Holy smoke! Ego’s get rabidly angry when they hear that life is an illusion and that they are too. My gosh, how folks fight for their ego’s identity; it never fails to amaze me. Just try mentioning to another human that there is no self and just watch the resistance and anger that manifests. This is the same reason people fear death. Self-cherishing!
Okay then. Let’s say that life is not actually a dream, and not an illusion, and not a bubble; HOWEVER, life is LIKE a dream, an illusion, a bubble. Things are not as they appear to us in our ego-based delusion. For instance, an object like a table is just made up of protons and neutrons. A physicist would tell us that a table is basically just empty energy. But, of course, if someone threw a table at you (let’s just say), it would hurt (*mostly because we believe it would.) Ultimately it is empty, but on a relative level it appears as solid and our memories will make it feel solid. Those who can, as we have read about, walk through walls do so because they know the truth of reality. Ultimately what we see is an illusion (like the reflection of the moon in the water or a reflection in a mirror) and this illusion is presented by our various senses and the memories associated with those senses over eons of lifetimes which create the reality as we now experience it. The point is that things re not what they seem to be. In meditation one can experience the direct realization of this truth (intellectually knowing doesn’t do it) and this experience of direct realization in meditation is truly trans-form-ative!
The world, including ourselves, are like a dream, a rainbow, a bubble, a flash of lightening–ungraspable and in an impermanent contestant flux. Life may look substantially solid and (‘Lordie knows’, as the saying goes) how the gods and angels above might laugh at all the crazy tactics and dramas that we monkey’s create as we try to make ourselves righteous and indignant in our self-cherishing attempt to create a solid identity. It’s laughable really.
Shadows. Rainbows. Let’s take a rainbow for an example. It is created by conditions, by rain and Sun and by many other causes, but when we try to find it, we cannot. Just the same way, in a dream everything seems so real but the dream doesn’t have any core reality that exists outside of our very own mind. A bubble seems real but prick it and it is just empty air. Life itself is this way.
“May I see all things as illusions and, without attachment, gain freedom from bondage.” — that’s the ending of the Eight Verses of Mind Training.
What kind of bondage? Ego bondage.
Duality and Oneness are so misunderstood. Self and other: this duality. And we watch how we and others create causes and conditions which create self-cherishing responses to life which create more and more separation and ego-based delusion. People will say things like “I must protect myself from this or that” or “I must do certain things that make me feel good”–all of which emphasizes and reinforces the sense of self, the sense of ego.
Putting self last and other’s first is a way to break the spell of ego-based delusion and best of all it increases happiness. People are very concerned for their self when they are asleep and deluded but then this is instinctive isn’t it? I mean this whole self-preservation instinctive behavior is what causes us great suffering if you think about it and it is the furthest point from true spirituality that there can be.
One of the antidotes to self-cherishing and ego-based delusion is to put others before the self but not, of course, in a masochistic type of way. I’m referring to a way of balancing that all important self-clinging that gets us into trouble and causes so much suffering for self and others. I monitor this in myself when I am awake and clear and centered and I admit that I fail at times and loose my way in my own ego-based delusion many times. I cling to my own self importance when other humans seem obnoxious to me and I actually want to run from them, forgetting the rainbow, the bubble and the illusion of causes and conditions playing out before my eyes, ears, and all my senses. It’s tricky; it’s a pickle; it’s often lost but then picked up again, and again–always coming back to these Eight Verses (below) as an inspiration.
I can sometimes realize in the ‘heat of the moment’ so-to-speak about how silly it is to become angry at something or someone that/who doesn’t really exist in the first place, at least not in the way they appear. Again, in all relationships to person, place or thing– “May I see all things as illusions and, without attachment, gain freedom from bondage.” But then meanwhile, may I at least put others before myself as a way of releasing self-cherishing so that I can let go enough to wake up from the sleep of self-importance. See what I mean?
Well, anyway… the Eight Verses in their entirety appear below and by the way, it is said that His Holiness The Dalai Lama who is called the Embodiment of Compassion repeats /recites these verses every day. Personally, I fail miserably as I try to follow the path of someone like The Dalai Lama but I do aspire to these verses in my life view, my attitude and actions to avert ego-clinging.
Just as in meditation thoughts wander and we bring them back to center, to breath, to the focal point, this how we can bring ourselves back from ego-clinging which is what indignant righteous self-protection is all bout and what worry, fear and anger is about too.
Anyway, the inspirational antidote, the meditation and contemplation to counter-balance and hopefully release all of that anger, fear, worry and self-protection and self-cherishing are the following versus offered here for the reader’s consideration:
With a determination to achieve the highest aim
For the benefit of all sentient beings
Which surpasses even the wish-fulfilling gem,
May I hold them dear at all times.
Whenever I interact with someone,
May I view myself as the lowest amongst all,
And, from the very depths of my heart,
Respectfully hold others as superior.
In all my deeds may I probe into my mind,
And as soon as mental and emotional afflictions arise-
As they endanger myself and others-
May I strongly confront them and avert them.
When I see beings of unpleasant character
Oppressed by strong negativity and suffering,
May I hold them dear-for they are rare to find-
As if I have discovered a jewel treasure!
When others, out of jealousy
Treat me wrongly with abuse, slander, and scorn,
May I take upon myself the defeat
And offer to others the victory.
When someone whom I have helped,
Or in whom I have placed great hopes,
Mistreats me in extremely hurtful ways,
May I regard him still as my precious teacher.
In brief, may I offer benefit and joy
To all my mothers, both directly and indirectly,
May I quietly take upon myself
All hurts and pains of my mothers.
May all this remain undefiled
By the stains of the eight mundane concerns;
And may I, recognizing all things as illusion,
Devoid of clinging, be released from bondage.
May all who need to find and read this post, find it and by reading even one line here that is helpful, may they be so helped, aided and thereby served.