In the late 1700s, the brilliant poet William Blake wrote these incredibly insightful lines:
If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing 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.
We believe perception is a function of external stimuli received by our sensory apparatus and processed by the brain. This is what we call reality, which we judge accordingly. Certain inputs we identify as good and others as bad.
But never for a moment do we step back and question the validity of the foundation upon which our seeing rests. As Blake realized, man has closed himself up.
We are so convinced that our consciousness bears witness to the truth of existence and the state of reality. We need not look very far to convince ourselves of this perception. Anytime we are unhappy, we can quickly point to the sources or cause of our pain. Likewise, if asked what would bring us happiness, we have a ready list of conditions to proffer.
We see only a world of bodies – ours and others – each with their needs, hopes, goals, agonies, and strivings. Lack, limitation, and loss permeate our experiences. And we certainly don’t see what Blake referred to as the Infinite. Our doors of perception are closed.
Two centuries later, A Course in Miracles explains exactly why our perception is wrong.
Everything the body’s eyes can see is a mistake, an error in perception, a distorted fragment of the whole without the meaning that the whole would give. (T-22.III.4)
The body’s eyes see only form. They cannot see beyond what they were made to see. And they were made to look on error and not see past it. Theirs is indeed a strange perception, for they can see only illusions. (T-22.III.5)
We made this entire universe – and all the bodies within it – as a way to limit perception. When we look on another person, we don’t see the infinite within them. Instead we see their body and judge them based on what their body looks like or does/doesn’t do.
These eyes, made not to see, will never see. (T-22.III.6)
And perhaps most startling and disturbing of all is that what we see is what we want to see.
Projection makes perception. The world you see is what you gave it, nothing more than that. It is the witness to your state of mind, the outside picture of an inward condition. As a man thinketh, so does he perceive. (T-21.in.1)
But herein lies the source of true happiness. By changing our mind and choosing to see through the vision of spirit instead of the eyes of ego, our perception is instantly cleansed revealing the truth of Infinite. From such a perspective, judgment becomes impossible as we experience the blissful union of oneness.
Join us in Monday’s class where we will explore Blake’s penetrating insights and learn how we can practice cleansing our doors of perception. I look forward to seeing you then.