III. Perception versus Knowledge, P 4
4 True vision is the natural perception of spiritual sight, but it is still a correction rather than a fact. Spiritual sight is symbolic, and therefore not a device for knowing. It is, however, a means of right perception, which brings it into the proper domain of the miracle. A “vision of God” would be a miracle rather than a revelation. The fact that perception is involved at all removes the experience from the realm of knowledge. That is why visions, however holy, do not last.
This paragraph explains why it is that I can have the most remarkable spiritual experiences, so vivid and real that I cannot doubt them, and so extraordinary that I cannot imagine losing them, and yet I do. They begin to fade and I cannot recover the feeling. Sometimes I have to go back and read what I wrote about them to even remember they happened.
I am happy for them anyway because I am encouraged that something is happening. They are like little gifts that foreshadow the real thing. It is like I am being reassured that I am on the right path. Some of these experiences have been… I don’t even have words to describe them… amazing certainly doesn’t cover it, so out of my experience of the world as I know it, but more than that.
I have felt Love, or as much of it as I can stand, and while I can’t bring that feeling back up, I will never forget it happened. So now I know that Love is real, and it is not what I have been feeling here in the illusion. And Jesus is telling me that this experience, as powerful as it was, was not the real thing. It is still in the realm of perception and there is something more.
As we are learning the difference between perception and knowledge, I have to laugh at all the time I think I knew something. Sometimes I was so certain that I knew something that I was willing to argue the point, and even when I did not open my mouth, my mind was busy building defenses against the other person’s point of view. I was deluded.
Perception is shifting and changing and uncertain. Perception would need defense, but then why defend something that is shifting, changing and uncertain? What would be the point? Instead of thinking that the other person is wrong, I am learning to ask the Holy Spirit to show me the truth in their words. Instead of defending what I think I know, I am learning to ask for ever more clarity, truer and truer perceptions.
In so doing, I am no longer interested in bending others to my way of thinking. In fact, I find this funny even to think about. On those rare moments when I forget and think I know something or that someone else needs to see things my way, I forgive it and then have a good laugh at myself.