images in a dream, so one should see all things."
The Prajnaparamita Sutra
When I have tinnitis, I hear a
ringing nobody else hears.
When my retina is detached and then repaired, straight lines are
wavy and the moon looks like a cluster of grapes.
With my cataract, the traffic light looks like a three-leafed clover.
When my hallucinations are acting up, I think someone is shouting and
My leg was amputated, but I can still feel the pain in my foot.
Somebody told me I have B.O. and bad breath, but I don’t smell
Growing up, we
learn to rely on our senses to map reality. Normally, they work so well
that we just assume that what we perceive is reality. Roses are red.
Violets are of a hue of that portion of the spectrum that may be evoked
in the normal observer by radiant energy of wavelengths approximately
420 nanometers, but not exactly blue. We think we know what an old shoe
smells like, but our cat seems to be extracting much more information
from the scent. What are we missing? Dogs hear those whistles that we
can’t. Bugs can apparently see parts of the light spectrum that we
don’t. Watching an airplane warm up it’s engines, we can see that the
propellers are turning, and then they seem to reverse directions, and
then they become virtually invisible. We don’t get it, but we accept it
and eventually, we fail to even notice the wonder of it.
Normally, our senses are so
well integrated with our brain function that we accept that what we
see, hear, feel, taste or smell is real. We look at the sky and say
that it is blue, and everybody agrees with that, so we accept that it
is blue. But that blueness depends on the quality of the lens in our
eye, the effectiveness of our retina in registering the color, the
ability for our optic nerve to get the nerve impulses to the brain, and
the brains ability to interpret the impulses and give us consciousness
of blue. The sky is blue, but more accurately, the blue is in the
interface between our brain and the light reflected from gases and
particles in the atmosphere.
“So what?” you say. Well,
it doesn’t really matter if you don’t mind living in the illusion. But
if you want to look beyond the veil of Maya, the realm of illusion, you
can find a truth that can take you to a deeper understanding of
reality, of our place in the universe, of what the universe is and who
we really are.
In meditation we can
see the mind working. In stillness, we reduce the stimulation of the
senses. Images come up and we can readily see that they are illusory
products of mental activity. In a state of deep calm wakefulness, we
may be able to recognize the work our brain does in giving us
perception and awareness. Going deeper, we may gain understanding of
the nature of consciousness. We may see the light beyond what we see
with our eyes. Be quiet. Sit still. Look behind your eyes and see what
is beneath the light and dark.
"Your being has two
sides...one visible, the other invisible. With open eyes you
behold objective creation, and yourself in it. With closed eyes
you see nothing, a dark void; yet your consciousness, even when
dissociated from form, is still keenly aware and operative. If in
deep meditation you penetrate the darkness behind closed eyes, you
behold the Light from which all creation emerges. By deeper
samadhi, your experience transcends even the manifested Light and
enters the All-Blissful Consciousness -- beyond all form, yet
infinitely more real, tangible and joyous than any sensory or
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