Our eyes are great organs designed by nature to receive and process internal and external information. We all know the external function of seeing or thinking we do. However, we are not always seeing reality as it is. Why? It seems that the experiences and information we gather through time as memories tend to filter our perception of reality.
The way humans see is quite different from other animals on this planet. We can see it in multicolour. The primary function of our multicoloured vision is all about our need for food and water. It seems that other animals on the planet have another kind of perception and way of seeing according to their needs for sustenance (Video: "How animals see the world" (4:11 min) Bright Side)
To understand better our visual experience and perception of self, others and the world, knowing about our biological functioning is part of a better knowledge of our sensory experience of receiving and processing information.
I invite you to watch: "How Your Eyes Make Sense of the World" Decoder | National Geographic (4:06 min).
I want to share this great video from Dr. David Eagleman, "How Does Our Brain Influence Our View of Reality?" (3:07 min). Dr. Eagleman explained that our biology limits our experience of reality.
Our perception of reality seems limited by biology, but it is also determined by our nervous system's psychophysiological functions and processes, conscious and unconscious. Our capacity for consciousness is variable on internal and external factors, and it significantly impacts our perception of self, others, and the world.
As I already mentioned, this capacity for seeing, looking, and watching can happen internally and externally. For contemplative creative practices (CCP), we use both formal and informal meditation methods:
1) INTERNAL SEEING capacity, the "mind's eye", we are able to produce mental images within the screen of our mind.
"A mental image is an experience that, on most occasions, significantly resembles the experience of 'perceiving' some object, event, or scene, but occurs when the relevant object, event, or scene is not actually present to the senses. Mental imagery can sometimes produce the same effects as would be produced by the behaviour or experience imagined".
> Examples of CCPs are internal visualization using what manifests within or using memories to imagine stories, a safe place, or problem-solve.
2) EXTERNAL SEEING capacity, we are able to 1) project mental images on our experience of the outside world; 2) connect directly with our experience of the world.
At CCCS we use the Miksang principles as a framework to explore direct perception.
"Miksang is a Tibetan word that means "good eye." A contemplative art based directly on the Dharma Art teachings of the late meditation master, artist and scholar, Chögyam Trungpa, specifically by his teachings on the nature of perception. The "good" refers to our world, just as it is, is inherently rich and vivid. The "eye" reference is that in working with the practice of contemplative photography, we can tune into these qualities of our world".
"Miksang means ‘Good Eye’ in Tibetan. We all have a Good Eye as part of our human makeup. This means we have the ability to see the world in a pure way, without overlays of meaning and value, pleasure, dislike, or disinterest. When we can see with our Good Eye, the world is always fresh, because everything we see is as for the first time. There is no memory, no association, only the world manifesting to us, as it is, out of nowhere".
> Examples of CCPs are contemplative photo collage, contemplative photography, and direct perception practices.
In the next blog, we will explore 'direct perception' with contemplative creative practices.
In the meantime be well.
Emma JM. Ates
How Does Our Brain Influence Our View of Reality?" (3:07 min) Dr. David Eagleman
True Perception True Expression, Miksang Contemplative Photography (2018). Miksang. Retrieved from: https://www.miksang.com/miksang/
Nalanda Miksang International (2000). Miksang. Retrieved from: http://miksang.org/m/index.html
Wikipedia (2022). Mental Image, The Mind's Eye - retrieved from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mental_image#The_mind's_eye