What does it mean to observe? When I say "observe," I do not mean the physical function of seeing. When the eye sees, there is no recording of any sort. No comparison, no prejudice of what is better, no sense of right or wrong; just seeing takes place. It is a physical organism doing the job that it does.
There is also the seeing of thought. If thought is in operation when the organism sees, then nothing is actually seen, in the sense of reality. Seeing with thought or belief as a lens leads one to delusion; it is a world of prejudice and "should be's." There is always comparison and a point of view based on memory and knowledge; what one might believe to be better than the present reality. But there is nothing better than the present reality; there is only reality. Reality does not exist in thought.
One might say, "I have a belief through which I see the world. I choose what I like, and that is how I see reality." But can one actually see the world in that way? Is reality present there at all? Is reality dependent upon what we believe about it? Or are we just projecting our thoughts onto whatever it is we are seeing?
Do I see reality if I only see what I think it should be? If I say "yes," I would question whether or not I am capable of seeing anything at all. In that case, I can only see my ideas about the "reality" I see. There is no actual observation taking place. Only my thoughts about what is good or bad.
Why do we need a belief through which we see? If we see through a belief, aren't we just seeing the belief, or rather, the result of the conflict that belief brings? If we see the world through what we believe, are we seeing anything other than a predetermined, preferred ideal? Why do I need the belief as a filter? Why not just see?
The way one normally sees is to place thoughts, ideas, prejudices, on top of whatever the physical eye sees. One sees another person, and depending on what is believed to be true about that person, through knowledge or experience, thought comes in and takes over. But is it necessary to waste energy in this way? If one is able to see without this taking place, what is left over? What is there? Ask yourself now. If you are not capable of seeing anything with the interference of thought, what takes place? You might say, "Nothing is there," and that would be true. But the "nothing" there, is everything. I wonder if this is getting through?
What is it that creates the separation when we look? Isn't it the self, seeing with its ideas? The self can only see through its own point of view, and therefore, it is constantly separating itself from whatever it is that it sees. Otherwise, the self cannot exist. Even looking at a table through that POV is dualistic. Not even a flower can be seen without creating conflict.
If I look at something, and there is no interference of thought, can there be a self? Can there be a separation? And if there is no separation, what is actually seen? If I look, and nothing interferes, then nothing is seen because there is no "me" that is seeing it. If there is no duality, there is nothing that is seen. It seems confusing, but go into this. If you look at a table, in the traditional sense, then you are seeing something, i.e., I see the table. But, if the table is seen without the self, what is there? If the self is not there to see the table, what happens? What is there?
Find out for yourself.