The Doors of Perception

What we perceive is a tiny slice of reality. 

Visible light accounts for less than one percent of the electromagnetic spectrum. Yet to us, it’s the whole enchilada.

Aldous Huxley (with dated gender language) wrote, “If the doors of perception were cleansed everything would appear to man as it is, infinite.” 

It’s challenging to understand where some people are coming from, especially these days! Fr. Richard Rohr explains this using the analogy of a “cosmic egg,” comprised of three overlapping domes; My Story, Our Story, and The Story. Awareness determines the relative importance of these “stories” in our life.  

I used to take awareness for granted. Sight, sound, taste, touch, and smell, along with the facility for thought, are included in the “base package.” Mindfulness practice changed this. 

Have you ever been in a room and suddenly felt that someone was starring at you, only to look up and find someone indeed was starring at you? Felt connectedness is always present but usually hidden. When awareness expands beyond “My Story,” we begin to pick up on it! Many important things in life operate similarly. 

I initially pursued “Silent Fitness*” for stress management. It ended up changing how I experience the world. Things I formerly glossed over or missed entirely now bring new meaning. Here are some examples:

We are a part of something greater than our “Self” that we do not understand.

Reality is nested, like a Russian egg. We can’t see all the way down or up, yet we are an integral part of the whole. 

Absolutely everything is connected.

Scientists claim the atoms that make up our bodies were created by nuclear fusion in the center of ancient stars. After we are gone, these atoms will make something else. Our life is a snapshot of a progression.

The visceral feeling of a separate “Self” is life’s greatest illusion. 

The feeling of a separate “Me-inside” in opposition to the “outside-world” fuels a life long struggle between what we want to happen and what goes ahead and happens anyway. We don’t have as much control over life as we think. Peace is found when we accept this. 

We are energy manifested by union.

All creation arises from union; water forms in the union of hydrogen and oxygen, salt forms in the union of sodium and chloride. Everything works this way. Atoms unite, forming molecules. Parts join into wholes, which themselves join into greater wholes. Biologists claim only 10% of the cells in our body contain our DNA. The rest are micro-organisms like bacteria, viruses, and other life-forms that form a synergistic community. We call this community “Self.”  

Thinking about this, six implications become apparent for my life:

1. Cherish the gift of my temporary role in an eternal progression. 

2. Take action, but then accept outcomes; life is not about me.

3. Search for union in everything; join in whenever possible. 

4. See beyond the illusion of separation and the violence it creates.

5. In matters of knowledge, trust verifiable facts. 

6. In matters of spirit, trust the heart.  


Question to consider: What truths has life revealed for you?

*More information on “Silent Fitness” at

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2 Replies to “The Doors of Perception”

  1. Again from Star Wars, seems most logical.
    The “Force” is an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us and penetrates us, it binds the galaxy together.
    I am a manifestation of the Force, a Force that consists of two parts: living beings generate the Living Force, which in turn powers the wellspring that is the Cosmic Force […] All energy from the Living Force, from all things that have ever lived, feeds into the Cosmic Force, binding everything.

    Qui-Gon’s speech reveals that the energy created by living things is converted to a form separate from life. Splitting the Force into those two categories — a ‘Living Force’ and ‘Cosmic Force’ — makes no sense, however, because life is an integral part of the cosmos (the universe viewed as an orderly system). Interestingly though, Qui-Gon’s logical error in classifying the fictional Force mirrors the real history of how scientists developed a concept that explains how organisms interact with one another and their environment: ecosystems.


    1. 😎 if I understand, your Star Wars reference it reminds me of my favorite definition of myth…..something that never happened, but is always true.

      Tim Sent from my iPhone



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