A question of perception

The visionary poet William Blake once wrote

“If the doors of perception were cleansed, everything would appear to man as it is, infinite. For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things thro’ narrow chinks of his cavern.”

The Buddha taught that one of the reasons we suffer and experience difficulties in life is because we misperceive the world around us. According to the Buddha we often think we have perceived a situation clearly when we have not. So often we bring labels and concepts of what is happening to the situation rather than just being with the direct experience as it is. This level of conceptualisation and labelling gives us the false impression that we know what something is. eg a car, chair, bird, mum, dad. But if can learn to come into relationship with our bodies and simply stay with the sensation of the direct experience as perceived via our senses, just allow the bare experience to be there, fully attending to it in a relaxed and open awareness then something alive, vibrant , and constantly changing and moving is revealed not a static solid fixed object or situation. So maybe next time we enjoy drinking a cup of tea or coffee, we can try relaxing and being attentive to the warmth of the hot drink as it touches your lips, the weight of the mug or cup in your hand, maybe the soft swirling rise of the steam from the drink as it rises into the air and then vanishes again and again. Holding more lightly any ideas of thoughts about what we think will happen and just being open through our body and our senses to the mystery of the direct experience as it unfolds.

“The moment a little boy is concerned with which is a jay and which is a sparrow, he can no longer see the birds or hear them sing.” Eric Berne, Psychotherapist