I must be a shaman, because I know how to make it rain. All I have to do is hang something out to dry. It doesn’t work all the time, but statistically it happens more often than it would by chance. The shaman helps us break thru the illusion of “reality”. A human “being” is a verb, it is not really a noun. We appear as a thing, an object, a body, but when we die, there is only this “thing”, the body, but “we” are gone, we were not just the body. Our existence is a mystery, maybe because it is an illusion.
Imagine that all consciousness is one, that there is only one “consciousness”. There are infinite “things” to be conscious of and all these “living” things have access to “consciousness”, the ability to be aware, through our senses or without our senses (i.e. Hellen Keller). A camera can “sense” but it cannot “see”, it lacks the ability to be aware. We have the eyes to perceive, but without the brain which makes awareness possible, the eyes would be just like a camera.
A perfect illustration of this would be the solution to the conundrum, if there is no one to hear a tree fall, would there be a sound? The answer is no. Because, the fall of the tree would cause a vibration in the air which would need the apparatus of the ear along with the brain for there to be a sound. Without this, there would only be the vibration.
Think of the vast oceans as consciousness and all the living forms that exist in it can experience consciousness. But this is an analagy because I am not saying that it is the sea water that is the real consciousness. Just as probably the air that we live in, is not the consciousness that all air breathing creatures experience, because there are anaerobic creatures as well that navigate with their consciousnesses.
It is this ability to be aware, to be conscious which gives value to all that exists. Without awareness existing in the Universe, there would seemingly be no point in the Universe. It would be like a colossal ghosttown. However if what we are aware of is an illusion, then….? We are lost. Or are we? To be aware of the possibility that all is illusion, just makes it all the more intriguing, a bit like being trapped in a hall of mirrors. It could be like a game, and the object of the game is to have as much fun/ joy as possible and to realize as much of the possibilities as one can within the allotted time span (lifetime), all by piercing the veil of illusion as deeply as one can. This can be done individually and collaboratively by humanity as a whole, through the internet. And people are publishing their “takes” on reality all the time. This essay is an example of this. And it is up to us as individuals to decipher which is most likely to be true.
The Illusive Quality of Our Existence
The river outside my window constantly makes a sound, a sound made up of many tiny, individual sounds, wherever the water is white and foamy. I cannot hear the individual sounds, only the one sound is all I can hear, a constant soft roar, something like applause. The small sounds add up to make the one constant sound. It is in effect, one sound, but it is also, at the same time, not really just one sound, it is the accumulation of many individual sounds. We are able to perceive only one level or one aspect of the actual reality. Is the hearing of one sound an illusion then? We know that it is really many small sounds happening before, after, and during the time that i am aware of the sound, giving the illusion of one constant sound. A similar example is how the combination of all the cells in our body, human and bacteria, working mostly together continuously, gives the illusion of ourselves being a single separate entity. There are so many similar examples, that it becomes clear that our perception of reality is so illusive. Our memory gives us the illusion of a contiguous line of time that is always passing. This is an illusion, because time does not move. It is always now, the future is a concept, and so is the past/ passed. One could easily imagine that all is illusive and reality can be as ungraspable as a river. And yet we all think that we fathom reality, or at least have a grip on it, which could be the biggest illusion of all.
Those of us who are able to capture joy in our everydayness, imagine that we know what we are doing, as the joy is the proof. Those who have little daily joy feel lost. So who is more deluded? I would suggest that those of us who think that we know what we are doing are the more lost.
For some, it may be difficult to admit that one is lost, as though it would imply some kind of deficiency on their part. Imagine if one is very confused, the first step towards clarity would be to realize and acknowledge that one is confused, because there are those who are so confused that they don’t even know that they are confused are clearly the most confused. And I have the feeling that this is most of us.
To be sure of oneself is clearly a sign of delusion. One can be confident, but with humility and openness. Of course its reassuring to think that you know what you are doing, but it is perhaps more honest and accurate to live with doubt, uncertainty, and openness. It is more of a humble stance.
Thus constant uncertainty and illusiveness is our condition. It is not necessarily bad as it makes for the possibility of surprise, novelty, and revelation. And the more conscious one is of this human condition, the more humble and compassionate one becomes.