A fun game I sometimes play with my husband is called "What's in the Amazon package?" He gets something delivered from Amazon, and then I get to guess what it is. Now, granted, I admit there are some inherent hints that give me an advantage when we do this game. For instance, I know him, his likes/dislikes, and I see the general size of the item by the package size. Nonetheless it's still fun practice, with a lot less consequence for being wrong than when working with healing clients.
One day, not too long ago, I "looked" at the package and "saw" something electronic that looks like headphones, so instead of little earbuds, the ear piece would cover the whole ear in a sort of triangular shape. I saw how the item's wires forms a Y shape and had something like a USB end to it. So, quickly, my mind said "headphones for a cell phone!" (It wasn't until later that I put it together that cell phones don't have USB ends, and what I saw there'd be nothing that would actually hold the ear speakers to the head, like a band across the top of the head.) But, my mind already convinced me that that was what it was, and I ran all the way to the finish line with "headphones for a cell phone!"
I was wrong.
This is what it actually was:
It's an ultraviolet shoe sanitizer. The headphone ear speakers I was convinced I saw are actually the things you put into each shoe to sanitize them. :)
Most every time I "fail," I learn something. Usually about myself. In fact, I believe we really only learn something valuable *when* we fail. (The successes are nice, but they're just confirmations that my personal process is working right.) The failures, though, are where I get to analyze what I did and figure out where I failed at seeing clearly, as in this instance. My motto could be "Failing my way to success!"
And one of the lessons I learned with the UV-shoe-doo-dad-thingee is, of course, that I need to just report exactly what I see. I.E. I shouldn't form personal associations with it, but rather just describe whatever I see as accurately as I can. Had I done that, I would have been more right about what I was seeing. I wouldn't have had a name for what I saw, as I've never heard of an ultraviolet shoe sanitizer before. But the seeing, as I saw it, wouldn't have been too far off from what it actually was.
For me, what I've learned after failing over and over is that the true heart or essence of what I'm seeing appears very quickly, like the first second or so. Much anything more after that is when my mind starts to form associations and/or explanations and a story starts to emerge. As soon as that happens, the possibility for degradation of my seeing clarity increases dramatically. Instead of giving more time to the seeing, I'm much better off recapping that first second or two to gain more information.
I'm still working on riding and refining this line of "seeing vs. story" but it can only ever improve with more practice... and, inevitably, more failure.