Reality: Illusion, Liberation or Bondage?

Carl Jung believed that anything that affects us becomes our reality. Dreams, imagination and fantasies, cultural and religious myths are a manifestation of our inner reality. Self-talk creates our reality and influences the way we respond to it. This self-talk is the expression of our personal unconsciousness that is formed by our life experiences, especially those of the first six years of our lives. Collective unconsciousness also affects our world view and the way we respond to people and situations. Our ethnic heritage, allegiance to a religious group and nationality determines our collective unconsciousness.

This is My Reality which is very subjective and personal. A reality that I guard with strong emotions. Then there is Objective Reality which belongs to science. This one is based on proven facts and universal principles. While we know a lot about this reality and how it works, My Reality often blinds us to it and we see the world not as it is but as we are.

At the first Parliament of World Religions in 1893, Swami Vivekananda invited people to leave their personal wells and come to the ocean where we experience oneness in the Divine Essence. He believed that, “All differences in this world are of degree and not of kind because oneness is the secret of everything.” He shared a hymn that he and millions have been praying for centuries, “As the different streams having their sources in different paths which men take through different tendencies, various though they appear, crooked or straight, all lead to Thee.”

Swami Vivekananda’s clarion call is so relevant for us today, “Sectarianism, bigotry, and its horrible descendant, fanaticism, have long possessed this beautiful earth. They have filled the earth with violence, drenched it often and often with human blood, destroyed civilization and sent whole nations to despair. Had it not been for these horrible demons, human society would be far more advanced than it is now.”

The way to end all fanaticism, especially that which is driven by religion and politics is to awaken to Mystical Reality. When we experience Oneness in the Divine Essence that overflows into every part of Creation, we realize that whatever happens to one part affects the whole. This state of being does not come from chasing after gurus, socio-political ideologies or Sacred Scriptures. The source of the Mystical Life springs forth from the depth of being.

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18 Responses to Reality: Illusion, Liberation or Bondage?

  1. Mary Anne says:

    Paul,
    This sounds wonderful but I wonder if I have the ability to reach that essence within. Without rules as to ‘how to do it’, I start to doubt.

    • I understand what you mean,
      Mary Ann. I am trying to connect your comment (and my matching sentiment) with JoAnn’s reply below about the puzzle of self-control and independence.

  2. Val says:

    Paul,
    This is beautiful. And thought-provoking. I especially love this quote — “As the different streams having their sources in different paths which men take through different tendencies, various though they appear, crooked or straight, all lead to Thee.”
    Thank you! You help enrich my life greatly.
    Val

  3. Henri says:

    God my Father grant me the grace of a truly humble love that never fails to see through all the differences there are between us, YOU, The Source of my own and of ALL LIFE. Thank You God my Father for Your Unfailing Love for ALL You have brought into being. May I truly Respect and Honour Your Love for me and for ALL and be a source of the Peace and the Joy that Your Love gives.

  4. Mark Rudis says:

    Excellent! The oneness has been described by many for a very longtime. “Connectedness” has been taught by Native Americans for thousands of years. Those bearing an open mind and humility have observed a similar life force in all beings. When we look into the connectedness we find that this life force is not only similar between myself and the bird but it is the same. Basic inquiry reveals the “Self” within and without all of us. When we establish the Self firmly in our lives we find the joy that is our true nature. It is the greatest gift we can offer life, our own inquiry. Peace is the result and a presence felt by others. Great post my brother. Thank you.

    • JoAnn Rulo says:

      I always love hearing Chief Seattle’s quote, “Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect.”
      We can gain great wisdom from the Native American culture.

  5. hermanqx4824 says:

    Thanks, Paul. Wonderful meditation. I appreciate it very much. The experience of oneness is what keep me going (especially when I turn on the TV and watch various politicians, one in particular, and wonder whether humanity will self-destruct).

  6. Pat Shannon says:

    We are one in the SPIRIT. Mystics know, experience this reality. As a teeny tot I was taught to skip a rock across the surface of a lake. Then came the verbal lesson: Just as the ripple affects the smoothness of the water so does every thought, word and action have an effect. And I am responsible for the act and I have little or no control of the effects.

  7. JoAnn Rulo says:

    Fr. Carl Arico recently wrote an article suggesting another insight into Jesus’s words “turn the other cheek”. Fr. Arico suggested Jesus might have intended that when we turn the cheek the other way we are able to get a different view of the situation enabling us to see the situation from another perspective.
    We do indeed see life from our own perspective. Living in the present moment and practicing mindfulness lead to an awareness of how our perceptions cloud reality. As we develop a meditation practice we open ourselves to the Divine who begins to lift the veil of that cloud to help us heal the wounds that hide our connection to the great love relationship with the Divine that was always intended. We were never meant to be separate from all of Life. Kathryn Dowling Singh quoted Michael Washburn when she wrote, “in this surrendering into awakening, what had been considered to be self-control is seen to be limitation and what had been considered to be independence is seen to be alienation.”
    When we sit in the presence of God’s love in meditation he heals our brokenness. Sitting in prayer we bathe in the light of His Love, realizing that all of Life is connected by this Divine Love and we are a part of that interconnection.
    Namaste.

    • florydsouza says:

      Thanks JoAnn for sharing Fr. Carl Arico’s perspective on “turning the other cheek”. It seems so obvious but I didn’t think of it ever that way. It has surely enriched me.

    • JoAnn, Thank you for sharing your thoughts and the quotations. I find them very helpful in taking Paul’s meditation further. I hear him saying seek the “depth of being” (with regard to a mystical reality) and I always become stumped. Maybe, like turning my head for a different view, I need examine those words from a new perspective as I ponder the Singh/Washburn quotation.

  8. Tresa says:

    Thank you Paul for this inspiring and challenging message. Two things here challenge me. One is the very title: Reality: Illusion, liberation or bondage. It struck me that from the innumerable realities around me, what am I making out of them? am I afraid of facing it and moving away and entering into an illusion I created for my self; or am I making them as opportunities for the experience of liberation; or am I getting struck into my own bondage? The choice is mine ….

    The other challenge is to enjoy that experience of oneness.

    May we all one day cherish and draw energy from that experience of oneness.

  9. Mary Kopuster says:

    Mystic reality is hidden to those too blinded by their own reality; talking mystcism will not pierce the veil of some violence. Mystic reality is not real to some. To make it so would be a miracle but not outside of those who live in hope and faith.

  10. florydsouza says:

    Your thoughts on “Reality” have touched me deeply. My challenge of over-riding My Reality for “Objective Reality” is huge. But I believe that overcoming this and reaching “Mystical Reality” would help me contribute my little effort in ending all fanaticism, especially that which is driven by religion and politics You so beautifully put it : “When we experience Oneness in the Divine Essence that overflows into every part of Creation, we realize that whatever happens to one part affects the whole”.

  11. Rodney Barretto says:

    Amazing as always Paul, your truly, deeply and mystical insights are inspiring and really thought provoking.

  12. R Mark Rudis says:

    Inspiring message Paul, thank you. I only recently learned of Swami Vivekannada and I was delighted to read your reference to his teaching. Duality is truly and illusion which creates division between humans as well as between humans and other species. Carl Sagan wrote in Cosmos that to an alien species humans are virtually identical genetically to a tree. Many indigenous people have known this for a very long time. But we must separate and make different that which we intend to destroy or enslave, you pointed that out also. I continually see videos which seem to surprise people, that of a mother who adopts, protects and even nurses a baby of another species. Perhaps love and peace are indeed our true nature, given to us by the Creator of us all. Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi wrote that an animal was capable of achieving enlightened. His freind Lakshmi the cow recieved a death ceremony reserved for enlightened individuals. We are given emotions by Creator, most of us now recognize that other species own the same abilities and frailties. Some risk themselves for the benefit of others, I believe these acts of empathy even unselfish bravery carry their own rewards. The Universe responds in kind to what we send out from ourselves. If we are quiet and observant we can witness it everyday. I’m sorry I saw this late but thank you brother for your wisdom.

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