“While it is important to attempt to rise above individual perspectives at times, we may also use our power of perception for creative playfulness.”
Our greatest power as humans is our ability to perceive. To perceive something is to understand, notice, or interpret something in a particular way. In that, our ability to choose how we perceive something is our innate power of creation. Reality is to each individual what is perceived by each individual. Reality cannot ever be truly solid when it fluctuates according to each person’s understanding of it. Simply speaking, it is what one thinks it is to them. And although two people may have differing ideas of what it may be, no one person can be right or wrong. To each individual, the world is expressed through the processes of their mind and each mind is different.
Because so many humans understand this truth, the race has begun to find a way to rise above individual perception and arrive at ultimate truth. The various avenues that we take are endless. Science, religion, mysticism, philosophy, and intellectual disconnect all seek out definitive truth that is free from the interference of self. There is glory in this pursuit and it serves its purpose well enough. Yet this pursuit can sometimes inflict an unbalance in one’s ability to serve their purpose. Although we must be cautious to not solely believe in a self-created singular reality, we must also not forget that the ability to choose how we perceive is a blessing. Understanding the power of our perceptions allows us to rise above self created illusions. Using the power of our perceptions allows us to playfully create as beings in God’s image.
Seeing Beyond the Self
To avoid getting trapped within the confines of the ego, we each must learn to first identify and then consciously control our perception. There are countless tricks to identifying our ‘perceptional niche’, or the singular way that we choose to perceive and thus experience our reality. Beginning as early as childhood, one can simply explore the world around them with pure curiosity, unhindered by personal judgment. As simple as this task sounds, it can be more and more difficult as a person ages and has already begun to create the template for their world. As children, this comes simply. The ego is still fresh and new, it is yet without form seeking the role it will take in self identity and eventually the world’s identity. But as a person develops, the ego also develops, bringing with it a structure that determines how that person will see, feel, and believe what is around them. To continue on in such a way without taking the next step in identifying one’s personal perspective is to continuously limit the world to smaller and smaller restraints until, eventually, all beauty and mystery has been stripped from its capacity. Although common, such a devastating transition is not compulsory. As adults, we must take steps to avoid falling into this trap and teach ourselves how to keep our perception liquid and pliable, thus constantly renewing the awe we had for life as children.
The first technique that keeps our perceptions liquid is to attempt to maintain the mindset of a child. Taken out of context, this statement is outrageous. But it is the wonder and curiosity of childhood that we should seek to retain into adulthood. Curiosity is the building block for outward thinking. It gives us the reason to see things through the understandings of another. Curiosity lacks judgment and does not jump to conclusions. Rather, it is a simple interest, a question that one admits they cannot yet answer. As adults, curiosity can fade as people begin to feel as if they have the answers and begin to believe that there is only one good answer to most questions. This only helps to shrink the size of their box bit by bit.
Empathizing with others is another trick to keeping an open and changeable perspective of experience. When we concern ourselves with the experience of others, we invite that experience to become our own. Miraculous changes can occur both mentally and spiritually as a result of understanding the workings of another’s mind or emotions. Suddenly, we can perceive the world through their eyes. Many times, just a moment of doing this can lead to transformational realizations, a moment of awakening when one realizes that they are not the center of the world. Rather, they learn that they are but a mere piece to an enormous puzzle where each piece has a different angle of view.
Integrity is a direct path to unfixed perceptions and thus to unending knowledge. When a person is truly honest with their self, they unavoidably acknowledge that they are not perfect. Integrity leads a person to embrace mistakes, failures, and being wrong; welcoming these things as invitations to growth. The more that we acknowledge our own imperfections, the more open we are to experimenting with new ways of seeing and understanding things. If I admit that I do not know it all, for example, I am willing myself to seek out the places where there may be more to learn. This then inevitably leads to experimentation with new perspectives and fresh outlooks.
The Power of Understanding Perception
There is great personal power in understanding what perception can do in one’s life. When a person understands the level influence that their outlook has on events, they can learn how to control and even extinguish the damaging ones. This allows a person to fully experience the world around them without the interruption of a limited viewpoint. In the 1950s, the perspective of many U.S. citizens was played with and used as a pawn in a game of wars. Because of this entrapment of perceptional limitations, many things were completely misunderstood and led to actions that would have otherwise been unthinkable.
Because of history such as this, some people focus intently on singling out personal perceptions, questioning them, and re-aligning them as much as possible. This of course is the only way to learn. If any one person continues to look at things the same way day in and day out, then they will never learn anything new about what they are seeing. But, if a person chooses to question themselves and what they think they know, suddenly a whole new world of understanding can open up before them.
The Power of Using Perception
Although there are clear dangers in the ability to choose how we perceive things, there is also great wonders and excitement. Perceiving the world in the way that we choose is a gift that literally gives us the ability to choose our experience. How I see the world today should not be the way that I see the world tomorrow. If it is, then I have learned nothing today. However, how I choose to see the world today also dictates how I will experience it tomorrow. What each of us perceives is what we will react to and thus what we will create. Knowing this, we can choose to perceive it however we like in order to create what we like. The key is in remembering to never stick to one limited scope. If a person wishes to experience happiness, for example, then all they have to do is perceive the world as encouraging and embracing it. This does not have to be hard. On the contrary, the possibilities are endless. Every single event in a day is a provocation of our minds to choose how we experience it.