It is difficult to look at (or to see) the World without bringing yourself (or, your Self) into the activity. There are two ways (at least) in which this interference takes place. First, our minds are always abuzz with thoughts that have nothing to do with the object at hand. Thus, while looking at a tree, one is liable to think: "What should I have for dinner tonight?"
Second, we tend to impose preconceptions upon what we look at (or see). For instance: "Ah, a cherry tree in blossom looking like what a cherry tree in blossom ought to look like. Beautiful! Loveliest of trees, the cherry now . . . and all that."
Howard Nemerov's "The Human Condition," which appeared in my previous post, touches upon this phenomenon to some extent: "a picture of a picture," the idea that "world and thought" can "exactly meet," et cetera. The following poem by Elizabeth Jennings explores this territory as well.
A Way of Looking
It is the association after all
We seek, we would retrace our thoughts to find
The thought of which this landscape is the image,
Then pay the thought and not the landscape homage.
It is as if the tree and waterfall
Had their first roots and source within the mind.
But something plays a trick upon the scene:
A different kind of light, a stranger colour
Flows down on the appropriated view.
Nothing within the mind fits. This is new.
Thought and reflection must begin again
To fit the image and to make it true.
Elizabeth Jennings, A Way of Looking (1955).
Looking (I mean really looking) is quite a task (speaking for myself). When I go out for a walk, I often remind myself to look, not think: to see things as they are, without the intrusions and without the glosses. The result, alas, is failure after failure.