The Doors of Perception

Apparently, Bindu Wiles has been riding her bicycle around Manhattan, photographing images of doors and relishing the occasional gelato. *swoon*

It got me thinking –about bicycles and New York in the Fall, yes, but mostly about doors.

“When the doors of perception are cleansed, things will appear to man as they truly are…infinite.”

~ William Blake

William Blake was definitely onto something.

When I was a kid in L.A., I lived up the street from Ray Manzarek, who played keyboard for The Doors.

He’s the one who played that great riff in “Light My Fire” (among other things), which you’d probably be able to hum if I got you started.

I knocked on his door one day quite innocently with a handful of school carnival raffle tickets. I wondered if he’d buy one. It was the mid 70’s.

He answered the door wearing a bathrobe, and before I could say a word, he slammed the door in my face. I cried.

That sort of ended my career in direct sales.

It was only years later, after he’d cut his hair and become the producer for the punk band, X, that I encountered him again, jogging around the neighborhood, this time in an 80’s-era track suit.

I got up enough nerve to ask him if he’d present a music award at my Junior High School, and he graciously agreed. He also asked if I might be available to babysit his son, which ended up not working out, but still.

He turned out to be very nice.

I must have just caught him on a bad day that one time.

Anyway, this post isn’t about those Doors; It’s about our own “doors of perception” –and ultimately who’s home if someone knocks.

In the Svetasvatara Upanisad (3.18), the body is compared to a city with nine gates, in which the soul resides. So when we see something, for example, it’s not the eye (the gate) that sees –it is the soul within.

As William Blake so perceptively noted, “When the doors of perception are cleansed, things will appear to man as they truly are…infinite,” meaning, when the senses are purified, there is no impediment to our experience of the big picture and our place in it.

According to the Vedic version, this is most easily achieved at the present age by the practice of mantra meditation. I can attest that it absolutely works.

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And this, just in time for Halloween:

In his book, Brain Candy, Garth Sundem reports that neuroscientist David Ostry designed a mouth-stretching robot. When it pulled subjects’ lips up, they interpreted a computerized voice as saying, “head.”

But when the robot pulled their lips down, the subjects interpreted the identical sound as, “had.” It turns out that the shape our mouth influences what we hear. Weird!

And did you know that your ears can speak? It’s true. The ear actually emits sounds, sometimes loud enough to he heard without amplification.

Try it: find a quiet room and a willing partner, and sit ear to ear.

Listen.

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3 Responses to The Doors of Perception

  1. Bertram & Snow says:

    Can’t wait to give this a try!
    Stay tuned.

  2. Amy Martin says:

    Interesting post!

    A friend of mine in Los Angeles wrote an article lambasting Ray Manzarak a few years ago. He contacted her with the most garbled, odd responses. To this day she doesn’t know if it was him or a disgruntled fan. Hee ha.

    Peace and fried Onions,
    ~ Amy

    • Dasi says:

      @Bertram & Snow- Can’t wait to hear!

      @Amy- Well, one of the Doors’ hits was, “When You’re Strange.”
      So if it was Ray, he deserves some him credit for brand consistency, wouldn’t you say?
      Thanks for commenting. :)

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