Our normal view of our mode of existence is that we are ‘in here’ and the world is ‘out there’. There seems to be a person (us) living in a body, and this body exists in a world with other bodies and things moving around without any connection at all. We could call this the ‘external world view’.
The Buddhist view of our mode of existence is quite different. Instead of believing that there is an external world from which we are separate, the Buddhist view is that the things we see are actually simply appearances, like things in a dream, and they are all held within our mind. Everything happens in our mind.
One way to think of this is that ‘external objects’ manifest for us in the same way as visual images are brought into focus as we adjust a camera lens. See the video clip below…
The object is, in fact, always present, but because the causes to bring it into focus are not present, it does not appear clearly to us.
It follows that all objects are actually present in our mind all the time, but out of focus and therefore not perceived by our attention.
Instead of walking around an external world, experiencing ‘other people’ and ‘external objects’ etc. we are in fact remaining firmly within our own mind, and different parts of our mind are coming into focus, and going out of focus.
This means that all the objects and experiences we normally think of as ‘out there’ or ‘in the future’ are actually present here, now, in our mind – just not in focus.