Do enough reading about enlightenment and you’re bound to come across the idea that “the world is an illusion”. It’s easy enough to believe. We can look at many things within our world and see that they don’t exist, yet still affect us. Money, debt, political borders, laws, and countless other ideas have a strong grasp on our daily lives. We can even look at the fabric of matter, space, and time themselves and see that on the smallest levels there seems to be nothing there at all. We’re just a hologram brought about by some mathematical waveform interfering with itself. It’s easy to then say, “Well, if none of this is real then nothing matters”. However, this isn’t what is suggested by the statement that the world is illusionary.
What the world is, is conditional. That is, every thing has a prerequisite. Its existence and current state of being is dependent upon other things. Your home is built on stone that is there because the continents shifted, which exist because the earth exists, which congealed out of the early solar system, because the universe exists, and so on. You feel a certain way because something happened at some point in your life, which happened because of interacting with other people, which happened because those people were born and lived nearby. All things have a source and a path through time which has led them to be the way that they are.
But we can become aware of the unconditional. You might say that that is what having an awakening actually is. By following any of a number of traditions – Magia is the one of choice for me – we can somehow miraculously, divinely, gain an awareness of things which seem to have no prerequisite for their existence. The experience of being aware of unconditional things has its source, a moment in time where a revelation occurs, but the things themselves have no external reason for their existence. They just are.
For me, the first unconditional awareness I came to was a silent stillness, both internal and external, which is always and all-present. The stillness is a quality shared by all of existence, a state which everything has which is not dependent upon anything else, and brings with it an awareness of something beyond existence. Another place that contains no motion and no apparent reason for being, timeless and eternal. This naturally gives rise to questions about how something with no beginning can exist. And, when you realize you are part of that which has no beginning, you question how you can exist in a place where everything seems to have originated from something else. How could you be born if you already existed?
Here is where we find the illusion. You are part of something with no beginning and no end, timeless and still. That same something is part of everything. So, you are part of everything, and everything is part of you. To our everyday senses this is not apparent, but it is there for anyone interested in looking to see it. The illusion is that we think of ourselves as separate. As observers in a world moving independently from us. The illusion is that we began here at some point, and will have an end here at some point, rather than us having always existed. The illusion is that everything external is not also internal, and everything internal is not also external.
When you have a dream, you find yourself in a world which is completely internal to your mind. You can be present within it, move around, interact with others, and feel like it is the whole of reality. You can identify with your own perspective in that dream and say “this is me”, and look at other people in the dream and say “this is not me”. Yet everything within that dream has come only from your own imagination. When you experience something unconditional, you can see the illusion of this world as if it was dream. You can see it as a shadow of another world, or like you’ve confused your reflection for yourself.
All of this means the opposite of the world being “unimportant” or “not real”. The fact that you are here experiencing it makes it inherently important. Knowing that the world is part of you, and you part of it, means that it is very much a real thing. And being able to find the unconditional here through the conditional world means that it is a miraculous and magickal place.