Chen Kun´s Vision

Thomas Eller


It is a cold early winter day in the North. The sun is shining and I am sitting by a lake enjoying the bright sunshine. It is quiet. There is no wind for the trees, baring their leafless branches, to comb through. No birds that sing and no mosquitoes bothering any warm-blooded
animal like myself. I look out at the lake and all I see is light bouncing off of the minuscule ripples on the water surface probably caused only by the thermic dynamics of the sun´s energy still stored in the large body of water since last summer that is now exposed to the onslaught of winter. There is gentleness in the soft glimmer of the sun´s rays bouncing off the cusps of the waves. Very regular patterns, that run across the vast expanse of the lake, repeating over and over again. And I shiver – not from the cold, but the sheer beauty of it. A beauty of utmost purity and without desire. It is an energy that does not come from me. Nothing there that I aspired to, nothing I was chasing all my life, because… because I thought I needed it. Nothing there that makes life such an impossible strife. Instead very simple: I am sitting here, not thinking much and then it arrives. Simple, humble, but very present. I just look out at the lake and feel … connected. The light enters my body through the skin.


I close my eyes.


I breathe the fresh cold air and feel the warmth that the sun creates just in the instant when it touches my skin. I open my coat, just to get more of it. The cold air, it seems, is no match to the power of the sun on my body.

I open my eyes.


At quite a distance I see a boat hardly moving. Sort of strange and nothing much happens there in that indiscernible distance. Probably some fisherman who in their leisure time try to do something relaxing that they can justify as not wasting their time… but who in the city needs to go and harvest their own food anymore?! – But they have my sympathy. They at least are not hustling for more gain.


Then this person walks by and before I know it, I turn my head… I get fully immersed in the sight ­– but then: over. Turned the corner, gone.
I breathe – heavily. And then I look at myself and …

… and I close my eyes.


I see an after-image.  And I see my own desire, objectified in the view, the vision of this person. …  and I realize. I realize that vision “is” desire and that vision distances me from what I desire. As much as I want, I can´t touch… I can´t smell… I can´t feel … – I CAN´T HAVE IT.

I open my eyes in distress…

Nothing – I see nothing. Nothing there! My eyes flicker, blood pressure up. I inadvertently turn my head in all directions. Nothing!

I close my eyes again.

… after a while – a long while, I calm down and I feel it. I feel the touch. I feel the touch of the sun on my skin – again. A moment of the most beautiful intimacy! A moment of bliss! My skin tingles. I keep my eyes closed. The sun streams in on me and I turn my head up. Up towards the sun. As the cold air flows through my lungs and chills my agitated mind, so it can finally relax –that is when my eyes start to flare up, bright red for the moment. But it is not the sun. I see my own blood shooting through my retina until it becomes almost too intense.

I open my eyes.

The air is cold and my breath fogs over every time I exhale. I look out at the lake again. The fishermen are still doing their thing. The sun is turning very yellow now and the rays loose their intensity. It feels that the world has become much mellower – and I keep looking out at the lake and… my eyes go out of focus…

I see.

I see myself seeing.

It´s a wiggly pattern of Gaussian distribution at first. I see the inside of my eyes moving and I see the sunlight bouncing off of the ripples of the objects inside my eyes shifting at ever so slightly a movement of my eyes. I see – within my own eyes – nothing, but the deeply flawed act of seeing. Nothing but a gray structure of evenly distributed pattern, that seem to move with every minuscule effort of actually seeing. Seeing – what?! – Seeing something.

I close my eyes.


Again I see my eyes do what they are supposed to do – which is seeing. But there is no object of my eyes´ vision. As my eyes are closed, there is nothing but deprivation, which, blurry at first, turns into “vision”. Vision without sight. Very unclear at first, but very energetic, very strong. And this was the moment I could break through and have a vision of what cannot be seen ever, which is the ultimate connectedness. A moment without words and a state beyond bliss.

… and then I open my eyes.

It is getting dark. Time to go.