Seeing Thru Our Illusions by Rev. Christine Emmerling 9/10/2023
Today my talk is about Seeing Thru Our Illusions. I have found in New Thought in general that there is confusion to what is referred to as illusion. In the Divine Science statement of Being it says, “God is all both invisible and visible. One Mind, One Power is All. This One that is All, Is Perfect Life, Perfect Love, and Perfect Substance. I Am an individualized expression of God, and am ever one with this Perfect Life, Perfect Love, and Perfect Substance.”
Then we clarify that God is Omnipresent - God is all, everywhere and eternal; Omniscience - God all is knowledge, wisdom, Truth; and Omnipotent - One Power everywhere present and it is all Good pure love. And, we agree.
In Divine Science Truth is eternal and that which is temporary is not Truth but what we call illusion. Illusion is like a veil that covers our eyes or mind. Looking through a glass darkly we view life through our fear driven beliefs and these alter how we perceive our reality of life. How we misperceive this world is then the illusion. But what about this body of ours. Christ Jesus called our body a Holy Temple. Yet many in New Thought say it is but illusion. I say, it is how we perceive this beautiful holy temple that is the illusion. Do we see it as divinely good, the life and substance of God, or as sick, too fat or too thin, old or weak?
Then we begin to think about all this other stuff in our life that isn’t so perfect. Here is where we start to stray from what we call Truth verses Illusion.
There is a saying in Divine Science: Rule number 1) God is all; rule number 2) all is Good; and rule number 3) if you don’t see it that way, then go back to rule number one, God is all.
What if you don’t see it that way – our perceptions may be faulty, tricking us to think or we believe something is imperfect. Being hungry, sick, poor or lonely is undesirable and appears very real to the people experiencing this lack of goodness in their lives. But, is there in Truth any real lack of goodness anywhere? God being all and good, then the answer is “No.”
It is about having a shift from a belief in a physical material world that decays, dies, and has limited resources. To a spiritual world of consciousness, that is intelligent, alive, unlimited and eternal. This earth system we live in, the mountains, ground, trees, water, air and all living creatures are alive, intelligent and its true nature is eternal and divine. In Divine Science instead of saying “material world or world of matter” we use the term “Spirit Substance.” Spirit Substance is the underlying principle of all form. It is Spirit or God expressing idea from the invisible to the visible creation of life. For me it is easier to get the image of atoms, and they are countless like the stars. Everything in this physical world, including the invisible air we breathe, is made of atoms. Atoms don’t die, they only change their form.
For example: Leaves on a tree are alive. Then they fall to the ground and decompose in the soil as they are eaten by microbes. Over time, decaying leaves release carbon back into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide. The atoms of the leaves never really died, but only changed their form. Therefore, life is eternal, and all that is eternal is real and not illusion.
As human beings we have acquired throughout life many beliefs. Some consciously learned, but most unconsciously accepted. These beliefs become our rule book in how we live and experience our life here on earth. If something doesn’t fit in our belief structure, then we reject it as impossible, doesn’t exist, crazy thinking, or it must be a miracle.
Jesus the Christ, said that we too can do these works, and even greater works than these shall we do. And, yet, the general belief is that it is impossible to heal, feed the multitudes, turn water into wine, walk on water or raise the dead – people have said that only Christ Jesus was special. Yet that isn’t what he said. We shall do these things when we begin to think outside of our box of what we call normal, and realize our true divine nature “The Christ in you the hope and glory.”
I have a short story to share today called “The Cave Story.” This is an ancient story taught by spiritually illumined teachers to their students to illustrate the way we are easily hypnotized. I’m using Virginia Stephenson’s version without her additional comments.
“This story is about a professor and a hypnotist. The professor, a teacher of psychology, was aware that there was something greater than the mind. He believed that there was a transcendental presence and power in each individual, which would carry him through any experience. After reading about the great magicians, hypnotists, and adepts in India, he wanted to travel there to go through an experience of initiation in which he would be totally hypnotized, to see if this unseen element in him would carry him through the experience. This unseen reality is called the Spirit of God in man, or Spiritual Consciousness.
The professor went to India and found one of the best adepts available, one who was the most active and the most skillful in the art of illusion. He had an interview with the magician, and said, “I want you to do everything you can to hypnotize me, so I can see if it is true that there is this higher consciousness that will carry me through any experience and restore me to my rightful mind.”
The magician answered, “I can tell you that not many people can go through what I can put them through and return to their rightful mind. If you want to go through it fine, but many people have gone insane and have never been the same. I have had to go in and extricate them from their delusions.”
The professor replied, “I want to try it. I have a theory that there is something greater than the human mentality, that man has a Guide, an inner Presence that will take him through any circumstance.” The magician laughed at him and said, “Well, we will see.” Then the professor said, “I would like to see where this experience will take place.” So the magician took him up into the mountains to a cave and gave him a kerosene lantern and said, “All the illusions will take place as you walk through this cave.”
The professor examined the cave very carefully, holding up the lantern so he could see every detail. It was a very ordinary cave. He could go through it in about thirty-five to forty minutes. He found there was nothing in the cave that could hide any tricks that were man-made. It was just a cave. After walking through it with the magician and examining it very carefully, he said, “I will have a good night’s rest, and tomorrow I will go through it.”
The next morning, as the professor and the magician walked toward the cave the magician said, “Be careful where you walk. There are snakes around here.” The professor had not walked very far when he saw snakes. He realized then that the hypnotism was already operating. The hypnotist had made the suggestion in such a normal tone and in such a kind way that the professor had immediately opened himself to the suggestion. He said to himself, “This is hypnotism. Just walk through it.” As he approached the snakes, they disappeared. There were no real snakes.
The professor lit his lantern and entered the cave. The magician said, “I will leave you here. Be careful! It is very dangerous.” The professor knew that he was already under the magicians’ spell. He walked into the cave, and it seemed less familiar than the day before. He was aware of fear and he was aware of being very cautious. He walked a short distance into the cave and was surprised to see a large cavern in the side of the cave, and in it there appeared to be tigers. He stopped. Shaking with fear, he thought, “This is hypnotism. There are no tigers there. It is impossible for a cavern to be there; it wasn’t there yesterday! This whole picture is illusory, an aggressive mental suggestion.” He walked through the appearance and felt the swipe of the tiger’s paw; his heart raced and beads of perspiration formed on his clammy brow. He walked through the illusory picture in spite of the fear, and there were no tigers.
Suddenly, there appeared before the professor a solid rock wall. He went up to it and hit it and pushed it, but it was immovable! So he stepped back and said to himself, “This is hypnotism. The whole feeling of material substance – the wieght and density of this picture – is hypnotic suggestion. This wall was not here yesterday, and if I resist it, I am just going to make it seem more real. So what do I do? I know the truth that this wall is nonexistent. I will close my eyes to the material sense picture and I will walk right through it.” So he did, and there was nothing there to stop him, for the illusion had no externalized reality.
For a while everything seemed fine as the professor walked on, until he saw a large, deep chasm! At the bottom was rushing water, and it was too wide for him to jump across. He reminded himself, “This, too, is an illusion, a mental projection, and this mental picture has no externalized reality.” He stopped, closed his eyes to the appearance, and walked on. He had a momentary sensation of falling, and then he felt solid ground. He opened his eyes and was aware of still being in the cave, but his lantern had gone out.
He felt a great emotional strain after these experiences of terrifying mental projections that seemed so real. He was exhausted, emotionally drained, and there was no way to light his lantern. The professor reasoned, “I have been in here no more than fifteen minutes, and here I am, absolutely exhausted. So this feeling of exhaustion, too, must be hypnotism.”
He looked around the empty cave, which was quite dark, and sat down. He asked himself, “What did I come here for? So far I have used my mind to make the correction every step of the way. I want to prove that there is a presence in me that will guide me through any appearance, regardless of how totally hypnotized I become. I know that this fatigue is not real. It has no physical cause. It is hypnotism due to my reaction to all these illusory pictures. If I succumb to that which is called ‘normal,’ what will happen?
As he sat there he become thirsty, and he thought, “Thirst is also a normal sensation, but I should not be thirsty in so short a time. Is this hypnotism, too? Then he felt hungry and thought, “Hunger is another normal sensation that is probably being imposed upon me. The magician is hypnotizing me to feel tired, hungry, and thirsty. What will happen if I submit to these hypnotic suggestions?” He decided to try to prove his theory, that there was a presence within him that would carry him through the experience of being totally hypnotized, so he sat down and went to sleep.
The professor woke up in a beautiful, verdant field with trees and flowers; the birds were singing. The magician was there and had prepared for him an attractive feast. The professor had forgotten about the cave and was enthralled with the scenery. He was imprisoned in his mind, held spellbound and charmed by the beautiful appearance. The professor ate the delicious food and satisfied the suggestion of hunger. He drank ambrosia and quenched his thirst. He lay back and smiled contentedly at the magician. The magician said, “How beautiful everything is! How wonderful!” “Yes,” the professor agreed, totally hypnotized.
The magician disappeared. The professor got up and looked around, totally lost. He had forgotten that he was in a cave and who he was. He did not realize that he was completely under the spell of the magician. The professor did not know that he was hypnotized or where he was going, but he was happy. He walked down the path before him and came to a lake, jumped into a small boat that he found there, and began to row across to the other side. When he was in the middle of the lake, a sudden storm came up and he was pulled toward a whirlpool. He tried frantically to avoid it, but the little boat was drawn into the swirling water, and he was sure that this was the end.
Suddenly, he was awake, standing on solid ground in bright sunshine. He was out of the cave and facing the smiling hypnotist, who had been watching him wander around and around in circles. The hypnotist said, “Congratulations! You were right; there was a Presence that brought you out of the cave. Most people are so disoriented that they do not know where they are or who they are, and I have to awaken them. You have proved your point. There is an invisible Guide that led you through the experience and woke you up.” The End.
Regardless of all the imaginings of the professor he was still in the same old cave. The cave didn’t change, only his fearful thoughts about the cave had changed which also changed his experience. We hypnotize ourselves by our ignorance of who we are; by our superstitions, fears, judgements and the power of suggestion into believing that the world we see has power for good and evil. The world of effect has no real power of its own; only that which we give to it through our belief. But no matter what it doesn’t change our true nature or that of the world. Only our understanding changes and thus our experiences reflect this change.
We have torn down our veil and can now clearly see All is God and All is Good! Divine Spirit is expressing as my Holy Temple body consciousness, which is pure love, alive, intelligent, and is Spirit Substance perfect in every way. Our beautiful mother earth is a creation of love, is Spirit Substance expressing as intelligent life and bountiful from its core to its upper atmosphere. We live in an abundant eternal multidimensional universe of love. As within so without. And so it is!