Enlightened spiritual traditions often describe the material /eventful world that fills our daily lives as an illusion – something impermanent and insubstantial.
Reality, on the other hand, is described as infinite goodness and joy, an unconditional benevolence underlying all existence. This Reality is completely different from the illusion of the “material” world, and individual realization of Reality is recognized as the ultimate purpose of life.
When the word “illusion” is used, it is common to think that what we are calling “illusion” is worthless, purposeless and meaningless. This assumption can lead to much confusion to those on a spiritual search. For those of us interested in seeing the Reality beyond the illusion, we may attempt to “give up” the life we are living in illusion, or reject the spiritual teachings as impossible and undesirable. Do we become aloof and dismissive of the “things of life,” or engage with attempting to make them better?
A way through this dilemma is to understand that the Illusion is expressing something that can help us see Reality more clearly.
The Illusion is not a symbol of Reality –it is a symbol of what is in the way of seeing Reality.
Just as a shadow is a double negative – an expression (illusion) of something that is blocking the sun – the illusions of life are expressing perceptions that are in the way of our awareness of Reality.
When one experiences trouble in life, the good news is that it is an illusion. The even better news is that the illusion is a clear expression of a troubling thought that can be brought to light.
The disturbing illusions of life are like the letters on this page. Once the ideas have been communicated and understood, there is no need for the letters. Their job is done. The illusion is gone and only what was understood remains.
The illusions of life are then useful and worthy of our attention. Not to have more of them, not to attempt to fix them, but to come to understand the language of the experiences and listen to their messages so we can turn, once again, to the ever-present Reality of good.