Here is one way to look at perception.
Think of a glass. I reach for it in order to pick it up and fill it with wine. But instead of a smooth lift, my hand raises it a little too fast and it feels a little warmer than expected. In a flash the glass-glass becomes a plastic-glass and I have a feeling that it is not the right glass for my wine. This change in my perception of the world happens in a split second.
In effect the constraints on my perception of the world have changed and therefore the best fit with the constraints changes. I go from having a glass-glass in my hand to having a plastic-glass. My vision gives a large number of constraints on my world, so does hearing, so do all the senses of touch, etc. My memory of what the world was previously and what I expect it to be now are also large sets of constraints. I was born with a framework world and have added constraints through learning throughout my life. What I perceive must be consistent with all these constraints at the same time.
Many times a second, a new best fit model of the world is put in memory.
If we think of the brain as an analog computer, or a massively parallel computer or an enormous network of processors, it is not difficult to see how this model of the world can be formed so quickly. The signals rattle around for a short time and then stabilize, the model is stored and the process repeats.
The question now is – is consciousness the newly minted memory or the process of making the memory, the stabilized model or some aspect of using the model, or some combination?