Updated: Sep 18, 2020
Help me change my perception that I may know the truth.
Learning to remember that love is all there is continues to propel me into new levels of growth and healing. Some surprising insights have emerged as a result. Foremost for me right now is a deep cleansing release of fear around perception. Through my study of A Course in Miracles, I have finally seen for myself that all perception is distortion. My perception doesn’t tell me the absolute truth about anything. It tells me what I believe. It tells me about the thoughts, values, and beliefs I’m holding in my mind at the moment. Likewise, another’s perception doesn’t tell them the absolute truth about anything either, it tells them what they believe in the moment.
If neither of us has a handle on the absolute truth, why be afraid of or offended by one another’s point of view? Why take anything personally? Why not present your perspective with a mind open to seeing things differently, and listen to another’s with the intention of trying to understand what’s going on with them? And finally, what is the truth and how do we come to know it? For me, I’m learning that the truth is very simple: we are all God’s Son and the only thing that is really going on between us is love. How am I coming to know this again? I've become willing to move my consciousness beyond the doors of perception. I can only access the truth through a willingness to take instruction from a higher level of consciousness within me. And, when I do, miracles happen.
Let’s consider this strange phenomenon.
You have your current perception of yourself
Your friend has a certain perception of you.
Your mother has her own perception of you.
Your sibling has another perception of you.
Your neighbor has yet another perception of you.
The stranger passing you on the street has their own vague perception of you.
None of these perceptions are the same. So, who are you?
This also works the other way around.
Your child has a perception of him or herself
You have a perception of your child.
Your spouse has a his or her perception of your child.
Your child’s siblings each have their own perception of your child.
Your child’s friends, teachers, and relatives all have their own perceptions of your child.
Who, then, is your child?
Once again, A Course in Miracles teaches us there is only one answer to both of these questions: We are all the Son of God. And, again, the only real thing about us and between us is the love we experience. Nothing else is real because nothing else exists in God. I repeat myself here because while this notion is simply put, it’s extraordinarily difficult for us to grasp. We simply do not remember this even though we long for it. We don’t believe it and so we cannot perceive it. Consequently, we cannot experience it. This is why learning how perception works and the purpose it’s currently serving us is important to our healing.
Perceptions are learned with beliefs
From knowledge and perception respectively, two distinct thought systems arise which are opposite in every respect. ACIM
For years now, I've been working with an understanding that at the core of our human psyche there is a deep split or fragmentation in the mind. One side tells us we're separate beings living in a dangerous world where attack is real and love is elusive. A Course in Miracles calls this aspect of mind the ego. And, the ego is utterly dependent upon perception to render a sense of reality to this idea. The other side (called the Holy Spirit in ACIM) remains in a steady state certain of our true identity as divine Sons of God. This aspect of our mind works from knowledge. It remains aware that all extensions of God exist as units of consciousness within the all-encompassing unified and unifying Mind of God.
Knowledge is truth, under one law, the law of love or God. Truth is unalterable, eternal and unambiguous. It can be unrecognized, but it cannot be changed.
The world of perception…permits into awareness only what conforms to the wishes of the perceiver. This leads to a world of illusions, a world which needs constant defense precisely because it is not real.
Clearly, these two states of mind are irreconcilable. We must choose one or the other to identify with. What we choose is what we experience.
Once we identify with an unreal and impossible idea of self, we no longer know who we are. We invent a self-concept based on our belief in separation and perception is the way we use our mind to convince ourselves our idea is true. Perception, then, is always determined by belief, and experience is determined by perception. We choose to think that experience determines our beliefs, but in actuality beliefs are the cause of our experience. The ego will always deny this because its very existence depends on our never questioning its validity.
What’s important here is this startling realization: if we want to change what we experience, we must change what we believe.
Perception is always based on our own thoughts, beliefs, and programming and not on Truth.
Misperceptions produce fear and true perceptions foster love….True perception is the basis for knowledge.
Let’s talk about truth then for a moment. The idea of relative truth is illogical. In order for truth to be true it must be universal and unchanging. The untrue cannot become true, and the true cannot become untrue or it was never truth to begin with. Consequently, my truth can’t be different from your truth if we’re actually dealing with truth and not perception.
We know this in our hearts! Which is why in our confusion, we’re always trying to recruit others over to our point of view. We have trouble tolerating differing points of view because we feel there’s something unsafe and unsound about it. Furthermore, we are so identified with our thoughts and beliefs, they literally define our very sense of ourselves. To question our identity is stressful at best, intolerable at worst. Ironically, conflict is quite necessary to the ego because it satisfies the ego’s belief in separation, chaos, and fear. Conflict actually validates the ego’s belief system and makes it appear to be true. Trying but never succeeding to resolve conflict serves as a great distraction from the illogic of the ego’s whole separation paradigm. And so, we remain actively engaged in our perceptual wars and continue to produce fear and experience a lack of love.
True perception is the basis for healing the mind.
So how do we move our experience and our sense of self out of perception and remember our natural loving state of being? A Course in Miracles talks about the power of true perception. A healing use of perception by the higher mind (Holy Spirit within) to guide us away from separative thinking and feeling towards unified thinking and feeling. The Holy Spirit leads the mind through a series of realizations that open us up to the experience of unconditional love that is our natural innate creative state and purpose. The Holy Spirit is the correcting agency of the higher mind that returns us to sanity through true perception. True perception allows us to realize the oneness of the brotherhood of man. We are all in this life together and we are interdependent with one another and with the larger wholeness that encompasses us. Just as each cell in our body is in and of the same body, all cells are dependent upon the whole and the whole is dependent upon all of the parts. There is no separation nor relative worth.
Every loving thought is true. Everything else is an appeal for healing and help, regardless of the form it takes.”
True perception is choosing to invest in thoughts and experiences that foster love, forgiveness, and sense of brotherhood or unity. It is the answer to all apparent conflict. It is an invocation of peace in the mind. True perception reveals how important and sacred each and every person is to us. It helps us to become fully aware that the only thing that is actually happening between us is love. Everything else is a distraction from this truth. Absolutely everything that is not love, is not real.
You might be thinking, “How can that be? My body tells me otherwise! My emotions and thoughts show me just how unreliable and unsafe the world is.” But, that is the point I’m trying to make. Perception is the level of mind we assigned the function of proving the idea of separation, illness, and death. It is an effect in our mind caused by our initial belief in separation from God. The moment we believed that idea our mind slipped from knowledge – a state of total true awareness – to perception – a state of distorted awareness of personal beliefs.
We can use our mind any way we choose because we have free will. We can turn our mind towards fantasy and illusion. But, we can never make these things true in the Mind of God because it is not His will. God is love and we can’t make Him other than He is. We have the power to fantasize but we don’t have the power to change God. Therefore, we also don’t have the power to change ourselves from our God-given state as God’s perfect Son. We can only perceive that we have done so by placing our identity in false beliefs. True perception is the result of turning our minds back over to this indwelling Son (Christ) and taking instruction from our higher intuitive mind (Holy Spirit.)
True perception heals our communication and our relationships.
As I open my mind to correction, I’m developing a new relationship with perception. Both my own perception and other people's perceptions of me. I understand that my perception and their perception is variable and distorted. It doesn't really tell me anything meaningful about me or about them. However, we're stuck with perception for now. So how best to work with it?
A game changer for me involved really getting that my perception is a starting place for communication (particularly when there is an apparent problem to address!) My perception and my experience is no more right or wrong than another's. It’s biased and limited and in order to heal, I need to remain open to correction from the Holy Spirit. When I speak with an open heart and mind and I’m not trying to convince, manipulate, or recruit the other person over to my point of view, I’m able to create a better environment for sharing and connecting.
When it’s my turn to listen, my job is to listen to understand what the other person is trying to communicate. Most of us listen to defend, recruit, or relate another's experience back to our own, because the ego is always looking for validation. When I listen with a sincere interest in understanding the other's world from their point of view, I create a safe environment for sharing. A safe space allows something new to emerge for both of us as we gain valuable glimpses into one another's world. We don’t need to agree, just understand.
This opens up all kinds of avenues for healing and connection. It increases my ability to:
Be of service to another
See my own errors or blind spots
Gain a larger perspective and learn something new
Learn how to approach another person in ways that work best for them
Share with others approaches that work better for me
Share my thoughts more openly
Feel safe in the world because only love is real
In sum, a fertile ground for learning, growth, compassion, forgiveness, connection, and love develops.
The point is that all perception is erroneous. Only love will return us to sanity. Letting go of our over-attachment to our personal point of view is imperative to peace. Peace allows us the space to remember our true purpose at all times is to extend and connect in love. That is the function given us by God and it the function that enables us to be fully our Self as we were created.
It hasn't been easy or quick for me to learn how to cut through the perceptions in my mind. I'm a work in progress and it requires continued commitment and effort. Some days go better than others. But all the hard work is worth it. There is no greater experience than the truth of love. I wish this for you and for all of humanity. Let us remember that love is all there is.
 The term “Son” refers to relationship not gender. One could also use the phrase Child of God or Offspring of God, but those words also have preconceived ideas about their meaning attached to them so I’m sticking with the classic phrase as it appears in A Course in Miracles and other spiritual texts.
 There is one Son of God collectively known as the Sonship. When we come to understand the principle of unity better, this makes sense. For now, our mind continues to look for a plural, i.e., the Sons of God because we cannot yet escape our egotistical notion of separation from one another.