Perception

December 16, 2015

“Your mind notices everything, but in the noticing there is, almost instantaneously, a judgment, some kind of interpretation, a spin or a color, some kind of taint added to the thing itself. The mind does not present to you simply what is observed; it presents to you instead that which is decided, the verdict it has passed on that object, that sound, that person, or that experience. It offers you its understanding of the thing perceived, it offers you its judgment. And herein lies all your hope, because the moment that observation, that clean and clear perception, is turned into interpretation is the moment in which you will be free or not depending on how you attend to that. The space in between perceiving something and understanding it is the space in which freedom flourishes. Until the point at which judgment is passed, there is nothing but the fresh ease of simple perception, the input that has no name, the experience that has no consequence, the person encountered who simply is, without that meaning anything to us at all. That is the moment of your total liberation, and the key to being present to that split second between perception and interpretation is vigilance. But vigilance must be coupled with a certain relinquishment on your part, a relinquishment of the need for the thing perceived to satisfy you or mend you or feed you or fix you in any way at all. When we believe that we must have this input, these objects, whether it is love from outside, food from above, or riches of this earth, we condemn ourselves to interpret, to judge, and so, in every single instance, to misunderstand.  You cannot know something through the mind’s lens and expect to know it truly at all. You cannot see something through the verdict you have passed on it and expect that you have seen truly at all. The mind is capable of pure receptivity, a kind of knowing that needs no cognition in order to be complete, and it is that knowing, that pure and absolute receptivity to what is, and only to that, which becomes, in the mind, wisdom. All perception is wisdom if the mind is not allowed to interfere. All seeing is true knowing if there is no lens through which the mind passes judgment. And all understanding is unadulterated if allowed to emerge from that clear and perfect moment between perception and interpretation. The mind as judge and jury, as philosopher, as thinker, as knower, can actually know nothing at all. Wisdom appears in empty, untainted space, the space in which that which is is allowed to be only itself.”

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