We see what we want to see …

By Gabriele Conrad, Goonellabah, NSW

I had quite an eye opener of an experience the other day. And eye opener is the appropriate term here, as it showed me firsthand and very tangibly what I had known for a long time about how we use our eyes.

I work as a book editor and a colleague had sent me two lines of a text with a typo in it to add to my collection of errata for its second edition; I had quickly skimmed the email and gleaned that there was an ‘r’ in the wrong place.

When I got back to the email a couple of days later I ended up staring at those two lines for a long while; I just could not spot the typo. May I add here that I have a lot of experience in this area; you could say that I am a pro. But no matter how hard I tried, I could not see the typo. There was no ‘r’ out of place, no matter how often I examined these two lines of text. And here they are:

They key to any minor or major problem is

to find the simplicity that has been ignored.

Serge Benhayon, Esoteric Teachings & Revelations, Volume II, ed. 1, p 367

I was very puzzled; extremely puzzled and confused. How come I could not spot this simple and straightforward typo, one that somebody had already pointed out?

I kept looking at the text, looking and looking and looking. And then something must have shifted and when I looked at it again, I could, all of a sudden, see that the typo was in the first word and that it was ‘they’ instead of ‘the’. And thus, it now reads:

The key to any minor or major problem is

to find the simplicity that has been ignored.

Serge Benhayon, Esoteric Teachings & Revelations, Volume II, ed. 1, p 367


What had happened? I had certainly ignored the simplicity of just seeing what was there to be seen and while I had been looking for the aberrant ‘r’, gone into the pursuit with the intention to find and track down this ‘r’, my vision had been very narrow, blinkered and aimed solely at the one and only thing, hunting down this elusive ‘r’. This had rendered me completely incapable of seeing anything else outside my narrow focus.

Or, to put it another way: I had gone into the looking, staring and searching with a preconceived idea, a judgment, an opinion, an image of what I was going to find, i.e. an aberrant ‘r’.

Taking a broader view, this is in no way trivial – it means that we only see what we want to see and don’t and can’t see what we don’t want to see; but what really happens is that we have actually seen it and everything with and around it but have just as quickly dismissed what does not fit the picture of what we are expecting to find. If someone says the earth is flat, then no volume of scientific proof will sway them otherwise until such time that they are ready to see beyond their belief system and conviction and thus willing to more truly see.

In other words: while we will all eventually see the whole truth, it is always by choice and, most importantly, in our own time. The perceived blinkered stubbornness or ignorance is a mental construct, a mental cage that has rendered the senses incapable of seeing what there is so obviously to see – in the eyes of those who don’t wear the same set of blinkers.

Back to the eyes: can we now see that we make them look for clues, information, material and especially confirmation of what we think we already know, are comfortable and familiar with and will even defend and fight for?

We use our eyes to pull ‘evidence’ in to support a past choice, no matter whether that choice is only a moment or years, even lifetimes ago. Vision has become part of the scaffolding that holds everything up and together and makes it, in our opinion and within our set of beliefs and images, mentally congruent.

We then use the eyes to reject anything that does not fit the picture, does not fit in with what it is that we want, demand and absolutely need to see. The term ‘confirmation bias’ describes our tendency, if not straightforward and linear urge, to favour ‘evidence’ and clues that fit our preconceived idea of what we deem is true, fervently need to be true, so that our picture of the world stays intact.

We use our eyes to feed the illusion that we are right and others are wrong, that our way is the right way, and even the only way, that we are separate from and different from other people, when in truth we are all one and the same.

In conclusion, here is a quote from Sermon 55, The Way of The Livingness, by Serge Benhayon, also the author of the quote above, as delivered in Wollongbar on 16 December 2017:

“Our senses are not truly or not predominantly responding to life,

they are displaying what they are pitched to experience.” (Serge Benhayon)

When we start to use our sight and other senses to respond to life, guided by what we feel, before and above all else, then we will start to develop true sight, which comes second and confirms the knowing of our inner-heart and the what is, the place where we are one.

Read more:

  1. Seeing is believing – or is it? 
  2. Seeing the whole from the heart


837 thoughts on “We see what we want to see …

  1. “what really happens is that we have actually seen it and everything with and around it but have just as quickly dismissed what does not fit the picture of what we are expecting to find.“ Wow, I have to wonder how much of my life this is going on in. I recently clocked how sore my eyes became when watching someone in my life, I wanted to squint them and they stung. I have recently realised there were things there I didn’t want to see, and even when I tried to be open to understanding what that was, I had an expectation of what I thought it was likely to be, so I couldn’t access the true cause of my sore eyes around this person. I have just today understood what that is and it’s not what I thought it was. It didn’t fit with the version of life I preferred. I have to wonder how much we extinguish our own vision health over time by this practice of filtering what we see, based on what we want or are comfortable with.

    1. In my experience, our vision changes according to how we use our eyes, in line with how much we are willing or not willing to see.

      1. Thanks Gabriele, in my experiences I notice there is a hardening, like a slight physical contraction of the eye when I don’t want to see something, which I feel must accumulate as tension in the tissue of the eyes and affect my vision.

      2. Great observation and it would certainly have an impact on the eye muscles and over time change the shape of the eyeball, thus leading to refractive errors.

    1. I agree – attempts at persuasion only lead to resentment and delay, in the bigger picture of many lives.

  2. Gabriele I searched for the error and read the sentence with the ‘y’. I had set myself this picture of how it needed to read and missed it too.

    I’m learning more and more how the senses are here for more than the physicality. For instance, my ears have been a “problem” since I was young and it is in the past two years or so that I have realised the ears can feel just as much as they can hear. I now am able to pick up from a tone of a voice, when something is off. It is far from perfection but learning to use my senses from this place, is far preferable to how I used to live.

  3. I did exactly what you did, so I can only thank you from the bottom of my bottomless heart for sharing this as it opens up a whole new way of seeing because I am clearly highly influenced without clocking it!!! So now to bring that awareness into my movements and see what else comes!!

    1. We are being manipulated by the way we have been taught to use our five physical senses at the expense of our sixth sense.

      1. Gabriele there is so much emphasis on seeing, smelling, tasting etc, we are continually manipulated. That sixth sense is never nurtured unless you are bought up in a family that knows how to. It makes absolute sense the reason why a baby will cry when it is born as it senses so much around it, and I can feel the over whelm it is surrounded by as a newborn…

      2. It must feel like an assault nearly, the way we suddenly find ourselves outside that which cushioned us, to a degree. Feeling it all we always did, of course.

      3. We are taught in education to look for something, usually one thing or something specific, we aren’t fostered to just receive in full everything outside of ourselves with our eyes. We seem to impose quite strongly over the body including our own vision, assuming the body is an apparatus for us to use our way, not to learn from the body and feel how it naturally does things and let it take the lead and collaborate with it.

  4. You have unravelled something for me here and I can feel I will need to sit with it for a bit to see what it reveals! There are so many parts that stood out but the most revealing for me was how we see so that what we see fits “our preconceived idea of what we deem is true, fervently need to be true, so that our picture of the world stays intact.”

  5. That is exactly what I was doing … looking for the ‘r’ that should not be there!!!! Definitely ignoring the simplicity .. I wonder where else in life I am ignoring this?

    1. I have found that once I have become aware of my blind spots, I discover more … and more … and more.

  6. I found this blog very supportive and confirming – we are also picking up far more than what we realise and this is to be appreciated. Once we are open to knowing that there is more then what is on offer will show itself.

  7. It’s the same for me when I am unsettled and I am looking for an answer or an understanding, I’ve already narrowed my focus and the true answer can’t come through, as soon as you look for something it’s like putting on blinkers, you cannot see and know everything. The key is really to stay open.

  8. The beliefs or pictures we hold can be very revealing or quite shocking to say the least. To get a sense of the force of the hold over me is supporting me next time round, to pause and speak up about how I am feeling even if things don’t add up, in order to support me further or more deeply rather than to ignore and keep things to myself.

  9. It seems, from reading what you have shared, and from my own experience that we do not use our eyes as they are created to be used; we try to control what we see, or sometimes do not want to see, instead of allowing the images to come to us as per the eyes natural inbuilt function. And with that controlling we are missing out on so much that is being presented to us, and then wonder why we didn’t see what was actually there. Our eyes are so amazing, but it is obvious that we know very little about them, other than we use them to see, and if we lose our sight, that is devastating.

    1. We abuse our eyes by making them look out like hunter gatherers in a way they were not meant to – to the detriment of how we are in and with life and our physiology.

      1. Beautifully put Gabriele, I can really feel in my eyes what you were saying about ‘looking out like hunter gatherers’ and in turn they have stopped doing this and feel far more gentle, but how many times in my day or in life do my eyes look at like ‘hunter gatherers!’ A great reminder to all.

      2. I have never considered this way of looking and interestingly as I consider it now I feel trepidation in my body. For me, that trepidation can only mean that something has been busted and there is an opportunity in front of me to be more aware, so bring it on I say because if I have been using a sense and corrupting it then I have been reducing its communication and what a waste that is.

    2. Yes, it is devastating because it means we are not actually seeing and then mourn a deviation. Chances are we see better when we use our other senses than trust the deviated one that we have come to rely on as truth.

      1. We are best served when we use our sixth sense and then the five physical senses as a confirmation of what we have seen, heard, smelt, tasted or touched.

  10. Someone sent me an email the other day and I saw in it many changes to the way I have been organising a particular meeting. For clarification I sent an email to the source of the email and she replied – that is not what the email says. I read it again and she was right, I had completely read it wrongly, yet the night before I had been convinced I was right. Always energy, we see what we want to see, or rather, don’t see what we don’t want to see.

    1. That’s a good experience to share Ariana, the same has happened to me, so I have to ask myself if I see with my heart and receive the truth, or do I see with projections and hurts, etc?

  11. Reading this expanded on something I was mulling over last night. Reading the book Time, Space and All of Us: Space there was a part about how much are we missing when we are educated to look rather than receive. I feel the answer is in learning to feel before I see more because what I feel is what is received rather than going outside of myself to feel.

    1. We have the most amazing ‘apparatus’ for deep and rich perception within us and we forsake it in order to go outside of ourselves and pull in what suits us, a poor, paltry and limp copy of the vastness that is available. The access to vastness is within, we go in first before the expansion unfolds.

  12. I am also aware of how I use my hearing, responding very often with what I want to hear. However I am learning to pause when something is said to give myself a moment to hear everything that is being communicated to me. We can miss out on so much when we dismiss with our senses all that is there to be received.

  13. I have often been surprised to re read an email to discover my typing errors that I have overlooked at the time. It just shows me how often I only see what I want to see and not what is actually presented for me to see.

    1. Same here; I understand that our mind fills in the gaps, makes it look like what is there in front of us is how it should be, above board, all i’s dotted and t’s crossed. Now what does that say about the way we look at the world? Is that truly seeing or a kind of minding the mind’s business, i.e. seeing things through the filter of how we want and need things and people to be?

    2. What a great conversation, are we truly allowing the truth to be seen and received, or do we project our version of what we would prefer to see? And if we did see life exactly as it is, wouldn’t that then be a greater call to responsibility?

  14. We do see what we want to see, we also understand only what sits comfortably with us, any more and we fight that awareness. A true celebration is when we grab hold of awareness with both hands and expand with it.

    1. I agree, the blinkers affect all our physical senses and also our level of comprehension; we continually erect no-go-zones in an effort to shore up our defences and stay put.

  15. We see what we want to see and hear what we want to hear. The worst thing is that we say whatever we want to say. Stopping before we speak is a great way to live and being open to seeing and hearing truth is also so supportive.

  16. And we have such a clear responsibility to be super duper honest with ourselves about what we do and do not want to see or hear. Any filter we apply is something to be very aware of – my experience is that it tends to be a reduction of the all that is on offer.

  17. It is extraordinary how we can miss something so obvious – it’s the same as ‘I/we cant see for looking’. As long as we choose to wear ‘blinkers’ and only see what suits us, we will always miss the bigger picture of what is actually there to be seen, right in front of us.

    1. Yes, we can’t see for looking because looking is the attempt to draw something in, to make it fit a certain image at the time we want it, to confirm a preconceived idea or held belief. In effect, we turn around within the circles of our self-created bubble and get very upset when we are shown the illusion it all is.

  18. What you shared here makes so much sense Gabriele. Recently I found myself liking an advertising campaign that in the form was ‘cool’ and fit with the right standards about what a good design should be but the message felt not right when I shared it with a friend, who made me question about my perception about it. I realized how blind I was by just fixing my view in the form and techniques and not going deeper in to my senses. I could understand why, in the art school no one encouraged us to feel first then seeing second. All was based in what was right in a composition level or what fitted in the art industry or what some few called ‘artists’ said what good art was about. So it is good for me to come back to the years in school and question all what I’ve learned. It was great as I could learn the abilities to approach a design project but now I’m realizing about there was a missing link, my connection with my inner-heart and what I really see from this space. Feels very different to what I saw before…a work in progess to explore.

    1. You make a great point here: we disengage and let our senses, in this case the eyes, decide how something is; but in order to do this, we must have parked our sixth sense elsewhere, sidelined it in fact because it and we know what is true and what is not true. With clairsentience, we cannot be fooled.

  19. I had a vivid dream the other night which I found interesting and saw it as a confirmation. I was looking in the mirror, and I looked at my hair, and it looked as though it was going thin on top. So I looked closer, and it looked even more sparse, and then I looked even closer, and I was bald with no hair at all. I told my husband, and instantly he said ‘The closer you look, the more you see’.

    1. Interesting – the more openly and without images and preconceived ideas we look, the more we certainly see; if not, we just get fed what it is that we want and need to see to keep our world view intact and not get any smashed pictures and their associated hurts.

  20. When we choose to only see what we want to see, we can miss out on so much. It is a direct reflection of how little or how much we are choosing to see truth or not.

    1. And it is always a choice, whether we like to hear and admit that or not. Nothing happens by accident or because it ‘just happened’.

  21. What I find fascinating is that at times things can appear so difficult and unfathomable but then when the fog clears the answers are all there. In these times we have to read what is in the way and then we can see things from another angle.

    1. We need to reclaim the simplicity that is innate rather than fall for the complications that grate, provide friction and support everything that has been created.

  22. We do “use the eyes to reject anything that does not fit the picture, does not fit in with what it is that we want, demand and absolutely need to see.” The world is full of examples of how we go along with this, accepting lie after lie to avoid taking responsibility for how we are living.

  23. The fact made very clear that we see what we have already chosen to see before we see. I get shown this often when I am with someone and we share what it is we are seeing… our perceptions and pre-conceived ideas affect what we see. I am sure that if we strip back all the layers we have accumulated, we would come back to the purity of seeing the one and true view.

  24. That is an eye-opener to realize we see all And then quickly dismiss what does not serve our picture about life.
    We make it how we want it to be.
    Untill one day we all have to open up to all again in our evolution to go home again.

    1. Great observation Sylvia – “We make it how we want it to be”. I agree that, in general, we have a picture of how life should be that we carry with us, and we see all that we do and all that is presented to us through this filter. But how much of our true life are we missing out on when we live in such a blinkered way? A great deal, I am sure!

      1. We live inside a box of our own making and look out through our blinkers into a rather narrow tunnel of what we define as our reality which we then doggedly defend, seek confirmation for and shore up.

  25. The key to any minor or major problem is to find the simplicity that has been ignored.
    Serge Benhayon, Esoteric Teachings & Revelations, Volume II, ed. 1, p 367
    I wonder how many of us have experienced this at one time or another. Too many to count I imagine. I know I have missed things in my own life that have been blindingly obvious, by looking for something more complex than the simplicity before me, or even creating something that does not even exist instead of accepting the simple truth that is right in front of my eyes.

    1. We love complexity and complications for the identity they provide in return and don’t seem to mind the blood, sweat and tears that invariably accompany such endeavours. In creation, huffing and puffing are a valuable and esteemed commodity, frequently traded albeit superficially deplored.

  26. We see what we are looking for. It’s more effective – we think. It allows us to be a bit lazy. It means we miss out on a lot.

  27. Gabriele, I have had similar experiences where I was convinced I saw something and another was convinced the opposite had occurred. It’s quite incredible how we can feel very dogmatic about this but when we understand the eyes to feed the illusion, we can understand there can be a different way to view.

    1. It is also my experience that we will defend our view of things and people, our judgment and opinion, tooth and nail. It is as though they defined us, made us into something, gave us some substance. In other words, it is a game of and in creation.

  28. I absolutely love the simplicity and revelation on offer in this quote – applicable to all areas in life really: “The key to any minor or major problem is to find the simplicity that has been ignored.”

    1. Driving this morning I kept coming back to this fact – that we can choose simplicity in every moment and that when we do we are touched by something so much greater than our human existence. It is like all the complication we have created obscures our view of how simple things truly are.

      1. We have layered and burdened reality with mental constructs of how we want it to be – it’s like digging holes every morning and filling them up again in the afternoon, just to start all over again the following day. But should someone ask us why we do what we do or suggest we stop doing what we do, we don’t like it and defend this insanity to the hilt.

  29. It is actually not possible to see and feel everything – but what is possible is to then reject it. I have observed how I resist seeing the full picture at times but in fact this is the very thing I will learn from.

    1. You have made me curious – what is it we cannot feel in its entirety and why would it be so? What kind of exclusions are you thinking of?

  30. During an interview recently, about a vehicle accident I was a witness to, I really got to experience what I saw and what I thought I had seen. It was a very testing moment in time, as I was trying to be the best witness with the most accurate information, but it didn’t take me long to realise that everything I had seen was only a small proportion of what was actually there. I had a moment of annoyance at myself for not being able to recall everything but finally accepted that I could only share what I was sure of. A very valuable experience indeed.

    1. I have heard that regardless ofr the number of witnesses, each one has a different version of a certain sequence of events which goes to show how subjective and coloured by prejudice, opinion, images and needs our physical senses and their functionality are.

  31. Complexity is the plaything of the etheric human spirit who seeks to constantly create disorder from order simply so it/we can feel a sense of ownership and identification from it. In contrast to this, the Soul moves simply and wisely in tune with the universal order we belong to and never against it.

    1. Complexity and complications are the hallmarks of the etheric spirit, in stark contrast to the Soul which moves by and with the grace of simplicity within and for the all and has no need for recognition or identification.

  32. The other day I was taking some photos of some objects and was setting up some lights I have just for the job, and I needed my largest light stand that has a long arm to light overhead, of what you are shooting. I looked everywhere for the large stand! I keep all of my equipment in one place. But, I could not find it anywhere in the house or the garage. I found it later that night; it is what I have been hanging my bathrobe on for months. What else do I refuse to see in my life, if I miss seeing the big things?

    1. That is not only hilarious but very telling as well – and as you say, what is it we choose not to see when even the big things escape our awareness. What else is there to see and why don’t we want to see it?

    2. Steve that is a crack up and a corker of an example! And we wonder how we cannot see truth in a sea of lies…

    3. This highlights how we stop ‘seeing’ things that are so familiar to us. It is like we become blind to the everyday everything that is around us and it makes me want to wake up much more and not miss the opportunities right under my nose or take anything for granted.

      1. This is also apparent when we don’t take in and appreciate our surroundings at home anymore – like the picture on the wall in our bedroom that we might have chosen with much care but don’t ever look at for the inspiration and confirmation it offers. The same for ornaments and things we love, the teapot on the table, etc. etc. We just look straight past them.

      2. I know this one. I may write something down as a reminder or something that inspired me at the time but I’ll completely ignore it within a few days until I throw it away. The words no longer valued like they used to be when I first wrote them down.

  33. It’s true, we only see what we want to see. I have spent this lifetime not wanting to feel or see the ugliness man is capable of and yet by not being willing to see, we are in fact adding to the ugliness. Turning that around is not easy because there is the willingness to read and see the ugliness, but the feeling of numbness after years of ignoring things is so strong.

    1. Being numb to how out of hand and devastating our way of life truly is becomes our comfort; it is what we know and hanker for at the expense of the multidimensionality we can live.

  34. This is such an important article, even though its based on quite a simple observation. But applying this observation to a bigger picture we can start to see, as has been shared here, “that we only see what we want to see and don’t and can’t see what we don’t want to see”. We can get so caught up, even identified with how we see the world and how we want to see the world that we ignore the truth that is often in front of our eyes. But therein lies our dilemma for if we only use and rely on our eyes without all of our other senses working together, including that of what we feel, we will be deceived.

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