Don’t Trust Your 5 Senses – You Just Can’t Rely on Them

I was reminded yesterday once again of how little I can really rely on my 5 senses.

A couple of weeks ago I met a friend for a cup of tea and we got chatting about all things spiritual – as one does. And the topic came round to how our physical senses can delude us and that we actually create false memories.

And on the basis of those false memories we build up stories and an imaginery truth. The implications are very far-reaching. We talked about the implications this has within the legal system, for people giving testimony based on things they remember vividly in their minds.

This went through my mind yesterday as saw how once again, my mind had succeeded in creating a ‘story’ which was pure fact….

Lakshmi, my feline friend, was wrapping herself around my legs in the kitchen, not purring for food, but wailing loudly and demanding it. I was quite busy but put down what I was I was working with and lifted her bowl up onto the counter so that I could fill it from the open tin of cat food. I scooped out enough for her meal, cut it into smaller pieces, chatting to her all the time. And then placed the bowl on the floor in front of her. I turned around to get on with the job at hand.

I was slightly irritated by the fact that just a few minutes later Lakshmi was wailing again. After telling her a couple of times that she had had her food and there wouldn’t be any more until tea-time, I swung around… and stopped in my tracks.

The bowl of cat food was right there on the counter where I had left it. Still full.

I stared at it. My mind was still replaying a ‘memory’ of me having put the bowl down to Lakshmi on the floor. In fact, I knew I had done it. I definitely¬† had….but then again, I hadn’t.

I quickly gave Lakshmi her food and then stood there without saying or thinking much for a few moments.

I felt humbled.

How often in my life  have I sworn blind that I did something, or saw or heard something? And how often was it just an illusion, like this scenario with Lakshmi?

I thought back to our conversation over tea and how we questioned the reliability of giving testimony in court in a life or death case.

The mind is such a trickster.

And I was reminded of how our perception misleads us again and again, regarding colour, sound, the physical realm, emotions….

It brings me back to the question of what I know with certainty to be true. The silence I touch on in meditation . And as for the rest….well, I have to really take it all with a pinch of salt and a measure of humour.

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