Perception vs Reality

AXE_Scent Changes Sight_Hi-Res

This Axe advertisement shows Perception vs Reality in multiple layers. First layer is the ad’s message: that wearing a certain scent will change the perceived sexual appeal of a person. Second layer is that an advertisement is all about perception – the brand wants to be perceived as something cool and sexy.

Still continuing with the topic of seeing the world as it is.

Previous posts:

In the previous posts we discussed about how everything is perception and it is us that project exaggerated qualities to an object. Because of our perception, the same object can cause both pleasant and unpleasant emotions to arise, and it’s a subjective experience (no two people experience exactly the same thing out of the same object).

Now that we know everything is perception & everything is in the mind, we should be able to operate with a more clear filter, yes? We should be able to become less attached (less like-dislike, clinging-reject, raga-dvesha), yes? Not quite. We are so used to equating perception with reality, that it has become an ingrained habit. It’s like when we’re wearing eyeglasses, because we are so used to wearing it, we forgot we are wearing it. We’re so used in seeing the world through filters, we forgot there are filters.

How do we remember that we have this filter of perception?

Just like when we forgot we’re wearing eyeglasses, when we saw our reflection in the mirror, we saw that we are wearing eyeglasses. When we take time to reflect, we realize that we have perception. We remember through reflection & contemplation. The mirror can be something that can provide a true and honest snapshot of our self, for example a journal or diary. Or listening to our self talking – I think this is what psychiatrists do – facilitate & enable one to verbalize, and this is a form of reflection & contemplation. One important thing, the listener has to be able to stay neutral and non-judging – otherwise the reflection will be distorted.

In order to reflect, there has to be stillness. Without stillness we can’t reflect. The more still, the more clear the reflection become, then the more often we remember that it’s all perception. As we remember more and more often that it’s all perception, the weaker the filter would be – the less coloring – and we start to see glimpses of things as they are, reality as it is.

How to develop stillness?

We can start from the body – physical stillness. When the body is still, then the mind can become still too. Spend some time to be still. This is meditation. No need to sit in a perfect lotus position, even sitting on a chair will do, as long as the spine is straight and upright. Sitting is too difficult? Try lying down. Preferable not in the bed as we will probably immediately drift to sleep. Lying down on the floor, place a blanket underneath if its cold, make sure the spine is straight and aligned. Let the feet fall outwards, hands besides the body with palms facing up, and relax everything. But try not to sleep. Just be still.

At the beginning stillness may feel strange. We were always active and moving since we were born. The mind, never have the experience of stillness before, will either:

  1. Get caught up in its own train of thoughts
  2. Interpret this as time to catch some ZZZs and fall asleep

How to overcome these? In my next post.

Advertisements

Who Am I?

 

Love is the bridge between you and everything – Rumi

 

Stunning view from Sakura, New Zealand

Stunning view from Sakura, New Zealand

 

As we traverse the path of life we will inevitably come face to face with the big questions.

Who am I? Why am I here?

Irrespective of our backgrounds, colours, or beliefs, we human beings cannot avoid this inner dialogue; for these questions are the very purpose of our existence here. All of us. We are united in this. The search for our true selves.

If we avoid the truth of who we are, our lives present obstacles which make us take a deeper look at ourselves. Sometimes a very painful look. The harder we resist the truth of who we are, the more difficult the obstacles and the lessons become.

Some of us seek to hide our confusion, or numb it. We don’t understand why we are lost. We don’t even know that we are seeking. Sex, drugs and other addictive behavioural patterns manifest to mask the emptiness. We feel broken because we are not open or connected to the heart of ourselves. Sometimes we see glimpses, commonly in the love of another, and when that is lost or changed with time, our lives lose colour. We seek deep connection with others in the belief that the other will make us whole. We delve into practices which distract us. Work hard, play hard. We get lost in the social construct which dictates we must earn more and have more to be whole. We seek refuge in the material, as if that diamond ring has the power to heal our soul.

We look for answers externally but there they hide from us. It is as though we are continually playing a game of hide and seek, only ever having fleeting glimpses of that which the soul seeks most.

Who am I? What is my reason for being?

Some of us will ask these questions earlier in life and some will only ask in the final hour.

Who am I? What is the purpose of life?

If we are curious enough, ready enough, and brave enough we will allow the questions to unfurl our inner landscape. We will begin climbing the mountain that is our destiny.

And this path will be the most beautiful path of all our existence.

The path of our own understanding.

That is not to say that it is an easy path, this path of deep self introspection. Truth often comes with a bite. At times it may rip the fabric of your being, break your heart, shatter you. But in that brokeness you will discover what it is to be open, and in turn what it is to be whole again.

Who am I? Why do I exist?

Although the enquiry is analytical, the answer to the mystery is seldom presented by the analytical mind. This in itself is hard to grasp and can be a source of great suffering and confusion. The mind that is grappling for answers. The mind that is filled with ideas, ideologies and conditioned thoughts and responses. This mind is the catalyst for our great discovery but it is not where the answers lie. Rather, we must unlearn everything that we have come to know in this life. We must let go of thought. In the great unlearning we surrender all, we find our way home.

Who am I ?

The answers on the path of understanding come out of nothing, they are born out of stillness. To find them we must go within.

They stream from a consciousness that unites us all. A consciousness that breathes us.

Who am I ? Who are you?

The answers lie in presence, in quiet contemplation. The answers arise when the mind is still and at peace, and the heart is open.

As we learn to cultivate this stillness within, dance with it, play with it, as we did naturally when we were children, we will come to know the truth of who we are. We cannot avoid it.

And in those moments, suspended in timelessness, all questions dissolve into the mystery. And we not only see truth, we experience truth.

Grace.

In those moments we are born into a love that is so profound, it is indescribable in words.

As Rumi said: It is a love that is a bridge between you and everything.

It is infinite. It knows no separation and no boundaries. It is the love that creates all things. It is you and it is me.

It is the ferociousness of a hurricane, and the grace of a dolphin’s dance. It is the shimmer of water and the sound of birdsong. It is where the rainbow meets the land, and where the clouds float on chariots in the sky of your imagination. It is the beautiful dance of intimacy between lovers. The sacredness of a rose. The kind words of friends. It sits in the wisdom of old age and laughs with our ancestors.

You can find it in the depths of the oceans and in a child’s eyes. It is all pervasive.

Everywhere and Everything.

And when you fully realise the beauty of you, you will never ever question again the beauty of another.

You will never again seek sanctuary in anyone, except for yourself. Because you will profoundly understand that you are enough. So much more than enough.

You will no longer seek to judge another either, because you will know their essence is your essence. You will have great compassion and forgiveness for yourself, and in so doing you will pass that compassion to others.

And so in this way when you invest in the discovery and healing of yourself, you are automatically invested in the healing of others. You are also invested in the healing of all that is the earth and on the earth.

Your path of discovery, is not just for you, it is for all of us. It is the greatest gift you can give to yourself and to the world.

The bridge between you and everything.

Who are you ?

 

“beautiful piece by Gwen Bryce, you can reach her at bbryce643@gmail.com”

Sometimes, It’s All About Love

 

fullmoon

photograph by diah dharmawan

 
In a night like this
When drinking tea intoxicates a sober mind
I know I’m in trouble

Full moon it was, so many nights ago
Yet the luminescence is still out there
Glaring away its grandeur

I have nothing better to do
Than to think about you
Only to realize that I haven’t been doing that for a while

Kinda rusty
Doing this thing I call reminiscing
But I do it anyway

Kinda astonishing
Knowing that I do miss you
In many ways

And I only want to say this
Good night, my love

Perception & Emptiness

perception-emptiness

This post is still on the topic of seeing the world as it is.

Previous posts:

We discussed that the first step towards seeing the reality as it is, is to acknowledge that it’s all perception. Things in themselves don’t have inherent value independently. We assign value and meaning to the external world.

In Buddhism there’s this concept called ’emptiness’, and that the correct understanding of emptiness will lead towards Buddha-realization. When we forgot that it’s all perception, when we don’t understand that things are empty of inherent existence, we think things as fully solidly exist on their own, independent and regardless of anything other than themselves.

Here’s an example.

Let’s say you would like to buy wrist watch. You go to an online shop and browse for watches. At the beginning they all look the same – most have round face, some are square, most have numbers on them, some have two hands to show hours and minutes, some have more than two hands, some are digital, some display dates on it, some are water resistant up to certain depth, some are made of metal, leather, plastic, fancy strong lightweight materials, etc.

As you start to look more, depending on your existing idea of a wrist watch, you’ll start to have preference towards a particular watch. You like the shape, the material, the color, the price, and also the brand. Maybe you like the person on that particular watch advertisement (sporty? strong? glamorous? masculine? feminine?). Maybe you like the values conveyed by this brand (lasts for generations? elegance? tough? independent?) The other watches recede to the background and this particular watch starts to dominate. Oh and there’s a special offer for a limited time too! You decided to purchase that watch. Even before the watch is physically in your hand, it has become YOUR watch.

When the watch finally arrived, you feel happy. “What a beautiful watch” you think. You put the watch on and admire it on your wrist. Maybe you look at yourself in the mirror too. You think how nice the watch is, how good the brand of the watch is, and so on and so forth.You think this watch enhance your being. Someone saw your new watch and want to try it on, and you say “Be careful of MY new watch”.

The next day, as you are browsing, you happen to saw an ad for another online watch shop, featuring similar watch with the one you purchased. You followed the link and found out that the one you purchased is slightly outdated, there’s a newer and more sophisticated model out, and the current market price for the type of watch you bought is actually lower than what you’ve paid.

How would you feel?

Take a moment here to really think how would you feel. And maybe recall a similar experience.

If things have inherent value on their own, the ‘quality’ of the thing doesn’t change. If the watch has independent quality on its own, it will stay in that quality, regardless of who view the watch and when the watch is viewed. But in reality, like the above scenario, the one same watch can be a source of happiness but also a source of disappointment for a person. Someone else may have a totally different experience of that same watch.

That’s because it’s all in our mind. It’s all in our perception. We project ‘qualities’ to the watch. Beautiful, good value watch. Overpriced, outdated watch. It’s all in our own mind. It is us that assign quality and meaning to the watch. And this projection makes us like-dislike, attracted-repulsed, clinging-reject, raga-dvesha. The watch itself is just a watch.

How to keep remembering that it’s all in our mind, that it’s all perception? On next post.

Picture: Sunrise over the Ganges, Rishikesh, February 2015

As Everything Flows

IMG-20151202-WA0007

Behind the veils intoxicated with love, I too dance the rhythm of this moving world”         -RUMI

 

When the night falls

In the absence of the bustling of life

Stillness pervades

But yet something is flowing

As boundaries begin to vanish

Fabricating into matrix of existence

And when the ground disintegrates

Crumbling into million of pieces

I think I see the moon

But maybe only its reflection

Dancing on the face of the water

Summoning whoever passing by

When the light begins to dim

Hanging to its one last breath

Darkness creeps in, compelling it to cave in

Everything turns black

And as everything flows

So it is