It's easy to forget that we are all perfect in our own design. Sometimes we muck it up with habits and choices that do not serve us.
This art was created by Walter Spitzer, a Jewish artist who survived Nazi concentration camps by perceiving himself flying back to the idyllic Polish town where he grew up on the back of a pet goat. Spitzer changed his reality. Every night.
Human reality is molded by our perceptions. That is the basis of modern psychotherapy, quantum physics, literature and art, marketing, and just about everything else in our lives. There are no countries, no cultures, no religions, no corporations, no human institutions until we first perceive them. When enough people accept and act on a perception, reality changes.
The author Jack London devoted an entire book, The Star Rover, to the factual-based story of a prisoner in San Quentin who survived torture and solitary confinement by creating the reality of life outside the prison through what London called “star roving” and Indigenous people know as “shamanic journeying.”
Spitzer’s boy on his goat looks down at me from where he hangs on my office wall above the chair where my cat Jaggy and I do most of our work. He reminds me that writing is a means for altering perceptions that change reality.
The title of my latest book, Touching the Jaguar, comes from an Amazonian shaman who told me, “‘Touching the jaguar’ means that you identify your fears and barriers, confront them, alter your perceptions about them, accept their energy, and take actions to change yourself and the world.” This is also the theme of my five-session March 2021 webinar Learning to Enjoy and Prosper from Uncertainty.
The pandemic hammered us with uncertainty. It caused suffering, deaths, and turmoil. It has also helped us realize that we have the ability to change and that uncertainty can open us to important and exciting opportunities.
Spitzer’s nightly journeys to a reality outside the walls of the concentration camp inspired him to take up art. He made his first drawing with a burnt stick on an empty cement bag and began sketching other prisoners and their guards. When he was 17, during the last months of WWII, he was ordered to meet with the German political prisoner who was his barracks chief. The anti-Nazi prisoner told the young artist that he was on the list of people to be executed, but he would be removed from the list if he promised “to tell with your pencils all you have seen here.” (1)
Spitzer became one of the most influential recorders of the horrors of the Holocaust and also a brilliant painter of biblical and spiritual subjects. He has inspired people around the world to employ the powers of perception to change reality.
For most of our 200,000+ years as humans, we embraced uncertainty. It was part of life. It taught us to adjust, to forge new tools, and develop innovative solutions to problems. Like our ancestors, we today can welcome uncertainty as an adventure that offers prospects for spiritual, emotional, and cultural growth.
Global warming, income inequality, environmental destruction, species extinctions, and the many other crises that threaten the future survival of life as we know it are the results of a perception. During the past several centuries – and especially in recent years – we have accepted the idea that success comes from maximizing short-term materialistic consumption and profits, regardless of the long-term social and environmental costs. That is just a perception – in historical terms, a recent one.
The COVID-19 pandemic has taught us that we can change. We just need to embrace new perceptions.
What a perfect moment for you to fly on a pet goat (or use whatever process empowers you) to an idyllic world that will become reality.
Join Panache Desai every morning and for support in reconnecting to the wellspring of calm and peace that lives within you and that has the power to counterbalance all of the fear, panic, and uncertainty that currently engulfs the world.
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