Teachers on the mystical paths have been teaching for many years that all this is an illusion. Because most of them take the negative connotation of the word, it takes on the understanding of fake. I submit it would behoove us to look at all this as an allusion, a pointing towards a deeper truth; we call metaphysical truths ‘deeper’ truths after all. The Divine Oneness is not limited to the categories of ‘real’ and ‘false’. Accept the validity, as well as the falseness, of things; embrace both without being concerned with which one is true. From one direction, it is real. After all, there is something going on that gives rise to all these impressions. From another, it is false, because all these ‘things’ are manifestations of the One, not the One.
- An indirect reference; a hint; a reference to something supposed to be known, but not explicitly mentioned; a covert indication
One of the reasons I prefer ‘allusion’ to ‘illusion’ is because the latter is understood in the context of fake; what is fake can be dismissed. An ‘allusion’ is a pointing at a deeper truth; it may not be real, but neither is it false. One can dismiss an illusion because it points at itself; an allusion points at ‘something else’ and we fail to see the point when we dismiss the pointer. In addition, realizing the allusion is a pointer at a deeper truth prevents it from becoming an idol to be worshiped in place of the ‘thing’ it pointing out. This approach also prevents the pointer from becoming dismissed as unworthy of consideration.
It is not a question of “Is it A, or is it B?” It is a question of “What is it that manifests as A and B?” Both A and B are allusions to a deeper truth; neither one is The Truth. The dualism is not existential, it arises from our assumption the map is the territory. Reality is a
The traditional monistic answers to this issue barely qualify to call themselves monism as far as I’m concerned. They pick one ‘side’ as being reality and do their best to degrade the other. The trouble is that picking one side over the other locks us in a prison of our own making. From the moment we choose a side, we must defend that choice, even if it means we must ignore the equally valid evidence presented by the other side. Reality is not a ‘One side or the other’ type of thingie, no matter how hard traditional Monists attempt to prove themselves right.
The only thing that keeps these issues going is the fear of paradox. The truth has to be one or the other and we end up going through tremendous mental gyrations to keep it that way. We have nothing to fear from paradox, for paradoxes are not contradictions outside of linguistics. Particles do not contradict waves nor do waves contradict particles. Material does not contradict spiritual nor does spiritual contradict material. The paradox is that whatever the Source of all this is, it manifests in a dual fashion yet is not a duality itself.
This is beautifully illustrated by Chuang Tzu - “this” gives birth to “that”. According to Chuang Tzu, the wise person recognizes the boundaries between left and right but she ignores them. He recommends that we acknowledge and accept the paradox.
What do I mean by harmonizing them with the Heavenly Equality? Right is not right; so is not so. If right were really right, it would differ so clearly from not right that there would be no need for argument. If so were really so, it would differ so clearly from not so that there would be no need for argument. Forget the years; forget distinctions. Leap into the boundless and make it your home!
The Complete Works of Chuang Tzu, Translated by Burton Watson
When we accept the paradox, we gain the freedom to see reality as it is without having to impose limits based on what we think it should be. Reality can be expressed as material as well as spiritual with equal validity; all picking one over the other accomplishes is to lock us in a prison of our own making.
The doors to this prison are not locked by anything but habitual thinking. We can leave confinement any time we choose. As we walk away from the prison, we do not have to choose between travelling either the material or the spiritual path because the path is a unity that manifests as material ‘and’ spiritual.