Slow seeing: In order to make the whole clear

It is essential to simply slow down in order to see and think more clearly; it is this process that allows us to realize the whole.

Artists, designers, authors, scientists, and many others use this process.

Coltsfoot on the Beach: Original oil painting by Catherine Orfald

Coltsfoot on the Beach: Original oil painting by Catherine Orfald

As stated in the chapter Seeing from the Whole from the book Presence: Human Purpose and the Field of the Future, [1. By Peter Senge, C. Otto Scharmer, Joseph Jaworski, and Betty Sue Flowers, pages 46-47] Goethe studied plants slowly, using a process he called, ‘exact sensorial imagination.’ The text references physicist Henri Bortoft’s book, The Wholeness of Nature: As {Goethe} contemplated the coltsfoot {which was so different on the beach in Italy than the alpine plant he studied in Germany}, he began to “see” the generating whole in a new way, what he called the urpflanze or archetypal plant out of which the many manifestations arose. He wrote in his journal, “The One brings the many out of itself.”

The phrase ‘exact sensorial imagination’ resonates with me. Exact, meaning very precise and also to obtain something from someone or something else. Sensorial relates to coming from the senses or through sensory impressions. And then imagination is the action of forming new ideas, images, or concepts in the creative mind.

One of my favorite quotes is from The Little Prince, by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”

It takes time to see whole-heartedly.

Let’s practice slow seeing.

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