We all Live in an Illusion – Chapter Eight

We all Live in an Illusion – Chapter Eight

Imagine sitting still in a valley on the stump of a chopped down tree, with the roots still deep in the earth creating a solid foundation. It is just before dawn. The night is quiet and you are waiting for the sun to rise in the sky. Across the valley is the silhouette of a mountain in front of a night sky covered in bright twinkling stars.

The first hint of red appears behind a mountain and the lower stars begin to fade as the sun begins to rise. An orange glow forms behind the mountain and the birds come alive with their dawn chorus. There is glow of light over the mountain as the sun begins to rise, turning the sky from black to blue. The stars begin to fade from view and the shadow of the mountain retreats across the valley like a swarm of ants running from the light. The sun continues to rise until it is high above the valley and the valley is full of life.

Now let us take a look at reality.

Image 1Nothing in the universe is still.

Go back until just before dawn. Place your imagination into the tree stump – into the roots gripping the soil and boulders below. Then place your imagination into the Earth itself – this magnificent Earth hurtling through space on its orbit around the sun. It is travelling at over 100,000 kilometres per hour. Imagine you can feel the large mass of the Earth hurtling through space with incredible accuracy. It rotates on its axis and you are sitting on its surface travelling at 1670 kilometres per hour if you are on the equator. As you look across the sky, you see the mountain moving across the starry night sky, as the large mass of the Earth rotates on its axis with such power and precision while hurtling through space. It’s rotating to a point where the sun’s rays hit the atmosphere above, turning the sky red then orange and obscuring the stars from view. There is a glow of light as the mountain begins to move across the face of the sun while the Earth rotates on its axis. Small particles in the atmosphere scatter the light and turn the sky blue – the stars fade from view. Birds wake and the shadows recede across the valley as the Earth continues to revolve on its axis. The mind is under the illusion that we are sitting still and the sun is rising. Nothing is still. Even the atoms in a stone are travelling faster than we can comprehend.

Imagine now looking at the Earth from a place out in space – the blue greens of the sea and the greens, browns and yellows of the land. Swirling white clouds and snow covered polar caps and mountains rotate slowly on the Earth’s axis while it all hurtles through space. Imagine the dark side with tiny lights around the coastlines highlighting the darkness of the sea and sparkling like a diamond necklace in the night.

Imagine the Earth half bathed in darkness and half bathed in light. See this Earth revolving out of darkness and into light, and out of light into darkness. Can you see time? Can you see yesterday or tomorrow? Even time is just an illusion created in the mind. Zoom in until you are over a city watching people like ants rushing back and forth so earnestly, taking everything so seriously. How small are our lives in the scheme of things? How insignificant. Everything in this magnificent universe arises and passes away as it continues to evolve. Nothing permanent and nothing still. This universe is evolving through the universal laws of cause and effect; of chaos and stability; and in patterns that no longer seem random. Such an elegant design – evolution based on universal laws that don’t discriminate. The butterfly effect from the chaos theory suggests that a butterfly flapping its wings in Australia will eventually have an effect on weather patterns in New York. In turn, each choice you make will lead to a different future – even the smallest choice. Billions of people make billions of choices creating a myriad of possible futures – all interconnected. Each choice is a cause that will have an effect on the future.

A quark is an elementary particle and a fundamental constituent of matter. Quarks combine to form composite particles called hadrons, the most stable of which are protons and neutrons – the components of atomic nuclei. This computer I type on has more space between the atoms than the atoms themselves. The more we look at matter, the more we see the illusion of it. There is more space than particles, and every particle broken down is more space and less matter. Yet I type on this computer under the illusion that it a solid matter. It is just energy vibrating at different frequencies creating the illusion of something solid. We think we can comprehend this world through our limited senses but we have no idea. My dog runs to the door when my son’s car enters the bottom of the street. He must hear and know the sound of the car. I can’t hear it or recognise it, but I know he is coming. My dog tells me so. If I go to meditate in my bedroom, that same dog will seek me out and sit by my side throughout the meditation. I have no idea how he knows or why he comes at this time – but he is there without fail; and if I lock the door he will scratch to get in. There are many things we can’t comprehend, yet still we know through experience. There are many things we can comprehend and yet still live with an illusion of something different because of our habits of thinking – our conditioning.

Image 1Everything is borrowed then left behind.

Most choices we make come from the illusion that we require approval, control or security to be happy. It’s an impossible illusion to satisfy – nice to have but impossible to get. Another Illusion is that we own anything. Everything is borrowed and left behind. My car, my house, my wife, my children and my money are not mine – none is permanent. All one day will be left behind. All that we really leave behind is our influence on others. A kind word and a smile is your legacy. This will remain long after your house has fallen to bits and your car has rusted itself out of existence.

The ego thinks in terms of the little me, the little mine, the little I. The ego is under the illusion that it is you, and we are often under the illusion that it is us. It is the ego that hides reality behind an illusion of often irrational and illogical limiting beliefs. Then life becomes all about me, what’s mine and I need more. Where can I find me in this body with thoughts and feelings that are impermanent, continually arising and passing away? There is no permanent me! What could ever possibly be really mine when I enter this world with nothing and leave with the same? Who am I? A psychotherapist, father, grandfather or husband – I can find myself in any of these situations – they are just roles I play. The ego latches itself onto this – I, me and mine – like a parasite latching onto a host.

There are things we can’t perceive through our limited senses, but we know them to be true because we experience them. I can switch on a light and see the effect of electricity but I can’t see the electricity. My mobile phone rings and I am soon speaking to a friend who could be on the other side of the world. I can’t see the radio waves or even know how they can get through the walls and windows. I just know that they exist because I experience them. Science looks to find ways to harness the elegant design of this universe of energy for our benefit. We may not understand or need to understand the science, but we can see the truth of it in our experience.

Our emotional experience of life is often something we don’t understand. We tend to look outside for its cause. This is the illusion created by the ego. All we emotionally experience is mind created. Everything outside is just information coming in through the senses. It’s how we chose to perceive this information that creates the emotional feelings. The cause is our perception and the effect is our feelings. This is the point where the great illusion begins and is the domain of the ego.

The ego likes to blame everything and everyone outside of us for our suffering. The Dalai Lama came to Australia a few years ago. The Prime Minister and the leader of the opposition had still not agreed to meet with him because of pressure from the Chinese government. When asked what he thought about this he said, ‘I will be happy if they would like to meet with me and I will be happy if they don’t.’ The Dalai Lama was not about to let his happiness be affected by something he had no influence over. There was no want for control or approval – no illusion – just an acceptance of what was true. He didn’t take it personally. There was no effect on his feelings.

What can you do with this information? You can see the wants for what they are, an illusionary fear. And what is this fear? I came across this definition from a book by Giovanni Lordi, Toolbox 4 life, False Evidence Appearing Real. Maybe we can define a want as Waiting Anxiously, Never True.