Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Personal tools


You are here: Home / Community / The Teapot / Heather Williams / Survival Seeing or Relational Seeing?

Survival Seeing or Relational Seeing?

Posted by Heather C. Williams at May 25, 2012 09:14 PM |

Our eyes see and our neural network interprets.

Survival Seeing or Relational Seeing?


We see and we interpret what we see. The two go together sort-of-like a horse and carriage. Let me give you an example. Let's say we both see a tree. Now, you may see a tall tree and I may see an old tree. Or you may see a healthy tree and I may see a tree that reminds me of a memory and I feel nostalgic. This is called "Survival Seeing". We see things and immediately (I mean instantaneously) interpret it according to our personal survival dynamics. "Survival Seeing" is great for walking down the street and not bumping into the tree.  Survival seeing is how we name things, label things (and people) and cast judgements about what we see. There is nothing really wrong about this except that it is not the whole picture that we need to be seeing. In fact, Survival Seeing is extremely limiting! It is seeing everything in the world as outside and separate from us.

Today, we have reached a tipping point with regards to this kind of seeing. We must move beyond survival seeing into what I call "Relational Seeing". Relational Seeing is simply feeling connected with the world you see.

Drawing a tree is a great way to connect with the tree you see. To draw the tree, you have to move beyond thinking of the word "tree". You look for vertical, horizontal and diagonal directions. This kind of seeing is nameless. Your mind is not interpreting the tree. Your mind is very busy seeing the direction of that branch, feeling it in your gut, and following it with your pencil.

Check out my online drawing classes:

Check out my online TRANSLATION Teleseminar: