A cook, an artist, and a physicist are all looking at the same rectangular surface. The cook sees a table on which to chop onions, parsley, and carrots. The artist sees a series of colors to reproduce on canvas. The physicist sees electrons, protons, and neutrons spinning in space. Who has knowledge? Who is ignorant? Who is right? Who is wrong?
Doesn’t the answer depend on perception, personal need and intention?
If we want a delicious bowl of vegetable soup for lunch, the cook knows what the rectangular surface is for: a place to chop vegetables. Clearly, neither a series of colors nor atoms spinning in space is going to get us that bowl of soup.
If what we want is a lovely picture to decorate our living room wall, the artist has the answer: a series of colors to be reproduced on canvas. Chopping onions, parsley, and carrots won’t get us the painting, nor will spinning electrons, protons, and neutrons.
If the cook, artist, and physicist all agreed to call the rectangular surface “a table” or “une table” or “una mesa”, can we say that they know what the rectangular surface is? If all Europeans in the 14th Century agree that the earth is flat, can we say that the earth really is flat? I don’t think so. They simply all perceive that it is flat.
These are group perceptions. We use group perceptions all the time to make sense of our sensory data and communicate with one another. However, group perceptions tell us nothing about what has been called Knowledge or Ignorance. They are simply useful tools. The intention is to understand sensory data and communicate with one another.
What is this thing called knowledge? What is this thing called ignorance? Can we know anything with one hundred percent certainty?
John and Joan are putting together a puzzle. They find the border pieces and put them in place. They match similar colors and shapes and eventually, all the puzzle pieces fit together. Can they say they know they finished the puzzle and got everything right? Can they say they have the answer? While they may know how to put together that particular puzzle, do they know anything beyond the borders of that puzzle?
There is a human truth puzzle that can be assembled, explained and deciphered in human terms – a group perception ultimately understood and attained by every spiritual master. Putting together the pieces of that human truth puzzle requires, among other things, an understanding of one’s own mind, emotions, and consciousness. Know thyself. Be aware. Be conscious.
Delving deeply into one’s own mind, emotions and consciousness can be a terrifying and humbling experience. Why undertake the journey when it feels so comfortable sitting in our own self-created, illusory prisons?
It is only when something in our external world throws us into despair and forces us to our knees that the spiritual journey begins. Humbled and terrified, kicking and screaming, we have little choice but to release our illusions, open our prison doors, and walk out into the light of consciousness, freedom, empowerment, responsibility, co-creation, and collaboration.
Once we have assembled the human truth puzzle, can we even begin to think we know anything beyond our own minds, emotions and senses? However, therein lies our power. We know we don’t know. We know no one else knows either. We can stand firmly in our own perceptions, respect others’ perceptions, learn from one another, and co-create.
Solving the human truth puzzle requires an understanding of the relationship between our experiences and the words we use to chop them up. Words are divisive and always separate: black/white; right/wrong; truth/falsehood; Christ/Antichrist; knowledge/ignorance. We chop our experiences up into words all the time and we all do it differently – just like the cook, the artist, and the physicist. The way each of us chops experience up depends on what we perceive, think, feel and need. How can we meet our own needs without destroying others?
We are created in the image of our Maker. Our Maker is the Creator. We, too, are creators: of words, of emotions, of actions.
If everything we think and feel and do is a creation of mind, what then do we choose to create? War or peace? Harmony or violence? Love or hate? Poverty or abundance? Heaven or hell?
How do we create peace, harmony, love, abundance, and heaven?
We pause, shift our focus away from our external world, and look at our own thoughts, feelings and needs. It’s called the “Witness” – each of us watching ourselves. Then we ask ourselves, “Is this what I choose to create? How can I calm my own negative emotions and get my own needs met without harming myself or others?”