The Nature of Illusion

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Summary: A collection of statements by the Tibetan

"Illusion . . . The world of phenomena is not denied, but we regard them mind as misinterpreting it, and as refusing to see it as it is in reality. We consider this misinterpretation as constituting the Great Illusion. . . . The Problem of Illusion lies in the fact that it is a soul activity, and is the result of the mind aspect of all the souls in manifestation. It is the soul which is submerged in the illusion, and the soul that fails to see with clarity, until such time as it has learnt to pour the light of the soul through into the mind and the brain. . . . Illusion is primarily of a mental quality, and is characteristic of the attitude of mind of those people who are more intellectual than emotional. They have outgrown glamour as usually understood. It is the misunderstanding of ideas and thought-forms of which they are guilty, and of mis-interpretations." (Esoteric Psychology, Vol. II, p. 472)

"It is in meditation and in the technique of mind control, that the thinkers of the world will begin to rid the world of illusion. Hence the increasing interest in meditation as the weight of the world glamour is increasingly realised, and hence the vital necessity for right understanding of the way of mind control. . . . Only the intuition can dispel illusion, and hence the need for training intuitives. Hence the service you can render to this general cause by offering yourselves for this training." (Glamour: A World Problem, p. 22/3)

"Illusion is primarily of a mental quality, and was characteristic of the attitude of mind of those people who are more intellectual than emotional. They have outgrown glamour as usually understood. It is the misunderstanding of ideas and thought-forms of which they are guilty, and of misinterpretations." (Glamour: A World Problem, p. 26)

"Today illusion is so potent, that few people whose minds are in any way developed, but are controlled by these vast illusory thought-forms, which have their roots and draw their life from the lower personality life and desire nature of the masses of men." (Glamour: A World Problem, p. 32)

"Glamour, as we have seen, is of more ancient standing and of earlier emergence than is illusion. It has little in it of the mental quality, and is the major factor controlling the majority. The objective of all training given on the Path of Discipleship, and up to the third initiation, is to induce that clear thinking which will render the disciple free from illusion, and give to him that emotional stability and poise which gives no room for the entrance of any of the world glamour." (Glamour: A World Problem, p. 33)

"The disciple is the victim and, let us hope, the dissipator of both glamour and illusion, and hence the complexity of his problem and the subtlety of his difficulties. He must bear in mind also (for his strengthening and cheer), that every bit of glamour dissipated, and every illusion recognised and overcome, 'clears the way' for those who follow after, and makes easier the path of his fellow disciples. This is par excellence, the Great Service, and it is to this aspect of it that I call your attention. Hence my attempts in these instructions to clarify this issue.
     One of the problems which confronts the aspirant, is the problem of duly recognising glamour when it arises, and of being aware of the glamours which beset his path and the illusions which build a wall between him and the light. It is much that you have recognised that glamour and illusion exist. The majority of people are unaware of their presence. Many good people today see this not; they deify their glamours, and regard their illusions as their prized and hard won possessions." (Glamour: A World Problem, p. 44/5)

"An aspirant succeeds in contacting his soul or ego through right effort. Through meditation, good intention, and correct technique, plus the desire to serve and to love, he achieves alignment. He becomes then aware of the results of his successful work. His mind is illumined. A sense of power flows through his vehicles. He is, temporarily at least, made aware of the Plan. The need of the world and the capacity of the soul to meet that need, flood his consciousness. His dedication, consecration and right purpose enhance the directed inflow of spiritual energy. He knows. He loves. He seeks to serve, and does all three more or less successfully. The result of all this is that he becomes more engrossed with the sense of power, and with the part he is to play in aiding humanity, than he is with the realisation of a due and proper sense of proportion and of spiritual values. He over-estimates his experience and himself. Instead of redoubling his efforts, and thus establishing a closer contact with the kingdom of souls, and loving all beings more deeply, he begins to call attention to himself, to the mission he is to develop, and to the confidence that the Master and even the planetary Logos apparently have in him. He talks about himself, he gestures and attracts notice, demanding recognition. As he does so, his alignment is steadily impaired; his contact lessens, and he joins the ranks of the many who have succumbed to the illusion of sensed power. This form of illusion is becoming increasingly prevalent among disciples, and those who have taken the first two initiations. There are today many people in the world who have taken the first initiation in a previous life. At some period in the present life cycle, recurring and recapitulating as it does the events of an earlier development, they again reach a point in their realisation, which they earlier reached. The significance of their attainment pours in upon them, and the sense of their responsibility and their knowledge. Again they over-estimate themselves, regarding their missions and themselves as unique amoung the sons of men, and their esoteric and subjective demand for recognition enters in and spoils what might otherwise have been a fruitful service. Any emphasis upon the personality can distort most easily the pure light of the soul, as it seeks to pour through the lower self. Any effort to call attention to the mission or task which the personality has undertaken detracts from that mission, and handicaps the man in his task; it leads to the deferring of its fulfilment until such time when the disciple can be naught but a channel through which love can pour, and light can shine. This pouring through and shining forth has to be a spontaneous happening, and contain no self-reference." (Glamour: A World Problem, p. 52/3)

"Illusion is the mode whereby limited understanding and material knowledge interpret truth, veiling and hiding it behind a cloud of thought-forms. Those thought-forms become then more real than the truth they veil, and consequently control man's approach to Reality." (Glamour: A World Problem, p. 240)

"You are in process of incarnation; you are following your chosen way. Is the house you are building yet lit? Is it a lighted house? or is it a dark prison? if it is a lighted house, you will attract to its light and warmth all those around you, and the magnetic pull of your soul, whose nature is light and love, will save many. If you are still an isolated soul, you will have to pass through the horrors of a more complete isolation and loneliness, treading alone the dark way of the soul. Yet this isolation, this loneliness, and this separation in the dark night, are all part of the Great Illusion. It is, however, an illusion into which the whole of humanity is now precipitated in preparation for unity, freedom, and release. Some are lost in their illusion, and know not what is reality and truth. Others walk free in the world of illusion, for the purposes of saving and lifting their brothers, and if you cannot do this, you will have to learn so to walk." (Esoteric Astrology, p. 343)