The Grand Illusion of False Appearances
As long as we place worth in the external world only, then our lives will continue to be ruled by nothing other than surface level appearances. We must go deeper—we must realize our true Self within, the source of all happiness.
Most people rely solely upon the external world for their emotional wellbeing, or rather, their happiness (or lack thereof) depends entirely upon the physical world and its constantly changing appearances, which includes all of its cultural and societal manifestations in which we have collectively become so invested.
In other words, most people’s sense of happiness relies upon the impossible—maintaining the permanence of that which is inherently impermanent.
Certainly, this is a foolhardy quest, but one which we are nevertheless enamoured and overwhelmed with.
We attach our happiness onto fluctuating bank accounts, the beauty and condition of our ever-aging bodies, the success of our favourite teams, and how we believe the outside world perceives us. We believe that what matters most is that which is outside of us, and because of this, our sense of who we are—our internal sense of self—remains separated from the rest of reality.
When we live in such a way our emotional health then becomes entirely dependent upon the state of the false objects of consciousness that we have asserted value onto, that in actuality have no lasting or redeeming qualities of their own—such as flashy cars, fancy shoes, six-pack abs, a corner office, a well-stocked liquor cabinet, and a penthouse downtown.
All such things have no inherent spiritual worth of their own. If you rely upon them for your happiness, then you choose to be dependent upon the perspective of the collective, the hysteria of the crowd, and the dumbed-down group-think of the masses.
No longer subject yourself to the passing whims of other people’s overly-cricital opinions.
Care not about what others think. Care not about your “position" in the game of life. There is nothing to be gained, nor is there anything to be lost.
Awaken from the dream of concepts, names and appearances. Realize that you are already complete—it is only your belief in the unreal that deludes you.
In reality, these are all just variants of the same dream—transitory and conceptual modulations of consciousness—ones that we have mistakenly placed our life's entire focus onto. But such surface level appearances are momentary flickers of mind, they are not real.
“How utterly dependent is the personality of man and how indifferent is its world.”
—Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj
You may depend upon this world of your projections to define your identity and self-worth, but it cares not about you, because in reality it doesn't even exist. It is empty of any permanent form, characteristic, or attribute—it is a conceptualization of consciousness only. It is an illusion—and a very convincing one at that.
It is this ignorance of truth—ignoring the truth of reality—that keeps you bound to a cycle of suffering, one that continuously revolves around pleasure and pain, with each revolution making you more and more dizzied and sick.
You must awaken from the dream so that you can abide in the true beauty and bliss of all that is real.
When your wellbeing relies upon a world of concept (where the appearance of things matters more than its underlying love), you surrender your personal power over to the dream itself. No wonder there’s so much misery—everyone is stumbling around without any self-awareness, without any true integrity, and being nothing other than a slave to the dream and all of its ridiculous drama.
How can happiness possibly exist in such a vacuum? The truth of reality belies any such illusory surface-level appearance. It is immune to any and all conceptualizations we infer upon it.
The dreamworld of culture and society is nothing more than a creation of your consciousness, it requires your continued belief to sustain its appearance. Once no longer believe in what it purports to deliver, its apparent reality will dissolve alongside your disbelief, and you will see the drama of life for the illusion it truly is.
No longer invest your care and attention in a false world that cares nothing about you—success, beauty, fashion, power, position, wealth—none of these so-called qualities have any reliable attributes of happiness on their own. When you see through the facade of temporary pleasures and surface-level appearances, you wake up from the dream in which you’ve been floundering.
As long as we place worth in the external only, then our lives will continue to be ruled by nothing other than surface level appearances.
But since all appearances fade, dissolve, age, change, whither and die, this guarantees us nothing other than a life of continual suffering.
Consider yourself for a moment. What is the nature of the illusory world you've placed your happiness in the hands of? Facebook likes? Or perhaps working your way up the corporate ladder? Are you overly-concerned about trying to meet the expectations of others? Do you rely upon constant approval from your social and professional circles?
See the illusion for what it is. All of this is fleeting, none of which can provide you with any lasting sense of spiritual wellbeing.
In order to find peace, happiness and contentment, you must look within and realize your true Self nature, that which is forever unchanging and eternally reliable—your undying presence of boundless awareness—your essence of all-accepting unconditional love.
Only once you're in harmony with your true Self will your happiness be able to freely flow.
Visit Brian at Zen Thinking to read more of his work.