A popular viral video is making its way around social media. A humpback whale leaps dramatically up through a gym floor, where scores of children stand watching and gasping enthusiastically as it makes a huge splash when it comes back down and hits the floor, which then becomes the ocean. Real? Of course not!
Magic Leap, a new company that is making its own waves within the virtual reality industry, created this dramatic image. Commenting on the video, the tech division of media site Newsie explains that the technology is a “dynamic digitalized light field signal” which merges lifelike, computer generated images – like the whale – with what the user sees in the real world. To add to the excitement of these technological developments, we need go no further than this summer’s most popular game - Pokemon Go - the augmented reality game that sends players out into the actual, real world to hunt for unreal characters.
Entertaining, fascinating, and an escape from our boring everyday lives, virtual, or augmented reality is the next enthralling invention to engage us.
But what these modern illusionists remind us, really, is that seeing should not necessarily be believing; it’s not necessarily scientific fact.
In his TedTalk, Do we see reality as it is? Dr. Donald Hoffman, a cognitive scientist, used the simple example of how people in the past viewed the earth as flat and as the unmoving centre of the universe to illustrate how we can be fooled. But that’s how it looks – even now. This misperception was long ago proven wrong. In the 16th century, when challenging the prevailing belief that the earth was flat, Galileo wondered how many other things we see and misinterpret. According to Hoffman, Galileo mused, “I think that tastes, colors, odors and so on reside in consciousness.”
Why is this important to us? Because, if we only believe what we are seeing from a material standpoint, then we can be misled and limit our life experience in important ways.
Less dramatic but more insidious in our thinking, is how we often see difficult circumstances as barriers to health and happiness. “If only this or that problem would go away, then I could be happy,” is a common line of thinking that suggests such a barrier. The challenge could be a financial worry, an unhappy work experience or relationship, a job promotion that did not materialize, or fear regarding our health – or maybe all of those together.
If our view of the world stops at these perceived problems or limitations, allowing them to permanently shape our experience, we often can’t see the answers we need. We’re stuck. But we don’t need to stay there. Many inspiring examples exist of individuals who have shown us how to view things differently, to move from that stuck place and thereby to create different outcomes.
Steve Jobs, famous in his own right for seeing new ways to forward the technology that in a very short time has reframed multiple industries and how we see the world, once wrote a now famous commercial called - Here’s to the crazy ones. The video honours individuals who looked beyond the accepted limitations and opinions of one-dimensional viewpoints to discover new ones, consequently changing how we see our neighbour, the world, and even the universe. His examples included Gandhi, Einstein, Martin Luther King, among others, all of whom challenged the accepted social, scientific, and spiritual views of their day. They didn’t see barriers – they saw opportunities. And they never gave up moving forward.
By including such luminaries as King and Gandhi in his now famous video, Jobs touches on something spiritual. Some of the greatest examples of individuals who see beyond the perceived barriers of the human mind have been spiritual thinkers. Jesus, of course, is the best. He well understood the relationship between consciousness and what we experience. He saw consciousness as divine, quite separate from the human mind. He saw the world not through glasses with fancy names or a game to find some made up creature, but through a perception of man and creation as spiritual.
When his divine perception of reality was brought to bear on human thinking, people experienced healing from all kinds of problems – illness, lack, and fear. Jesus changed the perceptions of how people saw themselves and others, and the world around them, showing them a different reality – a divine creation.
One of the best examples of his spiritual perceptivity at work can be seen in the story of Jesus and the loaves and fishes. It is the only story about him that is recounted in all four gospels of The Bible. A multitude of people who had been listening to his teachings were hungry and needing to be fed. His followers gathered up just a few loaves and fishes – definitely this did not look like enough to feed everyone. Jesus sure didn’t see the meager fare as scientific fact when it came to God’s ability to provide for the crowd. And, his prayer of gratitude changed the human perception of that situation so completely that all were fed. In fact, there were leftovers.
Impossible? Think about what Galileo said regarding consciousness or the way Einstein changed the way we see the universe. What might we each be able to achieve if we were willing to see things through a more spiritual lense? Who knows, it might be more exciting and effective in bringing us health, prosperity, and peace than any newfangled technical “reality”!
Anna Bowness-Park is a Christian Science practitioner, who writes frequently on the relationship between consciousness and health, and how prayer can play a role. You can follow her blog at http://anna-bownesspark.ca
You can read more articles from our interfaith blog, Spiritually Speaking,