The Union Path Podcast - A practical spiritual podcast about truth, awareness, and walking the path of unity.
The Union Path Podcast
"Letting Go of Illusion"
We all have illusions. We all have illusions we live with every day. We all have illusions that we feed, that we help persist, that we nurture, that we grow. It's just part of being a human. One of the human's most amazing abilities is this ability of imagination, this ability to imagine any scenario, any circumstance, any reality that we want. But one of the side effects, one of the kind of the other side of this talent, is that it can allow us to live in a reality that isn't actually real, to live in a reality, to live a life that's constructed, that's really only lived through our minds. And when we do this, eventually it will happen that we will confront reality head on. Reality will make itself known to us that in some way we'll be relieved that we'll be disabused of our illusions.
And this can be really hard. It's gonna be a really difficult thing. When it happens, it'll be really jarring because our whole sense of reality, our whole sense of how things are, or all ideas of what's true and what's not, can be shattered, can be broken. We can find peace of ourselves shattered and broken as well. This is why it's so difficult when we've been deceived for a long time, we've been lied to for a long time, or we've chosen to believe something. In kind of a cataclysmic way, we find out all of a sudden wasn't actually true, wasn't actually real, can really shake us to our core, can really rock our world, because our world has been shattered, because our worldview was based on, at least partially, some sort of illusion, something that wasn't real. And as difficult as this is, as hard as this is, as painful as this is, it's actually useful, it's actually for our benefit, and it may not be something we can find much use or feel very good about to begin with, or maybe even for quite a while, but that value is there Because, ultimately, there is inherent value in the truth. There is inherent value in being grounded in reality, because if we believe that we live these lives, that we're kind of put on this planet, that we're all here in one way or another to create and that we're always creating all the time, we can't stop it.
This isn't creating or being a creator, some grandiose vision of doing magic tricks or being some kind of world renowned artist or any of those sorts of things. Everything we do all day is creation. Everything we do all day is creating. We're creating interactions, we're creating our own circumstance. We're creating the content of our own lives, as well as influencing and impacting the creation of those that we interact with. This whole world is a symphony of creation, and we are but an instrument we participate in as well as are used as an instrument of creation of all creation.
And since all of us are creating all the time, since all of us are creating our own experiences or our own perspectives, our own thoughts, our own feelings, our own experience of this life that we're living, we of course want to create the best existence we can. Of course we want to create the most enjoyable and peaceful and rewarding and nourishing existence that we can. Of course we want to have some sense of agency, some sense of intentionality over our own life. We want to feel like, at least on some level, we have a say in the direction our life goes. We have a say in what happens to us Now. Granted, lots of things happen to us that we don't feel we have a say in. Lots of things happen to us that are either a surprise or really don't seem under our control whatsoever. But what is always under our control is our response to what happens, what we do about it, what we do next. The next step we take is always up to us, and the step that we're taking now is our life, because our life is really only truly grounded in reality when we are grounded to the present moment, when we're grounded to what we're doing right now, what's happening right now. So, when we're going through our lives and we get confronted with something and we get our illusion shattered, even though this can be very difficult, very hard to go through, it is for our own benefit, it is useful. It is helpful Because if we want to create some sort of conscious change in our life, if we want to create our lives a certain way, then we have to be dealing with reality, because if our lives only exist in our minds, if our lives are only comprised and composed of illusion, there's not actually really much we can do to affect the real life around us.
It's like we're living in two different places at the same time and all the effort change one doesn't really impact the other because they're not the same. That it isn't until we really connect that we really get grounded in reality, that we can actually do anything, that we're actually interacting, that we're actually engaging with the real, that we can actually affect any sort of real change. Because if we're only really interacting, if we're only really existing in our own fantasy world, then the only change we can really create is to those fantasies. It's just within our own minds. It's not really happening in our life, because the changes that we're creating are illusions also, and life has a funny way of life.
As an insistence in trying to keep us grounded, trying to keep us connected with the truth, at the very least, we live our lives every day in the real world, into what's actually happening, and we can't hide this from ourselves forever. We can't delude ourselves so completely that what's happening isn't really happening or that what we fantasize about happening in our minds is actually happening. At some point, reality will confront us. At some point we will come face to face with it, and it is a good thing, because there's a real liberation in this. There's a real freedom in being grounded in reality, in being connected with the truth, in knowing the truth, in living through the truth and with the truth. This really is helpful, this really is useful, and it gets really helpful. And it gets really useful In those times where we're trying to create change, when we're trying to create something different.
Because one of the most insidious ways that illusion plays out is in our own fears, in our own worries. We can spend hours and days and weeks and months and years entertaining fantasies that only exist in our own mind of all manner of calamity, destruction, annihilation even. We can be so convinced that around every corner there's something ready, primed, coiled, just about to strike, just about to smash us, just about to squish us, just about to reduce us to nothing. We can go through our whole lives believing dangers around every corner. There were just one bad choice we're just one bad circumstance away from destruction in our world.
Our culture makes it very easy for us to harbor these beliefs. We don't have to look very far for confirmation that our world is incredibly dangerous, that, at the very least, there's unfairness and injustice everywhere, that it's almost impossible to win, it's almost impossible to be successful, it's almost impossible to thrive without, at the very least, doing something untoward. They were in this rat race. We're in this constant competition. They were in this constant competition that most people lose, that we are all set up for failure and that there's slim chance things actually going well for us, there's slim chance of things actually going right for us.
But all these perspectives, all these beliefs, all of these fears, all these insecurities, we've chosen to adopt them, we've chosen to believe them, and perhaps we've even chosen unconsciously of course to consume all sorts of information, all sorts of media that is confirming these fears, that it creates this self-sustaining, self-reinforcing loop, that we're scared and so we keep consuming all this information that confirms our fears, because that makes us feel comfortable, that makes us feel like our fears are grounded, that makes us feel like our fears are correct, that makes us feel like we're aware we're not going to be surprised, we're not going to be jumped by some unknown circumstance. But if we do walk around with a lot of fear, if we do walk around with a lot of worry, I think it behooves us. I think it's really important to start to question what value does this actually have? What does all this worry? What does all this fear and service of? What is its value? What is it really doing?
How is it really affecting my life On a daily basis? Even from the most basic pragmatic perspective? What good is this worry actually doing? What is it actually changing? What is that actually affecting? What is it actually making any better? Am I actually doing anything or am I just worrying and worrying and worrying?
Sometimes I worry so much I don't even know what specifically I'm worried about. Just something nebulous, just something quote-unquote bad happening. But if I'm really honest about my use of worry, then I have to realize that this is causing a significant corrosion in my own life experience. This is causing my life to be a lot smaller. This is causing my life to be a lot more bleak, a lot more grim, a lot more dangerous, a lot more scary than it actually is, because a lot of times what we worry about specifically is circumstance is something happening? Is something not happening?
The thing about circumstance is that, even though we can think we can totally prepare something either to happen or not to happen, we actually can't Because, again, all this worry is only existing in our own mind, all this worry is simply illusion and we can't really do anything, we can't really create real change in our life unless we are interacting, unless we are creating that change in reality with what's actually happening. In some ways, it would actually be a more useful way to look at our worry and, almost no matter what comes up, say you know what, I'm gonna deal with that even when it comes. Thank you, worry. Thank you for making me aware of this is a possibility and maybe there are some things that I could do to prepare myself for this happening eventually. But once I've done that, once I've done what's reasonable, I can let it go and I can deal with whatever happens when it happens, because the trick of that worry plays on us.
The most diabolical thing that worry does is it convinces us that we won't be able to handle what happens. It convinces us that in some way we'll be ill equipped, that in some way we'll be too small and in some way we won't be able to even handle what happens to us. We will be utterly desolated and destroyed by whatever happens. But the reality is, unless whatever the circumstance is destroys our physical body, we can handle just about anything. We are far more resilient than we give ourselves credit for. We are far more creative and capable of solving our own problems than we give ourselves credit for. And a lot of times it does take things actually happening in order for those capabilities, in order for that creativity to really fully be able to shine, fully be able to engage. That's kind of a funny paradox, a bit of an irony, that we're best able to solve problems when they're actually happening, that we spend so much time trying to solve problems before they happen.
And again, this isn't about being flippant and irresponsible, this isn't about building some sort of overconfidence or hubris. Just being honest with ourselves, being honest with ourselves what is this worry really giving us, really getting us? How in any way is this actually helping me? How in any way is this actually making anything any better? And would it be useful? Would it be helpful, would it be better, if I decided to drop some of these illusions that worry has created in his perpetuating? What would happen if I gave myself a little bit more credit? What would happen if I believed in myself a little more? What would happen if I just went out into my life with a knowing that I'm going to deal with whatever comes along the best I possibly can? What would happen if I went out into my life even if things are happening that seem scary, that seem to portend danger, destruction, carnage, and I did my best to work with them and through them? What would happen? What would happen if I went out into my life with a greater willingness to actually live it, not live my life as I think it should be, but live my life as it actually is, engage with reality, engage with what's actually happening.
Because I think we've all experienced this right how we may have had a long-standing problem, a long-standing issue, a long-standing deficit in our life that we weren't ever really able to overcome until we faced it fully, until we let go of all of our notions about what we thought about it, how we wished it might be, and connected to what it actually was. Then, and only then, could we actually do anything about it. Because on some level, through all of our illusion, through all of our fantasy, we weren't just merely avoiding it, we were pretending, we were playing pretend with ourselves, and that's whatever this was. It didn't really change, it wasn't really affected by our own illusion and fantasy. It wasn't until we actually connected with it, it wasn't until we actually engaged with it, until we actually faced what was happening, that we were able to actually do something about it. And that's just the way it is. It sounds simple, it sounds beyond obvious to say it out loud, but it's the truth that we can't change anything until we actually face it fully, until we actually engage with it fully. That's why engaging with the truth can be so powerful. That's why engaging with the truth can be so useful, can be so helpful.
It doesn't mean that it isn't hard, because usually that engagement involves us letting go or just having burned off all sorts of ideas that we've gotten really comfortable with, that we may have really liked, that we really enjoyed, and we have to watch as all of those illusions break down or taken away. A lot of these illusions can cut really deep and cause us to really question the nature of ourselves, the nature of reality. It's going to be a very daunting process to go through because, especially if we've built up our concept of ourselves or our lives and we find that these things that we've built up aren't actually real, aren't actually true, that's a lot to deal with. That's a big reconfiguration, reorganization to go through. But if we have the courage to, if we have the courage and the resilience to acknowledge and face and interact with and integrate the truth, then we can actually start to build something real, then we can actually start to live a life that we can rely on, that we can trust, because we know that it's real and we know that we ourselves are grounded in truth, are grounded in whatever truth we're aware of to the best of our abilities, and we know that our lives will be imbued with truth as well.
This can't help but affect us. This can't help but change us and oftentimes, especially over the long run, it can't help but make things better, because at least we're not living in two worlds anymore. At least we're not trying to balance this shaky alchemy between fantasy and reality. At least we're not living as split selves, trying to find a way to reconcile the conflict between the illusions and the fantasies in our own mind and the reality of our existence that keeps confronting us, keeps challenging us, keeps making itself known, keeps being incongruent and inconvenient to the illusions that we'd rather cling to.
But at some point illusions will fail, and when they do, we have a choice. We have a choice what we do with that information, and it's my opinion, it's my belief that the good life we're looking for, the life that's truly ours, the life that we truly want, is only found, is only lived in and through truth, that things can only be real for us when we connect with and live with what's actually real and, on some level, ultimately, I think that's what a lot of us are really actually pursuing. It isn't so much any particular circumstance. It's really much more about getting to what's real, getting to what's true, getting to what's at the core of this existence. Answering questions like who am I really? Answering questions like why am I here really? Answering questions like what do I want really? And the root of these questions, the common thread of all these questions, is what is the truth, what's actually real?
And if that's what we want, ultimately, if what we want is the truth, we have to allow illusions to fade away, because in order for truth to really come in, to really be part of us, a lot of times that truth has to fill the space where illusion once resided. Then, in order to have truth, we can't harbor illusion at the same time. It's one or the other and we have to choose. We have to choose what we orient to, we have to choose what we value, we have to choose what we pursue. But if it's the truth we want and it's the truth we have to pursue, but in my opinion anyway, it's worth it. In my opinion anyway, I would rather live a life grounded in truth than a life grounded in illusion, even if it means giving up some of the grandiose ideas, some of the convenience, some of the grandeur that illusion has promised me. I'd rather know the truth, I'd rather be grounded in reality, I'd rather be real and I'd rather live a life that was real.
And if this is a choice that you'd like to make, this is something you feel similarly about then it's useful to look for ways to let go of illusion, to become more aware, to become more present, and the best way we can do this is by focusing on the present moment, on what's actually opening. The best way we can build our awareness is to build greater awareness of ourselves Is to go within, explore, get curious, see how things actually are, because the only thing we know for sure is what's happening within us. These are the only senses that we actually have access to, these are the only thoughts we can actually read, these are the only feelings we can actually feel, and the more connected we get with ourselves, the more aware we get of ourselves. The more that awareness spreads outside of us, the more truly and deeply self-aware we are, the more broad and vast our overall awareness gets, and we can choose. We can choose to endeavor after the truth. We can choose to endeavor after what's real. We can choose to really explore ourselves. We can choose to build our own self-awareness. We can choose to get grounded in the present moment.
We can choose to pay attention into what's actually happening and when we do, we'll get to see what's real. That's the beauty of reality. It's undeniable, it's always happening, it's always there to be aware of. If we choose to, we can look past all the illusions down, if we can look past all the ways that we've been fooling ourselves, if we can look past all the ways others have tried to fool us. Just connect with what's real, to pay attention and notice what's actually happening. Look and listen and feel what's actually happening. Connect with reality. Connect with what's happening right now, because that is reality, what's real. What's happening is what's happening and what's happening is what's real. We can just start there. We can start noticing, we can start paying attention, and that's enough. Awareness will lead us to all the truths that we seek. We're the ones that have to choose to be aware. We're the ones that have to choose to pay attention and that, the more we pay attention, the more we become aware of. That can help us change our life. That can help us impact our life. That can help us influence our life, because now we're living life with a greater sense of intentionality, we're living life far more on purpose, because we're grounded in truth and awareness. And it all starts with paying attention, it all starts with noticing, it all starts with challenging the beliefs that we have in our head and say is this actually confirmed through the reality that I live? Is this what has actually happened? Is this what's actually happening? And we stay grounded in that truth. We stay grounded in that reality. We end up living a life that is a lot more full, a lot more nourishing, a lot less confusing, because it's real.