When we look at reality, how clean is our lens? How much is our view obstructed by the fog of concepts? All of us have beliefs that I am defining as virtual reality, including favored expectations, prejudices, judgments, and mental constructs about how things are or should be. But do we recognize how our concepts limit our ability to see reality as it is? At best, our ideas create a pleasant frame to shut out the parts of reality we prefer not to see; at worst they make us totally blind. For example, a belief such as “people get what they deserve” can rob us of compassion or make us lose faith. An expectation about what practice should feel like may cause us to miss the actual experience of meditation
When a prized concept is challenged it staggers us. Whether it comes as a shock or a slow awakening, we can feel fearful and exposed. We might find ourselves sitting in a cage with the door open but without the inclination to fly. We sense that everything is changed but at first we may deny it. This can’t be happening! It is tempting to replace the old concept for a new one, often an opposing one. Once we believed utterly, now we reject utterly. We are afraid to face the emptiness of existence without the filtering of more beliefs.
This emptiness has been called beginner’s mind. When we let go of beliefs we can see everything as if for the first time. By facing the unknowing we get in touch with something that isn’t our concepts. We can recognize that we are connected to everything and everyone. Within the cloud of unknowing is every mystery and every possibility. There is no time to waste dithering over having been duped by our concepts. The more we gaze into unkowing the more awake we become.