Perception is Not Reality

Imagine you are playing tennis. The ball gets hit right at you. You go to hit it back but you miss! You thought you were going to hit it. But your eyes deceive you and it smacks you right in the face. How strange. You thought you were going to hit it but you were suddenly shocked when your perceptions were brought into line. You just got hit in the face by reality.

Guess what? Reality is what happens outside of your head, outside of your little bubble. There are other people and other things. You may interpret and perceive them through your senses and your mind. But that doesn’t change the fact that what’s real is real.

Your perception may be your reality. But it is not THE reality.

There is only one objective reality, so try get in touch with it and end your suffering (that’s the tricky part).

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31 comments
  1. Raquel Castillo said:

    Disagree.

    Perception IS reality. Perhaps it’s not THE reality, but perception is the way your brain filters information and “tells you” how do you feel about everything that surrounds you: from realtionships, to politics, to religion. If perception was not reality but THE reality, people wouldn’t get into arguments about realtionships, or poitics, or religion. If perception was not reality everybody would see the world in black and white and would agree that 1+1=2 ( though it’s quite presuptuous to think there’s only one right answer to every question) Sorry to burst your bubble, but in this world some people think 1+1=11 because of their perception, and that means for them 11 is reality.

    • Raquel I am pretty sure you just wrote what I did in a different way. :)

      If you think 1+1=11 then you will find yourself in financial difficulty quite soon.

  2. That sounds dangerously close to acceptance. I don’t think reality is as clear cut as that, and I don’t believe in a single reality. I prefer to be a dreamer :)

    • The point here is to seek reality and question your perceptions which are mostly wrong. I’m not sure what you mean by acceptance. But acceptance is extremely important depending on how you define it.

      • But how do you define reality? I think my reality is different to yours, and I’ve heard too many times that I should focus on ‘real’ life, when what the person calls ‘real’ is causing their own problems and unhappiness simply because they’re afraid to be different. Acceptance here is complacency and lack of courage, but to me, reality is change in all its constancy.

  3. danimora22 said:

    You have a nice blog. We are very similar, I think. :) But I wonder, does thinking too much cause you troubles? Let me explain. I am always thinking in a lot of the things that you have written in your blog. However, I think that thinking has caused me certain “impairments”. For example, certain inability to take my thinking into action. Now I feel I need to stop thinking and start acting. Thinking too much has made me an information junkie, hahahaha, always reading, always learning, but not so much acting. Do you feel something similar?

    Sincerely,
    Daniela

    • Hi Daniela,

      I plan to read you blog in more detail when I get a chance. Only saw the latest post which is on the topic you mention. I was once like this a few years ago. I couldn’t process all my thoughts. But as time went on I learned to channel them and now have a very strong clarity on things in general. Although of course the clarity can slip up sometimes ;)

      I started writing down my own thoughts and philosophies to make things clearer to myself. Then I started sharing some with some friends to get some validation. Then I decided to make a blog about it and that is what you are reading right now :)

      I’m not sure how old you are but I really didn’t start to feel really clear until I got to 23 and the past 2 years I have got significantly better. There might be a neurological basis to that as well. We need the frontal cortex to be developed to really get to the higher level I suppose.

      • danimora22 said:

        I’m 30! :)

        I’m glad that, through this blog, I get to know wise young people like you.

        As you, I’ve had my moments of clarity, though right now I’m not as clear as I would like to. However, I never stop looking into myself to find my answer.

        On the other hand, now I feel I need to know myself more through the outrospection and put my knowledge and thoughts into action, something I wasn’t taught to do.

        Thank you for your answer, btw… and, once again, congratulation for your great blog.

        Sincerely,
        Daniela

      • I wasn’t taught to do anything. I had to teach myself. Once you become aware of things you need to improve you are no longer able to use external factors as an excuse for inaction! :)

        I have a lot of friends like you and I really try to help them get out of their heads and see things better. But I guess if it was that easy it would be the holy grail of psychology.

        I find it helps to have a good memory (for consistency) and mental stamina (for attention). But these can be augmented by writing (memory) and meditating (proven method for improving attention). Hmm I feel another post idea coming on.

  4. You do have a good point. But what do you mean by this reality out of our head. All of our reality is created by ideas generated in our head. These thoughts are then projected in the real world. But why would you want to get out of your reality if you are genuinely happy in your state of mind.

    • Can’t say I’ve ever met a happy ignorant person. So I think it is quite a nice thing to try get YOUR reality as close to THE reality as you can. That also includes being able to understand the reality of OTHERS.

      • Just because someone doesn’t agree with you doesn’t mean they are ignorant. We all have different opinions and no one is right or wrong because no one knows for sure about some of these questions. Let’s just coexist :).

      • I’m not sure that is what I wrote. But no. Some are more right than others.

      • I think when it comes to life it’s not black and white so there is room for interpretation. Doesn’t mean someone is “more right” than someone else. It’s your choice whether you gain insight from other peoples views or completely reject the thought that there are other viewpoints besides your own.

  5. B said:

    Don’t mean to disagree for the sake of disagreeing, but want to share my opinion. You might agree.

    First of all, the concept of reality is questionable and since its is questionable one can never claim to have one objective reality. Objective reality is acceptance, meaning if all perception of reality is syncronized then it becomes your objective reality, which is still not The reality.

    As the ego learns of what it knows, it finds that it knows that it doesn’t know; how shadow is autonomous and strong under lying sea of stimulus. We should know perception follow a similar principle.

    btw I am very lazy, I hope you get what I am saying from my limited use of words and metaphors.

    • Not sure I’m following you there. Let me use another example.

      I see a cup sitting on my table. It is made from glass. Another person next to me sees the same cup but from their distance they think it is made from plastic. They perceive a plastic cup in their reality. I perceive a glass one in mine. We pick the cup and our realities are brought into line because it is in fact made from glass. So really you have to ask yourself what cup do you see? and if you can’t get close enough to get a definite answer for yourself you need to come up with some other ways to try and work out what it is.

      Hows that for a metaphor :P

      • B said:

        One of many flaws, which one might encounter in this method, is as follows.

        1. The reality, of which you speak is absolute reality; which can never come about if your perception keeps on changing with respect to your distance from the reality. The point I was trying to make was that, one never knows the reality and the perception is all your have. In order to fix your vision you have to understand and be aware of your concious as well as unconcious, which knows that it doesnot know.

      • Yes. Well I suppose that’s what I was saying. Unfortunately most people don’t know that they do not know which is why it is useful to have some wise people around us to give a clearer perspective and set you down the path to seeing better.

  6. Great blog! I’ve recently started blogging my way out if depression, obesity and an unhealthy relationship with alcohol. Your one post writes of one of the strong realisations I had to make to begin my journey. I look forward to reading more!

  7. gypsy116 said:

    Oh, I so totally disagree. Reality is completely subjective. There is no one true reality.

  8. Hello, thank you for writing this blog. Seems like a lot of people need to challenge your thoughts, judging by the comments. Interesting debate. I am wise enough to know that I don’t know anything, but foolish enough to think that I might be able to figure some things out. Eventually, don’t we all have to see the one ultimate reality? Using your metaphor, aren’t we all going to get close enough to see if the cup is plastic or not. I am not sure but I like to think about it.
    I am incredibly happy I found your blog, and you are willing to share your thoughts on these subjects, I can’t wait to see what else you have on here.

    • Thanks John. But maybe some people don’t think they need to get closer. They are just going to accept what they currently see without closer examination. Maybe there is something stopping you from getting closer – a barrier. This article was written for the people who don’t even try to get closer or think it is too much effort to do so.

      • I suppose there are many of these. I appreciate the article for the thought that is presents, what is reality? Is there an ultimate truth? Do we see it yet or do wee need to move closer still? All great questions that can help lead you on your journey. Keep writing and provoking great questions, this is a great site!

  9. Still trying to get in touch with reality. Great blog and I will be reading more of your thoughts. Thanks for offering a place for me to think. Blessings.

  10. Thanks for following WordBowlbyMsCharlieS, and thanks for introducing me to your writing — what a wake up call today!

  11. Ah, what neuroscience is telling us is that there isn’t any objective reality “out there.” Although there are misperceptions, “agreed upon” realities, etc. And in my work as a minister, man do these “personal realities” that don’t match the majority’s reality cause us problems! Thanks for the post!

  12. Interesting discussion you started. Originally I thought “We all need to remember this,” then I read the discussion and realized everyone’s perceptions are different so obviously they wouldn’t perceive the perception of reality the same way either.

  13. We do not see the tree.
    Packets of light bounce off its surface and activate the retinal senors. The data is unpacked and saved in a readable format.
    Welcome to the Sensorium.

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