The Illusion Thing! (text)
“The Illusion Thing!” by Rev. Christine 8/9/2020
Today my talk is on illusion. I have found in Divine Science and New Thought in general, there is much confusion or even disagreement around what we call 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 - meaning God is everywhere Present; God is Omniscience - meaning God is all knowledge, science, Truth; God is Omnipotent - meaning God is One Power everywhere present and it is all Good - pure love. And, we say, “yes!, I agree.” But then we begin to think what about all this other stuff in our life that isn’t so perfect. Herein is where we start to stray from what we call Truth verses Illusion.
Some say, that God is Mind - Infinite Intelligence, Spirit, and God created man in his image and likeness. But then everything else in the physical world God did not create and therefore are the imaginings of mankind - illusion. This whole life including the body is an illusion. The soul is real but nothing else for all is Mind. And, therefore if it isn’t God which is good, then there is the tendency to say it must be bad or evil. Although, its good to have money, food, housing and such, and with our thoughts we can create it all. But, all that we create is illusion.
Then in Divine Science we say, “It is all God, and is Good, and if you don’t see it that way, then go back to rule number one, All is God.” Ah, 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 real lack of goodness anywhere? If God is all, then the answer has to be “No.”
It is a shift from a belief in a mechanical material world that decays, dies, and has limited resources. To a spiritual world, that is intelligent, alive, unlimited and eternal. This earth we live on is alive, intelligent and its true nature is eternal.
In Divine Science we have the term “Spirit Substance.” Spirit Substance is the underlying principle of all form. It is spirit manifested as form. For me it is easier to get the image of atoms, as 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 form. Its substance is still spirit.
For example: A leaf on a tree is alive, and then falls to the ground and begins to change form and deteriorates, and then becomes compost and dirt, and food for the tree that produces new leaves. The atoms of the leaf never really died, but only changed form. Its true nature of Spirit Substance continues to live on. 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 structure our rule book for life, 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 – we say that only Christ Jesus was special. Yet that isn’t what he said. We shall do these things when we begin to think, or believe outside of the box we call normal, in order to realize our true divine nature – as the Christ.
I’m going to share with you “The Cave Story”, an ancient story taught by spiritually illumined teachers to their students, illustrating the way we are easily hypnotized. Virginia Stephenson told this story with her interpretations for her book, which I have excluded her 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. In Divine Science it’s the Christ 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 to 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 where no real snakes.
Now at the entrance to the cave, the professor lit his lantern. As he 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, and 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 continued to walk 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 on it. It was immovable! So he stepped back and said to himself,
“This is hypnotism. This whole feeling of material substance – the weight 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.
Again, 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?
He then 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?”
The professor 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 still 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. 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 normal cave. The cave didn’t change, only his thoughts about the cave had changed, and therefore colored his experience. We hypnotize ourselves by our ignorance of who we are, by our superstitions, fears, desires, and the media, 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 has changed and thus our experiences. It is like there was a veil, and now have torn it down, and can see clearly. All is God, All is Good! Therefore, Divine Infinite Spirit is expressing as all of me; which is alive, is intelligent, and is whole and complete.
Shall we affirm: “Divine Infinite Spirit is expressing as all of me; which is alive, is intelligent, and is whole and complete. So it is.