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The World is as We See It

Updated: Dec 19, 2023

This is a photo of the mirror next to my sister-in-law's front door. I've been struck by it for a long time because of its unique pair of godlike faces gazing at each other, and I imagine them as a visual representation of the divine energies that create and support this world. Reflected in this mirror are the swinging doors that lead into the rest of the house, or even the rest of the world. In a way, these faces remind me that we are also godlike, participating in creating, sustaining, and dissolving the world (or worlds) that we live in.

Thinking about this reminds me of the Sanskrit proverb that expresses this level of responsibility and creativity: Yatha Drishti, Tatha Srishti, which translates as the world is as we see it.

This adage takes some reflection. On first take, we might visually see the surface aspects of our material world in ways that others do, while our minds, hearts, social connections, and aesthetic tastes often perceive or experience many different kinds of beauty or significance in the same scene, person, object, or situation.

Not only does this adage give us a lens for examining our personalities, life experiences, education, economics, political and religious preferences, etc, it also suggests that we should reflect on our our attitudes toward the people in our lives. Do we see the light within them, rather than their “ordinary” way of being?

What might happen if we reflect on all these ways of seeing and thinking about our lives, and consider if we are benefiting from them or not?

In 1987, I heard a public radio program in which Joseph Chilton Pearce, a well-known spiritual writer, talked about his experience of studying with a spiritual master from India. Something in his words about his experience with this teacher moved me. I had been seeking a deeper spiritual experience in my life, and although I was a bit skeptical about studying with such a master, I wrote to get more information. I received a letter a few weeks later, giving me information about a meditation group 45 minutes away that met each week to meditate, chant, and study the teachings of this spiritual master.

As I began to study and practice the teachings of this spiritual master, I

began to understand that I had been identifying throughout my life with my personality, history, preferences, and other lenses that I saw the world through, rather than something more nourishing to my being. As I began to meditate each morning, I found within a space of light, serenity, and expansiveness, and this "lens" gave me a different way of seeing both my inner and outer world.

The world can be seen and experienced in many ways: beautiful or ugly, supportive or difficult, inspiring or dull, and so on. Movies and literature show us a vast number of ways we can see the world, often mixed together. Yet we are the creators of the world we live in, and it’s up to us to choose how we create and live in it, both within our own being and with the people, animals, and environment around us.

What world would you like to imagine, create, and live in, day by day?

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1 Comment

Robert Pacini
Robert Pacini
Oct 17, 2023

Thanks, Paul! Beautiful! Hareesh's comment on Sutra 14 in his Shiva Sutras course says it all! Have a listen! Murali

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