(Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
You have trained yourself to perceive things in a certain way, and so have I. Your beliefs are the seeds from which the garden of your perception grows. As you change your beliefs, the new world reflecting them is slowly unveiled to you. You believe first.
Many people only hear roaring.
Do you hear the state of the nation or the babble of consumerism when you watch the news? Do you hear individual people when you talk to your friends? Everything that makes you fearful or angry is the sound of roaring.
Do you see a great crumbling danger when you look at nature, or do you see a temple? What do you see when you look at your home or place of work? Everything that makes you fearful or angry is the appearance of roaring.
Do you taste greasy delight when you eat the industrial output, or does the scent of animal suffering rise up from it for you? What do you taste when you eat a simple vegetable? You can taste and smell the roaring I’m talking about, too.
When the Lion had first begun singing, long ago when it was still quite dark, he had realized that the noise was a song. And he had disliked the song very much. It made him think and feel things he did not want to think and feel. Then, when the sun rose and he saw that the singer was a lion (“only a lion, as he said to himself) he tried his hardest to make believe that it wasn’t singing and never had been singing- only roaring as any lion might in a zoo in our own world. “Of course it can’t really have been singing,” he thought, “I must have imagined it. I’ve been letting my nerves get out of order. Who ever heard of a lion singing?” And the longer and more beautiful the Lion sang, the harder Uncle Andrew tried to make himself believe that he could hear nothing but roaring. Now the trouble about trying to make yourself stupider than you really are is that you very often succeed. Uncle Andrew did. He soon did hear nothing but roaring in Aslan’s song. Soon he couldn’t have heard anything else even if he had wanted to. And when at last the Lion spoke and said, “Narnia awake,” he didn’t hear any words: he heard only a snarl.
C.S. Lewis, The Magician’s Nephew
When we hear roaring in whatever form – be it from our physical bodies, our minds, our relationships, or the world in which we find ourselves – it’s only because we’ve trained ourselves to hear it. That roaring is preferable to what’s being sung or said, which would make us think and feel things we don’t want to think and feel.
The reason we practice meditation or prayer is to uncover the song and speech in the roaring. For it never is roaring, not really. Very, very often it is simply spirit communicating to us. But whether we want to hear what’s being said now doesn’t matter, because we can’t hear if we’ve blocked up our ears and eyes to stop earlier songs.
Should we not choose to unlearn our perceptions and come back to spirit, we will struggle a while before death. But that end, that death isn’t fearful! Not at all. It is just the only way people who choose the roaring can accept spirit’s comfort.
“But I cannot tell that to this old sinner, and I cannot comfort him either; he has made himself unable to hear my voice. If I spoke to him, he would hear only growlings and roarings. Oh Adam’s sons, how cleverly you defend yourself against all that might do you good! But I will give him the only gift he is still able to receive.”
He bowed his great head rather sadly, and breathed into the Magician’s terrified face. “Sleep,” he said. “Sleep and be separated for some few hours from all the torments you have devised for yourself.” Uncle Andrew immediately rolled over with closed eyes and began breathing peacefully.
C.S. Lewis, The Magician’s Nephew
The choice is roaring or the song of Creation. The choice is sleep or communication with spirit.
They’re not different things, though. The only difference at all between them is you.