A lot of people think of perception in terms of the six senses. Taste, touch, smell, sight, sound, and extra-sensory perceptions (ESP, empathy, etc). But each of those is a singular point of perception. They are the impression makers that build your overall perception.
Perception itself is the processing of those inputs. It’s how the brain analyzes and combines all that data. This is how you know food is tasty or not, sex feels good, broken bones hurt, and so on.
But even deeper than that, perception is how you view the whole of reality. Your perception is unique to you, and you alone, which is why reality is rather fluid.
As Albert Einstein said,
“Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.”
To me, that means that reality, being based on individual perception, is unique to each person. You and I do not perceive the world in the same way.
While the senses make up perception, they are only a part of that. It goes further. Other factors are also a part of perception.
The impact of background and experiences
Where you come from has a rather large effect on your perception of the world. All you have to do to understand this is to look at cultural differences.
The people of southeast Asia come from a culture different from the people of western Europe, which is also different from the people of central Africa, which is wildly different from the peoples of North America.
Hell, even the cultures across the United States can be wildly different. I grew up in the suburbs of Minneapolis, Minnesota. My experiences in that particular culture created a view of reality different from the people I have come to know in the twenty-plus years of living in New Jersey or New York. Those experiences are quite different from people I have met who are from the South or the Southwest parts of the country.
The point is, your background is part of what creates your perception of reality. It is not just based on where you come from, it will also be affected by the class your family comes out of, wealth, social status, neighborhood, family dynamic, and various other outside influences.
Then there are your experiences. Everyone has stories to tell about their lives, some are intriguing and interesting while others are dull and mundane. Yet everyone has experiences along the way that become a part of how they perceive reality.
The education you receive, people you choose as friends, romantic relationships, business partnerships, adventures you go on all will become a part of your perception of reality.
One experience, two perceptions
With all of the different backgrounds and senses, two people partaking of a similar experience could have wildly different perceptions of such.
For example, let’s say you and I go for a hike at Boynton Canyon in Sedona, Arizona. Though we are taking this hike together, what you and I experience and perceive on this hike could be vastly different.
You may observe the red rocks, interesting trees and cacti, dirt along the paths, and the impressive striated walls of the canyon. Chances are you will feel the air temperature and pressure, the sunlight, and enjoy the hike through the area, and the beauty of it all.
I notice all of the above aspects of the canyon, too. But I also feel the energy of the vortex that is within Boynton Canyon. What’s a vortex? While some consider it hooky-spooky mumbo-jumbo, to others it is a place of absolutely stunning Earth energy that you can feel with your extra-sensory perceptions as clear as rain on your skin.
I have experienced multiple vortexes in Sedona. They are one of the reasons why it’s a favorite place of mine to visit. Because of my background and my experience with energy healing and empathy, I totally believe I can feel it.
You, on the other hand, might find all of that to be hooky-spooky bullshit of the first order. We can go on the same exact hike but perceive it totally differently. Hence one experience, two perceptions.
There is, to some degree, a shared perception of our Universe on the part of each and every one of us. That is where the idea of the collective consciousness comes from.
Though each of us sees the world in very different ways, based on all the factors that go into perception, there are common ideas within them. The make-up of the world itself, land, sea, and air; the general design of human beings; organizational structures that we’ve agreed upon to make society into what it is.
Though the exact way in which you perceive and experience these things differs from my way of perceiving and experiencing them, you and I still share them. Yet history shows us that they are not static and that they do, can, and will change.
So long as fear, lack, and scarcity dominate the cultural context of the collective consciousness, this world appears dim to many.
That is why I practice mindfulness, making use of positivity, and conscious reality creation. Because I recognize that my perception of this reality is unique to me, yet still contributes to the collective consciousness, I strive to make my impact upon it a positive one.
Perception is a choice
You get to choose how you perceive reality.
Sometimes this feels like it’s a lie. But since reality is an illusion of your creating, based upon your perception, you can choose what that looks like. Your sensory input, background, life experiences, relationships, friends, adventures, and everything else colors and provides context for your perception. But the choice of how to interpret that is entirely up to you.
Thus, you get to decide if you see the world as scary, threatening, dark and dying…or exciting, friendly, light and expanding/evolving/growing. Your perception is wholly yours, and a choice you get to make.
When you see this for what it is, you can also see that if reality is not how you want it to be, you can change it. You are worthy and deserving of having this control because it is a major aspect of what sets us apart from the rest of the animals on this planet.
Don’t be afraid of this power — it’s one of the best things about being you. If you want to change your life, you are meant to do so. You haven’t a need to prove your worth to anyone else, you are deserving of changing your perception of reality to match your dream of what it could be.
You are worthy and deserving of using your mindfulness to find and/or create the reality in which you desire to live. When all is said and done you matter, and your perception of reality matters as well.