We Are In A Grand Illusion: How Easily Can We See The Truth?
October 12, 2011
We see the world from our limited perceptual framework. Despite an overwhelming evolution of the human mind, it is severely restricted by what it can perceive through the senses. How easily can we see the truth?
What we hear is limited by the frequencies our ears can process – dogs can hear many higher frequencies and hence have a very different perception of the same sounds. Our sight is limited by the light frequencies our eyes can relate to; since pit vipers can sense heat from infrared rays they must construct the same world rather differently. If we had a different receiver mechanism, we would be hearing other frequencies and seeing in new ways.
Our visual impressions are so complex that their processing takes several hundred milliseconds before they enter our consciousness. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Brain Research in Frankfurt am Main have now shown that this delay may vary in length. When the brain possesses some prior information — that is, when it already knows what it is about to see — conscious recognition occurs faster.
With scientific knowledge, we know that many things are not what they appear to be – the sky isn’t blue, only the scattering of the blue light absorbed by the atmosphere makes it appear so; the moon doesn’t rise in the night; and the house we live in is not stationary, but rotates along with the earth. Essentially, we see, hear and process what we can and not what reality is.
Truth realization is not easy. Besides the difficulty, our perceptions are further clouded by our personal thoughts and emotions. A Buddhist verse says: “Is anything on earth universally and unanimously recognized as beautiful? For a lover, a beautiful woman is an object of desire; for the hermit, a distraction; for the wolf, a good meal.”
A University of Toronto study provided the first direct evidence that our mood literally changes the way our visual system filters our perceptual experience suggesting that seeing the world through rose-coloured glasses is more biological reality than metaphor.
“Good and bad moods literally change the way our visual cortex operates and how we see,” says Adam Anderson, a U of T professor of psychology. “Specifically our study shows that when in a positive mood, our visual cortex takes in more information, while negative moods result in tunnel vision.
What is the truth, then? Everything in the universe is made up of energy. All beings are manifestations of the same energy. This vital spiritual force breathes life into every living being and sustains every cell and organism. It’s like an enormous field of colourless and odourless energy which encompasses everything and every being that we can imagine – all of that existing, not in isolation or in separation, but in one continuum.
What appears solid is only so because of the frequency of wavelengths that our senses are capable of perceiving. Our minds create a three-dimensional world from this continuum of free-flowing energy, comprising of electrons and neutrons. Like the fish in the Chinese saying, when we cannot see this continuum, we are limited to noticing the individual parts of the creation. As a result, the trees, animals, humans and all other objects seem disjointed from us. ‘I’ as an individual does not exist, never existed, never will – the sense of ‘I’ is merely a perception of our limited mind.
What we perceive in physical reality is nothing more than a collection of props, a projection of the mind, a big illusion.
Whatever our beliefs, the universe will support and validate those beliefs by attracting the circumstances, situations, opportunities and people into our lives that will reinforce our “version” of reality. Reality can be anything we define it to be, according to our definitions and our belief systems.
From Einstein we know that matter and energy are interchangeable; they’re essentially one. When broken down to its barest form, all matter is the same energy. We can break a glass jar into pieces but each piece, however small, will still be glass. Similarly, know that God is in each one of us, and we are part of the same whole. This knowledge can set us free.
As we make a conscious effort to stay connected with this realisation, we become better equipped to playing the roles of our life – businessman, teacher, wife, father and friend – with tremendous happiness and inner peace. This connection lets us be like an actor who plays her role on stage with great sincerity but stays conscious of the fact that she is really not the character she’s playing – and thus not overly identify with the fortunes and misfortunes of her given role!