Perception. A word that we use very often without being aware of its meaning; it’s origin is the latin word percipere, which means “to receive, understand”. Nowadays we mostly use this word as a synonym for awareness. But awareness originates from old english “gewær”, which means to be aware of something.
Hence there is a massive difference between these two:
I am aware of what really is. Awareness is the quite, non-judgmental observer, also known as the Higher Self, that gives attention to the person or situation at hand without evaluating what’s happening.
I perceive what I believe to be. Perception is the loud, very judgmental actor, also known as the Ego, that gives unsolicited evaluation to the person or situation at hand without paying attention to what’s happening.
So my perception has more to do with me and my inner belief system than with what is perceived by me. My inner beliefs have a much bigger impact on what I perceive than how that really is. My dear friend Zesi is absolutely right in claiming that every person lives in his or her own reality.
Since every human being has taken an individual path and thus formed his own perception, the perception of no two people is exactly the same. Clearly there are the physical senses, which serve as tools of perception in the exterior; However, these are all fine tuned differently.
The physical senses, our antennae on the outside, are receptors of a signal; Just as pain is ‘just’ a signal that moves from the cell through the spine to tell the brain that something is wrong, our senses are receptors for signals from the outside world that help the brain calculate what the world around us is like.
The ear or the eardrum is the instrument to receive and transmit acoustic signals. The eye or the pupil is the instrument to receive and transmit visual signals. The sense of touch or the cells of the skin are the instrument to receive and transmit haptic signals, and so on.
All signals are evaluated in the control center brain and processed to information, similar to a mathematical equation: 1 + 1 = 2, I see you + I hear you = you are here and you talk. So the senses are our feelers in the outside world.
Now the feelings and thoughts come into play – they too are only signals to draw our attention to something underneath. A pulling pain in my leg makes me aware that my muscle is torn. Sadness draws my attention to the fact that something inside of me is not right. Happiness draws my attention to the fact that I’m having a nice moment right now.
Feelings and thoughts are the antennae inside, the tools with which I can track and analyze my inner movement. As with anything in manifested reality, the internal and external instruments of perception are always interconnected; External signals, after transmission and processing in the brain, may well trigger a reaction of the internal instruments to the new information, just as an internally felt signal that’s transmitted and processed to information can trigger an external reaction.
As a child, my friend Ava felt an overwhelming fascination for heat. This magnetic attraction was an inner signal, which made little Ava press her forefinger on the hot stove. Whereupon the external instrument skin cell immediately got activated and sent a signal of pain to her brain, where it was processed to information, leading to a new signal sent from the brain that made Ava move her finger away from the stove.
Her fingertip, however, was already so badly burnt at this time, that until today no impression, no furrows in the skin are to be seen. She can not feel anything with this fingertip until now – the sensory cells in the tissue were completely destroyed at that time. So she will never feel the same way with her hands as I do without a burnt fingertip.
The same thing happens to our inner feelers when we have to deal with traumatic experiences. Depending on how profound the experience has been, it can leave scars on the inside that change our perception – until we make it conscious and transform it.
The younger we are, the more open our perception is. As a child, our heart is wide and carefree. Somehow ironic that at the very stage when we hopefully do not yet know internal pain as such, we are the meanest. There is almost nothing nastier than a child who does not yet know what pain its actions can trigger in others.
When we are exposed to traumatic experiences as a child, they will affect our perception more than when we encounter them as adults. For example, Ava was afraid of fire for years. Not even she knew exactly why.
One day her mother took her to a firewalk. This is a ritual where you go over glowing coals – mentally strengthened beforehand so that the heat can not harm you. Of course, Ava did not have to participate in the ritual; Her mother just wanted to find out what the fear of fire was all about.
As soon as they were together with the other participants in the ritual place, the fire path was lit. As soon as the heat of the flames reached the participants, Ava ran for her life. Deeper and deeper into the forest she ran, driven by blind fear. Suddenly she heard a voice in herself; “Away from the heat, now, immediately, pain, curiosity hurts, I do not want to know anything, see nothing, learn nothing more – it will hurt anyway!”
Astonished, she paused. Turning to her mother, who had followed her, she repeated the inner words aloud. “Mom… Is it possible that the heat of this stove did not just burn my skin at that time? There’s something inside of me, and it feels like the burnt skin of my finger. Whenever I think of heat, it causes panic in me.”
Here, an experience that has happened outwardly, triggered internal signals after being processed to information in the brain. Since the inner instruments are easier to numb or not perceive, it is often a little more difficult to get to grips with the underlying “mal-programming”.
I write mal-programming in leading and closing signs, because on the one hand it definetely was an incorrect programming of the stored information (example Ava: As a child, her subconscious mind stored the following equations: Curiosity = pain, heat = horror. But this is only part of the truth: Curiosity can be painful, but also lead to new adventures and unseen places, and heat can kill, but the heat of the fire also lets us survive the cold winter).
On the other hand, this “incorrect” programming of information on the part of the brain is an integral part of any healing journey and often necessary to focus our attention on the programmable aspects of our perception.
For when I realize that everything I perceive is first and foremost the interpretation of my brain of internal and external signals, and then look more closely at the brain when it is at work, I can change quite a bit of my reality without a single movement in the outside.
Like this, I evolve from the puppet to the puppeteer, from the slave to the master of my reality.