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Part II – Illusion and Delusion Last week we exposed and explored the idea that we create the world in our own image at any given moment. If we wake up feeling ‘grumpy’ in the morning, even if the day goes smoothly, we will still see (create) the day and everything in it in a ‘grumpy’ light! If we awaken feeling positive and focussed we can handle any adversity the day throws at us, and still see (create) it all in a positive light. As we perceive the world so we create the world so we project into the world and so it is likely to reflect back our projection. When we fully see and understand this dynamic process, both within ourselves and within our interactions with others/world, we might recognise and develop our capacity as ‘magicians’.
In the ‘physical dimension’ a magician is revered for creating an illusion that seems to defy logic. The illusion triggers the suspension of belief, hides the truth and ‘appears’ to create a new reality. But we know it’s just a trick. In the ‘spiritual dimension’ a magician has the capacity to dissolve an illusion, exposing what was previously held to be true as another false belief, thereby revealing the true reality. It’s as if we realise we have been tricked but didn’t realise we had been tricked … but no longer! Ultimately good magic, in a spiritual context, will dissolve both the belief and the necessity for belief itself. Spiritual magic is liberation from illusion. To put it another way, spiritual magic, which takes place entirely within consciousness, is exposing an illusion by annihilating the belief upon which it the illusion depends, and restoring a direct personal awareness of the truth. In so doing it is as if the spiritual magician is able to create a whole new reality, where in fact they simply take away the curtain of unreality (false beliefs) to reveal what was already there!
For example here are a few of hundreds of beliefs or illusions that underpin what we have been taught about how the world works.
Success in life is winning while others are losing – when we believe this we are always struggling and striving to overcome someone or something else, there is always an opponent, an enemy, there is never contentment, happiness is delayed until the moment of the next achievement/victory and therefore most of the time we are unhappy Happiness can be purchased and is therefore materially dependent – this belief (illusion) only creates craving, dissatisfaction and emptiness punctuated by fleeting moments of happiness when something new is acquired Love is attachment – in ‘reality’ fear of loss is the anxiety that floats in the background of any attachment, and love is impossible when fear is present, hence the frequent difficulties we can easily have in intimate relationships Others are responsible for your thoughts and feelings – in ‘reality’ this belief, this illusion, forms the basis of the ‘misery’ that is the ‘victim’ mindset
When these beliefs are seen as some of the many ‘threads’ that form the curtain of illusion it begs the question, “Were we tricked or did the ‘trickers’ know they had been tricked themselves?”
These beliefs, and many other similar ‘illusions’, have been planted and watered in the consciousness of almost every human being. Collectively they form a kind of mass delusion, a curtain of illusion, behind which there lies the truth or ‘true reality’. Belief is not the truth. When we use these false beliefs to shape thoughts, feelings and actions they become the basis of our unhappiness, and we begin to see the world as an unhappy place little realising we are simply projecting our own unhappiness, created by our own illusion, on to the world in general and other people in particular. Thus we ‘make’ our world an unhappy place and that then spills into everyone else’s world, as we project our unhappiness outwards.
The deepest ‘belief system’ that forms the curtain of illusion are the beliefs in who we think we are, in other words our ‘self identity’. We learn to create and hold many beliefs about our self, about who we are, about who ‘I am’. The curtain of illusion is essentially a patchwork of different ‘identity beliefs’ e.g. nationality, profession, religion, name, history, possessions, partner etc. When we learn to identify with these ‘things’ or ‘concepts’ we create and bring down the curtain upon ourselves without the slightest clue that we do so, simply because that is what we are taught. The proof that they are just beliefs, and not the truth about who we are, is a) they all change and can be changed and who does the changing… the ‘I’ that says ’I am’ who is ever present and unchanged. b) they all come and go but who always remains … the ‘I’ that says ’I am’ and who always remains. C) they all create division, separation and therefore conflict, first within our consciousness, and then between ‘us’, but who is always whole and can never be fragmented or made unwhole… the ‘I’ that says ’I am’ who can never be fragmented. When the truth of the self, as opposed to beliefs about the self, is realised and known, the curtain of illusion dissolves and, as if by magic, a new reality, the true reality of the self, is seen and felt.
When the curtain of illusion falls, the false beliefs are exposed and truth is realised, it’s like seeing how the trick was done, by seeing it undone. The self is then seen as it truly is, so the world is perceived (created) as it truly is. Both are seen as wonderful i.e. full of wonder. Spiritual magic has happened and a magical ‘feeling’ of wonder occurs. However this can only happen in reality, and not in theory. If both the magical feeling and the feeling of being a magician are NOT consistently present, it means this is not happening in reality - the curtain of illusion is still falling in front of the self as it looks in at itself and out to others and the world, which is really ‘in’ at others and world which the self has created!
When the eye of the self ‘sees’ the truth of the self, it means the self has gone beyond concepts and ideas about the self, and is now ‘in reality’. When the self arrives in reality, the power of the truth of that reality gives the self two things • • The ability to see things as they are, which is possible because there is no longer the perception and projection of an illusory self The ability to perceive (create) the world and others as they truly are, and in so doing sustain the true reality of creation
The self then naturally brings the energy of this true reality to the illusions that others are still holding about themselves and the world. This is often far too powerful for those still spellbound by illusion to resist. While many may put up a fight, they must eventually succumb, even if only momentarily. They will also ‘see’ reality and ‘feel’ a moment of magic, as the burden of holding the curtain of illusion is temporarily lifted. When we meet someone who has this spiritual capacity, who is clear and uncomplicated, someone who has dissolved their curtain of their illusions, someone who ‘knows’ who they are, they can have a powerful effect on us. The energy of their reality alone subtly injects a truer reality (the truth?) onto and into us. They point us to our own inner reality and we realise the unreality of the illusions we have been creating, projecting and thereby sustaining. We might also ‘feel’ this moment of magic, (which is way beyond the intellectualisation of the concepts of illusion/reality) most profoundly in their presence, because they live ‘beyond the curtain’, and they hook us, and pull us there with them. Their essential inner state is one of innocence. It is the power that lies in the purity of the innocent state that pulls us to the other side of our own curtain. Two beings in human form seem capable of playing this role of ‘master magicians’. One is a baby! Notice how we drop all pretence, all our agendas in the presence of a baby. The guilt that follows the assimilation of false beliefs, including the belief that we are guilty, has not yet been learned or developed within the baby’s consciousness. So the baby’s vision, the baby’s energy, is pure and illusion free. The other is the sage, the saint, the guru who has spent years, perhaps a lifetime, freeing themselves from illusion, from the false beliefs, from the conditioning of the world, and they have returned to their original, pure, innocent state. Only now their innocence has a solid foundation of wisdom, which like a razor, can slice through any ‘curtain of illusion’, expose any false belief, that may be raised by others in their presence.
Some say the third being with the capacity for this kind of spiritual magic is someone who combines the pure innocence of a baby and the wisdom of the wisest, otherwise often referred to as God, or the Source, or the Divine One, or Allah or Jehovah or ……! But that, as they say, is probably another seminar!
Question: Which beliefs that you hold do you think might be the basis of any unhappiness in your life?
Reflection: At any given moment your perception is your reality.
Action: Take five minutes at the end of each day this week and reflect on moments during that day when you got ‘sucked into’ the beliefs of others. Be vigilant not to repeat the pattern next day.
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