Quotes from the Major Treatises of Zeami

Again, as concerns the dance, it is said that "the eyes look ahead and the spirit looks behind." This expression means that the actor looks in front of him with his physical eyes, but his inner concentration must be directed to the appearance of his movements from behind. This is a crucial element in the creation of what I have referred to above as the Movement beyond Consciousness. The appearance of the actor, seen from the spectator in the seating area, produces a different image than the actor can have of himself. What the spectator sees is the outer image of the actor. What an actor himself sees, on the other hand, forms his own internal image of himself. He must make still another effort in order to grasp his own internalized outer image, a step possible only through assiduous training. Once he obtains this, the actor and the spectator can share the same image. Only then can it actually be said that an actor has truly grasped the nature of his appearance. For an actor to grasp his true appearance implies that he has under his control the space to the left and to the right of him, and to the front and to the rear of him. In many cases, however, an average actor looks only to the front and to the side and so never sees what he actually looks like from behind. If the actor cannot somehow come to a sense of how he looks from behind, he will not be able to become conscious of any possible vulgarities in his performance. Therefore, an actor must look at himself using his internalized outer image, come to share the same view as the audience, examine his appearance with his spiritual eyes and so maintain a graceful appearance with his entire body. Such an action truly represents "the eyes of the spirit looking behind."