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Free the Free Horse:
the way beyond illusions

by David Truman

God wants us to come home. "Come home to Truth. Come home to yourself. Come home to love. Come home to God. Don't tarry, because the life of illusion creates much suffering, so therefore, come home. I love you, and I do not like to see you suffer."

What Is an Illusion?

What Illusions Don't Do

What Illusions Do Do

Getting Rid of Illusions

Your Bright Future Without Illusions

What a poignant invitation. Begging us to come home even though, in reality, we've never left home, never been separate from God, and never been other than who we are -- God's Divine sons and daughters. God knows that.

But what God knows, most of us have forgotten. And that's a problem, because we're now living in illusions. And we're suffering in an (unreal) "subjective reality" in which we believe -- and consequently feel -- that we are small, weak, needy, separate. Far from God, far from home, and alienated from each other. We desperately need to remember who we are. "Knowledge is power, but only if you can remember it."

If you've traveled in spiritual circles, you've heard talk of "the world of illusions." But the phrase means little more, to most people, than a heady piece of spiritual philosophy. Like goldfish in water, we don't see our illusions as such, much less understand the misery they bring. So, because of our illusions -- ideas that aren't even true -- we continue to live limited, painful, and unfulfilled lives.

The most discouraging thing -- to be here not as you

It cannot be helped that there is heartbreak in living here. But to be here not as yourself is the most discouraging thing of all. You miss God. You miss yourself. Certainly you already be yourself in many ways, but to be here as an ego-identified person, and not as the son or daughter of God that you are is the most discouraging thing for you. No other disappointment holds a candle to that.

Anyone will be constantly disappointed by life lived without God. But you see, in each moment, God loves you with a great, great, great love. Tremendous love. Enough to heal; enough to leave a person with tears of happiness in their eyes. But in our illusions, we are habitually not allowing that love to be consciously known and felt, you see?

There's so much more we could be enjoying. The more that we could be enjoying is a natural life of a child of God. If we would stop resisting, we would have it. We could effortlessly live in God.

What Is an Illusion?

Illusions are nothing -- just ideas that happen to be false. But if we believe them, they have powerful effects: They hold us down, hold us back. They limit our aspirations, suppress our expression, sabotage our efforts, dash our dreams. If that sounds exaggerated, consider two common illusions:

• Having a low self-image; feeling like a bad person

• Feeling unloved by both man and God

How severely those two illusions limit human life! You know that a friend who struggles under those illusions will be unhappy, unfulfilled. He will not attempt much, and what he attempts will be halfhearted. He will be afraid to desire, afraid to trust, afraid to risk. Tragic! You wouldn't wish such a fate on anyone, and if you could save him from it, you would. God feels the same way.

Example: He only gets a quarter cause he's (being) a quarter of a man. We get feedback and support from the world according to who we think we are. The insecure little fellow gets half a date from the girl he likes. He pulls his punches and shows her a half-good time. She is halfway willing to see him again -- if she has nothing better to do.

So many people are living halfway, or less. So many of God's children are drowning in their illusions about how negative, bad, unlovable, worthless they are. Many people come to God, and say, "I'm a total dweeb. I'm no good. Help me be a better person." And God, like the person's human friends, is sad to hear it. God feels particularly sad to see this beautifully created child, with exceptionally good qualities, very lovable, very much able to succeed in love, saying these horrible things about him- or herself.

Ask yourself: What kind of life do you want for your friends, for your children, for everyone you love? What kind of life do you want for yourself? Surely, you want the life God intended for all human beings: a life fully lived.

A beautiful life naturally expresses who you truly are -- a person who desires; who aspires; who loves; who cares; who feels; who responds. And, being who you truly are helps your loved ones do the same. In your natural way of being, you are so attuned with God that God can walk with you and love through you. Together with your Creator you live a life that heals and fills hearts, and provides fulfillment in love. Such a beautiful, authentic life honors your connection to God and to all.

The one you truly are is naturally attracted to that life, the life good and true. You feel that, don't you? Friends, nothing but your illusions stands in the way of actually living that authentic life. And yet, our illusions tell us that we can't have that life; and we don't even want it.

Living the life you were born to live depends on getting free of your illusions. Now you know why.

What Illusions Don't Do:

1. Illusions don't change reality

2. Illusions don't change morality

1. Illusions don't change reality

The good news is, our illusory beliefs about ourselves do not change us. We are still and always the way God created us: beautiful, powerful, big, strong, knowing -- our illusions don't change that one bit. And consequently, our prospects for happiness and fulfillment are still fully intact. Illusions can cause twists and turns, and twisted lives, but our potential comes from our reality, not from our illusions.

No matter what we think in our illusions, we can't make it true. In that respect it's fair to say, "You can't make a sow's ear out of a silk purse." But . . .

A person can be subjectively imprisoned, just as a person under a hypnotic spell could experience a subjective "reality" completely different than objective reality. Three examples . . .

• Sitting in a warm room on a chair, a hypnotized subject could experience himself to be sitting on a rock, in a snowstorm, shivering.

• A jealous husband could live with the conviction that his wife was unfaithful -- even though, in reality, she was not.

• A woman could feel thoroughly stuck in a negative pattern, even though, in reality, she is absolutely FREE. In reality, she is free to choose differently, and escape the "stuck" pattern -- whether she realizes it or not.

Fortunately, people cannot imprison themselves with illusions. Not really. That's because they are forever free no matter what they think. In fact, even the experience of subjective imprisonment reflects free choice. Subjective imprisonment is but one possible expression of our freedom. When a man feels confined, he's exercising his freedom by investing in the idea, "I am confined. I am not free." That, for a while, is his choice. And as long as he chooses to keep investing in the notion that he is bound, he will subjectively experience himself that way. But you see, if he wanted to, he could still choose to invest in a different idea at any time. So, as we said before:

A person's true, actual freedom was not/is not taken away by the conviction that he or she is bound.

However, our illusions do affect our experience -- our subjective "reality" -- for as long as we hold them. And because of that, unreal illusions have real effects. Problematic effects. Surely you know what they are. We'll review them together, shortly.

2. Illusions don't change morality

Illusions don't justify the immorality they may seem to justify. When people think they do, they make a helluva mess, and create a heap of hurt. The world around us thoroughly proves that!

Commonly, people excuse all kinds of moral outages, errors, and omissions by chanting: "They got what they deserved!" Or: "That's just who I am!" Or we invoke the pathetic mantra of immorality: "We're all doing the best we can with what we have to work with." That's an insult! And, it's absolute bullshit!

Friends, if we were really doing the best we can, we'd be guilt free. And if our illusions really excused bad behavior, we'd feel no shame. But what about the ways we mistreat the ones we love; the ways we disappoint people who depend on us -- is that the best we can do? Under the spell of our cherished illusions, we may think it is, but our hearts and souls know better. We're far better than that, and much more capable. And our hearts won't let us completely forget it. That's why our moral errors bother us despite any and all illusions we may hold.

What Illusions Do Do:

1. Illusions cause pain

2. Illusions cause -- or rather, move us to cause -- real life problems

3. Illusions cause wasteful and destructive "make-work"

4. Illusions blind us to reality

5. Illusions hurt our relationship to God

Even though they are unreal, illusions do do many things -- and all of it's doo doo.

Example: Think of the poor guy who thought he was unlovable in high school, and so he never dared ask a girl for a date. Now he's hopeless, because he really doesn't think that he has a chance. His illusions doo dooed his hope. They doo dooed his self, his life.

Illusions doo doo your dreams. They doo doo your potential. They doo doo your relationships. They doo doo your life.

1. Illusions cause pain

What would you say about the illusory experiences listed earlier -- of freezing in a snowstorm, of having an unfaithful wife, and of being completely stuck? While those experiences are only subjective, not real, subjective experiences can cause real pain for the people involved.

For example, a lie is a kind of illusion, yet lies can be very painful and costly. A lie can undo a person, a business, a marriage, a life.

Example: A man accuses his wife of being unfaithful, even though she is NOT. But his suspicious mind will not accept the reality of her innocence. In such a case, his concern is only an illusion, but it causes both of them REAL pain, and plenty of it. And it's not surprising that when his wife gets tired of being falsely accused, she leaves him. In that case, his illusion has quite nearly destroyed two lives.

Example: A young boy in the ghetto reaches into his pocket and pulls out a water-pistol. A policeman, thinking the water pistol is a real gun, shoots the boy dead. A fake gun; a real tragedy for the boy's family.

2. Illusions cause -- or rather, move us to cause -- real life problems

Illusions not only cause real pain, but when we believe them, and act on that basis, various misfortunes surely follow. Here's why: Illusion creates nothing of itself, but it can strongly influence the way in which we use our creative powers. And obviously, our creative powers can create many things.

Example: Illusions of difference between people and nations have brought our world to the brink of destruction.

Example: The wife who was accused of infidelity wasn't REALLY unfaithful. But she REALLY divorced her jealous husband. The divorce was real enough, and so were its costs in terms of emotional pain and money, disruption, and displacement.

Real misfortunes born of illusions

Real pain is a real misfortune.

It's a real misfortune to have to move out because of divorce,
and a real misfortune to separate the children.

It's a real misfortune to have your own child killed.

Destroying the planet is real misfortune.

And when it comes to real misfortunes, none of them reflect God's will.

• GOD DOESN'T WANT this planet destroyed, or people's lives destroyed.

• GOD DOESN'T WANT His beloved children to have to live in squalor, poverty, pain, disillusionment.

• GOD DOESN'T WANT anyone to live a lonely life, in despair.

No one wants such misfortune. We all want to graduate from the school of hard knocks, not just stay back forever. That's why, friends, it is a matter of real importance -- I dare say, urgency -- that we release our illusions. We'll describe exactly how to do that later on.

3. Illusions cause wasteful and destructive "make-work"

If illusions are painful, what about all the work that goes into trying to solve problems that don't exist? That's make-work, unnecessary effort. Make-work can be tremendously costly, time-consuming -- and yes, painful.

Why do we call it make-work? First of all, as a human being, you are not a problem. The True Self is never the problem. Therefore, you don't need to be fixed. So the truth is, if you are trying to "fix yourself," what you're trying to fix is not yourself at all. It's only an illusion of who you are -- something or someone that doesn't exist.

• You can't fix a problem you don't have.

• You can't fix anything that does not exist.

• You can't fix a self that is not broken.

So many people spend their entire lives pursuing self-improvement -- because they feel compelled to compensate for flaws they think they have. Likewise, people spend their entire lives seeking God -- because of their basic presumption that God is distant, or inaccessible. These efforts represent a tragic and wasteful misdirection of energy -- energy that could otherwise be spent creating beauty, love, happiness for all.

Better to live in reality than struggle to fix unreal conditions. We don't need to free the free horse. It's always already free.

4. Illusions blind us to reality

Q: What happens to a beautiful person who doesn't know she's beautiful?

A: She can't enjoy her beauty.

Perhaps the worst effect of illusions is that they blind us to what IS (and prevent us from enjoying it). For example, the jealous husband simply cannot see his wife for who she is. Consequently, he can't benefit from the fact that he has a faithful wife. Instead, he has the terrible problem that he believes his faithful wife is unfaithful. The cost of covering reality with illusions is huge. Do you see it?

Similarly: A man lost his home due to not paying his rent. He failed to pay it because he forgot he had thousands of dollars hidden under his bed. He had money, but because he believed he didn't, he couldn't benefit from the fact that he did.

Friends, we have what God has given us, but we can't know that we have it unless we believe we do. People are always praying to God, asking for things they presume -- mistakenly -- God hasn't given them yet.

Example: A man prays, "God, make me STRONG." Obviously, behind his prayer lurks a strong presumption that he's WEAK. There's a big problem with that presumption: BELIEFS CREATE FEELINGS/EXPERIENCES. In this case:

• It makes him FEEL weak to think/believe he's weak.


• As long as he FEELS weak, he can't feel his own (actual) strength.

Perhaps God speaks to the man, and reminds him that he is strong. But you see, if the man persists in believing that he is weak, he will keep on experiencing himself that way. "I'm strong? You're kidding me!" And God might say, "No, you fooled yourself, by believing you are weak" -- if, that is, God knew the fellow was ready/willing to take responsibility.

Clearly, conviction can be a very potent form of self-hypnosis. The human mind is easily capable of making you feel weak, whether you're strong or not. Because our minds are powerful, we -- the owners of these powerful minds -- are powerful. But ironically, this is one of the greatest demonstrations of our power: we can make our tremendously powerful selves seem practically powerless. Now that's power!

A small umbrella can block out the mighty sun. Illusions block out the sun of reality, covering truth with illusion. Do not be discouraged when you see that you are blocking out the sun, and thereby suffering in darkness. Just let them go.

5. Illusions hurt our relationship to God

One of the biggest, most tragic problems that illusions cause is the anguish of feeling that God hates you, or has abandoned you. When people feel that way, it's worse than disheartening: it creates a barrier of pain, anger, blame, and resentment between God and His children. And, when people project those negative feelings toward God, it greatly impairs their ability to hear His responses, to feel His presence, to receive His love, and to thereby have their mistaken impressions corrected.

This, friends, is a huge problem, because we can't know who we truly are while feeling alienated from God. So you see, our illusions about God keep us from healing our illusions about ourselves.

Getting Rid of Illusions

Part 1: How not to get rid of them (common strategies for getting rid of illusions that absolutely don't work)

1. Compensation

2. Denial

3. Resignation

4. Irresponsible Prayer

5. Overlaying negative beliefs with positive affirmations

6. Indulging in unconscious, non-verbal affirmations of negative moods/states

7. Trying to talk yourself out of illusions

1. Compensation. Compensation means investing in the very illusions you're trying to escape.

One of the biggest mistakes people make is to try to compensate for their presumed weaknesses and flaws. That nearly universal error pervades the whole self-improvement game, the affirmation game, and the conventional path of spiritual seeking.

What's wrong with compensation? If you believe you're bad and flawed, and on that basis you strive to be good in a spirit of compensation, you are divided against yourself. Spinning your wheels. That's because your efforts to improve yourself constantly remind you that you "need" improvement. Here's a gross example of that kind of wheel-spinning:

A guy sleeps under his bed because he doesn't want to be stepped on by an imaginary pink elephant he thinks follows him around. He's adjusting his life and behavior based on his illusion.

Question: How can he possibly escape his illusion about the pink elephant if he's busy adapting and acting in ways that cope with it, or take its "reality" into account? If he keeps on acting as his illusion seems to require, his actions always remind him of the "fact" that he's on the run from the pink elephant. His neurosis continues, reinforced.

Every form of compensation is sort of a "fake it till you make it" strategy. The plan is, be the opposite of what you believe you are, and wait for the day when you will wake up and really be different. But you see, a faker can't make it. A faker only sinks deeper and deeper into hypocrisy -- or else surrenders to acting "sincerely" evil. No attractive options there, that's for sure.

The core problem is this: Whenever you say, "I need to compensate," you are hanging onto the very thing that stands in the way of your freedom. Compensation is wedded to its root. When a little man struts around like a big man, all it does is remind him, and everyone else, that he's a runt. Every form of compensation includes that same hitch. That's why we may work hard and long to gain self-confidence, only to find that all our efforts only remind us how insecure we feel.

The deepest root of compensation is an illusory view of self. The illusion must be given up, not compensated for. A wise man said,

"The one who needs to improve does not exist. The one who needs to remember that he is free does not exist.

The one you are is perfect and free! The spirit doesn't need improvement! And, the spirit is free. Your spirit knows that, and never forgets it.

So dear friend, any time you think of yourself as one who needs to improve, as one who needs to remember freedom, you are identified with the illusory ego-persona, not with the spirit. (If you were spirit-identified in that moment, you wouldn't need to remember -- you would know!)

If you feel a need to remember, then remember this: Only in the mode of ego-identification do you make efforts to "improve your self," "regain your freedom," etc. But in that case, you see, you're doing it all as one who needs to do those things. So you are still acting within your illusions. Acting within illusions accomplishes nothing -- at best. It gets worse from there. See that, and never compensate. Just don't.

2. Denial. Denial doesn't touch our illusions, much less get rid of them.

Right ideas about true self-identity are great
-- and much needed. BUT . . .

The COMBINATION of right identity IDEAS and
wrong IDENTIFICATION is disastrous.

When people are strongly identified with ego and egoistic ways of thinking, and hear the spiritual wisdom that says, "You are not the ego, you are of Divine nature," they are liable to misunderstand the meaning. They say, "Oh, I get it: I don't need to improve because I'm God," or "I am already enlightened" -- and, instead of loosening in their grip on ego-identification, they may decide that they are God, as an ego. That is terribly misleading. The result? Selfish, unenlightened people, caught in ever-deepening quicksand of delusion, come to think that they are Gods, Goddesses, enlightened, perfect, etc. In that case, the people will tend to construe even egotistical actions as Divine acts, acts of Divine whim, etc. They live in total denial of the error of their ways and beliefs, well-defended by misinterpreted spiritual truths.

The Celestials are horrified about the mess modern spirituality makes of the good news about who we are. When people say, "I am God" from the point of view of being identified with ego, they're in deep trouble. That's the worst possible situation: high truth molded into a bullet for spiritual suicide.

It's like this: say your kid took to sniffing industrial solvent -- stuff that kills brain cells. And now the kid is slurring his words. He's just not okay anymore. Something similar to that happens with this unconscious idea that ego is God. Friends, that's not just another philosophical mistake; people are actually killing themselves, spiritually, with that notion. The way such people treat each other, the way they think about themselves, the way they're self-congratulatory about the evil things they do, the selfishness, the vainglory they idealize -- it's all terribly damaging. These people are not becoming free of their illusions at all. Instead, their illusions are now protected and bolted in place with spiritual-sounding thoughts. The people become more entrenched within their illusions, not less so. Self-righteously deluded.

Example: A husband and wife get divorced with the idea that they do not love each other. Actually, the idea that they do not love each other is an illusion. But it would be a problem if someone told them that their relationship troubles are an illusion, and then they concluded, "Wonderful! It is just an illusion that we don't along, that we don't love each other. Therefore we can ignore that, and stay together."

To stay together on the basis that "love will win out," that "love is always the case no matter what," and "everything will be fine" despite the many negative things they still think and do, that, too, is an illusion, and as such, can only lead to disappointment. Thus, they have only traded one illusion for another -- and as we said, they are self-righteously convinced that their new understanding is a "spiritual" way of looking at things. Unfortunately, they are now liable to stay together even while they don't get along, and continue to suffer a bad marriage -- instead of realizing that they should abandon the illusions and actually have a different life because of it.

Friends, don't just say unlove is an illusion, ego is an illusion, and then keep the illusions, and ignore them. Instead, give up the problematical ways of thought and action, and live on a true basis instead.

3. Resignation. Accepting illusory limitations as permanent doesn't get rid of them.

Accepting illusory limitations? DON'T! Don't go gently into that dark night. Don't accept them at all!

Why would a person resign themselves to illusions? Because the whole world seems to share them, and it would put us inconveniently out of synch with our fellows to reject our illusions? Because we don't fully appreciate the damage they cause, or intuit the great life we could have without them? Because we don't want to be good? Whatever the reasons for doing it, most people simply accept illusions as an inevitable part of life, or indeed as life, as life's reality. This adds one more item to the list of life's "inescapable certainties":

• Death

• Taxes

• Illusions.

Truly, the widely-held viewpoint that man is essentially sinful epitomizes the acceptance of illusion: "Man is permanently and irremediably evil. Therefore, any attempt to improve would be deluded, probably vainglorious, if not downright Satanic." Tragic, that view!

The spirit of resignation is tragic. Resignation calls us to abandon our aspirations to rightness and goodness -- while still holding the conviction of being a limited person. Tighter than ever, perhaps. Please, let's not lose our passion for rightness. To live a passionless life is just one more way to not be ourselves.

Of course, given the poor success rate of self-improvement efforts, it's easy to understand why people give up their aspirations. Self-improvement actually works against itself, by reinforcing the problems it's trying to "fix." Consequently, the results of "self work" are minimal -- at best. Sometimes, the harder you try to fix yourself, the worse things get. Here's a common example:

A woman feels she is ugly and unappealing. She piles on a ton of make up. Now she REALLY looks ugly.

Wake up, please! If self-improvement worked half as well as advertised, people would stick with it, and go a long way towards perfection. But in reality, when people follow the path of self-improvement, they eventually feel frustrated and exhausted. And they give up.

PAY ATTENTION TO THIS: There's a right way and a wrong way to give up on self-improvement. Wisdom itself argues against self-improvement, and the illusions that motivate it. The right response is releasing illusions. Resignation is the wrong way -- the exact opposite. To the extent that the decision to give up on self-improvement is born of resignation, it tends to create a meaningless, uninspired life. And it leaves our illusions fully intact. That is not liberating. It's more like being in jail, and throwing away the key.

4. Irresponsible prayer: Never ask God to change your mind. That's OUR job. God can't/won't relieve us of the responsibility to BELIEVE DIFFERENTLY.

We all have an unalienable responsibility for what we think/believe is true. Any time we try to displace that responsibility, we misplace it.

If we wish to displace responsibility, we may pray to God to do our part -- a part that no one, not even God, can or will do for us. For example: "Lord, make me know that I am enlightened. Stop me from believing that I am not enlightened."

That, friends, won't work. It can't.

Amazingly enough, God might respond by saying, "I've already stopped you from believing that you are not enlightened."

To that, you might reply, "If You have stopped me from believing I'm not enlightened, how come I believe that I'm not enlightened?"

Then God might reply, "I gave you the knowingness that you are enlightened. But you are superimposing the thought that you're NOT enlightened over your knowing that you ARE enlightened. I cannot, or will not, take away your power. I won't eliminate the effects of the thoughts you're thinking, beliefs you're believing. Therefore, when you ask Me to MAKE you believe this or that, I may say I've ALREADY made you believe that. But I cannot say that I can eliminate from your life the effects of the beliefs that you superimpose OVER your true knowing, over what you REALLY believe.

"You are doing that presently; you are doing that by your own will, and by your own mental power. With your mind, you have the power of self-hypnosis. And I cannot, or will not, remove the power of your mind from you. It is your power, you see."

Look: Our illusions are our own personal property, our personal creations -- we get to keep them as long as we want. And only our firm choice against them will release them. What we've created in our subjective reality cannot be manipulated by making adjustments in the physical world, not really. Similarly, our subjective reality -- or rather, the beliefs that cause it -- can't possibly be removed by anyone else, not even God. And finally, simply wishing our beliefs away won't dispel them.

We have to take full responsibility -- in our minds, and in our manifest lives -- for our own role in the creation/maintenance of our subjective reality.

So, one should not ask God, "Make me believe differently."

5. Overlaying negative beliefs with positive affirmations: When and how "positive affirmations" can make matters worse.

The power of belief is greater than the power of words. Words that are repeated may influence belief, but words cannot overpower any belief that we cling to. Therefore, when it comes to affirmation, we can say anything we want, but what difference will it make if we still don't believe it?

Affirmation junkie: "WHY am I saying this, exactly?"

People feel no need to repeatedly "affirm" a belief they already firmly hold. When a person robotically repeats a positive affirmation, it is a sign that they are trying to counteract an opposite thought they firmly believe. So you see, the usual practice of affirmation is additive -- it adds a "positive" idea onto a negative one that is already held. Unfortunately, addition tends to cover over causes, not eliminate them.

This raises an important question as to the correct use of affirmations: Are affirmations supposed to be laid on top of negative beliefs, or should we release our negative views as well as affirm positive views? Clearly, if we maintain contradictory beliefs, the negative beliefs will continue to cause us problems. The principle of self-fulfilling prophecy will work against us.

We need to admit that there is not much point affirming the sky is blue if we are unwilling to let go of the view that the sky is black. In order to believe what we affirm, we must release beliefs that are opposite to the belief we affirm.

But that's a responsibility the affirmation crowd often skips. People tend to depend on affirmations to somehow make them believe differently. It's almost like torturing yourself into believing something. That's not how beliefs work.

It's a similar story when people tell their friends, "I need to think better about myself. So will you tell me I'm a good person fifty times a day, please?" Isn't it obvious that these are just more examples of outsourcing (displacing) the need/responsibility to believe differently?

If we really get willing to believe differently, we just do it. Positive affirmations are only necessary when you don't really believe them. But then, if you don't believe something, and you say it over and over, it only makes things worse. Therefore, never bother to say, "I am rich, I am rich" -- while still believing you are poor.

If you want to change your belief, go ahead and change it.

6. Indulging in unconscious, non-verbal affirmations of negative moods/states.

Here's a big reason why we don't always realize that we are affirming or feeding a negative belief: We can and do feed beliefs powerfully and effectively without feeding them consciously or verbally.

Therefore, if you truly desire to eliminate your illusory beliefs, you must understand and eliminate the ways you are feeding them.

You can start right now: Simply acknowledge the possibility that the affirmation/reinforcement of belief happens much more often, and in many more ways, than we tend to realize, much less get control over. That acknowledgement makes a difference. It helps us become conscious of the many unconscious affirmations we make daily. What we need to do is bring these unconscious, pre-verbal affirmations into consciousness. Then we can stop doing the activity that is keeping us down. Consider . . .

Moody blues. You get up in the morning and you feel a little bit dizzy or unstable. So you think to yourself, "I'm weak." It's unconscious, but you're definitely investing energy in a psychology of weakness. Now you can see exactly how people are often asserting I am weak without saying I am weak. They are asserting weakness without consciously realizing it. Likewise, a person in relationship could be busy being insecure, and frequently thinking insecurity thoughts, and indulging in insecure attitudes -- all beneath their threshold of consciousness.

So much of the time, what we feel is often not the reality of life; rather, it is our own moods, and the posture our moods create for us. Here, when we say the word "posture," we are speaking not about a physical posture, but an emotional-psychological posture. That kind of posture may be subtle, but is nonetheless powerful, even assertive. We're talking not about verbal assertions, or even conscious thoughts, but rather moods, feelings, and the like. Indulgences of mood. Moody blues.

You can assert anything with a well-chosen mood. Kids sure get a great joy out of that, don't they? You know how a teenager, for example, will decide that the best thing to be is depressed and sullen. So the kid is always cultivating that mood, that feeling, that posture -- sometimes even to self-destructive effect. The "nobody understands me, nobody cares" posture has a certain dramatic flair, but to live in that posture can sure be depressing. And adults do the same things. Most adults are just grown-up kids.

Position, pre-disposition, and indisposition. People get stuck in certain ways of thinking. It happens fairly fast. In a few days you can think yourself into such a groove that it's hard to think otherwise. Even in your dreams, sometimes, a certain train of thought may keep running. You have to force yourself to make your mind think differently.

Over time, each of us develops patterns of posture, habitual postures. Our typical posture is such a habitual assertion that most likely, one would not call it an assertion -- or even be fully aware of it. Much that is obstructive and destructive is unconscious, not conscious, but it is an assertion, even so. Every posture asserts something: trust or suspicion; hope or hopelessness; joy or sorrow, etc. And any habitual posture, especially a negative one, functions as a blockage, a blockade, a wall of supposition, mood, feeling.

Thoughts create a position; that position becomes your disposition. A person whose habitual position is combative has a combative disposition. A person whose habitual position is love has a loving disposition. And then, as beliefs tend to become rigid and well-defended, a disposition becomes a PREdisposition. Whatever it is, your position becomes your disposition and your predisposition.

Predisposition then crystallizes into INdisposition. For example:

• A person who is predisposed to think fearful thoughts about going out at night, may eventually become indisposed to going out at night

• A guy was predisposed, for example, to think that commitment is terrible, and now he is indisposed to marriage

Take it apart: In + dis + position. If a person becomes predisposed, they have a pre-disposition. They are predisposed to think about something a certain way. A person becomes indisposed when they are overly predisposed. You're "in dis position" and you're going to be there before anything happens. That's the way we think ourselves out of so many possibilities of living. It all happens in the background; it's our mood music, so to speak. It sets the mood... in stone.

One can assert anything with a mood, as we said, but depending on what we assert, we experience life accordingly. So, if we are to improve our experience, we need to be conscious of two things: one, the fact that we are creating our experience, and two, the way we are creating it. And, knowing is not enough. We still need to stop doing the things that bring us pain. For that, we need to face the music itself.

Face the music. So much has been said about life, about illusions, about ego, etc. Millions of words have been written. And the best of those words are carefully set to the music of life: they describe and explain real things, important things. With the help of these words and the understanding they convey, we can know many things, at least intellectually. But it's what we feel that counts. No matter what we know, intellectually, we need to

face the music for which the words were written.

The music is still the music. What about that music? Most of the time, it's bad music (as in: a bad influence; a depressing condition).

This is crucial: Not every bit of music has words. Many pieces are instrumental. Now listen: You're instrumental in your own defeat when you get that weak feeling and just go with it, or go with a bad mood. Those choices, wordlessly yet powerfully, affirm personal lack of worth. No words, just music.

Example: Bill got up in the morning. Felt a little woozy, a bit thick. And, he went with it. That's the music. Does it need words? No, it's instrumental. But surely, by tuning to that mood, and going with it, Bill is going to be instrumental in creating for himself a dull, stupid morning. All he did was feel it, and get in the groove, and go with it.

Bill didn't have to do that. The very same morning, his friend started to get angry, and then didn't. She decided not to go with that groove. She wasn't going to go with that music. She put on a different song. You see?

These are the choices that make and break lives -- mostly instrumental.

7. Trying to talk yourself out of illusions: Just another way to REINFORCE them.

You may be tempted to try to talk yourself out of your illusions. Be careful there. For one thing, if you try talking the ego out of its illusions, you may not succeed, because illusions are not logical. Also, as always, taking any action "against" an illusion tends to reinforce it. Remember, an action "against" illusions presupposes the existence, the reality, of the illusion. So if you try to talk yourself out of an illusion, as part of "a process of unbelieving," you are actually investing more power in the illusory belief.

Part 2: How to truly get rid of illusions

1. Don't believe your illusions

2. Don't act on the basis of your illusions

3. Truly accept the truth

4. Raise your moral standards to match your True Self's standards

5. Ignore Dr. Doubt, the great gray hunter

6. Live a life of rightness and goodness, not as a path of self-improvement, but as an expression of who you are

The first step is the biggest, and most effective. Just answer this question: Do you want to live within the problem, or without the problem?

The ineffective ways of dealing with illusions are ways of living within the problem. The effective ways are ways of living without the problem.

Living within the problem: "I've got to tie my pink elephant in the parking lot, so it doesn't step on me during my psychoanalysis appointment."

Living without the problem: There's no elephant. (So there's simply no need to cope with it, compensate for it, adapt on the basis of it.)


Living within the problem: "I'm pretty well screwed up, but I'm on the path of self-improvement."

Living without the problem: "I am not screwed up."

The good news: Stop feeding illusions and they disappear

Precisely because they are not reality, illusions need to be maintained; otherwise they disappear. Any illusion is like a balloon with a hole in it: You have to keep on huffing and puffing to keep it inflated.

Feed the stray cat, and it hangs around.
Don't feed it, and it goes away.

Invest in illusions about who you are, and they're yours.
Don't feed them, and they vanish.

Earlier we said the person who imagines himself to be imprisoned is, in reality, still free. To experience that freedom, all one needs to do is stop busily asserting the idea that one is imprisoned. Then the illusion of bondage will fade, and the reality of freedom will stand evident.

Friends, our problem is very simple: Most of the time, we're working on the wrong side of the fence. We're working to defend our illusions, and to protect our false personas. We work for the survival of that which causes us pain, even while at the same time complaining bitterly about the pain.

The truth is, you have everything. You are everything. So you don't need to do anything to have the life in God. That life is natural to you. There is nothing to do. But there is a posture to renounce. It is a typical mortal disposition, this posture -- an assertion of disappointment, negativity.

What counts is not so much what you do, as much as what you don't do. Not so much what you have to do, but what you must stop doing. Cease and desist! Cease feeding the illusions that bother you. Desist in the process of defending your illusions, and among them, your illusory self.

Know this:

If it dies, I remain. But if it DOESN'T die, it remains -- and it continues to be a problem, and create endless problems.

So: Stop creating in yourself the subjective impression that you're clueless, or bound, or weak, by investing in it so often, so much, in so many ways. In other words, stop keeping your tragic misunderstanding alive. Here's how:

1. Don't believe your illusions

You cannot possibly expect to get a break from what's troubling you unless you can stop creating what's troubling you. You cannot get relief from the pain in your thumb unless you stop hitting your thumb with a hammer. You cannot give yourself a break in your subjective experience, and the pain it causes, until and unless you can give yourself a break in the beliefs that are creating it.

Hitting your thumb with a hammer is causing your PAIN.

And likewise . . .

Believing you are weak is causing you to feel WEAKNESS.

Believing you are distanced from God is causing you to experience PAIN OF SEPARATION FROM GOD.


To free yourself from the pain that drives you to seek, stop BELIEVING that you're stuck, or weak -- or separate from God.

The wise thing is to simply not believe whatever you're believing that's causing you to want to improve, causing you pain that you seek to escape. Not believing will work.

It is a powerful thing that you can refute all these illusions. How comfortably you would be resting in God, and in your true nature, if you just looked illusion in the eye and said -- honestly -- "Hey, I don't believe that."

2. Don't act on the basis of your illusions

An illusion is a bad habit of supposition, that's all. But that's plenty, because suppositions are powerful. So a bad habit of supposition is not something to take lightly. But don't take it too hard, either. Don't take it anywhere at all. Don't carry it! Drop it! Don't pick it up! Don't do anything about it, or because of it.

And by the way, we're not saying, "Disbelieve (or UNbelieve) that wrong idea." We're not saying, "UNdo that illusion." Here's what we're saying:

RELEASE that wrong idea. Un-grasp it. And CEASE to assert it. Don't repeat that old mantra ANYMORE.

In other words: Don't remove your dark glasses -- don't put them on! Do you see the difference? Again: Don't take off this belief; just don't believe it. And don't repeat it.

You see, we don't want to give you any new "doingness," a project that can be embraced in the mode of compensation -- doing something about a problem, belief, etc. As we saw earlier, compensation, affirmation, etc. simply reinforce the beliefs they're trying to change. They simply strengthen the causes of the symptoms they are addressing.

If somebody says, "Here's this terrible tangle, untie it," then you're tied up in untying it. You might be untying it for fifteen minutes because it's a terrible tangle. The activity of untying is keeping you tied up in knots.

You're supposed to just let it go. You're not supposed to be tied up in letting it go. The way to untie something is to stop tying it. That is not a doingness, you see, but rather, the absence of a doingness, you see? It is the cessation of a doingness. Do you get the point? Here it is again:

Negative assumptions are a doingness, an activity. It's an important cessation of a doingness to NOT make negative assumptions about who you are ANYMORE.

3. Truly accept the truth

Divided we fall. But often . . .

United we can't stand it!

That strange twist exists to make a serious, important point: We need to be able to stand unity, or truth, or goodness, or a positive self-image purely, completely. In other words, we need to be okay with being okay.

Divided, we fall. United, we have to be able to stand a consistent, coherent, uncontradicted view of self.

This is essential to accepting a new idea: Let go of old ideas that directly contradict it. There is no use in saying, "I'm good. I'm no good. I'm good. I'm no good." You have to stop saying the "I'm no good" part. Remember what Jesus said:

No man can serve two masters, for either he will love one and hate the other, or vice versa.

To maintain two opposite views of oneself is unstable, unreliable, problematical.

It doesn't matter if your ego says you are tied. Just don't believe it. Whatever the ego thinks, your job is not to believe it. Don't worry about doubt coming up. Your job is to not believe it whether it comes up or not.

And furthermore, if you don't believe it, it won't come up anymore, you see? Or to put that another way: If you didn't keep on believing it, you wouldn't have to keep on unbelieving it. So try this: one of these times, when you unbelieve it, really unbelieve it. You'll find that when you really stop believing it, you won't have any trouble keeping on not believing it. You won't be so inclined to restart believing it.

4. Raise your moral standards to match your True Self's standards

Sometimes it seems like the truth about who we are is "too good to be true." But what's the real problem? Could we possibly feel that it's too good to be true TO?

God says, "Come home. You are My perfect child. You are love. You are strong." And God's not the only one who sees your soul beauty. What about your friend, who says, "You're a great person. You could succeed at whatever you sincerely want to do. You are loveable. Etc." Here's the thing: until we're ready to live as we truly are, we don't feel we deserve these compliments. So, in our mind, we shoot down every true and beautiful acknowledgment of spiritual reality. Maybe we don't kill it outright -- that might be a little too blatant, too inexcusable. But we mortally wound it. And in our minds, the jackals of doubt follow the trail of blood, dogging that wounded idea, nipping at its limbs, giving it no peace, until it falls down and dies of exhaustion, starvation, and a broken heart.

Ask yourself: Why would a person attack a great, liberating idea with doubt? Because they don't want that idea to live, obviously. If it lives, it will triumph. If it's healthy, a true idea will take over your life. That's how powerful a true idea is.

Friends, a good and true idea is like an invitation to heaven. Not a ticket to be transported to some sort of heaven elsewhere, but an invitation to live a heavenly life here and now. And it is an invitation to surrender to the moral standards that make that possible.

We can have a heavenly life, a life of transcendent pleasure. It's within our reach. But as long as we are not ready/willing for heaven, we will need an excuse to do wrong. Friends, our illusions are that excuse. An excuse for living hell. That's exactly what they are.

Honestly, at the bottom line, the main cause of accepting limitations -- and thereafter, coping -- is the fact that people do not want to be responsible for much rightness. Think about it: if you are truly good, and you accept the fact, then it would only be appropriate and natural for you to express your goodness in good works. But what if you don't want to be obliged by your self-nature to be good? Then that's a different story. In that case . . .

Inability is wish-fulfillment for the unwilling.

Meaning: If, as a good person, you should do something, but as an ego, you don't want to do it, you may wish you couldn't do it. Without a doubt, it is far less guilt-producing to think of yourself as incapable than as merely unwilling.

Example: A kid has difficulty learning math. So the kid says, "I CAN'T do math. I don't have the aptitude for it. It's IMPOSSIBLE for me to do math."

Example: A kid wants to skip school. So, the kid develops a headache. Why? Because, obviously, it seems more honorable to be UNABLE to go to school, due to illness, than it is to be able to go but refuse, simply because you are lazy, you don't want to, etc.

You see, the ego in each of us doesn't want to be obliged to love, to rightness, to goodness. But then, it's challenging to come up with a good excuse for each occasion. A permanent excuse to evade responsibility is far more convenient. So now look:

In adopting illusions of weakness and inadequacy, a perfectly capable child of God can find a permanent excuse to cover all occasions: "I can't do it." OR: "It's not me."

There is a season for freedom from limiting illusions, and it is the season in which the requirements of true rightness and love are found acceptable. Until then, our illusions will be required to justify the evasion of love, rightness, and truth itself. How stark it is, to look under the hood of illusions and see what makes them run! But, may as well face the truth: as long as we still want our illusions to protect us from unwanted responsibilities, we're not ready to let them go. And in that case, no one can talk us out of them.

The effective way to undo illusions is to release the
need for them. We will have no need for illusions if we
raise our own moral standards and our willingness to live rightness.

5. Ignore Dr. Doubt, the great gray hunter

The natural habit of goodness is faith, trust, strength, confidence, and love. In such an environment, true ideas do more than survive -- they thrive. But, as long as faith-trust is cut down by doubt, strength-confidence is eroded with weakness, and love is replaced with selfishness, the truth cannot live long in the mind.

With that in mind, consider this: Modern culture puts great stock in doubt, evaluation, skepticism. We're taught that these things are our friends, our tools, our assets. Lest we make a golden idol out of doubtful evaluation, we had better view that process with open eyes. We should be aware that:

• Lengthy thinking usually does much more harm than good.

• A process we might call clarification is more likely to increase confusion than to reduce it.

• Not everything can be figured out in advance; some things must remain a mystery.

• The value of pure spontaneity is destroyed by thinking.

What person ever thought a long time about asking someone out without becoming more nervous and insecure as a result?

No one who ever thought about any emotional object for a long time was ever looking at the same object at the end of the evaluation. Almost everything that was hot at the start of the questioning is cool at the end of it.

So friends, we are wise to take care when it comes to excessive deliberation. We should not let deliberation coupled with destructive concern spoil the very possibilities it seeks to consider.

Look at the before-and-after pictures

Example: After years of dating, Joan tells Tim she wants to marry him. Tim replies, "I really want to marry you too, Joan. I feel it is the right step for us, but I just think it would be responsible and wise to make SURE that it's right." Joan agrees, "Yes, that's a good idea. I want you to be nice and certain that it's right. So go ahead and think it through."

Tim now begins to consider all the factors that could be wrong with marrying Joan -- ostensibly to rule them out: Could I be fooling myself that I am ready for marriage? Is it possible that this is not the woman for me? Is she pretty enough, humorous enough, tall enough, intelligent enough?

By bringing up so many concerns, the ego is creating or reinforcing a mountain of doubt in the mind. And during that process, a change is happening in Tim: he is becoming influenced by doubt and thoroughly infected by it. Rarely does a person enter into such a consideration and emerge quite as certain as they went in. How could they? By the time Tim finishes thinking about it, he will not still have the positive feelings that he had when he went in. The purity of his motive will have been reduced by doubt and fear.

A person who thinks he has processed the devil out of something has probably processed the devil into it. Look closer, and you will begin to appreciate the masterful subtlety of the ego's methods.

Any beauty that has been subjected to a lengthy ordeal of evaluation may not be so beautiful after it finally receives "approval." That's the ego's accomplishment. Tim and Joan's marriage offers a fine case in point:

The joy is gone. Yes, they are getting married, but neither of them is half as joyful as they should be -- and would have been.

Tim's doubts haven't been eliminated -- they've been cast in stone. In the course of his deliberations, Tim's ego has injected various forms of doubt deeply into his mind. Those doubts will resurface frequently in the years to come, eroding the closeness and joy in his marriage.

Joan's goodwill is permanently damaged. In the course of sharing with his fiancée his various misgivings about marrying her, Tim significantly reduced her estimation of the quality of his love for her, and his acceptance of her. He permanently damaged her trust. He nearly broke her heart. His recitation of his doubts about her left an indelible mark.

Their marriage will gradually erode, and may even fail. The joy and spark in the marriage was crushed under the weight of doubt. That will create more and more distance between them over time. They're likely to part in divorce.

They will become spokespersons for the ego. The ego has created for itself the very best possible outcome: two converts to a skeptical view of love and intimacy. After her divorce, Joan will suspect all men. To anyone who will listen, she will say that men are not capable of love or commitment. And Tim, laboring under his alimony payments, will say that that marriage is a bad idea for everyone, and that love is questionable at best.

Beware of Dr. Doubt, friends! We call him in to keep us safe, and help us stay well, but he always sickens us instead.

We have been taught that doubt is reasonable, scientific, thorough, self-protective, responsible. In fact, doubt is crippling, and potentially lethal. And of this you can be sure: the more beautiful the thing you doubt, the less likely it will survive the "treatment." So if you want beauty to live and thrive in your life, keep Dr. Doubt far away from your growing intuition of spiritual truth, your love of spiritual beauty, and your heart's hope.

6. Live a life of rightness and goodness, not as a path of self-improvement, but as an expression of who you are

For a person of a low (ego) self-image, good action feels stressful and hypocritical -- like something to be avoided. For a person who believes themselves to be good, good action is NATURAL. Much depends on who you think you ARE.

A genuinely good life becomes yours when you understand this, deeply and truly:

The ego-identification that drives ordinary self-improvement is, in itself, a sad and costly misunderstanding.

Once you really see that, you will let go of ego-identification -- and thereby become free to be as you truly are.

The good news: When you truly recognize who you are, a perfect child of God, and you truly recognize God, your natural impulse is to go out and love people, and do right in your life. And to sincerely and wholeheartedly correct whatever you're not doing right.

When a person engages in such genuinely good activities, to the casual observer those activities may look like efforts at self-improvement. But you see, when you are in your right mind, knowing who you are, nothing you do is for the purpose of self-improvement. It is all just a natural and fitting expression of who you are. It is the natural and spontaneous expression of Godliness.

Your Bright Future Without Illusions

Illusions can't keep us down forever

In spite of all we've said about the difficulty of seeing our illusions and getting beyond them, and in spite of how rare it is for a soul to get free, we will go free, inevitably. Illusions will end for each one of us without fail. That's because we will not have it any other way.

The human soul does not like what is untrue, you know. An illusion is a kind of lie, so it is obnoxious and painful (as any lie is). A lie is annoying to us in the same way that injustice is annoying. Untruth grates on us because we are true.

The heart is true, and good. So is the soul. Untruth is out of alignment with the heart and soul. We are true; we are real. Our reality makes lies annoying, irrelevant, and incompatible with us. So, until we throw off the imaginary shackles of illusion, we won't be satisfied -- we can't. For a period of time, we may take our illusions for granted; we may willingly conform all our life to the popular mindset, and seem comfortable doing it. But we can never be happy in chains, no matter what.

You can be free and happy any time. There's never a day when gaining freedom from illusions is any easier than any other, so there's no need to wait. No merit in being longsuffering. You have the power you need. You have the knowledge. And you've just been reminded of both.

by David Truman

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