Perception of How Individuals See the World

Perception of how individuals see the world is varied and complicated. You, for example, may not be seeing things as they are but instead be seeing them as you want them to be. The reason for this variance within individual perception is because every person’s individual Karma shapes their perception of the world. This is clearly illustrated by this example from Sogyal Rinpoche’s book, The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying.

“The Masters use a traditional example: six different kinds of being meet by the banks of a river. The human being in the group sees the river as water, a substance to wash in or quench his thirst; for an animal such as a fish, the river is home; the god sees it as nectar that brings bliss; the demigod as a weapon; the hungry ghost as pus and putrid blood; and the being from the hell realm as molten lava. The water is the same, but it is perceived in totally different, even contradictory, ways.”

SOGYAL RINPOCHE  Extract from:  The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying by Sogyal Rinpoche

This varying view shows clearly that the perceptions are based on the individual’s own upbringing and environment. The environment that a human finds him/herself during each reincarnation is entirely based on the karmic influences from previous lifetimes.

You may be very rich as you were a kind soul in a previous life who used your money wisely and with compassion.  Or you may be very poor as you abused your use of money in a previous life and this present life-time is to teach you the value of money. You may be living in a country with no basic amenities as in a previous life you had great luxury but you were selfish and did not help others.  The law of karma shows itself in numerous forms which are too many to elucidate in this short article.

However there can be no denying that perception of how individuals see the world events or experiences in your life are very different from  the affect those same events and experiences may have on another person. In the above illustration from Sogyal Rinpoche’s book a variety of entities were used by the Masters to illustrate their example of perception.  And just as there are many forms of entities in this universe there are many forms of human beings on this planet.

People have different coloured skin, they speak a different language, appearances are varied and a myriad of different thoughts invade everyone’s minds.  What one person believes and understand as their truth may vary considerably from another person’s perception. It is a good point to remember this idea of perception when you interact with people.

What you believe to be your truth may not be what the other person understands as truth on the same subject. Everyone is allowed to have their own perception on life and you have to accept that to be the case. Just as the other person must allow you to have your perceptions.  Shouting about your beliefs does not honour the other person and it dishonours yourself.  If you have to rant to get other people to perceive as you do then maybe you have to reassess who you are and why you feel the need to get others to think as you do.

Perception of how individuals see the world can sometimes affect personality. Whatever the scenario respect others to have their perceptions based on their karma as they must allow you to have yours.  There is no right or wrong about perception it just is how you see things.

Books written by Sogyal Rinpoche can be bought using the link below:

The Tibetan Book of Living & Dying            Living Well Dying Well


Curated by Liz McCaughey


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