Have you ever stopped to think that everything you experience is just… perception? That might sound like a weird question, but let’s dive into it together. Bentinho suggests something pretty out there: nothing we think of as “things” really exists outside our perception. Sounds wild, right? But stick with me.
Imagine you’re looking at a beautiful tree. You see its green leaves, feel the rough bark, and smell the fresh scent of nature. But what if I told you that the tree, as you experience it, isn’t a “thing” out there, but rather a collection of your perceptions? According to Bentinho, that’s exactly what’s going on. We live in a world we believe is full of objects and things, but in reality, we’re swimming in a sea of perceptions.
Now, this might sound like it’s straight out of a science fiction movie, but it has some serious implications. If everything we experience is just perception, then the whole idea of objective reality—stuff existing out there whether we perceive it or not—gets pretty shaky. Bentinho even goes as far as to say that science, with all its studies of objects and matter, is based on a belief system. It’s like a religion that assumes the existence of something it can never directly prove or experience.
So, what do we do with this mind-bending idea? Bentinho suggests becoming more direct with our experience. Instead of getting lost in thoughts and descriptions of things, we should try to experience life more directly. This means being present, or “mindful,” and paying attention to our immediate experience without trying to label or analyze it.
But there’s a trick to it. When you stop thinking, even for a second, you might feel sleepy or zone out. That’s not the goal. The aim is to stay awake and aware, to maintain a “pristine” awareness of what remains when the chatter of thoughts quiets down. It’s about experiencing yourself and the world in a more immediate and direct way.
By doing this, Bentinho says we can awaken to the truth of our being. We see that the world of “things” we thought was so solid and real is actually a fluid, ever-changing dance of perceptions. And in this realization, there’s a sense of freedom, a release from the belief in a world made up of separate objects that we need to analyze and understand.
So, next time you catch yourself getting caught up in the hustle and bustle of the world of “things,” remember Bentinho’s advice. Take a moment to stop thinking, just be present, and see what remains. You might just find a deeper sense of peace and connection to the world around you—not as a collection of objects, but as an ever-unfolding experience of perception.
“Awakening to the truth of our being shows us that all we ever experience is perception, an intricate dance of illusions creating a world we assume to be filled with things. Yet, in reality, no ‘thing’ exists beyond our perception.” – Bentinho Massaro
“The world is my Vorstellung [representation]; all that I see and touch and taste and smell is but the way I am affected by the forces around me.” – Arthur Schopenhauer
“Be still, and know that I am God.” – Psalm 46:10, The Bible. This verse echoes the concept of ceasing all thoughts to realize the essence of our being, akin to the practice of direct awareness and mindfulness emphasized by Bentinho.
Matthew 6:22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. So if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!”
Diving Deeper: Here are some actionable steps you could take to deepen your understanding and experience of reality as purely perception:
- Practice Mindfulness Daily: Set aside time each day to practice mindfulness. Focus on your breath, bodily sensations, sounds, or even objects around you without labeling or judging them. This helps train your mind to experience the present moment more directly.
- Reduce Mental Clutter: Spend less time engaging in activities that clutter your mind with unnecessary thoughts, such as mindlessly scrolling through social media or obsessing over news. Instead, choose activities that encourage presence and awareness.
- Engage in Silent Observation: Try sitting quietly in nature or a comfortable space in your home, simply observing what you see, hear, and feel without trying to analyze or name anything. Notice how your experience shifts when you’re just observing compared to when you’re thinking about what you’re observing.
- Journaling: After periods of mindfulness or silent observation, write down your experiences. How did it feel to engage directly with your perception without the intermediary of thought? What did you notice about your experience of reality?
- Mindful Consumption: Be mindful of the media, information, and entertainment you consume. Question how these inputs shape your perception of reality and consider reducing or eliminating those that contribute to a distorted or negative view of the world.
- Experiment with “No Thought” Moments: Throughout your day, experiment with briefly stopping all thought. This can be for just a few seconds or minutes. Notice what remains when you cease the mental commentary. How does your sense of presence and awareness change?
- Community Engagement: Join a group or community that practices mindfulness, meditation, or explores the nature of perception and reality. Sharing experiences and practices with others can provide support, deepen your understanding, and offer new perspectives.
- Read and Learn: Dive deeper into the works of Bentinho Massaro and other teachers who explore the nature of perception and reality. Books, videos, and courses can offer insights and practices to further your understanding and experience.
- Regular Meditation: Establish a regular meditation practice. Meditation helps to quiet the mind and increase your capacity to experience life directly, beyond the constructs of thought.
- Reflect on Your Beliefs: Take time to reflect on and question your deeply held beliefs about reality, objects, and the nature of existence. Consider how these beliefs might be based on assumptions rather than direct experience.
By incorporating these steps into your daily life, you can gradually shift your experience of reality from one dominated by the conceptualization of “things” to a more direct, present-moment awareness where the illusion of separateness begins to dissolve.