Letting Go, Part 6: Illusions

Posted on 04/26/2015 by Rev. Benjamin R. Faust D.D.

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TRANSCRIPT: (does not contain everything found in the audio above)

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GLORY

Great is the Lord God Almighty
Great is the Lord on High
The train of His robe fills the temple
And we cry out highest praise

Glory to the risen King
Glory to the Son, glorious Son

Lift up your heads, open the doors
Let the King of Glory come in
And forever be our God

Holy is the Lord God Almighty
Holy is the Lord on high
Let all the earth bow before You
And crown You Lord of all


EVEN THE MOUNTAINS

We praise you Lord because you're worthy
You are Lord and King of the earth and sky
Let us lift you up and declare your glory
Let us lift our hands and our voices high

Even the mountains praise your name
the rocks and the stones cry Holy!
Whoever seeks for your face
will never be the same
Let your kingdom come
in Jesus' name

I'm an instrument, I am only a vessel
Help me open up to receive your love
Let us put to death thoughts of opposition
Let me step aside and point the world to above


WITH ALL THAT I AM

I praise you Lord
I praise you Lord

With all of my heart
With all of my soul
With all of my strength
I praise you Lord

For there is nobody like you
in heaven or on earth
Who is worthy to receive
all my praise
And I praise you with all that I am
Yes I praise you with all that I am


I'll serve you Lord
I'll serve you Lord

With all of my heart
With all of my soul
With all of my strength
I'll serve you Lord

For there is nobody like you
in heaven or on earth
Who is worthy to receive
all my praise
And I'll serve you with all that I am
Yes I'll serve you with all that I am


I love you Lord and
I'll love you Lord

With all of my heart
With all of my soul
With all of my strength
I love you Lord

For there is nobody like you
in heaven or on earth
Who is worthy to receive
all my praise
And I love you with all that I am
Yes I love you with all that I am


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Over the past few weeks,
we've talked about
letting go of:
Fear,
Guilt and Blame,
Shame,
Grief, and
Lies.

Today,
let's talk about
Letting Go,
Part 6:
Illusions.


I ran some searches
trying to find
some Bible verses
that talk about
illusion.

Well,
I didn't find much.

What I DID find
were verses
such as

Revelation 22:15 (ESV)

15 Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.

Okay,
I guess the
"practices falsehood"
part works.
And we
talked about
that one
last week.

Next,
this verse in
Isaiah 8:19 (EVS)
was listed:

19 And when they say to you, "Inquire of the mediums and the necromancers who chirp and mutter," should not a people inquire of their God? Should they inquire of the dead on behalf of the living?

Hmmmm......

I guess when we
think of
mediums,
we think of
magicians.

And when
we think of
magicians,
we thinks of
illusionists.

But that's not quite
what we're
talking about today.

Finally,
I found this verse
in Isaiah 30:10 (NIV),
which is closer
to the type of illusions
we're addressing
today:

10 They say to the seers, "See no more visions!" and to the prophets, "Give us no more visions of what is right! Tell us pleasant things, prophesy illusions."


Prophesy illusions.

Isn't that what mankind
has always wanted?

Consider it for a moment:

Throughout history,
when someone
goes around
just telling stories
that open people's eyes
to the truth concerning
their long-held illusions,
they tend to end up
getting killed.

"Tell us pleasant things,
prophesy illusions."

We stop up our ears
in an unconsious attempt
to protect the illusions
that have become a part
of who we think we are.

And I didn't say
"THEY" stop up
"THEIR" ears.

WE do it.

YOU have done it.

I have done it.

We do it all the time.

Don't believe me?

Good.

Just look for yourself
and see the reality
of what is.


Recently,
I posted something
on Facebook
in response to the
posts people were sharing
about animal abuse.

Some posts pointed out
the evils of the
dog-eating festival
in China.

Others shared outrage
against people who
kept dogs and cats
in small cages.

Another was a video
that showed a man
pushing a donkey
off of a cliff
just for entertainment,
and the comments
called for the man's
imprisonment
or even his execution.

So far, so good.

But the same people
who condemn eating dogs,
eat other animals themselves.

And the same people
who condemn putting
cats and dogs in
little cages,
or even on chains
in the yard,
pay other people
to lock up pigs
in tiny cages
in which they
can barely move,

or to house chickens
in tiny cages
stacked on top of
other chickens
in tiny cages,
so they can
lay eggs for them,

or to keep cows pregnant,
locked in small spaces,
and strip away their babies
while the cow cries out
for their newborns,
so we can
drink their milk
instead.

Now don't get me wrong.
I wasn't condemning
those actions.
I personally think
it's a horrible consequence
of our unconscious gluttony,
but that wasn't the point.

I was just pointing out
our double-mindedness.

You see,
the things
I just mentioned
are not opinions,
but raw facts.

And yet people get angry
when someone
simply states
what is undeniably true.

We love our illusions.


And what do I mean
by our "double-mindedness?"

Well,
Double minded means this:

"A double-minded person is confused in his thoughts, his actions, and his behavior. Such a person is in conflict with himself."

So if we
condemn the man who,
for his own entertainment,
kicks a donkey
off a cliff,

but WE,
for the self-entertainment
we call "appetite,"
pay someone to
abuse and slaughter
innocent creatures,

then we are
double minded.

We are attached to
conflicting opinions.

And thus,
we are holding on to
illusions.

Is it right to
push a donkey
off a cliff
just for fun?

Most of us would say,
"No! Of course not!"

Is it right to
put a baby calf
in a tiny box
where it can't move,
and feed it a diet
that causes them
to be malnourished,
on purpose,
so we can put
their tender corpse
on our plate
and deceptively
call it "veal?"

Many of us would say,
"No! That's cruel!"

And is it right to
feed our appetite
for animal flesh
for every meal,
on any budget,
so much so that
we necessitate
the use of
factory farms
and result in
the serious pollution
caused by our
growing appetite
for cheap dead flesh?

Someone is
offending themselves
as I ask these questions.

But I'm just asking.

I'm just using
accurate words.

If I called it
"affordable meat,"
or a
"fast food hamburger,"
or
"budget-friendly hot dogs,"

would people become
less angry?

But a hamburger
is usually the
ground-up corpse
of a spend dairy cow.

A filet mignon
is really
the muscles,
tendonds,
and blood
of the corpse
of a dead bull.

If you want to eat it,
then eat it.

But why get angry
when it's
accurately labeled,
unless you
prefer illusion
to raw truth?

I'm not telling you
to stop eating flesh.

But when
our illusions
are threatened
by the facts,
the mind
makes an enemy
out of whomever
is pointing out
the real nature of
its beloved mirage.

So eat a corpse.

But don't think
it came from
a happy animal
who wanted to die.

And don't think
you need it
to survive and thrive.

And don't think
it's not bad for you.

"WAIT A MINUTE!!!

You ARE telling me
not to eat meat!!!"

What did I say
that isn't true?

I'm not telling you
to change a thing.

I'm just pointing out
one little example
of our illusions
and how
attached we are to them.

That's all.

And food is an easy one.

People get really angry.

People get highly offended.

People get all religious.

"But God commanded Peter
to eat animals.
So you are
calling God a liar

if you say that
eating meat
isn't good for you,

or abusing animals
is wrong,
WELL,
as long as you're going to
EAT them afterwards,

or if you say that
a steak is a corpse,
when everyone knows
that's not true...

...well, okay, so
maybe it IS a corpse,
but 'corpse' is just
a word that makes it
sound unappealing."

Just like
"steak"
is a word that
makes it sound
like something
besides a corpse.


"Okay, okay!
enough on meat already!"


I'm just driving home
the point today,
and that point
is NOT about food.

The point is
ILLUSIONS.

WE, not just THEY,
have illusions.

And WE defend them
even beyond reason,
because,
without knowing it,
we are attached
to our self-deceit.

It is a vital part
of who we think we are.

Even if we think
that's not the case,
our feelings and
our reactions to
anything which might
shed some light
on our illusions
reveals that,
indeed,
they are part
of the "self"
I call "Me."


Illusions.


If any choice
or lifestyle
depends upon
illusion,
then chances
are pretty good
that it's not
the best choice
you could make.

Consider the Islamic religion.

Without attachments
to those religious beliefs,
or identification with
the underlying system,

cutting off people's heads
or blowing them up,
or raping their women,
or turning them into slaves

just because they
do not believe
what you tell them
to believe,

just might look
a tad bit wrong.

But bring in
the ILLUSION
that terrorism
is holy warfare,
and raping unbelievers
is pleasing to God,
and blowing up
women and children,

IF they are really
INFIDELS, and thus
PIGS and DOGS,

will guarantee you
instant eternity in
Paradise with
72 virgin women.

...

and suddenly,
presto-chango!

Women and children
become
sluts and bastards,
and
terrorism and murder
become
holy war and justice.

Is THAT example
easier to accept?

If so,
WHY?

Well,
most of us
probably don't
identify with
the label,
"Muslim."

And most of us
don't believe
heaven will mean
"Living in a
Gangsta's Paradise."

So THEIR illusions
are easier to see,
because we are not
attached to them.


"Go ahead and expose
OTHER people's illusions.
Just don't go near
to MINE. In fact,
I DON'T HAVE ANY."


10 They say to the seers, "Do not see," and to the prophets, "Do not reveal to us how things really are; instead, tell us pleasant things, and show us illusions."


To be free from illusions,
you must let go.

The Muslim holding on to
his or her beliefs in
the teachings of Muhammad,
if they let those beliefs go,
the illusions would go
all on their own.

The average person
in a wealthy nation
holding on to
their beliefs and
their traditions
about what they eat,
if they let those
ideas and beliefs go,
the majority
would probably
go vegan.

And those who don't
would probably
stop getting angry
about other people
who abuse or kill
the animals
they view as
less plate-worthy.


Illusions can be seen
any time there are
"blank spaces"
in any story.

Somebody
says or does something,
and we assume
a certain motivation.

If some facts
are left out
of the story,
without realizing it,
we will in the spaces
with various assumptions.

We might know in the head
that we don't really know,
but we "feel" as though
such-and-such
is PROBABLY true.

Be fully present
and watch long enough,
and you will see,
first hand,
how we are convinced
that certain details
are absolutely true,
when in reality,
our conclusions
have absolutely
no foundation
whatsoever.

This affects our memories
of what people said
or what they did
or didn't do.

We offend ourselves
because of our assumptions.

We make enemies
because of them.

We see the whole situation
through the thick filter
of the mind's illusions.

And then we wonder
why life is so hard.


Illusions.

How do we let go
of illusions?

Well,
if you're holding on to
the story of life,
if you're holding on to
the false "you"
that is composed,
in part,
of those stories
and various beliefs,
then you will dwell
under the
constant shadow
of illusion.

We've been talking about
letting go of our attachments.

And when you begin
dwelling in the place
of eternity and presence,
rather than
staying in the head,
then the things to which
you have become attached,
will start to become
visible to you,
one by one.

And by recognizing them,
and fully accepting
that you are indeed attached,
without judging or fighting
that fact,
then releasing them
will be within your reach.

And it will often happen
all on its own.


And that is not an illusion.
Rather,
it is a direct observation.
One that you can observe
for yourself.

Just let go
of the need to be
free from illusion,
or the need to believe
you are illusion-free.

God will reveal to you
one illusion at a time,
as you let go of
your attachments
to things of this earth,
and things in the head,
and things of the self.

In fact,
if you are open to that,
that's God's doing.

If you aren't,
if you feel angry,
if you feel defensive,
if you feel superior,
then THAT
is God's doing
too.

Or, more accurately,
your acknowledging
that fact
of your anger,
your defensiveness,
your feeling of righteousness,
your feeling of exaltation
because YOU "know better,"
is a step toward waking up.

If no one
lived in darkness,
no one could
step into the light.


Dwell in God's Presence.

Let go of being right.

Let go of opinions.
You might still have them,
or they might change;
but you will
cease to imagine
they are a part
of who you are.

Let go of perceptions.
They might be correct,
or they might be flawed;
but you will
cease to hold on to
your vision of the world.

Let go of persuasions.
Your political party
then has your permission
to be wrong,
as does your own
point of view;
you cease to
take them personally,
or seriously,
and they therefore lose
their power over you.

This is
Letting Go of Illusions.


Illusions block our vision.

Illusions lead us astray.

Illusions separate and divide us.

Illusions just...
...make us stupid.

...until we let them go.