Letting Go, Part 6: Illusions

Posted on 07/29/2018 by Rev. Benjamin R. Faust D.D.

AUDIO: dialup - broadband - podcast

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 listening right now 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.