“It’s Life’s Illusions I recall, I really don’t know life, at all.” Joni Mitchell
…”I recall, I really don’t know life at all” Sometimes taking an early morning walk there is just enough light to see where I’m going in the morning fog, or rising sun. Although the path is familiar there are times when something up ahead looks eerily different and alarming. Walking abreast of what looked like a crouching animal I find that it is no more than a rotting tree stump, changing shape in the semi darkness. I relax and continue on the path. Something rustles fiercely in the woods. I’m sure it’s a bobcat and once again I’m relieved that it is just a rabbit or a herd of deer—running away from me.
The early morning illusions are metaphors for all the times in life when we believe the illusion is reality. We cling to the illusion because it’s easier; the path of least resistance rather than ask the hard questions needed to find out the truth.
Do you cling to the implied safety of the illusions rather than risk examining the true nature of reality? Living in a world where there is no perfection or predictability who among us has had a life that has turned out as planned? When are we going to give up the illusion that there are any guarantees?
So where do we start; those of us who want to stop the sleepwalking, lift the tablecloth and find out what is hidden?
- With an intention to face the truth. What is the truth?
- Adverse events happen in everybody’s life. These events do not mean something is wrong with you or you are being punished by an angry God.
- We are conditioned in our culture to seek comfort, avoid discomfort.
- Nothing is static or fixed
- Life isn’t always going to go our way.
- The media through powerful marketing portrays others who seem to escape adversities of daily living, and have an “ideal life.”
We live in a world where there is no perfection and events are not predictable. Most of us are terribly stressed and anxious bombarded that is we just try harder and believe the myths, our lives would match the ideal.
Let’s look at some of the big lies/illusions.
The media through powerful marketing portrays others who never have to deal with adversity of daily living. They are presented as physically perfect, never lacking love or companionship and are confident and secure within themselves. We are pressured to look a certain way, buy certain products so we can be more like this group who seem to have few inconveniences in their life. If we live this “ideal life” our children will be beautiful and smart. We will have no health, relationship, or financial struggles and our self-esteem will always be high. When things go awry as they will, some people believe it’s some kind of punishment from on high. They believe if only they had tried harder…
Putting our real lives next to this illusion of perfectionism… what do we see?
We see ourselves pitiful, if we compare our lives to a snapshot of an ideal, frozen in time. Note I said frozen; there is no life in it. Once it moves past the point of the still image, it changes. On the other hand the images of our real lives look more like… lots of worry about the future, children who don’t behave, wrinkles before our time. We have fears of change, fears of success, and fears of failure, financial problems, and an uncertain future, to name a few of the realities that we are saddled with on our way to the elusive promise.
What’s on first?
Come out of Denial!
Illusion is an image, dead and superficial.
Most important is an acceptance that life is a process; we learn as we go and there is no time when things will be just right. Do you believe that things will be better in the future ? Do you wait to really start living then…when you lose ten pounds, get the children out of college, retire etc.? The old “waiting until” promise. Let’s get real! Whose life works that smoothly? The real problem is the belief in a life without pain, suffering, adversities, disappointments and all the inherent struggles. All this belief really does is keep us from living our own rich, messy ways and embracing it all.
When a young man asked Zorba the Greek him if he was married. Zorba said oh yes! I am, I have a wife, kids, bills, the full catastrophe. Illusion is an image, dead and superficial.
I view life, one that is fully lived as having parallel tracks, on one side adverse events and on the other, love, joy and creativity. When we give up the illusion, we deal with both sides of the tracks and accept what is. We don’t have to like it, however we just have to accept such is the true nature of reality. When we do this we can have authentic lives and much more happiness and joy.
Living authentically means changing beliefs that no longer work, have a set of skills to assist in working through negative events, and a belief in self that pulls us forward when times are hard. Whatever repetitively and negatively shows up is an opportunity for deeper examination. Such events are for our growing and stretching even when we just want it to be over. Few of us do much soul searching when things are humming along.
Seeing life’s struggles through the lens of spiritual expansion and higher consciousness enriches the meaning of it all. To be alive is to feel uncertain. Right there with the uncertainty If we don’t grasp too tightly right there with the uncertainty are little eddies of security. There will be awe, wonder, joy and curiosity. When you know this you won’t be seduced by illusion.