Many of the books on spirituality that I read will use the word “illusion” when talking about life, especially those that deal with eastern thought. I have to admit that early on, when I would come across this word, I was baffled. It was as if the gurus that wrote these books were denying my very existence upon this earth. Crazy, I thought. What was crazy was the way I was interpreting what they were saying.
I came across it this morning again and thought I would speak to “Illusion” as I have come to understand it.
Any thought I have of the future is an illusion, that is, it is only a thought and has nothing to do with reality. The only reality is whatever unfolds in the future as it happens, that is when it becomes present. So any thoughts that I have about the future such as fear of how a person will react to something I have done or how an event will turn out are simply thoughts. Sanity is knowing this and refraining from doing it.
Any thought I have of the past is an illusion, that is, where it was once a reality it in now only a memory, a thought. When I think of the past I often hang judgment onto my thoughts. I assume things like what other people were thinking at the time. Of course, I can’t really know that because I can’t get into the mind of another person. Sometimes I think that their intentions or thoughts were negative toward me and that leads to a resentment on my part…anger about an illusion. Sanity is knowing this and refraining from doing it.
Any thought I have that I am better or less than another person is an illusion. My standing in the world is something I know nothing about. I know zero about the goodness or badness of another person. I don’t even have a handle on my own goodness or badness. Measuring sticks based on class, wealth, family origin, health, fame or success are meaningless because they are basically superficial…they don’t get into the reality of a person. I have learned over the years to drop these measuring methods and just accept that we are all equal and my faith would add, “In God’s eyes.” Sanity is knowing this and refraining from setting myself apart from others by seeing myself as less or more.
Any thought that I have that I am separate and alone is an illusion. My behaviors affect others whether I realize it or not. Their behaviors affect me. We are all upon this earth interconnected. This is true whether speaking of the people I encounter each day or folks across the world. It is true whether I am talking about folks I really like or those I find majorly irritating. Sanity is knowing this and taking responsibility for my actions.
If all of the above is an illusion, then what is left to be called “real”? Here and now, this very moment is real. These words flying across my page as I think them – this is real. My husband is at this moment taking a shower and in a while will emerge and go onto something else. I will finish this post and move on as well. Then another moment will be real, while I am in it.
Is this crazy thought to you? Well, it used to be for me, too, but I am starting to get the hang of it. I have brief moments throughout my day when I snap into awareness of the moment. When that happens, the world around me gets “real”. The greens of the fauna show their contrast more brilliantly, the birds’ songs and the cows moos and that doodle-do of that one rooster down the road suddenly scoop me up by their chatter. I become aware of the wind, its direction, its temperature, its moisture and the aromas it carries wafting up my nose. I am here. This is sanity. This is real.