“The Buddhists talk about samsara, the world of illusion. It is the place that most of us live. Mistaking illusion for reality is said to be the root cause of our suffering. Yet in some immensely elegant way suffering itself can release us from illusion. Often in times of crisis when we reach for what we have considered our strength we stumble on our wholeness and our real power. How we were before we fixed ourselves to win approval . What has been fixed is always less strong than what is whole. In a time of real need we may remember and free ourselves.
“Integrity usually comes to people slowly and takes them unawares, as part of a natural process of maturing or through the need to be there for someone else who is counting on them. But it can appear full blown in times of crisis or loss.” ~Rachel Naomi Remen
World of Illusion
The first mistake that most people make when told that the realm of matter is a world of illusion is assuming that this means that the material world doesn’t exist at all. They start believing that matter, space, and time does not exist. Of course, none are willing to prove their theory by holding their breath for three hours.
The fact that what you see a stage magician do in his act is illusion doesn’t mean he isn’t doing anything. It means that he is hiding what is really happening from the audience so as to present a pleasant and mysterious fantasy. Likewise, the world of matter is an illusion staged by the Demiurge. It is very real. Yet it is not what it appears to be. Nonetheless, when you are trapped inside the illusion, you must follow its rules or you will be injured or even killed.
In the movie, “Dreamscape,” the scientists learn that when a person dies in his dreams, they will die in real life as well. Because of that, a villain plans to kill the president by using an evil psychic to attack him in his dreams. The hero, another psychic played by Dennis Quade, has to stop the bad guy. Similarly, the world of illusion can cause death, even if we know it is an illusion. It is true, though, that if we do understand that it is illusion, we are able to break some of the rules of the illusion.
Cause of Suffering
The odd thing about the world of illusion being the primary cause of our suffering is that it only happens when we accept the material world as reality. But even after we have learned that it is illusion, and believe it with all our hearts, we still suffer at times. When we are broke, we worry about how we will pay bills. When a relative dies, we still feel grief. As long as we have a physical body and brain-mind, we will still suffer to some degree from the trickery of the great illusion. We not only have to know that we thought was reality is actually an illusion, we have to experience it. We do that by awakening and developing our spiritual faculties that lie dormant in most of us.
Integrity in a World of illusion
While it may seem pointless to have integrity in a world of illusion, it isn’t. A person of integrity will, within reason, follows the rules of whatever situation he finds himself in. Integrity is defined as adherence to moral and ethical principles. So even when we know we are in a world of illusion, we follow the rules and morals of it, except when they prevent the spiritual development of ourselves and others. It also means that we don’t take advantage of the fact that we are aware of the great illusion while others are not. Integrity means we don’t use our knowledge to gain money we haven’t earned and things we haven’t paid for. And we don’t agree with those who except the realm of matter as the one and only reality so that we may take advantage of their foolishness. We don’t force the truth upon them when they are not ready to hear it, but we don’t use their ignorance to control or con them. A spiritual person tried to always practice integrity.