Today in your two practice sessions, practice looking upon one simple mundane object. Do not take your eyes off of that object, but look and practice looking very conscientiously. You are not trying to see anything. You are simply looking with an open mind. When the mind is open, it experiences its own depth, and it experiences the depth of what it is perceiving.
Choose one simple object that has very little meaning for you and gaze upon it twice today for at least 15 minutes. Allow your mind to become very still. Breathe deeply and regularly as you gaze upon this object. Allow your mind to settle down into itself.
Practice 19: Two 15-minute practice periods.
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November 21, 2012 Round One: Frankly, I have been having trouble with this step because it calls for looking at a physical object and I am wondering "okay, so what's supposed to happen when I do?" Like it's going to miraculously turn into something else before my eyes if I look at it long enough. Huh?
But I realized just now that this is not the point, the physical object is just a solid reference point for starting off. This Step is rather an exercise in impartiality, or flexibility, if you will. It's not the physical object that is the key, but the way I look at it, my ability to look without preconceived notions or expectations. And then this extends to everything else in the world around me—situations, other people, my own self and the way I perceive things, allowing me to go beyond what "seems" to be on the surface, to some deeper truth within.
I feel that this Step is directing me toward learning how to see with my inner eye, beyond the physical as it seems to appear before me.
July 6, 2018 Round Three: This time I know that this Step is directing me toward developing the art of seeing, where I see beyond physical reality to realize that everything is really an illusion and the truth lies somewhere else, at a deeper level, in a deeper part of the mind. I think I got it the first time, when I decided that this Step is teaching me not to take things at their face value. I am to look deeper to see the truth and how things really are.
I sat out on the bench in the garden for my first practice (4.56-5.11) and looked at a leaf on the bush nearby. I am not sure this was a good choice of object because it was hard to concentrate only on one leaf, my vision extended to the entire bush. There were times when it began wavering, vacillating, as though about to melt and disappear. But that did not happen.
Again I take this Step to be telling me that nothing is as it appears, there is more to circumstances, the physical world, reality than meets the naked eye.
I did the second practice in the greenhouse looking a tomato flower (16.46-17.01). It was hard to concentrate on the flower. At times the plants in the background began to waver and seem to melt into each other, but the flower did not melt or disappear. I didn’t even see an aura around it. I didn’t feel very satisfied with my practice. But still I understand the lesson in seeing offered in this Step. It is teaching me that my physical world is an illusion and nothing is as it seems.