We see things not as they are, but as we are.
This works as follows: we take in information from our environment first at feeling level. We are simply aware of it without giving it shape, form or meaning. Then, if we let the mind become involved, it creates thoughts which result in emotion. This then creates reality as we see it. Reality is a perception of a projection.
All in this world is projection. It is the external picture of an inward condition. What seems to be the world is our own mind. What we see, reflects the state of our mind.
Our perceptions of reality change along with our mind state, but none of these versions of reality are objectively true. The mind sees fragments of the picture and fills in the gaps according to what we want to see. Out of an all-encompassing awareness of being, we create a subjective world around ourselves by picking out certain bits of information and ignoring others. This narrows our attention down from alert awareness of the all to exclusive focus on one thing and that becomes our prison. We are confined by the walls we erect ourselves.
Perception is like flying our plane through reality with a flight simulator. We don’t see what’s really out there, just what the simulator tells us is. This information is based on our programming: our attachments, expectations, models and views of the world.
Our brain capacity is huge. All our experiences are stored in our subconscious and, under certain conditions, we can remember every detail. We take in huge amounts of information from our environment every second, only a fraction of which we are consciously aware of. We are Mind at Large, but to protect us from overwhelm by this mass of information, this mind is funnelled through the reducing valve of brain and nervous system. What we are left with, is only a small selection likely to be useful. Every second, we discard millions of bits of information in order to be coherently conscious. We perceive an interpretation.
Our actions begin subconsciously, based on this mass of information. Action that happens quickly, happens subconsciously. Only here do we respond to the whole picture. I remember a particularly striking example of this while driving. The taxi in front of me suddenly hit the brakes to pick up a customer last minute at an intersection. I realized I wasn’t going to be able to stop in time to avoid a collision and next thing I knew, I had swung the car around in the side street and was calmly waiting for the taxi to move on so I could turn left and drive on behind it again. It all happened so quickly that my conscious mind did not have time to panic.
Perception creates reality
We see what we believe is there and we believe it’s there because we want it there. We see only what what we are looking for, what justifies our view of the world, what we have decided to see. Whatever our perception of reality, we will find proof all around us to substantiate it, no matter how far-fetched it is. If we believe that it’s a dog eat dog world out there, then we will act accordingly and that is what it will be for us. If we perceive the world as interesting and joyful, then that is how we will experience it. It’s not a case of ‘I’ll believe it when I see it’, but ‘I’ll see it when I believe it’.
Here’s a mind bender:
Reality is what we take to be true. What we take to be true is what we believe. What we believe is based on our perceptions. What we perceive depends on what we look for. What we look for depends on what we think. What we think depends on what we perceive. What we perceive determines what we believe. What we believe determines what we take to be true. What we take to be true is our reality. (David Bohm)
Reality won’t change until we decide to perceive it differently –
Then it will deliver a whole lot of proof for this new perception of ours. Some people are immobilized by fear, others take risks and we say their guardian angels are working overtime, but they merely see a different reality. Their lack of fear protects them.
It’s not what’s actually out there, but our perception of it, that causes emotional reactions. If it is a past or future event that we perceive as negative, the mind will bring up the negative emotions every time we think of it. Beyond the mind, the situation is just a condition that requires a response in the moment, not ahead of time and certainly not afterwards. Our emotions have nothing to do with the actual condition. Conditions just are until ego-mind’s set opinions about them come interfering. They create strong emotions, which result in ego-based reactions, obscuring completely the condition as it is.
The mind is its own place. It can make a heaven of hell and a hell of heaven. Here’s an illustration:
How poor people live
A very wealthy man took his son on a trip to the country one day to show him what it was like to be poor. They spent a few days and nights on the farm of what would be considered as a very poor family.
After their return, the father asked his son how he liked the trip. “It was great, Dad,” the son replied. “Did you see how poor people can be?” the father asked. “Oh yeah,” said the son.
“So what did you learn from the trip?” asked the father. The son answered, “I saw that we have one dog and they had four. We have a pool that reaches to the middle of our garden and they have a river that has no end. We have imported lanterns outside, and they have the stars at night. Our patio reaches the front garden and they have the whole horizon. We have a small piece of land to live on and they have fields that go on beyond sight. We have servants who serve us, but they serve others. We buy our food and they grow theirs. We have walls around our property to protect us, they have friends to protect them.” The boy’s father was speechless. Then his son added, “It showed me just how poor we really are.” (Dan Asmussen)