True IntimacyIn The Kingdom Of Heaven You Are Frightened Of No One
On Earth, people eye you, and it’s scary. Behind those ‘windows of the soul’ lurk basilisks or spooks, and nothing is more separative and alienating. Any attempt to exorcize them – to normalize eyes and see them as no more haunted than noses and eyebrows – is forbidden: you’re told it’s looking at people as mere objects and not subjects, reducing them to cardboard cut-outs. So you go on being haunted, and made uncomfortable, and worse.
In Heaven it’s altogether different. No hobgoblins peek at you threateningly through those tiny windows. Nor are they turned into good fairies or impersonal love-light. Eyes here are no more than what they plainly are, blobs of jelly-like tissue. And indeed their owners are – let’s face it – very much like interesting cardboard cut-outs. This doesn’t mean that they are deprived of subjectivity or consciousness or spirit. Very much to the contrary. What it does mean is that all of that spirit belongs on your side of those eyes, those faces. And here it’s immeasurably vaster and more real and easy to find than before. (Looking at what’s your side of this page now, at the Aware Space or Capacity that you are, you can see it has no sticker or tie-on label with your name on it, no personal laundry mark to identify it as yours and not mine; and you can see that it’s big enough and clear enough and impersonal enough and awake enough to do for everyone.) Accordingly in Heaven you can say to everyone you meet: ‘Here, I’m enjoying that face of yours as mine. Here, I have you as object and am you as subject, and so take on both your appearance and your reality. What could be more intimate than this double intimacy? How could I fear you who are myself?’ (Douglas Harding. The Little Book of Life and Death