Want Enlightenment? Then Change Your Perception

The Toltec Path gives us three Masteries, the Mastery of Awareness, the
Mastery of Transformation and the Mastery of Intent. In the Mastery of
Awareness we become aware of something, that when brought into
awareness, seems so obvious we may surprise ourselves that we missed
it. This something is:

Our perception determines our experience

This is an essential realization on a spiritual path, and can assist us
immensely in the living of life – our quality of life. If we wish to
have better experiences, we need to change our perception. If we wish
to experience All-That-Is, or the Nagual, we must change our

The fact that our perception is very limited is basic to Toltec
teachings. When we thoroughly work the Mastery of Awareness, we come to
understand that the knowledge we have acquired growing up creates a
world that is not real. We begin to understand that the world we
perceive is nothing but the result of the content of our knowledge and
our beliefs. How we perceive the world is determined by our

Let me give a real life example of how our perception is determined by
our knowledge, or what Toltecs call, our inventory.

When I was a graduate student I was living in Japan studying cultural
anthropology. For part-time work I translated manuals from Japanese
into English. On one occasion I was translating a manual that said in
Japanese, “To start the machine push the ‘aoi’ button.” Because I
didn’t actually have the physical machine in front of me I didn’t know
how to translate the Japanese word ‘aoi.’ The word ‘aoi’ in
Japanese can mean either blue or green.

Therefore, a native Japanese speaker will point to a ‘blue’ sky and
say it is AOI. They will then point to a ‘green’ leaf and say it is
the same color – AOI. Due to their knowledge and conditioning, they
actually PERCEIVE the sky and the leaf as the same color.

This can be understood when we look at a color spectrum. The colors
blue and green are right next to each other on the spectrum. It so
happens that most languages of the west divide the spectrum of blue and
green into two colors. In truth, there are an infinite number of color
frequencies within the range of blue and green. We just happen to
divide the range into two basic colors and this is what we see.

Other cultures divide the color spectrum up differently. (It should be
noted that modern Japanese now has more words for colors such as
‘midori’ for green and ‘buruu’ equivalent to the English word
‘blue’ and so on.)

When studying different cultures, Anthropologists found that different
cultures have a different number of words for colors. Some cultures had
five words for different colors, others had as few as four or even
three words. What was even more significant, however, was that in some
traditional cultures, if there were only three words for colors, they
would only see three different colors! Their language “colored” their
perception. Their perception determined their experience of color. They
only experienced three colors.

A baby doesn’t see blue or green until he is taught the words that
define the colors. He sees the total color spectrum from infrared to
ultraviolet as different “shades” of just ONE color. The words we are
taught define the boundaries of the bundles of frequencies we perceive.
When we are taught the word blue we learn a concept called blue. The
concept defines a particular range of frequencies within the color
spectrum, which is bound by the concept blue. When a color frequency
falls within that range we call it blue. As the baby grows into a child
and learns to speak, it no longer sees ONE color with different shades.
It sees SEVERAL distinct colors defined by the vocabulary it has
learned. It sees blue, green, red and so on. This is an example of how
our language defines what we perceive.

The same is true of sounds. A native Japanese speaker does not hear the
difference between an “l” sound and an “r” sound. Unless they study
English they perceive them as the same sound. A native English speaker
hears two distinct sounds because that is what he or she was taught. To
the English speaker, the “p” in “pit” sounds the same as the “p” in
“spit.” However, to the Chinese speaker, these two “p” sounds are as
distinctive as “l” and “r” are to the English speaker.

There is no right or wrong in this. It is just what we have learned. In
actuality, there are an infinite number of sound frequencies between
“l” and “r.” But an English speaker hears just two. There are an
infinite number of color frequencies in the color range bound by the
word “yellow.” But the English speaker perceives everything within the
“yellow” range as “yellow.” We may have a few words for different
shades of “yellow,” but we still perceive them as a shade of “yellow.”

The average man or woman believes they know reality. They act and react
according to what they believe they know. But what they know is the
past. It is just one concept added to a concept added to a concept, a
belief added to another belief in their inventory. Their inventory just
grows horizontality. It has no depth. When we “see” and have
knowingness it comes from another plane. It does not come from the
horizontal plane of our knowledge inventory.

As the above examples illustrate, WHAT WE PERCEIVE is due in large part
upon what we have learned. With all of our conditioning and learning,
by the time they are adults, the average person has little ability to
perceive WHAT IS. This is why Toltecs say that as long as you have
inventory (knowledge), you cannot perceive the Nagual.

A pre-requisite for a true spiritual path is to first become aware of
our beliefs (inventory), and then be willing to let them go. Until we
eliminate our beliefs we can never perceive reality for what it is.
Until we clear out our inventory, we will never know self, as we cannot
see self as it is.

If we are unable to know self, we are unable to transform self and our
lives in alignment to higher spiritual principles. We will continue
with failed relationships, lack and difficulties in life.

To transform something we must first see it for what it is without
avoidance and denial. We must be clear enough and free enough from our
beliefs and stale knowledge to see things as they are.

In the Mastery of Awareness we stalk different aspects of ourselves.
Stalking perception is a powerful exercise. When we stalk our
perception we bring into awareness why we perceive things the way we
do. This can be a basic thing like why we see the colors we do or why
we hear the sounds we do. More important, however, is to stalk the way
we think, feel, act and react. Do we perceive something as wrong or
right because of beliefs we have been taught? Do we have unresolved
emotional issues that cause us to feel nervous around our boss?

Unresolved emotional issues can dramatically throw our perception off.
For example, say our boss hasn’t called us into his office for a long
time and we begin to perceive that he doesn’t appreciate or like our
work. However if someone were to ask our boss why he hasn’t called us
into his office for a while, he may say it is because he trusts us to
do our job without a lot of supervision. We have misperceived his
actions. Why? Perhaps we have unresolved emotional issues about
receiving approval from our parents or those in authority positions.
This emotional issue perverts our perception. In this example it causes
us to misperceive our boss’s actions.

As we stalk our perception we will find many ways in which it is
determined by our domestication, our education, our language, our
beliefs, and our emotional wounding. We will also begin to see how our
perception actually determines our experience. In the above example we
may be experiencing insecurity at work due to our misperception of our
boss’s actions.

Toltecs of ancient times discovered the importance of stalking
perception. Through the Mastery of Awareness we come to realize that
the world that we thought we knew, doesn’t really exist at all. We see
it as just a dream – a dream consisting of our conditioned assumptions
about the world, and our agreements with others in the world. With this
new perception comes the freedom to enter a new dream, the dream of

Want enlightenment? Change your perception. Want to change your
perception? Clean, clear, heal and strengthen self. Fully engage your
awareness, make no assumptions, and throw your knowledge and beliefs
out the door. See self and the world with the beginner’s mind.

Love and Light,


Kristopher is a Toltec nagual(master) who spends his days practicing
Controlled Folly as a business executive. He presently lives in Santa
Fe, New Mexico where he teaches, writes and communes with La Tierra

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