Real and Unreal, Subjective and Objective

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Whenever we become obsessed with sharp divisions we engage in a sin of separateness—with the knife of intellect we try to cut things up very neatly: spirit/matter, objective/subjective, religion/science, real/unreal, inner/outer, etc. “Real” and “unreal” have a number of meanings. In a curious way, objectivity (the material world) looks relatively unreal to spiritual perception. Yet we may knock on a wooden table and say, ”This is real,” and from the personality standpoint, so it is. And if we knock too hard we become convinced that the pain is real. Here, “real” means the practical experiences that we hold in common and find it useless to question. We may agree it’s a “real” fact that our hand hurts.

We know our perception of the physically real is subjectively taking place in the senses, brain, and mind—a realm the Eastern philosopher terms “Maya.” Perhaps our deeper sense of the unreality of external things derives from the intuitive knowledge that we are, when acting as isolated personalities, Maya interacting with Maya, illusion interacting with illusion, glamor interacting with glamor. Yet, whatever measure of reality anything has, is borrowed from the Transcendent. So never mind that we act as if the world is really “out there” the way we imagine—the important point is that we are always seeking a deeper Real. And the only way to truly know what is “out there ” is by unity in which the sharp division between “out there” and “in here” disappears—in unity we find our life is both out there and in anywhere.

 

Modified from Timo Waltari

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