Of all the five senses that our body is equipped with, only one sense can be switched off voluntarily. That is sight.
We can close our eyes and turn off all visual information that gets into our mind for processing. You cannot voluntarily switch off your sense of smell, hearing, taste or touch. Try it.
Our mind relies on all five senses to create that mental picture, rupa. And through this mental picture, we form concepts around it, we objectify it. It becomes an object that exists in its own right. Without sight, this mental picture is less believable, or to say, less concrete to the mind.
Take, for example, a mental image of a car when looked at using your sight is far more concrete than say, an image of a car that you constructed in your mind without using direct sight.
What happens if you turn off your sight? The things you do cannot be done deliberately anymore. Your consciousness moves from objectifying everything surrounding you, to moving inwards. Actions are more spontaneous and in the now, and nothing is forced. Your actions embrace the spirit of the Taoism philosophy of Wu Wei. You found yourself needing to trust your other bodily senses to navigate and make sense of the world. It is like a reset button.
This experience begins with you closing your eyes, and continuing doing whatever you are doing. It becomes a whole new peculiar experience altogether.
Suddenly, all things discovered through other senses become a surprise to you. As your right shoulder meets a cold slab of the concrete wall, the coldness you felt as the skin in your shoulder meets the wall comes as a surprise. And, any form of surprise is clearly known consciously, and not objectified. As I dry my body after a shower with the towel, I became aware of the way how I dry my body, starting from my back, then towards my lower body, and to my legs, then to my front upper body. I became aware of the actions that I was performing. It just happens spontaneously, like a dance.
As I dress my turtle sweater, I became aware of how I dress it spontaneously; I fit the clothes through my left arm first, then my right arm. As I leave the bathroom that was shrouded in darkness, I was greeted by light. I felt the sensation of warm air on my skin. I moved towards my room (still eyes shut) and towards the curtains, attracted by the bright light emanating from its direction. The curtains felt really warm, heated by the rays of the afternoon sun. The moment I slide the curtains open, I was greeted by an even brighter light and a gush of warmness.
Suddenly, the contrast was so great that I was able to ‘see’ something. My blind ‘vision’ became more reddish, and it has a pulsating pattern in it. I can see intricate forms floating, and pulsating. What I have observed in my blind vision is probably the background effect of the blood vessels in my eye, that pulsates in accordance with the heartbeat. It is extraordinary that I was able to get in touch with my bodily senses more deeply than ever before just with this simple exercise.
To me, this is how it feels to be alive.
Just by closing one’s eye, while continuing to do whatever one normally does with eyes wide open is capable of bringing a taste of what it is like to experience a heightened state of consciousness.
Closing one eye’s and navigating the world is akin to surrendering yourself to the unknown, despite knowing that you have the means to know the unknowns, i.e you have the means to reopen your eyes and do things as you normally would. Except, of course, this time you choose to close your eyes to surrender. And by doing so, you would unlock something extraordinary.
I have to admit that I did not intend to be anywhere or be anything as I closed my eyes, in the shower. That intention is non-existent. The act of closing my eyes happened spontaneously. By having intentions, the act of intent will disorient one’s ability to see things as it is.
For example, if I intend to eat, the mind will generate thoughts about the kinds of food that I can eat, thereby in the future, I will only eat that food that was from those thoughts. The intention itself has narrowed what is possible in reality.
If I spontaneously eat without having the intent to eat, the mind doesn’t need to generate thoughts about the kinds of food that I can choose to eat. I will just eat when I need to eat. The mind does not need to work, it remains calm. The options become limitless, as no limit is imposed by the mind. In such a state, you will find clarity.
Those who let go shall save themselves.