Illusions with Purpose

While it is true that the world is an illusion, it does not follow that illusions are meaningless. In fact, an illusion can have meaning, in the sense that it can serve a purpose. The egoic self makes illusions to hide the truth of our fundamental relationship with God. But the Holy Spirit regards those same illusions as data points that can help restore to memory our Holiness.

Thus it is important not to overlook the world, and world in this case means: our bodies, other bodies, our ideas and attitudes, our morals and ideals, other people’s ideas, attitudes, morals ideals, the narrative of history, art and culture, and so forth.

This elaborate and collaborative illusion – for as brothers and sisters we are quite often working together to make it – does its work well. It excludes awareness of our reality as children of God. Yet it contains the seeds of its dissolution: literally everything, from the intense love we sometimes feel for each other to a leaf falling the forest, can become the means by which we recollect God.

Thus, my practice rests on the giving of attention to what is unfolding within and without me. Grandeur is left to God; my role is to seek out those blocks which inhibit my awareness of God and – through gentle, non-judgmental, and sustained attention to them (which is what it means to “look with” the Holy Spirit) allow them to be undone.

Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all of the barriers within yourself that you have built against it. It is not necessary to seek for what is true, but it is necessary to seek for what is false (T.16.IV.6:1 – 2).

Implicit in that statement is the fact that love is what we are in truth. Why? Because we don’t have to labor to find or create it. Once we have undone the internal barriers to it, we will naturally encounter it. In a way, that is all the ego and its apparently vast constructions is: a dense web of hate and fear encircling what the poet Hafiz called “the astonishing light of your own being.”

It is not essential to either love or hate the world, and our role in it, and all that that seems to entail. Rather, see it for what it is: your own unique construct for obscuring love, and know that there is another way. We are not bereft in a hell of our own making. It is given to us that through illusions we might find our way to the home we never left. Thus, calmly and quietly, give attention to the world and your life, fearlessly facing that which seems hateful and chaotic. Peace is the only possible consequence of actively choosing to remember God.

{ 3 comments… add one }
  • Cheryl January 12, 2014, 11:53 am

    Just think, Sean, if our only motive here on this planet Earth playground was to show one another (while seeing it in ourselves, of course) “the astonishing light of your own being!”

    Sounds to me like a good description of Heaven. 🙂

    We do, indeed, see what we choose to see. I like your (very contemporary) concept of the Holy Spirit using our travails as “data points.” Just thinking that way removes much of the emotional charge, the tendency to beat up on oneself.

    As ever, a thank you seems inadequate, but it is yours….

  • janine January 12, 2014, 2:00 pm

    Dear Sean,
    Thank you so much again for sharing your contemplations. These are miraculous!!! helpful and welcome in many ways.

    Today I was listening to the New Year’s message of Shree Ravi Shankar, in which he stated that ‘you cannot be unhappy without a reason but you can be happy without a reason’. The reasons for being unhappy are of course the barriers Jesus talks about in your quote. Thank God for reality!,

    much love janine

  • lisa January 13, 2014, 12:33 pm

    Why it’s so important to ask what is this for and give it to the HS for His purposes.

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