The way we pay attention to what we experience influences our experience of it. Making it more intense, less intense, disappear, or even transformed into something else.
Our experiences occur within reality. The realities we live are never pure, nor are they neutral. They are one of the many variations that fall within the range of raw reality. Because our consciousness is limited in scope relatively to raw reality, we only pick up a fraction of it.
Imagine a book of 600 pages. For some reason, you can only read 30 pages at random without ever knowing how many pages there are in total. In fact, you never even stop to ask yourself how much of the whole book you are able to read.
Naturally, you will not interpret the holes of knowledge, the missing pages, as incomplete. What you experience the book to be, then, depends on how you connect those 30 pages into a coherent whole and which 30 pages you happen to read.
With those restrictions, what you consider the book to be can only be a distortion. Any whole that is experienced without an awareness of its holes is a distortion. Any whole that is experienced with an awareness of these holes is merely incomplete.
Similar types of restrictions are in place for us, physical, biological, and psychological. But I would never be as arrogant as to suggest that a ratio of 600 to 30 is anywhere accurate. I estimate the difference in ratio close to infinity.
We don’t know how much of everything we don’t know. All we can know is that what we can know is limited, that we are never fully aware of those limits, and that whichever collection of fractions of the range we experience is distorted.
When we attend to any phenomenon, the quality of our attention sets the range of our awareness and the parameters of the distortion. All realities in consciousness are distortions by definition. Pain and pleasure are distortions, and how we attend to them determines how and as what we experience them.
Perception is reality distortion. Before we perceive anything, we preceive it. We don’t enter the game of reality distortion neutrally. We can’t. We always carry a set of expectations, sensibilities, and biases – psychological, biological, physical — with us to form our preception. Simplified, preception is who we are as a totality in any given moment (presence). And this preception defines what reality we perceive. As our preceptions cohere with perceptions, we cohere with reality. Our presence is reality.
We can’t understand perception unless we understand preception. Preception is the creative force of our consciousness and the essence of our experienced reality. But our preceptions are so far outside of our conscious awareness, taken for granted, the most fundamental foundations of our self, that we fail to catch the hand by which we form reality into its current rendering.
Every preception limits the range of elements we distort into a coherent whole and thus provokes it into the reality we perceive. This is true and present in the sensations in your right hand, the thoughts you have about yesterday, the feeling of your skin, the ideas you carry about yourself, the memories that ache and please you, the reality in which you interpret yourself, and most importantly of all, yourself.
They are distortions of convenience. They may be real, but not exhaustively. They are valid distortions, but they are not whole truths. And while you may know that, you don’t know how vast the range of potential alternatives is.
How can we become aware of the parameters of our preceptions and master the game of reality distortion and perception by shifting them without identifying with them? How can we graduate from a passive observer of the fluctuations in consciousness to aligning with the creative force responsible for its ripples?