What does “Perception is Reality” even mean?

“Perception is reality.”

I first heard this quote in a photography workshop and it immediately didn’t make sense to me. Perception actually has no effect on reality. In an optical illusion, two lines might look different lengths but in reality, they’re the same. Seeing them one way doesn’t change the reality of the fact that they’re the same length.

Okay, sure, that’s one way to look at it. But what if that quote wasn’t meant to be taken like that?

A few weeks ago, I saw a sign in a bookstore that said something along the lines of “We are all branches of the same tree.” and I don’t know why but the “Perception is reality” saying came back to me and I thought, okay, so what if there’s a big tree and one branch constantly gets the sun. To that branch, the reality is that it’s sunny and warm all day. Meanwhile, another branch might be hidden under other branches and leaves and his reality might be that it’s dark and crowded all day. And they’re both right.

I’ve found that’s the thing you have to grasp: They’re BOTH right. To one person, coconut might be the best thing in the world (Raises hand) and to another, it might be actually disgusting. They’re both right.

There are seven billion people on this planet and therefore, there are seven billion different realities and they’re all accurate. They’re all true.

Denise Karis Photography Blog

Several months ago I got a DM from someone across the country that said, “You always get to go to the coolest events!”¬† So first, I definitely don’t. But when I do, I post about it on Instagram stories. So if her perception is that I go to a lot of amazing events, then I’ll take it! I’m fine with letting that be true for people!

I read this on Quora from Carolyn Barker, a former counselor. She says,

“Everything you experience; even thoughts, emotions and sensations, pass through the lens of your conditioning. This in turn, creates your perception of the world. So what you experience of the world is not the world as it is, but rather, your perception of the world. To see reality you would have to suspend all thought because perception is thought. The only time you experience something as it truly is, is when you experience it for the first time and before the mind has time to make associations between the object or experience and something already known. So essentially we live in a world of our own making.”

I came across another quote by Marcus Aurelius that says, “Our life is what our thoughts make it.”

Will you talk back to me on this one? What are your thoughts on this? Do you have any new light to shed? DM me, comment, comment on Facebook, let me know your thoughts!

Denise Karis is an Arizona photographer who enjoys musicals, Doctor Who and breakfast burritos. IG @denisekaris

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