Illusion

Illusion of Matter and the Hidden Reality

“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. …

“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. …

“With certain people we may get to try on a greater wholeness for a time, to actually experience being more. These experiences are a sort of grace. They help us know not only the direction of our personal wholeness but how it feels and even tastes.” ~Rachel Naomi Remen

World of Illusion

The world of illusion isn’t limited to what you see on stage during the performances of a magician. Virtually everything that we think we know of the physical world of matter is an illusion.

We need first to clear up one thing about the idea of the physical universe being an illusion. Many people jump to the conclusion that if you say something is an illusion, that it doesn’t exist. Therefore, they think when they read that the physical realm is an illusion that is doesn’t exist. It’s a dream, nothing real. That is not what illusion means at all.

When you say that the tricks of a stage magician are illusions, that doesn’t mean nothing is happening on stage. It means that what is really happening is not the same as what appears to be happening. For example, the assistant that appears to disappear in a puff of smoke really descended through a hidden door in the floor of the stage. The same applies to the Great Illusion of the physical universe. It isn’t what it appears to be, but it is something real.

One thing that has become very popular in recent years is “Manifesting”. By this is meant manipulating the physical world according to our desires. Besides the fact that this results in attaching us more firmly to the illusion, what is the point of manipulating fantasy?

Reality Behind the Illusion

So what is the reality behind all that Illusion? That is something that most say must be experienced for yourself. But I think I can give you some hints, although I don’t claim to entirely know the answer myself.

We all know that, according to the basic laws of science, matter and energy cannot be destroyed, only changed. There are simple changes and more complex ones. Carving a rock into a statue of David is a simple change. Only the shape was changed, the substance is still marble. That is, within the illusion, it is still marble. Turning milk into cheese is a slightly more complex change. Burning wood to make heat is a complex or complete change. Changing matter into energy or energy into matter is the most complex type of change. At least if we limit ourselves to the physical world for now. But the fact that energy can become matter, and matter can become energy should teach us something. It should teach us that there is no fundamental difference between matter and energy. To put it in simple terms, matter is slow energy, energy is fast matter.

While that is a concept that has been taught in spiritual schools and mystery schools for ages, it is only recently being accepted and taught by empirical science. Specifically, the quantum physicists are now telling us that the apparently solid universe is actually a hologram of light. Not matter with light shining on it, just light. So matter is being recognized by science as an illusion. A wonderful discovery of theirs that has been taught in mystery schools for several thousand years.

Going Deeper

But even the discoveries of quantum physicists are limited to the physical universe. We need to dive deeper to get beyond illusion altogether. We need to enter spiritual realms. When we do, we will discover, among other things, two fundamental truths. The first truth is that spirit is real and permanent. And it existed long before matter. Therefore, the soul cannot be an offshoot of matter. And consciousness is a spiritual thing as well. Therefore, it is not a creation of the brain. Second, things happen first in the spiritual world before they descend to the physical realm. Not everything because such things as disease and death don’t exist at all in spiritual worlds. But for most things, they must form first in spirit, then become matter. What this means, if you think about it, is that those who access spiritual realms get a look into the future because they are seeing things that have not yet materialized. While that should not be your primary reason to start spiritual development, it is certainly a good second one.


Illustrating Image by Ashutosh Goyal from Pixabay

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worldly thoughts

Worldly Thoughts Drag Us Down

“The thoughts of the world drag the mind down to earthly and corruptible things, and do not suffer it to love God or to remember the Lord. And oftentimes, on the other hand, the unlearned man goes to prayer, and bends the knee, and his mind enters into rest, and deep as he may dig and get below, the wall of evil that withstands him breaks down, and he enters into vision and wisdom, where potentates and wise men and orators cannot penetrate to understand and know the delicacy of his mind, since he is engrossed in divine mysteries. One who is inexperienced in judging of hearts does not know how to value them, for lack of experience. Well, Christians abhor the glorious things of the earth, and account them but dung in comparison with the magnificence of those things—a magnificence which works effectually in them. …

“The adversary never ceases from warring. Satan is merciless in his hatred of men; therefore he never shirks from warring against every man. But he is not seen to set upon all to the same degree.” ~St. Macarius the Egyptian

Worldly Thoughts

Yes, worldly thoughts can drag down the mind. More importantly, they can drag down the spirit and soul. But we can’t live in a material world and not think about material things. We would not be able to hold a job, have a home, or even eat if we never thought about worldly things. The trick for the spiritual person is to function in the physical world, but without becoming attached to it. We must think about worldly things, but not let them rule the mind.

Corruptible Things

Macarius calls those worldly things “corruptible”. Usually, we only see that word used in reference to people. Children can be corrupted into becoming thieves or murderers. But things are corruptible because they rot, they age, they rust away. Nothing physical is permanent. Even mountains are worn down by wind and rain. So we don’t want our worldly thoughts to become attached to the temporary and corruptible.

The Unlearned Man

The person who is not well educated often has an advantage when it comes to awakening his spiritual self. He has fewer beliefs and preconceptions that serve to block out the truth that doesn’t agree with those beliefs. The other side of that coin, however, is that the educated person can more easily understand the material that comes through to him when his spiritual faculties are awakened. So both have advantages and disadvantages. Perhaps a good solution would be for the well-educated person to work together with the unlearned one. Then both could learn and comprehend the new spiritual things they are learning. Continue reading “Worldly Thoughts Drag Us Down”

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Gnosticism, Gnostic mysticism

Gnosticism is not Existentialism

“The philosopher Hans Jonas was the first to compare ancient Gnosticism with modern existentialism. (Gnosticism and Modern Nihilism, 1952). For Jonas, the central tenet of both is the entrapment of human beings in a world at odds with their true nature. Jonas emphasizes that the two outlooks are far from identical. In Gnosticism, the world is demonic and hostile; in existentialism it is impersonal and indifferent. In Gnosticism one is presently separated from one’s true self; in existentialism, one has no fixed nature. In Gnosticism this alienation is surmountable; in existentialism it is not. …

“As time goes on, it can be seen that Mankind is ‘in process’. As the various strands of religion (belief) Gnosis (knowledge) and emotions (feeling) are brought together, a much more coherent whole emerges. Segal says: “Whereas Voegelin uses the term “Gnostic” negatively, Jung uses it positively. … Jung applauds Gnostics as budding Jungians.” ~Bernard Simon

Gnosticism

It is interesting that Hans Jonas is said to have compared Ancient Gnosticism with modern Existentialism. This sentence seems to imply that either Gnosticism is something that existed only in the distant past, or that ancient Gnosticism differs significantly from the modern version. The second part of that, I believe, is somewhat true.

While there are different Gnostic groups today just as in the distant past, I think that there is one major difference between the ancient ones and their modern version. The ancient Gnostics of virtually all variations taught that Gnosis, or divine knowledge, came through methods of directly accessing this divine knowledge through the development of the spirit and soul and the gradual achievement of higher and higher levels of consciousness. At least some of the modern ones seem to think they can find that Gnosis in books and ancient writings.

Existentialism

As best as I understand it, which I admit is limited, the Existentialist philosophy is a materialistic one that emphasizes the importance of the individual and the idea that each individual must find his own truth and his own path. It seems that in this philosophy, there are no higher beings to turn to for assistance or advice. Nor, apparently, do they see any advantage in working together with others. His seems far from the ideas of the Gnostics. I really don’t see why anyone would compare the two groups. The only thing they have in common is that they both think the material world is seriously messed up. And they are both right on that. Continue reading “Gnosticism is not Existentialism”

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transition

Transition Time Between Descent and Ascent

“A new epoch is now coming for humankind in which the Intelligent World will show people the way that they can return to their primordial Life and come to stand on good, solid ground. At present, most people live amid life’s illusions.

“During the involutionary process—that is, during the process of descending into the material world—materialized souls descended through great resistance into the densest matter of the Earth. In the process of descending, considerable energy is generated. …

“Although the Teaching of Love—that is to say, the path of ascent or evolution—has been taught to people, they still walk on the most difficult path.

“The Divas, the Angels, move along the easiest path: the path of the least resistance. That is to say, the Angels move along the path of love. …

“At present, we are in the transient time between involution and evolution. Because descent is followed by ascent, at the border between the two epochs—that is, his transient period—the greatest resistance, the greatest suffering, exists. That is why there are so many delays and obstacles at present Nevertheless, once the evolutionary process begins, the forces will be directed upward.” ~Beinsa Douno

Transition Time

What Douno calls the transient time, I prefer to call the transition time. Transient generally means something that is constantly moving or exists temporarily. While this transition time is temporary, like any other time period, I don’t think we can say it is constantly moving or changing. At least I don’t think we can say that people are constantly moving. I think in the transition time, we have come to a standstill and must now choose our direction. We can continue to fall further into matter, or turn around and return to the realms of spirit.

The Descent

Douno says that during the process of descending into matter, we descended with great resistance. That is probably true. No one jumps into a bottomless pit voluntarily. And when we are falling into that pit, we naturally struggle to stop and escape. But that is only true if we realize that we are falling into a pit. If we didn’t recognize matter for the land of death and suffering that it is, we might have thought it would be a fun place to visit.

Some believe God sent us here to learn. While that makes sense to the logical mind, I don’t agree. What parent would throw their child into a fire so it could learn what it was like to burn? Learning from the land of death and error is not learning at all. It should instead be totally avoided.

Douno also says that man descended “ into the densest matter of the Earth”. That is not entirely true. While a few may have done that, most of us have not. That is fortunate because once you descend all the way down to the densest form of matter, there is no turning around. Yet it is true that since his first descent into matter, man has continued in the same direction, becoming denser and denser. That is why we are now at the transition time. We can descend no lower without losing the ability to turn around. It is now or never.

Path of Ascent

The path of ascent has never been closed to us. It has always remained open. Yet few have bothered to turn around and take that path. There are many reasons for that. Basic science will tell you that if you are driving a car, going faster, slowing down, or continuing at the same speed is much easier than turning around and heading in the other direction. In most cases, you will have to slow down almost to a stop before you can turn around. That basic law applies here as well. Another reason is that many of us are unaware that we are continuing to descend into matter and will be little more than a rock if we continue. They don’t believe in spiritual realms and therefore see no need to turn around.

But some people are doing it successfully. It isn’t easy. It isn’t quick. But it can happen if you are willing to work at it. And the rewards for doing so are great. One is eternal life. Another is complete knowledge and wisdom straight from the source.

Douno calls this path of ascent, the path of love. That is a good name for it. One of the things that we must learn in order to turn ourselves around and help others do the same is to love without conditions.

Douno also says that the false path is the path of wisdom. I think this is a poor choice of words on his part, or the part of his translator (he didn’t write in English). I believe he means the pat of Intellect, not wisdom. Those terms are considered interchangeable to many, but to spiritual people, especially Gnostics, they are not. Intellect refers to those things known by the human mind, and are limited in scope to the realm of matter. The mind can speculate about the spiritual, but not actually know it. Only the soul can know the spiritual. Real Wisdom is that knowing. So if you know the spiritual through a truly awakened soul, then following the path of wisdom is correct. It is the same path as the path of love.

More Transition Time

Douno says the transition time has more difficulties, more suffering, more obstacles than other times. This is true. One reason for this is the beings and forces of darkness. Yes, they do exist. Anyone who says otherwise is living in a cartoon. Those forces and beings don’t want us turning around. We would be heading away from their control. We would be taking away their favorite toys!

Another reason is that so few of us realize the need to turn around. Or we think we can put it off forever. So like the donkey that has to be hit upside the head to get its attention, we have to be hit with disasters, wars, plagues, and other horrors to awaken us. Not that God and His Angels are causing those things to happen. We are by not turning around while we can. So don’t let this transition period leave you behind. The ships of enlightenment will not wait around forever.

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