Spiritual Secrets
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Spiritual Secrets

Perceptual Truths Vs Existential Truths

How to escape the suffering of the storytelling mind

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

Most of us suffer. Except for the monks, shamans, and other medicine people that spend so much of their time online. It is a very human thing. But does it have to be? At least to the extent that we have made it?

Mistaking Truths

I would argue that most, if not all, of human suffering comes from mistaking things that are perceptually true for something that is existentially true.

Existential truths do not require your agreement in order for them to exist. It is based soley on the fact that it is. Before perception takes hold.

A perceptual truth is based on just that, perception. It needs agreements in order to exist.

Take an example. I ask out a woman I’ve had feelings for and have been talking to for quite some time. She declines and says she is not interested.

Now, in this example, the existential truth is she turned me down. However, a perceptual truth comes in when the storytelling mind is not under control. It makes up stories that I am too short, not attractive enough, she is shallow, etc.

We all encounter this dichotomy countless times throughout our day.

The existential truth is as close to objectivity as we can get. Whereas the perceptual truth is more subjective and different for each individual.

Take another example. A hurricane wipes out a small town. Destroying businesses, homes, and killing dozens of people. For those that are more impacted by it, a story takes hold. This is a devasting event. Some people have lost everything. For the sociopathic, they might revel in the destruction and chaos that has ensued.

Okay, maybe a clearer example. For most the sinking of the titanic was a tragedy. For the lobsters in the kitchen it was a miracle from Godster (see what I did there).

There are multiple variations of perceptual truths that arise. Both “bad” and “good.” There is only one existential truth though. A hurricane came through and destroyed the town. The Titanic sunk.

Notice Our Role In Creation

The more we can observe the more space we create to recognize our roles in the creation of the moment.

This moment is not inherently good or bad, it just is. There is something underneath, something relational, that helps give the moment meaning.

This moment is “good” or “bad” in relation to something else. Being conscious of what it is provides more context for life. The more we observe the more we can notice our classification, and the creation of polarities.

The moment a perceptual truth is created we force things into a dualsitc mode of comparison. In order for something to be good we must also have a notion for what is bad. This is done everywhere. Our judgment of creation keeps us in a state of comparison.

We use opposing words to make more sense of our relational co-creations.

That person has a bigger/nicer/smaller house.

He is smarter/dumber/taller/shorter/stronger/weaker than me.

Noticing our roles in the creative process opens the doorway into the reality that perceptual truths are in relation to the existential truths.

You give life meaning. Perception gives color to life.

How Do We Suffer Less?

So, we are aware of what the different notion of truths are. We know how to differentiate between the two. How to become more aware of our participation in them. So, how do we use all this to suffer less?

Once you wake up to the reality that your observation of the story has an effect, you start to see whatever you are looking at for what it really is.

A dream.

An illusion.

We start suffering less as a result of just seeing more clearly. We are dreaming, as is everyone else. Not dreaming in the sense of what happens to us at night. But in a greater sense that each and every one of us is creating our own masterpiece. Through our mind.

Our likes and dislikes. Fears and joys.

We take things that are perceptually true for us and project them onto someone else/the present moment. Fighting fanatically to affirm our own truths.

That athlete is the best of all time.

That political party is pushing us towards a totalitarian future.

Our suffering ends when we allow others to dream without projecting our personal truths onto others/things.

When we align as closely as possible to the existential truth, we start enjoying more of life because we are in harmony with creation. With nature. With our authentic Self.

To you it’s the best salad in the world. To the person next to you it is complete garbage.

Notice that your beliefs are your own, recognize areas where you project them. See that they are your own creations. They are perceptually true for you, but not existentially true for all of existence

The journey through life for many seekers is about recognizing what is true. One of the roadblocks along the way is confusing what we experience as relative and try to make it absolute.

Life is context. Life is relationship.



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Philosopher. Existentially curious about all things life.