We don't see reality as it truly is, and this is why...
We’ve already explored the concept of who you truly are - the answer being pure consciousness, observing and experiencing the world through a collection of labels, beliefs and stories.
Now let’s look at these thoughts, experiences, labels and beliefs that make up the filter that stands between your consciousness and the world as it is.
To begin, let’s first acknowledge that we don’t usually see a situation as it truly is.
We view it through our unique collection of ideas, beliefs, experiences, judgements, labels and thoughts.
We look at a situation and see it through the filter of a woman, a man, a mother, young, old, married, single, poor, wealthy, depressed, optimistic, a person who grew up in poverty or a person who grew up in luxury, a private school student, a homeschooled kid, a dropout, a graduate with a Phd, a person made to feel bad about their appearance, race or sexuality, a person in a position of power or someone who flies under the radar.
We will never see or experience the world in exactly the same way as someone else because we all have a different filter.
Ok, so what do we do with this information?
To start with, think about the thoughts, beliefs and judgements you view the world with and consider: are there things in your filter you could clear out? Are there things that no longer serve you? The answer is totally up to you.
There are things in your filter you might see as ‘good’ and ‘bad’ or healthy and unhealthy, but it’s actually all relative to what you see as good and bad in general (even though your consciousness would probably say it is neither good nor bad, it just ‘is’).
One person may experience the world through a filter that says ‘People are untrustworthy, and you always need to be on guard’. Someone else might say ‘People are mostly kind and thoughtful, and you should always assume that unless someone proves they aren’t’.
Neither is right and neither is wrong.
Each is a byproduct of the life the person has lived, and each (as with everything) has its own set of consequences that can be intended and unintended. But this does make knowing what you want in your filter a little difficult at times.
One way that you can experience the world through another filter while keeping your own is through empathy. Empathy and understanding for others is probably the closest you will get to experiencing the world through consciousness alone, and it's a great way to work out what you want to get rid of.
Again, this is totally up to you, and something that can take a long time to think about and work through, but as always, awareness is key. With awareness, you can consciously think about what you want in your filter, and slowly clean it out to make your view clearer and clearer.
Here’s how you do this:
In any situation (especially if you’re passing judgement, an opinion, or a strong belief), you can ask yourself this series of questions:
What filter am I looking at this situation through?
If that wasn’t in my filter, how would I see this situation?
Is the filter I’m looking through helpful? Is it fair?
Is this something I want to keep in my filter, or is it time to let it go?
And if you want to practise empathy, you can also ask: What filter would the other person involved be looking at this situation through?
It’s completely up to you how much you want to remove from your filter.
For me personally, I would still keep the majority of what I have in mine, but I would be very conscious of empathy in situations where people don’t have the same labels, experiences or beliefs in theirs.
As an example, I couldn’t comprehend not having the label and experience of ‘mother’ in my filter. But I can empathise with people who don’t have that label, so in certain situations, like when I’m in a cafe with my young toddler and he starts happily screeching at the top of his voice, I will be considerate of that fact.
I can look at that scenario through my filter of being a mum and know it’s just typical toddler behaviour. But I can also empathise with the idea that it’s not pleasant for others around us, and that they may not be so accommodating; this is especially true if they aren’t seeing the world through the filter of a mum with a young toddler.
Is it realistic to have no filter, and experience the world through pure consciousness and awareness?
Again, that’s relative to you and what you see as realistic. It’s definitely possible, and if this was something you wanted to achieve you could. If not (and that’s ok too) you can simply even out your filter with empathy, awareness and understanding.
And of course, short periods of pure consciousness and awareness through meditation and similar practices can be the perfect way to strike a balance between living in the ‘real’ world and living in the conscious world.