Seeing with Equal Vision

The other day a friend wanted to show me a nude picture of someone.

Initially, my outer reaction was something like, “Hmm…you’ve put me in an interesting spot here.  I think I’m going to have to say no.”  And my inner reaction was something like, “Hell no!  Don’t go look at other people naked.”

Externally, i reasoned with my friend.  “Next time i see that girl i don’t want to be picturing her naked or give her the vibe to let her know that i’ve seen her naked.”  And, “It’s a moral choice, and morally i think it’s best for me to not look.”

As my friend continued to assist, i decided that resistance was futile.  And ultimately, the logic that moved me to look at the pictures was logic of acceptance and equality.  Internally, i realized, “It’s just a picture of a body.  There’s nothing inherently wrong about looking at another person naked.  In fact, it’s a great ability to see people naked and accept the beauty of the body without sexualizing it.”

So i looked at the pictures, not for long, and practiced seeing the naked body as a beautiful thing, regardless of however it presented itself.

The other day, i graciously stumbled upon a quote that helps explain the point above.  John Cage, the great zen composer, once said,

“The first question I ask myself when something doesn’t seem to be beautiful is why do I think it’s not beautiful. And very shortly you discover that there is no reason.”

Looking at anything, we can see the beauty.

And, for the record, the girl my friend showed me, by many standards, including my own, was physically attractive.  So it’s not like i had to resist judging her as ugly or unattractive.  The practice was rather to view the naked body non-judgmentally, almost from a frame of curiosity and appreciation for being rather than with any sexualized intentions.

It’s really nice to appreciate whatever you’re seeing, just because you’re seeing it.

Appreciate the experience just because it’s your experience, right here, right now.

No need to judge.  Just let it be.

Thank you 🙂

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