ILLU’SION, n. s as z. [L. illusio, from illudo, to illude.] Deceptive appearance; false show, by which a person is or may be deceived, or his expectations disappointed; mockery. (Webster’s Dictionary 1828)
According to the actual definition of the word “illusion”, the New Age tenet that existence on planet Earth is an illusion, would require that everything that is seen (or, experienced with any of the physical senses since this is a physical world), is a lie – “deceptive appearance”; “false show”. More importantly, earthly life is considered a mockery – an imitation of life.
Central to this tenet is the belief that earthly existence is an imitation (a copy, a forgery) of Spirit. That is, Spirit is considered ‘the real thing’. Spirit is the non-physical life force responsible for the creation of ALL forms of life – it is also referred to as “intelligent design”, “The Great Architect of the Universe”, “Great Spirit“, “Source”, “Universal Consciousness”, “Creator”, “Nature”, “God” and so on. If Spirit is responsible for all forms of existence, everywhere, then this would include life on planet Earth, right? If life here is an illusion, then whatever created that life, must also be an illusion. This New Age tenet falls apart under closer inspection.
So, why would anyone peddle, or adhere to, this false belief?
For the peddlers (i.e. most of the well-known, and, not-so-well-known, New Age writers, speakers, healers, teachers, ‘channels’, etc.), it is lucrative to espouse such a belief as it serves to anesthetize their followers – people who are usually desperate for easy answers to, or quick relief from, challenging and painful life experiences. They are told that if they strive to be more ‘spiritual’ they will find peace, healing, comfort: Translation: “Ignore all of the bad (earthly) stuff because it is an illusion. The truth is the ‘love and light’ inherent within Spirit.” It is a slick way to disconnect people from earthly existence that requires a disassociation from the body, which necessitates a negation of the physical senses (i.e. what you see, hear, smell, taste and touch is not real). That is, in order to inhabit the spiritual realm, they must deny their body/earthly life. The purpose of this denial of physical life is to disassociate people from painful and confronting thoughts, emotions and experiences. This arrests the healing process, which is inherently painful and must be experienced through the body (even emotions are felt through the body). This provides temporary relief only, and gives the false impression that healing has taken place.
This brings me to why so many people adhere to this false belief – they have severe problems that they choose to avoid. To illustrate this point, I will describe the situation of a woman I was once acquainted with who decided to perceive her miserable circumstances as an illusion (in her words: “I’m not really experiencing this”…she was heavily into popular New Age philosophies at the time and had heard this one being espoused by a well-known ‘spiritual channel’). She told me that it helped her get through that stage of her life. It was not long after this exchange with her that she had a nervous breakdown. She was placed on medication so that she could become a functioning member of society again. Of course, she did not change a thing in her external, or more importantly, her internal world. A few years later, she developed a serious physical health condition. She informed me that this did not surprise her because she kept ignoring her problems. The cause of her decline was not her circumstances – it was her self-deception. Self-deception is the equivalent to psychological healing, as a band aid is to a physical wound that needs stitches, or surgery to heal.
This is the result of not dealing with the unpleasant realities of life on Earth – herein lies the actual illusion.
P.S. ~ It occurred to me recently that if everything about life on this planet is an illusion, then this would include all beliefs – this means that the belief that earthly life is an illusion, is also an illusion…