Looking for a Whale

by Jandy Anderson

Standing in the bow of a small ferry, I saw something move in the water. Perhaps it was a whale?! I had seen whales on my ferry trips before. Perhaps today it would happen again! I began eagerly looking around as closely and thoroughly as I could, trying to see a whale.

I noticed I was holding my breath, and that led me deeper to observe more of what was happening inside me. I could see that I did not want to let go of holding my breath because I did not want to let go of the excitement of looking for a whale. As I began watching my breath more closely, I also saw the workings of my mind more clearly. I saw my mind excitedly looking for a whale and then getting disappointed at not finding one. Furthermore, I noticed that my mind, in its goal-orientated way was preventing me from seeing the view in front of me.

The mind always wants something; it always has some kind of goal. A goal to achieve something, such as the goal of finding a whale. The goals of the mind, act like an invisible line dividing reality and making it impossible to see the wholeness of reality. The division is in place so long as you are caught up in or identified with the mind. It is not until you become aware of the mind that you see the division created by the mind and begin to see beyond it.

As my awareness opened, I felt amazed to realize that, in spite of all my looking, I had not AT ALL been seeing the immense beauty and variety of the harbour before me. I then dropped my mind’s goal of seeing a whale and took in the incredible beauty. It was as if my eyes were opening after being closed.

If I had not become aware of my inner state, I would have gone through the entire ferry trip without seeing the view in front of me. What’s more, I would not have realized that I had missed the vista. Since I had been looking at it intently for so long, I would have believed I had seen it.

Our minds divide reality. By looking for something, by having a goal, the mind stops us from seeing ‘what is.’ The present moment is always immediately available. But we simply cannot see or experience it when we are caught in our minds. Instead, we see whatever our minds are projecting out onto the moment.

This also happens with the journey of self-exploration. By getting caught up in looking for joy or presence or freedom or enlightenment with our minds, we cannot see the present moment which contains all these qualities in unlimited abundance.

So, the take away is: don’t miss enjoying the view by spending your whole time looking for a whale!

Jandy Anderson is a Dalian Method Facilitator and offers appointments at Local Health Integrative Clinic on Saturdays. Click here to book an appointment with Jandy.