Seeing Yourself in Another

Where you finally see the beloved is you look at another human being, you look at another soul. I look at all of you, and you are all souls to me, and you are all so beautiful. I mean, each person’s struggle, each person’s journey is so exquisite, I can hardly catch my breath when I just let myself stop for a moment and appreciate. It is so precious.

I walk down the street, often in ecstasy. I’m just looking at so much beauty, I can hardly bear it; and most of the people have no idea they’re beautiful. They’re busy being not beautiful, because they’re thinking, “If only I had this or if only this, or if only that… then I’d be beautiful.” And who they are, and their pain and their beauty and all of it, is so preciously beautiful. It’s just like the beloved is being offered to you again and again; another view, another view, and another view.

I love painting, and when I see the way in which Van Gogh, or Gauguin, or people like that saw human beings, the way in which they saw through the veil and they saw each person so clearly, I just – ah, I love it. It’s reverence. It’s reverence.

This is something you can cultivate. You can practice this. But you’ve got to understand that your ability to see the soul and subtlety inside of another person is in part dependent on your ability to acknowledge it in yourself. That if you’re busy just being somebody looking for it in somebody else, you’ll only see what the looked can see. It takes one to know one, is the way to say it.

But you begin to see that your sensing mechanism in life is not just your eyes, and it’s not just your ears, and it’s not just your analytic mind, and it’s not just your skin sensitivity. It’s something deeper in you. It’s some quality of intuitive appreciation. I don’t know what words to use for this. It’s another way of knowing. They call it the Third Eye at time, when it’s really opened at a deeper, psychic level. But it is just a way in which you become a receiver with all of your being, for the nature of the being of another person.

And when you have the chance to stand somewhere where nobody’s watching you, and you can just look at people… I spend lots of time doing that. Like, I’ll sit in a car on a street and watch people go by. I’ll just look at each one as somebody who is an absolutely exquisitely articulated entity unfolding before my eyes. Then they walk off, never to be seen again probably.

…And they’re all me. I keep feeling myself out into them, and I realize finally that when compassion is fully developed, you’re not looking at somebody as them, or him, or her; you’re experiencing it through feeling. You’re letting that intuitive part merge with the other person, and you’re feeling their pain, or their joy, or their hope, or their fear. These are things you can practice in your relationships with other human beings.

It’s wonderful of course, if you’re around satsang or sangha, or a community of other beings who see through the veil and help you. It’s harder when you’re surrounded by people. All of whom think they’re real. But you can still work with that as well. It’s harder, but you can do it.


-Ram Dass

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