Reality is a funny thing. On one hand, we know that reality needs to exist at some level. On the other hand, however, how we perceive that reality depends on a myriad of things. Our perception of reality is filtered by our thoughts and beliefs. The problem is that while we’ve come to consider that reality is the state of things as they actually exist, we’re constantly evaluating that “actually exist”-state through the haze of prejudice, expectation and belief.
As one who has followed a meditation practice for over 30 years, I will categorically state that our mental state completely defines our experience of reality. On one hand, I experience my logical, “I’m a programmer” state wherein everything is logically evaluated, categorized and stored away in some matrix somewhere for later retrieval. On the other hand, I’ve cultivated the ability to experience a completely connected “one with Life, The Universe and Everything” reality that almost defies description.
The two perceptions are linked. It’s the same experience, but one is filtered while the other is raw. The first time I experienced that fully “raw” connection with everything, it was overwhelming to the extreme that it was actually physically painful. That might not sound like something you’d want to experience, but I will say that it was something that I wouldn’t push away were it to happen to that degree again. It was remarkable.
Since that original experience, I’ve been able to easily switch between my “programmer’s brain” to my “connected brain” at will. I didn’t understand what had happened at the time, but it seems in retrospect that years of meditation and energy work had resulted in a very sudden “opening”. The challenge has been to maintain that connected-brain access, as the more time I spend in my logical perception, the more disconnected I seem to get from that unfiltered access. It just goes to show that meditation is a process that doesn’t have a final destination.
I’ve never really been able to describe these experiences in a way that makes sense to others. A friend of mine, Jana Shannon, finally gave voice to my experience when she shared a TED Talk by Jill Bolte Taylor, who is a brain scientist. Her talk on right-brain/left-brain perception is fascinating and beautiful. I urge you all to take 20 min. and have a listen to her talk, “Stroke of Insight”: