For those familiar with my book series, Little Buddha, you may remember this as the starting line of a saying expressed at the end of the first book. It is spoken by 18-year-old Michael, while addressing one of the main characters, Sam. Michael belongs to a native American tribe in the western part of the United States and is visiting his cousin, Claire, another of the main characters. He’s had a very important conversation with Sam and is about to leave to return home. But, before he goes, he wants to present his farewell to Sam. So, he looks directly into Sam’s eyes and says, “I see you.”
Sam immediately understands Michael is not talking about seeing Sam’s surface, but is saying he sees who Sam is.
Sam responds, that although it may sound strange, he ‘feels seen’. He feels acknowledged in a way he’s never felt before, especially not after just having met someone.
Sam recognizes that he’s usually so preoccupied that he doesn’t even look into another’s eyes, perhaps he thinks because he’s afraid to see or be seen.
What a beautiful thing it is to be seen. To feel that another has looked into you and found something of worth and value. To be held in another’s gaze with a sense of love shining through and coming in to you.
There is a part of Sam that is transformed by this simple exchange.
There are four other parts to Michael’s farewell.
He says to Sam, “I believe in your dreams”. Sam knows that Michael means this. He can tell the difference between the power in Michael’s serene stare and what others have told him in his life that lacked any form of truth.
Michael continued by saying, “Even the ones you don’t yet see.” That felt especially significant to Sam because he has just started on his spiritual journey and feels he knows so little about what direction to travel. To have someone say, that not only did they believe in his dreams, but all the ones to come as well. What a wonderful sense of assurance Michael has provided.
“You mean something to me,” Michael said next. Sam had just met Michael, but he knew without any doubt that he meant this. It was overwhelming.
And finally, Michael faced Sam and said, “You will be forever in my heart.” Michael placed the palms of his hands together and bowed to Sam. What an enormous gift Sam felt that he’d received. To be seen, believed in and cherished. It inspired Sam to keep this farewell close to his heart and repeat it often with those he knew and came to know.
It turns out that I offered an eleven-week book study for each of the three current Little Buddha books. It has been one of the most treasured events in my life. To be able to share with a beautiful group all of the lessons and insights that Sam experiences is so rich and rewarding. When our session is over, we gather in a circle and repeat these five sayings to each other. What a blessing it is to see and be seen in this way.
Please accept this as my gift, if it feels like something you would like to have in your life. Find others who may also want to see and be seen and share it with them. And if you are close enough to Albany, New York, come and share your life with us at the next book study.
For your reference, you can find this passage in Little Buddha Book One, chapter 9, pages 139-141. All of the Little Buddha books are described on this website under the Books page and are available on Amazon in print and ebooks.
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2 Replies to “I See You”
This is such an important message, and Sam is such a great representative of the uncertainty and fear we carry within ourselves. To have him express what most of us feel inside is a gift.
There is a new show on SyFy called Resident Alien. An alien, on a mission to kill all life on earth, crash lands and is forced to fit in while he finds the parts of his ship and repairs it. A bit gruesome, but it’s a wonderful insight into the nature of humanity. In episode five, called “Love Languages,” he says:
“Humans lie,” Harry muses. “It’s what they do. Maybe they don’t want people to know who they really are.”
There is, of course, more to the story that led up to his comment. But it points to how we live in fear of who we are, and Sam gives that fear a voice.
Thanks so much for this comment and the power it holds. I am always delighted when you choose to offer your insight and wisdom.