PERCEPTION IS "TRUTH"

by
Chris Maser

The Indian spiritual leader, Mahatma Gandhi, said that, "A votary of truth [a person fervently devoted to truth] is often obliged to grope in the dark." Our challenge therefore lies in our blind spots, not in our vision. Unlike correcting a blind spot in the rear view of an automobile, which can be rectified simply by adding a different kind or a supplemental mirror, we cannot correct our personal blind spots so easily. To correct them, we must grow in our perception and in our acceptance of what is. "Perceive" means to "seize wholly," to "see all the way through." Perception, therefore, is the act of seeing in the mind, of understanding.

Our perceptions grow and change as we mature, but not everyone's perceptions mature at the same rate, which accounts for the widely differing degrees of consciousness with respect to cause-and-effect relationships. This disparity is neither good nor bad; it simply means that each of us have different gifts to give at different times in our lives as we see different truths.

Truth is absolute. Perceptions of truth are relative. Therefore, facts, which are perceptions of truth, are relative. That is why truth is singular and perceptions plural. Consider the following statement:  The world functions perfectly; our perception of how the world functions is imperfect. We assume this statement to be true because it accepts Universal Laws of cause and effect as absolute Truth, but what are those laws? How do they work? We do not know because our perception is constantly changing as we increase the scope of our knowledge.

Trying to understand the Universal Laws is the essence of science. Yet even having worked as a scientist for 40 years or more, I would not know a "scientific truth" if I stepped on one, because my perception of how Universal Laws work is constantly changing. A "scientific fact" is therefore a fact only by consensus of the scientists, which means that a scientific fact or "truth" is only an approximation of what is. It represents our best understanding of reality at this moment and is constantly subject to change as we learn.

Perception is learning, because cause and effect are always connected. Gandhi had reached this conclusion when he said:  "My aim is not to be consistent with my previous statements, but to be consistent with the truth." He was consistent in his changing perceptions of what "the truth" was at different stages in his life. He grew from truth to truth as his vision cleared and he could see greater and greater vistas. So he said that if one found an "inconsistency" between any two things he wrote, the person "would do well to choose the latter of the two on the same subject."

As I have grown, I am increasingly struck by the way my perception of what is continues to unfold, like a many-petaled flower. As each petal matures, I see the world anew, and thus perceive it differently. My reality is therefore different, and I am increasingly capable of responding to what is without making a value judgment, because, as Edward Bach, the British physician said, "The knowledge of Truth also gives to us the certainty that, however tragic some of the events of the world may appear to be, they form but a temporary stage in the evolution of man...."

The accepted definitions of truth are only modifications of the definitions of perception. Truth as a human understanding resides in everyone's heart, and it is there one must search for it. Although we must each be guided by truth as we see it, no one has a right to coerce others to act according to his or her own view of truth. In the end, our "detector of truth" is our inner voice. Thus, I find no magic in the perfection of hindsight; it only points out that I did not listen to my inner voice when it spoke the first time.

The truth of the human mind is relative and therefore but a perception of that which is True. If our perception of a truth were in fact the Truth, we would find no such thing as a half-truth.

Truth is perfect understanding of that which is. It is neither the spoken word nor the written word, although these may have a ring of truth to them. Truth cannot be defined; it can only be experienced and lived.

I had a dream some years ago in which I saw truth as a concept, like a great space ship, floating through the universe, a concept I couldn't fully grasp because I was outside of it attempting to look within. I couldn't see within, however, because I was trying to see truth through knowledge, which is a socially negotiated, impervious shield against our understanding of the Eternal as reality. As such, knowledge has everything to do with the social acceptability of perception and nothing to do with Truth. Finally, I saw the paradox:  to understand Truth I had to give up trying to see (= understand) the world through knowledge. But how? I didn't know how.

As I focused on the paradox, my mind relaxed until it was at last still. In that instant of stillness, the paradox reversed itself and became a doorway passing like a tunnel through the shield of knowledge into the floating concept of Truth. Once inside, seeking to understand the Truth no longer made sense because there was nothing to ponder. I had become Truth, and I experienced the eternal peace, which transcends all understanding.

My dream told me that Truth is both impartial and perfect, while our perception of truth is both partial and imperfect. In addition, Truth can exist only where The Eternal Mystery is, only in the present, in this instant, in the here and now. The past and the future are both illusions, and like all illusions, they are devoid of Truth.

If this sounds a little convoluted, it's because we're prone to accepting and using all "shades" of truth. Truth is absolute and simply is, so there is only Truth and untruth. Truth never needs defense, although it my require explanation. And where Truth abides, no judgment of human value is possible.

©chris maser 2006. All rights reserved.

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