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Layers of Perceived Reality

One of the most incredible recognitions—and profound realizations—which often emerges from one’s use of the sacred medicines is that the reality which we perceive is constructed of layers: layers of identity; layers of belief; layers of socialization; layers of sensation; and layers of perception. Often, the depth and complexity of these layers may appear somewhat shocking, especially when they appear to form the edifice of one’s core beliefs about the world and one’s place in the world which one may cherish and hold dear. Indeed, we all seem to navigate a world of layers, as well as being constructed of layers. One might thus be inclined to ask: How did the layers form? What (or who) is “behind” them? What processes underpin one’s experiences of life—and maintain one’s consciousness—which might reinforce, codify, and strengthen these layers? And what avenues might allow one to transcend these layers and unearth what is underneath them…and underpins them? All aspects of one’s sense of self, beliefs about the world, and perceptions of everything in the world may suddenly (or gradually) appear to be constructed of nothing but layers which—in and of themselves—have no substance at all.

Engaging in such an enquiry is the first step on the road to embracing a greater sense of one’s place in the universe (and one’s place as the universe) as this process allows one to investigate and explore the wondrous nature of the world around one. And what a wondrous nature it is. Indeed, while the layers are filled with more than enough to keep one’s attention occupied for a lifetime (and, in fact, one might even say that the layers are what constitute the sense of a “lifetime” which our “thinking” minds perceive as a “lifetime”), what underpins the layers—and at the heart of the layers—may be the deepest reality of all… and captures the paradoxical nature of the universe itself. This paradoxical nature is defined by a reality “below the layers” which is of the purest formless essence and constitutes the void from which space emerges: the spaceless and choiceless awareness which we all share; the often-as-yet-unknown essence which is already fully embraced and purely manifested; the deepest coexistence of formless and form; and the energy which underpins everything in time and space and the universe itself.

Feel the layers; embrace the layers; understand the layers; comprehend the layers; apprehend the layers; and transcend the layers…and ultimately welcome with an open heart the deep reality of consciousness…with no layers at all.

Carlos Scott López

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