The phenomenon of interpretation of sensations and feelings is perception. That which distinguishes, recognizes, and identifies is perception. However, perception is not same as the act of understanding or the act of cognizing.
When we see a person, how do we know it is a person? We interpret the sensations and feelings that arise from the contact of our eyes with the person, as “person.” We make it a person by marking it as a “person.” If a person is identified as the soul- a bundle of matter, mind, and consciousness that is impermanent and impersonal, then, such identification and interpretation are acts of understanding rather than perceiving.
A child sees a piece of rope in the dark and interprets it as snake. This is a perception with delusion. A blind man touches an elephant’s tail and interprets it like this: “An elephant is like a broom.” This is also a perception with delusion. An ignorant man sees a body, hears sound, smells odor, tastes flavor, feels tactile sensation, has feelings, and interprets them like this: “This body is mine; I am the one who sees, hears, smells, tastes, and feels.” This is also a perception with delusion. Any sense of separate self should be understood as a deluded perception.
When an ignorant man deals with an angry person, the angry person is perceived as unpleasant and irritating. Such perceptions occur because the element of hatred has arisen along with perception, making it unwholesome. A wise person does not perceive an angry person as a threat or an enemy. The person is perceived as someone diseased and sick who needs help. Such perceptions occur because the element of compassion arises with the element of perception.
Some people wonder whether our memory is responsible for our perceptions. Memory is a mental phenomenon that facilitates the functioning of perception, which in turn builds up memory by marking objects. When the same object is repeatedly recognized, perception itself can be understood to be functioning as memory. To this extent only, memory is related to perception.
SOUL RESEARCH INSTITUTE NEWSLETTER, MARCH 11, 10
EVENTS AT S.R.I.
Memories can be wholesome or unwholesome. Perception, on the other hand, is neither wholesome nor unwholesome. It acquires the ethical quality of the wholesome or unwholesome mental elements that arise with it. Therefore, if we purify the mind of greed, hatred, and delusion, and culture it with non-greed, non-hatred, and non-delusion, we build up a stock of wholesome memories and our perceptions evolve.
Pikes Peak Library District (PPLD.org) is now carrying
From yoga teacher Mary Jo Cleaveland, Vice President, SRI Board: Every Wednesday, 10.45am-Noon. Only one more students can be accomodated. Please contact Mary at 719 282 9343. Heartfelt offerings made to SRI are gladly accepted.
(Women's Group Invitation)
Topic: Ayurveda - Science of Life
From Patricia Carle, Community Outreach Director, SRI: This month, Mary Jo Cleaveland will do a presentation on Ayurveda... Science of Life. This will be an overview of understanding the natural elements that are essence of our body-mind and nature. How these elements manifest when in balance and in imbalance. How we determine our unique nature and simple practices to bring balance into our lives. These practices will include breathing and yoga. Afterwords: tea and some snacks that fit into the Ayurveda lifestyle.
When: Saturday, 03/20/10, 2-4PM
Where: 8635 Gatewick Dr in Briargate, Colorado Springs, 80921