The Simplicity of Perception

Perceiving is probably the most important condition of being alive. It provides an awareness of  the world and defines what we call reality by organizing and interpreting information gathered from the limited bend of perception from our senses.

The purpose of our senses has been evolutionary. Their goal has been to establish reality as something that happens to us. But what you perceive is not what is out there. There is no inherent value in the incredible complex patterns of light that fall into our eyes and yet we see coherent forms and motion that enable us to survive by distinguishing between a flower in a garden and a truck running towards us at full speed. If we realize that our sensory perceptions are all evolutionary tools and not the ultimate reality, then we can start seeing life as a whole and undivided totality of which we are an active part.

The ancient scriptures described the world as an illusion or maya because of the difference between what we perceive as real and what is real. Our Newtonian and Darwinian world views hinder us from perceiving a different paradigm. In the meantime, the implications of modern science discoveries are creeping into our mindset and our understanding of reality evolves.

Science has been trying to answer some of the questions raised by humans since time immemorial. As the Theoretical Physicist David Bohm said,”The attempt to live according to the notion that the fragments are really separate is, in essence, what has led to the growing series of extremely urgent crises that is confronting us today.”

Perhaps the mystics are right in stating that there is no inside Self separate from the outside world, but rather a seamless, intimate totality, always changing when viewed from the object perspective and never changing when viewed from the perspective of the totality. There is no outside world. There are no others. We are complex living systems that are a part of each other and a larger world we inhabit. The world is in me as much as I am in the world.