If we perceive something, we are typically “seeing” it using all of our senses. Perceiving can also mean to understand a concept in our mind. Perceiving is the act of awareness. To perceive means only that we recognize or notice something.
Perception, on the other hand, is our judgment about a thing. We can perceive one hundred dollars in our bank account, but our perception about this fact may be that we have too much or too little money. Perception is based on our prior experience. Perception is clouded by what we feel and think about other similar situations in the past. Perception is distorted by our beliefs, ideologies, and expectations. Perception is not fact but our interpretation and belief about a fact. How we perceive can be off like when we struggled with our eyesight. How we perceive is influenced by the ability of our senses to work properly. If our senses are working well, we perceive correctly. On the other hand, I would argue that our perception is almost always off because our perception is always clouded by our own unique interpretation. Our perception colors our world – sometimes for good, sometimes not.
Most of the time our perception is colored by self-protection. We see the world through a lens that allows us to self-preserve, to survive, to maintain our life as we know it. Even if something is bad for us, if our ego thinks we need it to survive, thinks this perception is who we are or who we need to be, our ego will hold on to it, justify it, and interpret everything to allow us to continue as we are. Much of the worlds conflict is a clash of perception. We all look at the same situation, but our perception of that situation varies. To help clear this conflict, we first need to stop clinging to the false belief that ours is the only and true perspective. It is not. It can not be, because we are each constantly judging life by the view and perspective only we can see and that we take as a normal part of life.
We need to be open to growing. We usually cling to our beliefs to protect ourselves; it feels safe. In actuality, holding on to previous beliefs keeps us stuck. Everything in life changes, transforms and grows. Why should we be any different? So the first step to growing beyond our safe perceptions is to question everything. Question every belief, every “fact,” every perspective. Release the assumption that we mere humans can know the ineffable. Things that were a fact yesterday are not today. Uncover your beliefs and release the ones which are not making your life and the lives of those around you better.
When we can release our expectations and release our clouded perception of how things are or should be, we begin to experience a more free, amazing and beautiful life.
Peace and Love, Jim