We typically imagine the act of perception involves something out there to perceive and something in here perceiving, the one separate from the other. Such an assumption is so widely held as to be regarded as common sense, obvious and beyond question.
Unexamined experience supports this assumption – it certainly seems like there is the chair there and me perceiving it here. It seems like there is my life out there in form and my description of it apart from it. Yet if we look more closely we discover the experience of there being an inner and outer is a misperception. The division is recognized to be an artifice. We might say a very useful artifice which allows this wonderful experience of being human; it is we could say one of the means by which eternity and infinity are collapsed for the purpose of creating the human realm of time and space.
It is regarded as common sense that there is a me and a world, one separate from the other. When we see the partiality of this assumption, when we see that there is just one thing or no-thing and that there is no world separate from the perceiving or, to put it another way, there is no perceiving separate from the world, we discover an astonishing new reality – we see that the world is dreamt into being in each moment. Thus we see that the act of perceiving is an inherently creative act. We may well be astonished to discover that we are never merely defining, we are always at once creating. To perceive is to be in communication with life. What are we communicating? If we communicate love, allowing, appreciation and gratitude we perceive a very different world and live a very different life than if we communicate judgment, resistance and discontent. This is not to be believed but discovered through personal experimentation.
Thus, paradoxically, we discover that in the dissolving of the separate self experience we are reborn as individuated consciousness creating what we call ‘my life’ via a formative matrix of thoughts and feelings. Both experience and neuroscience confirm that whether free will exists or not, to believe it does or not is a determinant of how we experience reality and how we behave. It seems curious that in the funny world of nonduality, as attempts are made to put into words that which is beyond the reach of language, from within the giddy realization that I am everything and nothing emphasis is so often given only to the truth that I am nothing. Yet as the apparent division between myself and the world is no longer so convincing, as the invisible barrier between me and the world disappears altogether, it is equally true that I am everything. The mind, so used to creating dichotomy and duality is not suited to embracing such paradox. Similarly the mind’s conditioning does not make it easy to embrace such contradictions as whilst, on the one hand nothing really matters, for all is perfect as it is, untouched by ideas of good and bad, on the other hand every thought, feeling and action reverberates around the universe with unseen effects. Every momentary perception is a cause. Everything matters and profoundly so.
Being everything the perception that I am only nothing has significant consequences; it creates more disempowerment, indifference and division presented under the guise of insight, at a time when the human community is screaming out for more ones to live from their realized Oneness and play at creating a rather more satisfactory illusion. We might dream a new world into being not because we need to or to escape lack or fear but rather because in realizing we are one with all things there is a natural movement to serve all things. The more deeply we realize we are essentially Love we find ourselves dissatisfied with anything but loving. Let it be clear there is no edict here, no should to add to the pile, just an invitation to play.
In each moment we create the world of form by our perceiving and shape the form by believing it is this way or that.. We can create problems and disease and a moment later perceive only opportunity and gift with the same phenomena. Depression can be loved into joy. Ideas of death can be perceived as fearful now, and now a delightful intrigue. A lifetime’s stress can be dropped, and then picked up again, in an instant where we change our interpretation, when we alter our perception.
Thus we may come to see the whole awakening process from a new perspective. We might see it is rather less about our personal liberation and freedom from suffering and more about how this becomes manifest in the world. Realization of unity is just the beginning of how a world is born as this unity is perceived and lived. Such transformation, whether personal or collective can only ever begin with our perception in this moment.
As Max Plank is said to have remarked, ‘when we change the way we look at things, the things we look at change.’
How might you change the way you look at the world, that the world, that you are, may change?