Early 16th century maps of the Americas confidently show a somewhat circular landmass with a lake in the middle, called Lago Manoa, on the shore of which stands the capital city of the continent, El Dorado. There are even street plans of the Golden City.
These maps reveal what the cartographers didn’t know – vast tracts of coastline and interior that had yet to be discovered by the western Europeans. But they also reveal what they thought they did know, for example, that fabled Golden City, which never actually existed.
When it comes to the world of experience that meditation can help us explore, we’re in a similar situation. Not only do we not know the full territory of our human experience and consciousness, we also think that we do know certain things that turn out to have been imaginary. And some of them are quite major things, even cornerstones in the understanding we have erected of our life and world, of the way we experience life, moment by moment.