Updated: Dec 7, 2021
In the conventional world, reality testing is based on consensual validation where agreements on the external actions and events determine their veracity. If we perceive something “out there”, its reality is determined by others agreeing with the description of what we register and describe with our senses.
This empirical methodology is necessary for scientific inquiry, but not sufficient to validate our experienced world. The brain responds to what we imagine is happening, independent of consensual validation, although cognition can discern the difference. The significance of this process is that the experience of what we imagine through fantasy or creative thinking, is registered biologically in our mindbody.
Now we can bring neuropsychology and psychoneuroimmunology to the contemplative journey. Rather than limiting reality to consensual validation of external events, I propose a contemplative mindbody construct that includes the internal experienced world and the external world of the senses as one. Consequently, external validation confirms the objective world, and the contemplative method validates and explores the experienced world. Only then, can we engage an innate observational realm to learn the totality of who we are and choose to become.
The contemplative dimension views reality as a seamless fabric inclusive of what we experience internally and what we perceive externally. This comprehensive neuropsychological dimension is so robust that even the delusions of a paranoid schizophrenic, although lacking consensual validation, are registered psychoneuroimmunologically, as if they were happening in the external world.
So, what is the difference between psychotic delusions and the experienced world of the contemplative? Simply, the psychotic cannot discern whether their experienced world is chosen or imposed by their biochemical distortions.
In Part Three, I will go deeper into the seamless dimension of the contemplative journey and its navigational tools.