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July 23, 2020

The Prism of Perception

In the hot summer before I went to secondary school I heard The Doors first album which was as far removed from the synthetic sound of Cliff Richard as you could get.I will admit to repeatedly singing ‘Batchelor Boy’ when sailing about in a boat with a friend some years before, but now I was hungry for the raw power which only Jim Morrison could give.A few years later I learnt the group took their name from ‘The Doors of Perception’ a book written by Aldous Huxley in 1954.

The concept of perception eluded me until I had started to meditate, about 18 months later.So often the way we view things, and especially people, is through a prism which has been defined by our culture and upbringing, or influenced by something we have been told or learnt.

When I first started working for an internationaI auction house I was told to be vigilant and look out for any suspicious characters who might have designs on the valuable art work.One morning I spotted a stooped figure carrying an assortment of carrier bags. With her dirty coat and dishevelled appearance the old lady looked out of place so I called over the security guard.I was embarrassed to be told that this was an important and well known silver dealer who moved safely around the city  in her ‘disguise’ when carrying valuable objects.

I had mis-interpreted something that didn’t look right and my sense of foolishness was compounded by the knowledge that my fine levels of feeling had been tempered by the instruction to be vigilant.  On a very simple level I had been conditioned.

Current issues such as the George Floyd and Black Lives Matter protests highlight numerous perceptions which are now thrown into sharp focus. Over many years, and many generations of conditioning, the collective shows signs of mass hypnosis. This dystopian outlook has caused much suffering which is no longer tolerable or sustainable.

When we finesse our perception and acuity whatever we approach or come across is understood at all levels.When we are in our most simple and honest state, in full consciousness, the purity and integrity of what we are engaging with is shown to have the absence of ‘other’ – it is no different to us, and this allows us to connect, contribute and grow.

Adjusting our optic changes the way we observe, the way we assimilate, the way we sense and recognise and understand that something is right or wrong. Improving our judgement and insight will lead to better decisions and then we can see the truth more clearly from a position of honesty.

Many years after I first heard how The Doors chose their name I learnt that Aldous Huxley in turn took his title from the visionary work ‘The Marriage of Heaven and Hell’, by the English poet and artist William Blake, who wrote:

‘If the doors of perception were cleansed, everything would appear to man as it is, Infinite.

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