Joseph J. Weed
Every esoteric student should know something about illusion. He should learn what it is not. And he should try to understand what illusion is and how to clear his way through it to truth.
The word illusion is often misused to signify a lack of knowledge, or unsettled opinions, or even glamour which is emotional in nature. It is sometimes used also to indicate misunderstanding, or psychic bewilderment, but none of these are illusion in the esoteric sense.
Actually illusion is strictly a mental problem. It is generated by:
Let us examine these causes of illusion in order.
Wrong perception. Every thinking being is constantly in contact with thought forms of all kinds and this mental atmosphere in which we dwell is the greatest cause of illusion. Most of these thought forms are of man's making, some new, some old, and some even very ancient. It was an ancient and powerful thought form, for example, which Hitler employed to dominate the German people. This was the old and long discarded thought form of the "master race" which he used just like a lever to control the sentimental and easily led Germans. Yet we know now there is no such thing as a master race or a master people. Such then is one form of illusion.
All of us are constantly creating thought forms and picking them up from each other. You can well understand, therefore, that very few of these thought forms even approach true actuality. The best of the thoughts held by the average human have only a small element of truth in them and many are completely false. But fortunately for us there are among them clear and concise thought forms created by Hierarchy for our benefit which accurately picture the truth of things. Fortunate indeed is he who makes contact with these higher thought forms and guides his life by them for he is then to a degree freeing himself from illusion.
Another area of wrong perception occurs when the ideas given us by Hierarchy are clothed with emotion and become ideals. Generally speaking high ideals are very good for the average man but the esotericist should learn to distinguish between the ideal which is emotional and the original idea which is mental. It will come as a shock to some to he told that many of our most cherished ideals are actually illusions and must be outgrown. For example, we are beginning to become aware that nationalism is a mistake and cannot exist much longer in a world which is growing smaller day by day. Yet for countless centuries nationalism, or patriotism, or love of one's own country above all others has been a most cherished ideal. Actually, this ideal is an outgrowth of an idea implanted by Hierarchy in the consciousness of men many thousands of years ago. At that time all men were hunters or nomads living in tribes or small groups which wandered from place to place in search of game and other food. Seeing the need for leisure which could only be obtained through living together in large groups and staying in one place, Hierarchy released into the minds of men the idea that to stay in one place, the place of one's birth, was good and desirable. This led to the tilling of the soil and the agrarian peoples came into being with their greater leisure and the beginnings of culture. But the idea soon became surrounded by emotion and emerged as the ideal, love of country which eventually grew into nationalism.
The cure for this type of illusion is a training in discrimination. One must learn to distinguish an idea from an ideal, to know what is constructive and what destructive, to separate the old from the new.
Wrong interpretation. This occurs when the perception of an idea or truth may be correct but then be distorted in its expression later because of an inadequacy in the mental or emotional equipment. The cure here is to develop humility and act with care and caution.
Wrong appropriation. This is a fairly common error leading to serious illusion. It occurs when a man makes contact with an idea or truth and then mistakenly looks upon it as his own creation. Led on by pride of ownership he then gives it undue importance and attention because he regards it as his. He builds his life around it and expects others to regard it as belonging to and originating with him. He forgets that no one idea belongs to anyone but that all ideas are universal and belong to all. In these days of selfish materialism only the greatest souls are capable of maintaining the proper attitude with the ideas they are privileged to contact. The cure for this illusion is the cultivation of unselfishness and impersonality.
We must realize therefore that over the thousands of years since thinking man first began to make contact with truth, a vast number of ideas have accumulated and been developed into ideals and thought-forms. These thought-forms are contacted by succeeding generations of men who reach out to them and make them their own, giving them life and perpetuating their existence. They thus become part of man; they condition his reactions and activities; they feed his desire nature and eventually become so important to man that they create a barrier between the man of today and true Reality. This is the nature of Illusion.
Joseph J. Weed
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A Rosicrucian Speaks
Joseph J. Weed
Copyright: The Chatsworth Press
Last Modified on: January 19, 2014