- Arzu Eylül Yalçınkaya
On The Causes of Our Restlessness
For me life is simply a state of consciousness that we gain through the experiences of many events and challenges; especially throught the process between what we want it to be and what is actually happened. As Goldstein states: Perception is the mental factor that interprets experience by recognizing and remembering the distinguishing features of an object. In the simplest examples, perception recognizes the diffirinces between red and blue, hot and cold, man and woman. But there is one understanding here that is critical to our freedom: perceptions are not absolutes; they are conditioned on many different levels. One of the great misconceptions we often carry througout our lives is that our perceptions of ourselves and the world are basically accurate and true, that they reflect some stable, ultimate reality. This misconception leads to tremendous suffering, both globally and in our life situations To better illustrate this, we should take into account the phrase ‘ultimate reality’. We all have some perception on what the reality is. For example, if we accept our perception as a kind of bowl, the ultimate reality would be like an endless sea and our perception of the truth which is defective and partial is the water we take out from that endless see, in the capacity of our bowl. What are some examples of relative conditioned nature of perception? On one level, the way we see things is based on our karmic predipositons. What a vulture might see as a delectible meal, we would see as very unappetizing rotting flesh; same object, different perception. The buddist scholar Rune Johanson Wrote, “Things are seen through the lenses of our desires, prejudices, and resentments and are transformed accordingly (Goldstein, 216). When we consider the phrase “different perception”, it is possible to further illustrate this point with an example from the sufi understanding. According to this, we can think of a the cup. As this cup has a handhold, and depending on your view point, one can argue that the handhold is in the right side, and the other can say that the handholder is on the left side. And both would be true. However the only one who would know the true view of the cup is the one who looks from the top. If we interpret this illustration in the Sufi context; there are different levels of being and the Creature as the one which embodies all this levels, is the one who perceives things as they really are. However a person who percives things from his level of being would be limited with the restrictions of his/her conception. So is it possible to overcome this, and to perceive objects as they are in themselves? Indeed it is. As the purpose of God’s relation to the created and revelation, his prophets are all for the purpose of enabling the man to attain this level of perception. All the sacred scriptures in the Abrahamic tradition has the purpose of enabling man to perceive the objects and the events beyond how they perceive them, with a glance that unities, and to convey people the message of the unity of God. The person who is trying to be mindful with the means of certain practices, when encounters an adversity or something that cause suffering, would try to overcome this. Like with all the propblems that we try to solve, in every case the first thing to do is to find the source of the suffering. In every situation I believe what causes the suffering is the desire one has or a feeling of loss and need of a pleasure or a habit.
Arzu Eylül Yalçınkaya