The World's Illusion, Spiritual Awakening and Enlightenment
By Remez Sasson
The world around us looks so real, and to proclaim that it is only an illusion may seem sheer nonsense. How can it be? Yet, it is possible to accept this idea. I believe you agree with me, if I say that the body is some sort of an extraordinary machine. It is made up of a combination of materials, but it functions as a unit. Can you say confidently that you are the body? Are you the hair that is cut and thrown away when you go to the hairdresser? Are you your fingers nails, nose, legs or thighs?
The body changes through the years, do you really feel that you are this changing form?
Many thoughts pass through the mind every day. Can you say that you are any one of these thoughts? They are like a movie that plays in front of your eyes. Do you remember what you thought one hour ago? Yesterday? How can these thoughts be the real you if they always come and go? You think them, but you are not them.
The same thing goes for your feelings. What do you think is more correct to say, "I am angry", "I am sad", "I am happy" or "I am letting feelings of anger, sadness or happiness to occupy my consciousness for a while"? As with thoughts, feelings and emotions pass through you, they come and they go. You cannot be your feelings, which constantly change.
Then who are you? After reading the above, do you still believe that you the body, feeling and thoughts, or something beyond them? To know who you really are, you have to take your awareness beyond the mind. The answer comes when you are able to transcend your mind. Spiritual traditions and experience say that you are an inseparable part of the eternal, impersonal consciousness that created the world and infused life into everything, including this conglomeration of body, feelings and thoughts that you call "me".
This homogenous, indivisible, impersonal Consciousness manifests in and through everything. It is the life principle of the manifestation that you consider to be yourself. The manifestation, which is the combination of body, thoughts and feelings, is nothing without this life principle. This Life Principle - Consciousness, is the only real thing, and every manifestation is created by it, and therefore is dependent on it.
Can you become aware of this Consciousness? When you develop some inner detachment and inner peace, you will be able to turn your attention within you, instead of to the external world, and then you will become aware of the Consciousness that is beyond the mind.
Silence of the mind is the prerequisite for becoming aware of this Consciousness. Only when the mind is silenced and there are no thoughts, you realize who you really are - the vast, eternal Consciousness.
This is also what has been called enlightenment. This is what yogis, saints and seekers on the spiritual path seek. Through constant meditation the mind is made quiet. Then, from deep inside will rise great silence, peace, bliss and consciousness. Then you will know who you really are. This is enlightenment.
The way to spiritual awakening is open for everyone. Only attachment and erroneous thoughts and concepts hide it. It can come suddenly, and it can come gradually. The funny thing is that you do not have to search for it, and you do not need to reach anywhere. All you have to do is dive within with a quiet mind, become aware of this inner, eternal underlying consciousness and stay there.
If you watch a movie with inner detachment, you can still enjoy it, yet you are not agitated by what happens in it. You know it is just a movie, the projection of light and color on a screen. After gaining inner peace and silence, and becoming aware of your real I, you see the world and live in it, but yet, at the same time you understand that it is not real. This helps you stay calm and detached in all kinds of situations.
When you are spiritually awakened, nothing can affect your mind and moods. You may still need to work and interact with other people and the world around you, yet you will do so while remaining uninvolved in consciousness, as if outside of the world.
The mind and its thoughts create your world - the illusion you are living in. Thoughts and imagination are creative, and therefore mold and affect your world. As your thoughts are, so is your world.
When you awaken to your real Consciousness, you will be able to master your mind and thoughts, and therefore if needed, be able to change your illusion - your world, through the creative power of your mind. By focusing your mind on the thoughts you choose, you can affect your "reality" accordingly.
You might say that after spiritual awakening you will be beyond the world's illusion, and material things will not matter any more. This is true, but yet, the illusion has to be lived. You have to eat, pay bills and take care of the body. It is true, you will approach these matters in a completely different way, but you will still need to take care of them. Even an enlightened master has to eat, drink and sleep.
Going beyond the mind, beyond the illusion of the world, puts a great power and responsibility in your hands, for then you have the power to affect the world. Your awakened consciousness is an immense power that can stimulate the spiritual awakening in others. As all Consciousness is one, calming down your mind, going beyond it, and becoming conscious of your real being, to some extent, affects the whole world.