How Can I Enhance My Perception?
Summary: We are obsessed with conclusions. This is ingrained into us in our most impressionable years. Only if you do not come to conclusions, if in a way you are a skeptic, only then you will pay attention to everything. It is only within ourselves that we make out the meaning of everything. For e.g., language is just a patterns of sounds, we make the meaning of those sounds. When you see the immensity of acknowledging "I do not know", you will pay enormous attention to everything. This enhances your perception, and opens the doorway to knowing.
article originally published on isha.sadhguru.org
“Don’t Look For Anything, Just Learn to Look”
Sadhguru: Every sphere of our lives – from the intellectual to the religious – is governed by conclusions. This is a major problem today. When I speak of the spiritual journey as “quest”, the immediate assumption is that I am encouraging people to look for God. But even God is a conclusion. The obsession with conclusions is inculcated in our most impressionable years.
Growing up, I was a diehard skeptic. Even at the age of five, when my family went to the temple, I had questions. Who is God? Where is He? Up there? Where is up? So I never entered the temple.
This meant I was invariably left by my parents in the custody of the footwear attendant outside. He held me by the arm in a vice-like grip; he knew that if he looked the other way I would be gone! Later in my life, I noticed that people coming out of restaurants always had more joyful faces than those coming out of temples. That intrigued me.
And yet, while I was a skeptic, I never identified with that label either. I had lots of questions, but never felt the need to draw any conclusions. I realized very early that I knew nothing about anything. That meant I ended up paying enormous attention to everything. I could stare at a glass of water, a leaf, even at the darkness, endlessly.
Instead of coming to a simplistic answer that I was “this” or “that”, I saw that if I were willing, I could be anything.
I gradually realized that language was no more than a conspiracy devised by human beings. When someone spoke, I saw they were only making sounds, and I was making up the meanings. So, I stopped making up meanings and the sounds became hugely amusing. I could see patterns spewing out of their mouths. If I kept staring, the person would just disintegrate and turn into a blob of energy. Then all that was left was patterns!
When my eyes were open, everything fascinated me. But to my amazement, I found that with my eyes closed, there was even more that grabbed my attention – the way the body pulses, the organs function, the inner energies move, the anatomy is aligned. I saw boundaries are actually limited to the external world. Instead of coming to a simplistic answer that I was “this” or “that”, I saw that if I were willing, I could be anything. Even the certainty of “me” collapsed. From knowing myself as an autonomous person, this exercise melted me down. I became a nebulous being.
Learning to Look
In this state of borderless ignorance, anything could hold my attention. This perturbed my physician father who began to believe I needed psychiatric evaluation. It has always seemed to me odd that the world does not see the immensity of the state of “I do not know”. Those who destroy that state with beliefs and assumptions forget that “I do not know” is a tremendous doorway – the only doorway – to knowing.
The ability to look without motive is missing in the world today. Everyone is a psychological creature, wanting to assign meaning to everything. Spirituality is not about looking for God, truth or the ultimate. It is about enhancing your perception, your very faculty of seeing. I have never looked for anything in my life. And my life endeavor is to teach people just this: If you really want to know spirituality, do not look for anything. Just learn to look.
A Perception Beyond the Physical
Man has spent too much time trying to think about things to which he has no access. When you try to think about that which you have no access to, towards which you have no perception, all you can do is speculate. When you do excessive speculation without any fundamentals, it amounts to hallucination. Because of this, a large part of religion and spirituality in the world has become purely hallucinatory.
When you try to think about that which you have no access to, towards which you have no perception, all you can do is speculate.
This moment, if you fall asleep, suddenly people around you will disappear, the world will disappear and you also disappear. You are still alive, everyone around is alive, the existence is on, but in your experience everything disappeared because the five sense organs have shut down. Right now your whole perception of life is limited to five sense organs – seeing, smelling, hearing, tasting, touching. These sense organs, in the very nature of things, can perceive only that which is physical.
It does not matter whether you want to know the process of creation or you just want to live peacefully, what you need to do is enhance this perception to its ultimate level, to know the Ultimate, or at least enhance your perception to some level where your body, and mind, and emotion, and energy happen the way you want them.
An Inner Perception
Anything that is not in your awareness does not exist for you. And only what you are aware of, you can handle and do things about. If you carefully examine it, you will see a large part of you is not in your awareness. If you bring more into your awareness, an inner perception of life not limited to the five sense organs, you will see suddenly your life begins to happen on all levels the way you want it.
When I say “an inner perception,” I am not referring about some airy things. Let us start from the mundane. If your perception is beyond the senses, and food appears in front of you, you can simply know how this food will behave in your system. But this perception is today being lost by human beings.
From something as simple as food to something like the ultimate possibility, the inner perception would bring a completely new dimension into one’s life.
All the activity that we are doing in our lives whether you are a doctor, a policeman, an engineer or whatever you are, fundamentally, your perception of what is right now in front of you decides the effectiveness of who you are, and how much you do on this planet.
People are always asking me, “Sadhguru, you are talking about so many subjects. Where do you get the time to read?” I say, “I don’t read.” What is there in front of me, I perceive it as it is and that is it. There is no need to carry the burden of knowledge on your head if your perception is keen enough. So perception can be raised to various levels through certain inner instruments. “Is it very difficult? Can I rise beyond my senses? Do I have to withdraw to a Himalayan cave to do this?”
Any human being who is willing to dedicate just a few minutes of his life per day can begin to know this. Because it is not sitting somewhere in the Himalayas, it is within you. What is within you is not inaccessible to you. You are just too busy and enamored with what is happening outside. You never paid any attention to the inside. It is just lack of attention which has denied people this possibility.