“Objects are an illusion.” “Other people are an illusion.” “You’re an illusion.” “The world’s an illusion.” Indeed, certain spiritual teachers and philosophers, since pretty much forever, have inferred or flat-out insisted that the external world and objects in it are nothing more than projections from within (i.e., from consciousness, universal mind, or God). Sydney Banks, for instance, called the world a “divine illusion.” Heck, I even pointed readers in a similar direction two weeks ago: http://garretkramer.com/experience-and-reality/. But what exactly are these spiritual teachers and philosophers attempting to convey when talking about illusions? Are they actually saying that the phone or computer on which you’re reading this article doesn’t exist?
Well, sort of, but not exactly. I mean, you’re at least somewhat immersed in the experience of reading this article on a phone or computer, aren’t you? Of course you are, and there lies the answer. When spiritual teachers and philosophers say that the world and objects like phones and computers are illusions, what they mean is this: While experiences are real, what you experience, or the content of experience, is not. In other words, what you experience is merely a figment of the universal power TO experience. Independent of that power, objects would cease to exist.
Trust me, I get it. For most, this principle—the foundation of the inside-out paradigm—is a complete affront to the rational mind. Everyone’s been brought up to believe that objects are real; that they’re experienced because they exist. And in this article, I’m suggesting that objects exist because they’re experienced. Yet, here’s a relevant question to ponder: How are we fairing under the current outside-in, objects-are-real-and-meaningful, framework? Are we living in peace? In tolerance? In generosity? In love? The answer is obvious.
Perhaps, then, living in peace and prosperity isn’t about striving for objects for the simple reason that objects aren’t real or made of matter, after all. Rather, they simply appear real in the moment. If that’s true, the implications are endlessly positive. Endlessly encouraging. Starting with this: Objects can’t cause feelings because they’re nothing more than the transient content that experiences are made of.
What is meant when spiritual teachers and philosophers talk about the illusory world of form? Short answer: There’s no such thing as an unreal experience. The images experienced, however, are pure mirage.
Inward and up, Garret