Appearances and perceptions from our outer life may be the biggest obstacles to the recognition of You and Your truth. Man is prone to be strongly influenced by what his/her senses take in. The external appearances of what we see, hear, touch, taste, or smell leads us to make judgments. Based on sensory appearances we assess something to be what the judgments of our intellect perceive and, hence, conclude.
Transcending the senses draws us inward where our meditative and contemplative efforts often lead to a deeper personal variety of perceptions, many of which are still based on sensory appearances.Humanity is inevitably and unavoidably grounded in appearances in the spiritual life as well as in the market place. Appearances are like a veil over the face of reality. Appearances are the dark looking glass, the temple curtain.
There is in life a crosscurrent and interaction between the appearances we perceive and the appearances others perceive. Most times, one’s perception of a particular appearance is different and often in conflict with the perception of the same appearance by another.
Nowhere, it seems, is the impact of appearances and perceptions stronger than in our perception of God in the appearance of You. Yet, because of who and what we are, we have little else on which to rely. An erroneous personal perception of the appearances of Your life can hinder our recognition of You. In the apostles we see twelve different perceptions of the appearances of Your life and most of them did not come to truly reconcile their perceptions with Your appearances until You were gone.
I guess we can legitimately ask: “Do we ever really know someone?” Can we live and move and breathe in the skin of another? The answer is “no!” Nor can we avoid appearances and perceptions. So how do we truly recognize You? What we might do is try to probe our perceptions more deeply using our hearts, our non-sentient instincts, and our inner spiritual awareness of You at our center. We do this best in the absence of all sensory perceptions and appearances – in silence and stillness!