relationship between the two eyes is based on ignorance or forgetting that there is only One Eye. When that Eye opens, the eye that sees the One that is two, that is Zen.
When our left and right viewpoints don’t focus, what’s needed is a gestalt, a leap to grasp the whole in which all things are in focus. Another example is when we use a narrow focus lens that focuses on a foreground object with the background (the Context) going out of focus.
With our political/cultural eyes, an event when brought into focus after media brings out attention to it blurs the real background and, since every foreground must have a background (nothing stands by itself), we project our narrative of reality onto the screen behind the foreground. In this way, the foreground event has meaning, but only according to our memory background.
The foreground event is not from our memory. It is a real event that is conditioned. The event happens. But what does it mean? The event itself has no meaning until there is a context projected behind the foreground event.
Context gives meaning. Nothing in itself has meaning. What is a gestalt of reality then? The gestalt is a sudden grasp or seeing of the foreground and background as one reality. The projection of memory and narrative goes dark. The true background comes into view as the source of the foreground.
But where does making come from then? Meaning becomes creative. Every event creates its own meaning. Meaning is no longer referenced to the past and our conditioned opinion, beliefs and viewpoints. Life becomes fresh and innocent.
We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started