Consciousness sees. Mind analyses, evaluates, and judges. Sooner or later, the mind tends to believe that seeing is one of its functions. This creates an additional illusion that locks you away in the realm of your mind permanently, as wherever you look, you see nothing but the mind. It appears to be impossible to perceive the world and yourself differently, unaffected by its interference. It appears that the thinking process is an indispensable part of human existence. It appears that watching will never supersede thinking.

Constrained by the boundaries of language and the duality that accompany them, the mind has no faculty to achieve a comprehensive worldview. In contrast, consciousness has this ability, and the knowledge it gains in the process of watching is always more impartial and thorough. Direct seeing that is free from the mind’s interference is a distinct level of perception that is unavailable to those who have not mastered the art of witnessing and non-identification. This explains why intelligent people too often find themselves in situations where they act like complete fools.

Comment. One can say that consciousness sees, but it would be more accurate to say that it perceives one’s surroundings, and through that seeing it gains knowledge about them, including people and personal life situations. This is referred to as direct perception: it is not tinted with thoughts, mind projections, or conditioning. You don’t even need to observe details or subtle nuances; otherwise, something as simple as walking down the street will send you into overload attributable to excessive information influx—grasping the essence of the matter is sufficient; there is no need even to shape it into words. Further, there is no need even to hold onto this essence, or try to remember or record it in your mind. You are present in the moment, know everything you need to know about it, and make no judgments, speculations, evaluations, or attempts to scrutinize it. This is unmediated perception. When there is a need to describe the things that you see, you allow your mind to communicate this nonverbal knowledge. If you are looking for more precise details, you either restrict your attention to the person whose inner state you need to understand, or use a contemplation technique—if you wish to understand the subtleties of a given personal situation. Direct perception is inherent to animals as well, although of course, they lack the capability to gather elaborate and precise knowledge in the way that humans do.