I listened to my friend recount a moment in her life — a long moment — but a moment that began with, had clearly been enhanced by, that potent potion, yearning — and I thought, “I know about that.”
“I had to stop it. It was a long distance relationship, you know? We didn’t see each other much. I had to figure out was it real? Or was it the adventure? The alcohol? What was it?”
She couldn’t see inside my head, to every little brain cell nodding in total comprehension, saying, “I know exactly what you mean.”
There is a belief in Hinduism that everything in our world, ourselves, our lives, is a kind of illusion. I thought about that for a while and then thought, “Yeah, but on a practical level, how is that useful? I still have to live here.” But there is the point that none of this is real, and there is reality somewhere.
The idea behind the Hindu notion of Maya, illusion, is that we exist as a dream in the mind of the universe. That makes all our squabbles and terrors and delights pretty minor as we are nothing but a dream in the mind of god. I get that. My life makes no more sense to me than do most of my dreams. In fact, last night — again — I dreamed about deception and subtle, sinister plots. It seemed very real that someone would have sewn scorpions, snakes and spiders into the hem of a skirt. Sure. Why not? And it seemed equally likely that when I was about to kill the scorpions, snakes and spiders with a heavy book, someone would have given me a different skirt and I would be left wondering if I had been wrong about the scorpions, snakes and spiders in the first place. Had I deceived myself? Had I been deceived?
Or is that idea just part of the illusion?
You’d think that if there is illusion there has to be reality, or illusion IS the reality. I thought about that seriously 25 years ago. And then I went nuts. Truly.
The difference between Truth and Belief is sometimes non-existent and sometimes as wide as the universe. Desire amplifies the power of illusion, “If wishes were horses…” I try to remember that though something feels “real,” and I believe in it with all my heart,it may still not be real.
These days, when I identify an illusion, I look at it and I ask this question, “Is this illusion useful to me as a human being? Does it improve my life and my interaction with other people? Does it hurt anyone and is it likely to hurt me? Do I KNOW — in full consciousness — what I am seeing and basing my actions on?” Why? Because some illusions are useful. 🙂