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


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

  1. Reading this blog today I can see where much of our modern evidence based medical research perhaps is flawed in that it is based on the model of already pre-deciding or judging what the answer is and then trying to do research to confirm this, rather than staying completely open to all possibilities and actually simply observing what is occurring in life in front of us.

    1. Very true – sponsored science relies heavily on where the funds come from and on confirmation bias and ignores the ‘outliers’, all that doesn’t fit the preconceived picture.

    2. Because of this investment, its like the joy and wonderment of science and in the observation is removed. In fact how can there be joy and wonderment in realising or being open to whatever a finding may be when there is a pre-judgment in what the answer will be. So then we could ask, where is the science?

  2. I find it so fascinating that we so convince ourselves that we are seeing something truly that we can scratch our heads when it turns out to be false. The conviction is such testimony to the fact of our reluctance to expand and grow.

    1. We fight the expansion tooth and nail and defend the indefensible, stubbornly digging our heels in – to our very own detriment and that of all of humanity.

      1. This really doesn’t make sense, does it? And when the veil falls and I see truth revealed again and again, again and again, I catch myself saying how on earth could I have been so blind?!

      2. I know -–it’s the epitome of one almighty dur moment and the disbelief is something to behold as those original moments of not seeing what was there to be seen cannot ever be repeated once our eyes are opened.

      3. Amen to that! The depth of awareness accrued and deeper appreciation that inevitably follows supports a richer sense of purpose. However, in my certain knowledge that I don’t ever want to unsee again what I have seen, I also know there will always be more to see and so there can never be any arrogance that feels I have arrived but a forever willingness to have things exposed that I have denied the light of day.

      4. I love the expression ‘unseen’ – I have at times tried to jump back into an old way of perceiving things and events, but once our eyes have been opened it just doesn’t work any longer. What was seemingly invisible, hidden to the physical eye stands out like dog’s balls and never will it not.

  3. “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 love the quote, it’s so simple and profound. It shows us that problems are resolved with simplicity and not the complexity our thoughts flood us with.

  4. The pictures we hold condition us to only see what fits that picture. It becomes challenging when something or someone comes along with another version or a different picture. Do we allow ourselves to consider that our picture may be misguided or do we defend it to the death?

    1. Most of humanity feel threatened when our pictures are challenged by the suggestion of another and truer reality. It just goes to show how strong these pictures are and how we use them to define ourselves and the way we look at life, at things and people.

  5. I get how important it is to be open to seeing what truly stands before us rather than what is convenient or fits with our pre-set picture. And I love it when I do because it makes much more sense of the world.

  6. We have become so programmed to re-act to life thus we have forgotten that when we use all of our senses we innately can respond to life.

    1. And when we re-act, we are on the back foot and can’t read what is happening any longer; and in come more pictures, beliefs and ideals of how things and people should be like rather than how it all truly is.

    1. And it happens in an instant – feeling the truth and the default safety position of just as quickly overriding it. Over time and with dedication, we can learn to perceive the gaps and how we are so easily taken by what suits us, by the ‘convenient truth’ that serves the status quo and leaves everything unquestioned and unchallenged.

    2. So many times I have overridden from the head what I have felt and every time I have done this it has proven to be false. The question why is, why keep choosing it? I must admit I am doing so less and less but the scales for me have still not yet tipped totally in favour of the heart.

      1. We want to feel and honour what we feel but then, what we feel we don’t like. And we deny it and bear the consequences.

  7. By coming back to the body and feeling first before using our sense of sight we get to ‘see’ so much more than what is physically in front of us. Our clairsentience (feeling sense) is so often over ridden or ignored by our other senses which predominate how we interact with the world, but to what expense?

  8. This is a great example of how blind we can be when we don’t expect to see something – it takes us much longer but eventually the evidence points us towards the truth. How much more blind are we when we don’t *want* to see something? How much evidence do we need then?

  9. “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”. My goodness the hugeness of this phrase just really hit me. How radical this sounds in a world in which we seem to celebrate and champion complexity – in fact the more complicated things are the more most people seem to think they are getting their money’s worth! No wonder all our issues are spiraling out of control.

    1. We identify with complexity because it gives us something to talk about whereas simplicity is a bit too … yes, simple and you don’t get any medals for it.

    2. Well said Golnaz …… “How radical this sounds in a world in which we seem to celebrate and champion complexity – in fact the more complicated things are the more most people seem to think they are getting their money’s worth! No wonder all our issues are spiraling out of control.”

  10. This is the dangerous thing with images, it is easy to be fooled and hoodwinked into receiving something totally different to what is actually there.

    1. True Michael, and I would say also that ‘need’ is an image (of the outcome, timescale or whatever our dictation is) that stops us from discerning, with the result of being hoodwinked and lied to.

  11. I wonder how different the world would be, if as a global population of human beings, we all chose to see what here is to see, rather than what we each individually would only like to see.

    1. Truth would be what it has always been – the truth and nothing but the truth without all the man-made interpretations and falsifications.

  12. Being able to observe, just to observe, is a rare skill that needs readiness to be completely honest and practise but the payoff can be very large as we will get to be aware of and understand far more than we would otherwise do.

  13. I had a situation similar to this recently with someone’s email address. I spent a long time ‘looking’ for the mistake and for ages simply couldn’t see it for looking. But when I let go of trying to see it, I eventually saw the error. Taking a step back and allowing what is front of us to come to us for us to see, allows us that space and grace to ‘read’ everything that is before us.

    1. Stepping back and deepening into ourselves allows space for what needs to be seen to come towards us rather than the other way around.

  14. We see what we want to see is so true and the reality of this is a whole new concept to grasp but with an openness of our hearts and our bodies more and more is revealed to us and truly seeing opens up a whole new world and way of living expansively and purposefully.

  15. I still find that if I am in a ‘doing’ mode, the world I see closes down to a single perspective and ignoring the obvious becomes the norm. This blog reminds me of those moments to come back to myself.

  16. It is so true we see what we want to see, no matter what is showing us that there is another way we don’t even allow ourselves to see it. We only want to see what we believe is the truth.

    1. We very quickly settle for a convenient truth that fits all our pictures, images and ideals rather than allow ourselves to see the whole gamut of what is there to see.

  17. Our ideals, beliefs, judgments, ideas, notions and opinions really do guide us into what we see and hear and therefore what we don’t see and hear. They place filters over our senses to dull them and they also feed our reactions to life and life events, thereby preventing us further from true sight continuously narrowing our perspectives. But this is not our natural way and we can learn to undo all of these things that prevent us from seeing what is truly going on.

  18. Have you ever been in a situation when you know there’s something for you to see but you’re just not seeing the full extent of what’s playing out? Until afterwards when you get to see the full extent of your involvement and the lack of responsibility presented on your part. Big Ouch!
    This is the result of us not wanting to see.

  19. I like the phrase ‘mental cages’ as it really sums up what we place upon our mind. We lock in so many things about how we see/experience the world through these mental changes. But the best thing about a cage, is that it often comes with a lock and a key so we can choose to unlock and see the ‘why’.

    1. Or even notice that the bars of the cage are at times non-existent or even inviting us to leave with us resisting.

      1. The cage doors are wide open all the time but just like the caged rat which refuses to leave, we do likewise and literally dig our heels in.

  20. “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
    So interesting that this should be the paragraph where the spelling error was found. How often do we miss a mistake that is right under our noses, but we simply dont see it because we are so intent on seeing with just our eyes and not with all of our senses and our very being.

  21. After reading what you have written Gabriele, it makes complete sense to understand what Serge Benhayon has said about our senses not truly or not predominantly responding to life. They are geared to what we want to see or hear according to our past experiences.

    1. Correct – acording to our past experiences and according to how we need the world, people, our pictures and ideals to be so we can remain in our slumber.

    2. It also depends on how we move through our previous experiences. What we are and what we are not willing and able to let go of.

    3. So true Gill, it makes me wonder how much of what we see is influenced by our hurts, the energy we align to and our expectations? Our clarity and ability to truly see depends on the energy we choose to align to.

    4. Very true. The scientific explanation is that this approach is more efficient but it means we miss out on a lot.

      1. Maybe that’s because science is double-blinded to what is really going on? And efficiency and function are its gods?

  22. We see what we want to see, hear what we want to hear and act how we want to act – and then complain that life isn’t going our way. It’s so true and yet we all know it need not be the case. Wake up time is upon us.

    1. It sounds like you are describing a spoilt child or someone who is having a tantrum and not wanting to see or hear the truth.

      1. We certainly stomp our feet very hard and insist on letting the mind run the show, at the expense of our vitality and wellbeing.

  23. We dismiss what doesn’t fit our picture, this is for sure what we all used to do. We see life as we want to see it. Which is in a way that satisfies our spirit.

    1. We doggedly move and live within a close range of what suits us, of what confirms our preconceived ideas and judgments, of life and of people. And thus, we effectively stall our evolution.

    2. But nevertheless we will feel the truth of our experience, no matter how much we polish it thereafter. Hence, our body is the marker of all truth, as Serge Benhayon has quoted many times before.

    3. Years ago when I was in the Air Force and worked on the flight line around large aircraft and hearing protection was a daily issue. My partner complained about my growing hearing loss and suggested I have my hearing tested. I did the test, and everything was fine. The Doctor that discussed my test results, that just happened to be the head of the ENT (ears, nose and throat) department, asked if I was married and I responded yes. He told me that the longer you are with someone you can develop selective hearing by choice and choose not to hear them.

      1. I have noticed that as well – we use selective hearing and phase out what we think we already know the other person is going to say; it feels like an act of dismissiveness, of not taking another serious, not valuing their contribution. Interesting that the specialist’s question was about whether you were married or not. He was obviously familiar with this syndrome as well.

  24. That final quote from Serge Benhayon is quite revealing. In that how we see and walk through life is based purely on ourselves, and all of our choices. There’s that not so little word – responsibility that is highlighted here.

  25. An eye opener into our choices and what we choose to see or not. Beautiful offering so much opportunity to makes changes to our lives and see the truth honestly from the wholeness of who we are.

  26. ‘…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 determination to see or look for what we want to see, brings me to the understanding that there has to be an openness to us, a spaciousness in the way we ‘see’ or rather, let the information be picked up on – by our whole body and not just the focus of the eye… May be this is where the term ‘reading’ energy comes from.

  27. Serge has totally nailed it with this pearl of wisdom
    ‘The key to any minor or major problem is to find the simplicity that has been ignored.’ – When we are caught up in our problem or issue then we don’t see the answer that is standing there right beside us, very clear and obvious to connect to. So it just goes to show the game as when you are in your ‘funk’ there is no way of seeing in and it can perpetuate and spiral out of control.

    1. Being in your ‘funk’ – I hadn’t heard that before; that kind of funk gets very gunky though, doesn’t it? We end up not seeing the forest for the trees.

  28. What we focus on is what we see: do we look for the mistakes, the complication, the lack, the not there or not done yet, or the beauty, the simplicity, ease and natural flow of life? Even if we have always focused on the negative, it doesn’t dictate the future and doesn’t mean that we are condemned to only see that in the future. What we see is a choice, from moment to moment.

    1. A moment to moment choice and alignment indeed – do we look for the ‘what is not’ and have that confirmed or are we open to receiving the ‘what is’ that unites us?

  29. Gabriele, I am constantly reminded of this blog when I find myself looking at or for something specific – because in the process you become so narrow visioned that you can easily miss all the other magic that is there to be seen when you are only focused on the one thing. Thank you for highlighting this and reminding me of the more natural eye/vision we have when we let go of the focused intensity that I can so easily fall for, especially as I am a very visual person.

  30. I love this example Gabriele, when our ‘vision’ has parameters or a framework placed on it we miss what is truly there. As I read the above and was trying to find the ‘r’ I was blind to the ‘y’, and yet when I looked away and looked back without expecting anything the ‘y’ stood out as clear as day. A great lesson for life, not everything is as it seems.

    1. No further explanation needed – when we see without expectations, looking becomes obsolete and life is stripped off its ideals and projected images.

    2. We can apply this to any aspect, view, belief, hurt,expectation or reaction – trying to find ‘x’ I was blind to ‘y’

  31. It’s true, we do see what we want to see and this is made particularly evident when we hold ourselves in stubbornness and demand that the world act according to our pictures.

    1. So true Steve. Being fixated on what ‘we want’ rather than what is there for us to see, so much can be missed, and the knock on effect of these consequences can be far reaching.

  32. I have to admit I have terrible trouble seeing things at times because of the way my brain works, I can look in a drawer for a pair of scissors and not see them when they are actually there and then by looking in a different way they magically appear.

    1. I have experienced this too and this often happens when I am in hurry or tensed, my vision seems to shrink and become very narrow.

  33. When we see something that disturbs us, this tension we feel can actually feed the very ‘thing’ we see, convincing and confirming it in a negative feedback-loop what we think we see, reducing the clarity and capacity to see deeper or beyond the superficial tension. It often takes one to step away and come back later to look with ‘fresh eyes’ to see the bigger picture.

  34. What you are essentially saying Gabriele is that we can create our own reality around us we will not see beyond and in that be trapped in our own illusion of what we don’t want to see convincing ourselves we are not avoiding or being irresponsible with how we are living. Quite a massive and hugely important topic when you really break it down

    1. Massive indeed and meaning that we cannot control, coerce, proselytise or otherwise convince anyone as we all see what we need and want to see until we are willing to receive more and move towards true sight.

  35. It is amazing how we can blinker our sight according to what we are expecting to find and great to be more aware of this to then work on being more open to truly receive the full picture of life so to speak.

  36. ‘…while we will all eventually see the whole truth, it is always by choice and, most importantly, in our own time.’ This is so important to remember, and this is helping me to let go of the investment and need for others to see what I can see, because when we impose truth and love onto others, then our intentions are definitely not from love.

  37. I was surprised to have been fooled by such an obvious typo as this, but it just proves to me that if my total focus is in looking for the wrong thing or rather something other than truth, then I will overlook the truth that is staring me in the face.

    1. Which demonstrates more than anything that we get to the truth in our own time – when we are willing to open our eyes more fully.

  38. It is true we can choose what we want to see. Take a mess in our homes, we actually get used to seeing the pile of whatever and are able to dismiss it until one day we wake up and actually see the mess and want to do something about it. It just makes me wonder what else and to what extent can we walk past something and think ‘I’ll deal with that later’.

    1. I mislaid a notebook six months ago, couldn’t find it anywhere. Then a couple of days ago I decided it was time to tackle the muddles on my desk and instead have a clear and clean desk to sit at and hey presto, the missing notebook was under a pile of papers and it was literally only a few inches from my laptop, but unseen to me it had ceased to exist.

    2. This mess you are referring to Julie, is what I am looking at right now in my home. I find I receive a different perspective when I take a photo of my house and see it through a lens, even though it is a 2D image, what is revealed in a photo is very interesting. It shows up the angles and relationships of objects, which I often miss when I walk past an object or when I place something down on a bench without thinking about how it affects everything else. The messages we receive through our eyes can often be glazed over but if we connect to how we feel in our body, it can be more difficult to miss.

    3. I love what you share here about our willingness to walk past mess and not do anything about it because after a while we don’t even see it. If I go away for a few days, it’s always very revealing to me the quality (or lack of) that I come back to.

      1. We normalise the aberrant and the disturbing, all for the sake of not rocking the boat or standing out from the crowd. Safety and security count more than truth and society as a whole and everybody individually suffers the consequences.

    4. I also, get this sense that when we walk past a situation be it a mess in the house or a conflict outside of the home, we also make a conscious split-second choice to walk on by and dismiss it as if it is someone else’s problem.

      1. We go against what we know fair well is our responsibility and pretend we have not seen or noticed it.

  39. Sometimes we can get so absorbed in the details of something that we lose sight of the bigger picture. In a situation such as this, there is much to be missed as although the details are important, they can become self absorbing at the expense of others.

  40. We can resolutely be blind to something if we so choose, especially if we stand in a position of defence not wanting to see another point of view, or the fact that we may be in error.

    1. Defensiveness is a huge factor when we refuse to see what is right in front of our eyes; and this defensiveness is mostly based on pride and the refusal to admit one has got it wrong.

      1. Which at the end of the day is a protection of not wanting to feel the hurt underneath that has caused us to want to shut off in the first place. The pride and refusal to admit one has got it wrong gives us permission to not uncover the fact… for if we did admit we got it wrong, space is left for the hurt to come up and be looked at.

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