The World Exists Because We Do: Changing How We Perceive the World and Ourselves

Posted on September 12th, by Dr. Puff in Articles. No Comments

Some questions we need to ask ourselves when finding out who we are and how to live in the world in an enlightened way include: “What are the various states of being in which we exist?” and “What ultimately is our true, primordial, foundational state of being?”
As human beings we exist in three states. The first one is wakefulness, the second is dreaming and the third is sleep in which no dreaming occurs. These are the three states of being that we exist in throughout our lives.

Typically, what we do as we live our lives is assume that the world is real and we just perceive it as it is. What we think is that the world is tangible, factual and we just exist in it. But what if we inverted this, and asked, “Could there be a world if we weren’t?” If you really use logic or conceptual thinking, you can see that how we are accustomed to viewing the world involves pointers of truth, but they are not the ultimate truth. Through logical reasoning, however, we can also argue that the world can’t exist unless we are aware of it. If we are aware of the world, we have no way of knowing that it exists. We only know that we are aware of it.

If we see the world from the perspective of “All is because I perceive it”, the world, in and of itself, isn’t real, tangible or something that exists outside of our awareness. The world is because we are aware of it. The only reason why we don’t see it in this way is because our conditioning from a very young age teaches us that this isn’t true; that the world is an objective place and we live in it. But it’s possible to just as easily argue and see things from a different perspective. We can conceptualize the world in a way that it exists but only because we are aware of it.

From this perspective, it is about seeing the world as an extension of our mind. We are able to perceive the world and therefore the world is able to exist. It’s really a childlike approach to living. Children see the world as an extension of themselves. It is only through time and experience that they begin to see the world as separate from themselves and themselves as separate from the world. This view is about going back to the primordial. It includes that very early stage of thinking “Could the world exist if I wasn’t aware of it?” and realizing “The world exists because I am aware of it.” Our minds are challenged to make sense of this because it goes before thinking, when we’re trying to quiet the mind and just be.

This perception can be compared with dreaming. Are our dreams real, in and of themselves? Or do we create the reality in our dreams? Life can be viewed as a very long dream. Our minds right now may be protesting “That’s crazy!” “That’s impossible!” “That cannot be true!” but it can be argued. This is something to dwell on and be with.

If we quiet our minds and be with the concept that everything is because we are aware of it, something may change inside us. Perhaps just for a moment we can let go of our old concepts and see the world as existing with us merely dreaming its existence. Ultimately, the world isn’t real; it is only real because we are dreaming it and conceptualizing it. If we reach this point, perhaps we’ll find something within us change, creating something beautiful and magical. You can try it now for yourself, just for a moment.

During this experiment you might ask “What is real then? Who am I? Who am I at my very deepest, most real self?” Let’s explore this. If we are the dreamer, then there’s the dream, our awareness of the dream and all that this entails. Right now you are reading this article, and are aware of the words and concepts; later, you might have lunch or dinner, or you might go for a walk, read a book or go to work. You will be aware of those activities as they are happening. Since you’ve been born and until you die, you are aware of experiences that occur. Awareness is our primordial state.

Sometimes, though, there is nothing to be aware of. If we are the true ultimate reality of all that is, if we’re dreaming all this and everything is coming from us, sometimes as in the case of a deep sleep, there is nothing to dream. There is a dreamer, but there’s just nothing to dream. At this very absolute primordial state, this is who we are. Awareness arises when we are aware of something but before that, when there is nothing to be aware of, we are that. There are absolutely no words or descriptions we can give to “that” because it’s pre-conceptual. It is before everything.

What might help is to imagine that there is no world. There are no friends, there is no work, there is nothing in the universe for us to be aware of. There is nothing for us to conceptualize, there’s nothing for us to sense, there exists no one for us to interact with, nothing or no one to love or hate. There’s just nothing. Who are we then? Who is that which is before something to be aware of? Be that.

That is who we are, though it is absolutely impossible to describe. It’s a state when our minds become very still and we become very quiet inside. It’s much like a pond, a beautiful pond, when the wind is always blowing and things get tossed into it and waves prevent us from seeing deep within the water. But sometimes the water becomes very still, so perfectly still that we can see deep within. Is it beautiful? I’ll use the word love. It is permeated with love so rich and deep that every fiber of our body can feel it. Be still and feel that love, but remember: even love is a concept that is an inaccurate description, though it’s my favorite one to use because it’s how I experience it.

The best way to explore this and sense it is to make our minds become very still and just be. Then, perhaps, we can gain a glimpse of who we are, who we’ve always been, who we’ll always be, forever and ever. Be that.

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Dr. Robert Puff, Ph.D. is a meditation expert, international speaker and creates a podcast and articles that explores the world of Enlightenment available at 
He also has a blog at He is the creator of the weekly Meditation For Health Podcast, available at He has a weekly podcast that explores the world of Happiness at If you would like to contact Dr. Puff, his e-mail address is

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