As it is

  Can I possibly perceive my surrounding as it is?

What surrounds me, what I perceive in the environment, is usually interpreted in a certain way, based on my previous experience.  Therefore, I associate everything I see, hear, smell, touch, and taste in a particular, subjective way.  Can I perceive without associating, without judging, without the mental filter I usually use and perceive them “as it is”?

How about the self?  The thoughts that I have in my mind create the self, or do them? In my experience, I have learned that the self is based on subjective perceptions of the world, like the surrounding.  Other perceive me or my self as a different entity, based on their experience. I have seen my self as an individual of a particular race, gender, age, ethnicity, personality, with distinct interests, talents, biases, attitudes, etc.   And I have started to wonder, how accurate is all of this?  If I really think about it, it is all in my mind.  I have chosen to create it based on what I have learned in my 30 plus years on this earth.  I have fabricated the universe inside my mind. But…. what is really out there?

Is there an objective self?  An objective surrounding?  If I somehow accomplish to perceive the surrounding and the self as they really are, will I cease to be human?  Or will I become a new self, or the “real self”?  Some would call this “enlightenment” or “salvation”.  Saved from what?  Perhaps from the illusion I have created in my mind.

Is it possible to deny the self? Jesus taught we could and should in order to “follow Him”.  Buddha also taught that the self is an illusion. Hinduism also assumes that the world we perceive is an illusion.

Are we truly individuals? Are we somehow connected to each other but don’t know it yet?  Maybe to be united with God, Nirvana, heaven, or whatever you want to call it, is to experience the self and the surrounding “as it is”.  Without bias. Without interpretation.  Without association.  Just as it is.

Is this possible?


About Noel

I am a person who has realized that this existence is an opportunity to engage in the genuine care and service of others. I have evolved from fundamentalism to a moderate spiritual approach. I am an introvert, an artist, and a a reflecting person who has grown to not fear doubt but to embrace it as a means to growth and increasing closeness to the fullness of life. View all posts by Noel

19 responses to “As it is

  • Danny Williams

    This is very true.
    I think that it is impossible to tell what is ‘reality’ and what is ‘perceived reality’ without a chance to compare like with like.
    Recently as work we had a fire drill. We all marched out to the carpark and sat in the sun waiting to be counted, etc.
    Whilst we were there I saw a red fire-service car driving down a slope around 100 meters away which then briefly disappeared behind a tree, only to re-emerge as blue small family car without any markings.
    I realised afterward that the car I initially saw was a product of my expectation of the moment – I expected to see a fire-service vehicle of some kind – and I had to laugh as I realised that I had been lucky enough to be witness to a rare moment where I could compare the reality of what was there with the perceived reality of what I had invented.

    That fact that the world as we each see it is a illusion, and a very persnal, one-off illusion is something that recently becamne clear to me in the last week or two.

    So, to your initial first question ;’Can I possibly perceive my surrounding as it is?’
    No, without the rare chance of the nature I had, I don’t think it is possible.

    Reality is in the eye of the beholder.


  • live4life201

    We are not human beings having a spiritual experience.
    We are spiritual beings having a human experience.
    & everything EVERYTHING is an illusion.

  • live4life201

    fabricating the universe inside your mind is a good thing.

  • grandfathersky

    Yes, but not in the way we think. Isn’t enlightenment really just seeing things as they are – Adyashanti. You started this post enlightened, and lost it in doubt by the end.

    • Noel

      Grandfathersky, and this is exactly what my journey has been like, ups and down. But I am glad you thought I was enlightened at the beginning of this post, you have given me hope!

  • stainedimages

    Very good post and much to be contemplated. I had a dream (at least I think I was dreaming) about a month ago where I felt what ‘heaven’ must be like. Everything with form dissolved into purely mind. My body, my bed, the house I was in, everything melted away to this warmth of mind and it was very intense. It was just pure love and mind. I’ve been trying to contemplate my way back into that moment in my ‘waking’ life ever since. I’ve truly never been that happy in all of my life. I think you are on the right track. When we can live our lives knowing that when we harm others, we are only harming ourselves, we’ll all be better off for it. There’s an old Sikh story about a man that brought chickens to two men and told them to go and kill their chicken where no one is looking. The first man goes off into the woods I think and kills the chicken behind a barn where he thinks no one is watching him. The second man goes off into the woods as well. And so they both eventually return to the man that gave them the chickens. The first has killed his chicken as was requested. The second man comes back and his chicken is still alive. The man that gave the chickens knew instantly that this man understood the message. I’m remembering this story from memory so some of my details may be off, but you get the idea. Thanks for posting!

  • Cindy Holman

    Interesting thoughts here – I wrote about dreams today and they are strangely similar 🙂

  • Noel

    Today I thought of the following: The more angry, depressed, sad, and anxious we are in life, the more narrow our perception is about ourselves and our surroundings. We will focus only on that which makes us feel this way. We will tend to miss a lot from life. But when we feel calm, joyful, happy, and hopeful, our views expand more and we can see more about life, we can see the big picture. We will be able to freely connect more with others. Peace and love to all of my viewers.

  • cestlavie22

    I have to say in my view everything that we view is an illusion created by us by the experiences we have encountered. I think it would be impossible to view anything without our own bias perception because in reality we are a sum total of that bias without it we are not individuals. The bias is what makes us an individual. We created our own illusion.

  • jasonswartz

    It is when we willingly leave the self at the sacred door of that Great Unknown that all others can then reside within you as you.

    We reasonably think that by crucifying the self for God we will restrict, limit or even annihilate ourselves , yet giving up your own heart as a willing sacrifice allows God through His Grace to open your soul to feeling everyone elses heart. You do not lose your heart, but gain a new heart that feel others as itself.

    Great post Noel, our hearts speak the same language my friend..

  • Larry

    This is a wonderful post.

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