God leads mankind along the road toward reality, a reality which He sees, understands, and longs to share but for which humanity is only partially prepared to comprehend and accept. In our limited understanding, reality is defined through the working of our five human senses in conjunction with the rational ability of our mind. We perceive things outside ourselves using these senses and process the associated data input through our brains, drawing conclusions about what is real. The entire process of defining external reality through perception is highly subjective. In many cases we see what we want to see or what we have been taught to see. I use the word “see” here in the broader sense of receiving and processing outside data through any or our senses, not just literal vision. Since all the senses involve mental processing, processing which is complex and highly individual, the results, conclusions, or perceptions generated by the senses are not guaranteed to be valid. In fact, they are very often invalid as the development of science and technology over the course of human history has so vividly illustrated.
The human mind can look outward in its search for reality or it can turn within. In that inward turn we encounter the process of awareness and recognition. Both these mental activities entail “seeing” something which is either like the “purloined letter” of Edgar Allen Poe, i.e. “hidden” in plain sight, or else involves recalling something known before but somehow forgotten. In looking within we experience powerful moments of inspiration and awakening. The spiritual practices of prayer, mediation, and contemplation are the tools of this inward searching.