“I can guarantee, no man on earth has ever seen that…” We were talking about the skin and how it is affected by diet. We had verbally wandered as far as alcohol. On the subject of its immediate and visible detrimental effects, I had used the example of a night’s clubbing. Even a fresh-faced young beauty would end an evening of drinking looking haggard. My interlocutor disagreed. “Even if she looked like a… a mole… she’d look like a princess by the end of the evening.”
I am not quite sure what he has against moles, but I got the idea. As long as the young men in question had also been drinking, the depredations of too much alcohol would pass unnoticed. I thought back to the nightclubs of much younger days and had to admit that he probably had a point.
Be that as it may, the discussion threw up an interesting point… perception changes depending on circumstances. While the artificial alteration wrought by alcohol may be a temporary thing, such shifts can be created by pretty much anything, from emotion to the weather, from memory and health to mood. We are all familiar with how time itself seems to slow or race depending on what we are doing and how we feel about the moment. Our perception of reality is fluid.
It made me think about another recent conversation where the discussion had centred around how we see people… particularly those people we know well. If you call up the face of a friend in imagination, it may not be their current face that you see. It is seldom that a face is immobile outside of a photograph or sleep. Yet imagination paints a snapshot of that person… perhaps not as accurately as a camera because into that image we put everything we know about that person. It becomes a freeze-frame of their being, encompassing all the passing years of friendship and all the times we have shared. It includes the overlay of our own emotions and the nature of our relationship and response… all in the fraction of a second, too fast to analyse. The imagined picture is not a photograph, it is more of an Impressionist painting.
And that is just a single face. Suppose that we are doing that all the time, with everything and everyone around us. Have you ever wondered how much of your reality is real and how much purely subjective? How much are you formulating your own reality, coloured by all the varying factors at play in your life right now?
“Want to change your reality? Change yourself. Change the way you see things, think about things. Change your internals. Because the act of observing doesn’t take place ‘out there’ but inside of you.” Gary Vasey and I explored that idea in The Mystical Hexagram. It is a concept we work with in the Silent Eye. Like the streaks of a painter’s fingers in the sky of a starry night, we are unconsciously rearranging the world all the time to accord with our vision of how it should be to fit who we think we are. That is a powerful gift and a double edged sword…