The veils of perception: a gift or curse?

 

When we speak about our veils of perception – the veils of identifications and beliefs – we can do so from one of two different perspectives.

One is that these veils are a problem. They hinder clear perception, they create suffering, they cause a lot of the problems we experience as humanity. And so, we may think that they are a problem, wrong, bad, a mistake and so on.

Another is that the universe and life is Lila, it’s the play of the divine. And for the divine to experience itself as limited and as separate beings, it created these veils to allow for just that experience. They are not a mistake. They are not wrong. They are part of Lila, the play of life, the divine, and the One.

Both are valid, and there is some truth to each view.

In the big picture, the veils are part of the play of the divine. They are how the divine is able to experience itself as limited and as separate beings each with their own experience, view, and perspectives on itself and life. They are how the divine is able to create an experience of drama and – sometimes – of an apparently very real life-and-death struggle.

And for us – the divine experiencing itself as limited and as a separate being with its own dramas, struggle, and perspectives – these veils are what keeps this perception in place. They do create suffering. They do limit us. They may be seen as a problem. That too is part of the play. That’s part of the divine experiencing itself as limited.

Alan Watts used a brilliant thought-experiment to give us a taste of Lila.

Imagine you can decide the content of your dreams, and that these dreams are lucid – you know you are dreaming as you are dreaming. You may decide to dream about pleasant situations and getting whatever you desire. After a while, that may get a bit boring. You may decide to throw in some challenges to make it more interesting. After some time, you realize it’s still not very exciting because you know you are dreaming as you are dreaming, so you decide to forget you are dreaming while dreaming.

What you dream seems real to you as it’s happening. That makes it more juicy and interesting. But that too gets a bit boring, so you throw in some more serious challenges, perhaps life and death situations and even dying and being born again. That’s certainly juicy, but that too gets a bit monotone in the long run. So you decide to dream that you intuit or realize you are dreaming, and wish for and work toward waking up.

That becomes a new and different challenge. It becomes the new drama. And then, eventually, you wake up. And you realize that the dreams, however real they appeared and however real the actual experiences were, were dreams. They were created within, from, and as what you are. Nobody really was born and died. Nobody was really harmed. The drama wasn’t as real as it seemed, although it certainly seemed and was experienced as real.

And that’s Lila. What we – at least many of us – would choose if we could decide the content of our dreams, is how the world is. And that’s because we are the divine living and experiencing Lila. We are the divine expressing, exploring, and discovering itself in always new ways, including through the drama of life as it is for us humans part of this living planet.

And what are the veils of perception? The expression may sound vague and general, but it can be understood in quite specific ways.

From the consciousness side, these veils happen when the mind identifies with certain thoughts and their inherent viewpoints. That’s how a sense of being a separate self is created. As soon as the mind takes itself to be the viewpoint of any thought, it experiences itself as separate. Instead of being that which any and all experiences happen within and as, including thoughts, it takes itself to be the perspective inherent in a thought, and usually a great number of thoughts. It tells itself it’s a being, a separate being, a certain being, a certain being with certain roles, identities, preferences, and so on.

From the energetic side – as described in, for instance, Vortex Healing – there are energetic structures that make these identifications possible and support these identifications. The divine creates these to allow for identification, and the aspect of Lila that involves experiencing itself as separate, as a separate being, as a separate being with identities, roles, and viewpoints, and so on.

And there are ways to explore both the identifications and the energetic structures, and invite them to unravel when the time is right. That too is part of Lila. That too happens when the divine – experiencing itself as a separate being – is ripe. That too happens through grace, which is another word for the divine being ready and ripe for it. What needs to play itself out for it to happen, has sufficiently played itself out.

Read More

Layers and veils

 

In the January 12 episode of Radio Adyashanti, A Dive into the Deep End, Adyashanti briefly talks about the difference between ego and self.

As I understood it, when Adya talks about the ego he refers to identification as a me, a personality and so on. The self refers to identification as open aware space. And behind that is what we cannot really talk about.

I have found similar layers, and like to think of it in terms of beliefs.

Read More

Veils

 

Veils cannot cover up what we are, but they can cover up a recognition of what we are.

Those veils are created from identification with stories and content of experience.

And exploring these veils shows in a simple way how psychology and spirituality is really about the same thing, although sometimes with a different emphasis or a difference in how far we take it.

Read More

Veils

 

Some teachers and traditions talk about veils

As I explore it in my own experience, I find something that can be called veils and they are thicker, thinner and gone at different times. 

When I am identified with the me (this human self with its roles and identities in the world) and separate I (doer and observer), there is a stronger sense of a separate self in the world with an inside and outside and so on. The weils for what I am to notice itself is thicker. There is a sense of a greater distance between what I take myself to be (me) and reality (ground). 

The veil gets thinner as identification is released from the me, and yet remains as a doer and observer. The general sense of being a separate self weakens and softens. There may be less sense of an inside and outside. All may be recognized as God, or awakeness, no thing appearing as something. The remaining veil is that of a doer and observer, a center and periphery. There is still some separation between what I take myself to be and reality. (Copartnership with God, as Rumi calls it.) 

As what we are awakens to itself the veils falls away. The separate I gestalts (doer, observer) are recognized as content of experience and identification is released out of them. The sense of center-periphery and of a doer and observer falls away. Everything is recognized as always happening on its own, already and always awake, as the play of awakeness as form, and as no thing appearing as something. 

Read More

Final release

 

The final release is also what allows any and all experiences and any and all ways the world of form happens. The only way this can happen is to see, feel and love as all God. And the only way that can happen is to release identification with the idea/sense/feeling/experience of an I with an Other.

It is only then that there is a final release, and an allowing of all since it is all God itself. It is God allowing itself as it happens to show up here and now.

And it is really just God noticing what it already is… This awakeness inherently free from any content and characteristics, so allowing it all. This awakeness here and now, allowing this field of content which is this room, the music, this body, these sensations, sights, sounds, smells, tastes, thoughts.

In the process up to this noticing, there are often layers or release and allowing, going in the familiar way from personal development (embracing more of all of who this human self is) through mysticism (a sense of all as God shines through everything, including the remaining sense of I with an Other) to a release of the final sense of I with an Other.

Identification with stories creates these layers, veiling who and what we are. And as one is released, there is an invitation and opportunity to explore what is revealed right there, in a unique way. Our center of gravity is in one particular place, and the world is revealed as it only can be revealed right there.

It is God manifesting, experiencing and exploring itself in a unique way, here and now.

So even as there are more veils, there is also a perfection right here and now. It is God exploring itself in a unique way, as it only can when these particular veils are here. It doesn’t get much more beautiful than that.

And yet, as long as there are veils, there will always be a sense of dissatisfaction, of something being slightly off. Because it is. Something is off. There is an identification with a story, and this veils who and what we really are.

There is a dissatisfaction inherent in an identification with a story, a sense of I with an Other, and this dissatisfaction comes out in two ways.

When there is an I with an Other, there is a sense of precariousness. There is identification within form which is flux, so what is born will die, and what is an object within the world is at the mercy of the larger whole. It is always at odds with the world, even when things temporarily is going its way, so there is always a sense of dissatisfaction.

At the same time, there is a knowing of what we already are, and in the tension between what we are and who we take ourselves to be there is also a sense of of dissatisfaction, of something being off.

And within this sense of something being off is a great beauty. It is God exploring itself in a unique way, as it only can when these particular sets of veils are here. While there is a sense of something being off, and something may be off according to our stories, there is really a great beauty and perfection in it all.

A perfection and beauty that can only be fully appreciated when what we are notices itself.