When I had the insight that we’re all living in an illusion and believing it’s real, it came more in the form of “OMG we’re all crazy and we don’t know it!”. It seemed incredibly hilarious to me to discover that we
were no more “sane” than anyone in a psychiatric institution... It’s just that for most of us who are on the outside, our own personal illusions (thought-created experiences of life) happen to be more socially and culturally acceptable. And
even more importantly, I realized that our personal craziness, had absolutely nothing to do with who and what we are at the core of our soul.
With each of our separate illusions of life, whenever we look out the window and see the
things that most of us would describe as the grass, or the sidewalk, or a tree, they aren't being seen or experienced by any of us in the same way. None of us ever ONLY sees a tree. Instead, in each changing moment, we are experiencing an incredibly complex
mix and flow of continually changing energy of thought, created from a lifetime of observation, memory, interpretation, meaning, significance, imaginings, feelings, and even brand-new–in-this-moment thought about the tree. And that’s assuming,
that in this moment, we even notice the tree at all!
And so the more I began to realize this, the more I got curious. How different is everyone’s illusion from mine? What craziness are they seeing in their own head? What tree are
Right now, I’m seeing an elm tree, which I wouldn’t have known was an elm tree if someone had told me, the tree with Dutch Elm disease, you know, the one that’s dying, the one that we’ve bandaged multiple
times with a super sticky goopy ring of tape to resist from disease, the one with the woodpecker holes in it, one hole of which has grown from the size of a golf ball to the size of a bowling ball, the tree that’s a bit hard to mow around with its irregular
root forms at the bottom, the bare winter tree that right now looks really interesting... dark and twisted and gnarled against the solid coloured sky, the one with the rugged and rough patterned bark, the one with the one huge branch that cracked and fell
on the sidewalk a few years ago without killing anyone, the tree with another big branch that’s likely gonna fall on my house someday, the one that the city doesn’t seemed to be too concerned about yet despite my two significant calls, and hey,
what’s the matter with city services anyway, I bet they pay attention when someone from Tuxedo Park calls about their tree! Well, you get the idea.
I know that when you look out my front window, you and I are neither seeing
nor experiencing the same tree, even though we would likely use the word tree to describe it.
And that’s just ONE simple small thing in this expansive universe… a single tree in my yard... something with physical mass that
we can all see and touch and smell and hear and even taste, although I wouldn’t really recommend that you do. Oh what the heck, go right ahead if you want to!
So how then can we possibly even begin to get common understanding
of all the infinite number of other things in life that aren’t solid and visible… things like fear, or belief, or feeling, or anger, or happiness, or right, or wrong, or good, or bad, or illusion, or crazy, or sane. We talk to each other all the
time, assuming we are having the same conversation, when clearly we aren’t and clearly we never can.
And how hilarious is it that we manage to function and cooperate and coexist in this universe as well as we do with all this
personally unique craziness? And oh, doesn’t this now give us the single reason for when, how, and why we don’t function and cooperate at all?
Once we start getting a better sense of this “illusion” of life, we
begin to get more freedom from our own craziness, more amused by its creativity, less invested in it personally, and much more curious and less judgmental about everyone else’s current bout of thought-created craziness.
So hey, what
crazy tree do you see?
And hey, while I’m at it, if you were a tree, what tree would you be?