Perception drives everything. It defines our reality and determines how we will experience life. If we perceive the world as a scary place, it will be. If we perceive relationships with our self and others as difficult and painful they will be. It doesn’t matter what is really happening, how we perceive it is how it is for the individual. Underlying the perception is judgment. We decide and choose how we are going to perceive the world. This is the basis of the conclusion that we create our own reality. We perceive what we want to perceive. This all may be happening subconsciously and to the ordinary citizen life may seem to be random and chaotic. Life is neither; it is determined by how we perceive it.
I read an interesting study the other day that reported that scientists have discovered that addictions are caused by environment, not by drugs. There was an experiment using rats decades ago where rats were given a choice between water and drug filled water. The rats apparently preferred the drug water. The conclusion was that drugs are inherently addicting. More recently, however, when the rats were given food, toys and room to play, they preferred the clean water. In another social experiment, Portugal decriminalized drug use. The money used to fight drugs was used to house and feed addicts. When people are taken out of stressful environments and placed into safe and nurturing environments, the majority of addicts voluntarily chose to stop using the drugs that they were “addicted” to. This is a huge shift in consciousness from victim (the drugs hooked me) to circumstantial (choosing to escape conditions). It goes to prove that we are making choices and judgments all the time either consciously or subconsciously that determine what we experience. This is why recovery programs have such a low percentage of success; as long as the addict continues in their perception of their condition they will be addicted to artificial ways to change their perception. That to me is proof that we are much more powerful than we believe, because we can control our perception one way or another. If all we have to do is change our perception to heal an addiction, then we are truly powerful.
We see what we want to see. We can see the pile of garbage or the flower growing on the side. Or even both perhaps. We can see the good in people or the evil, or both. We can see the events in our lives as something we liked or we can be consumed by the events that we don’t like. The switch that determines whether we like what is happening or we don’t like what is happening is called judgment. When we can eliminate judgment from our lives we start to see life as it truly is from a detached and totally conscious viewpoint. We stop wanting things to be different, because what is the point? Without judgment, nothing is better than anything else. We stop reacting to life; we simply witness life. We cease experiencing anger, fear, rejection, and the host of other negative emotions that cause suffering. Everything simply is.
It takes radical and rigorous honesty to be free of judgment. We have to admit to ourselves when we are being judgmental and stop it. Judgment is so deeply ingrained in our mental processes that it is like dandelion roots that keep growing back in the lawn of our thoughts. When we rid ourselves of judgment, all prejudices disappear and we can start to see people who they truly are. We start to see how others suffer because their judgments color their perception and we can have compassion because we know their suffering. Judgment affects everything, creating the perceptions of good/bad, right/wrong, and love/hate. When judgment is removed, all of those polar opposites disappear. This is the consciousness that will bring about huge change in the world and will allow groups to see other groups as they really are, not how prejudice and the resulting emotions color their perception.
The bottom line is we have to examine what judgments are causing us to limit ourselves and prevent us from being happy. We have to dig deep under all of the rationalizations our psyches have built around our judgments that color our perception and create our reality. Here is an example of how judgment alters perception that changes reality. If we believe/judge that events happen “to” us, we are in victim mode and we will be constantly afraid of what will happen next. We will be stressed and anxious about what can happen next. However, if we were to eliminate that judgment, or at least change the judgment to life happens “for” us, then we can relax, enjoy our lives and be happy. This is what we do to ourselves and we can easily change it to what we can do for ourselves. We are that powerful.