A common man marvels at uncommon things. A wise man marvels at the commonplace. CONFUCIUS

Sunday, 25 August 2013


Delusion means mortality. And awareness means Buddhahood. BODHIDHARMA

It seems to me that many of us are deluded much of the time, and that we'd be a lot happier and more contented if we realised this.

We are deluded in so many ways: deluded that a bright and enticing future will soon eclipse a mundane present; deluded that we'll strike it lucky with the Lottery; deluded that we'll become that famous writer, artist, musician or celebrity any time soon; deluded that our little entrepreneurial enterprise is about to take off, go global and makes us millionaires; deluded that our children are the cleverest, kindest, most loving and respectful in the whole neighbourhood; deluded that marriage is necessarily forever and that loves always lasts; deluded that we are popular and well-thought-of by all; deluded that we are sharper, more quick-witted, more humorous and have more sex appeal than most of our friends and acquaintances; deluded that society will one day be perfect, or at least a lot more perfect than it is today; deluded that our own particular political or religious beliefs will necessarily create a better world; deluded that dieting will make us lose weight (95% of dieters eventually put on weight). The list of our delusions is endless.

But, you may ask, what's wrong with having ideals, goals, hopes and aspirations? Nothing, I reply. We are all free to have as many ideals, goals, hopes and aspirations as we wish. I am not criticising or standing in the way of any of these. But what I am suggesting is that constantly knocking our heads against the wall of false beliefs, unrealistic hopes and unattainable ambitions is a dissatisfying and stress-making process which could damage our psychic health. Instead of consciously or unconsciously deceiving ourselves, burying our heads in the sand and trying to escape from the at-times banal ordinariness and random harshness of life, why don't we attempt to look at ourselves and the world with a clearer eye, with spectacles less rose-tinted? To consider the facts of life more truthfully, more dispassionately?

If we do this, I think we may find a strange transformation taking place. We may begin to see a value in being where we are rather than perpetually longing to be somewhere else. We may begin to understand our own faults and shortcomings, and accept them with wryness, generosity and forgiveness, thereby understanding and accepting the faults and shortcomings of others. And we may begin to appreciate the small but extraordinary miracles happening around us in the day-to-day, rather than counting on larger miracles in the future — which are, more often than not, chimerical.


Hilary said...

I love this, and it came at exactly the perfect moment in time.

am said...

Have been meaning to say that it is good to see that you are bringing all your blogs back home to the Solitary Walker blog. I am reminded of The Golden Notebook, by Doris Lessing. It's all happening right here, right now.

Thank you for writing this today. It goes well with this:

"...when you stop looking back to the past or anticipating the future, when you make the conscious choice to be in this moment, when you enter wholly into the here and now."


George said...

I agree totally, Robert, and would comment more fully, but, I am currently in the throes of packing my earthly belongings for the long-awaited move to some place yet to be exactly determined in the Carolina foothills of the Blue Ridge mountains (closing the house sale and physically moving this Friday). In any event, I seem to recall Eckhart Tolle talking about the fact that all religions call our attention to the fact that most people live in a world of illusions and delusions, "maya" to the hindus, "dukkha" to the Buddhists, and "sin" to the Christians. It may be that delusions are a vital means of coping for most people. With time, however, many of us come to recognize that our lives would be incomplete if we did not pierce the the layered veils and experience the unmitigated reality of life. Delusions and illusions are such heavy armor in which to do battle. Personally, I prefer the lightness of being that comes with reality.

Arija said...

You made me smile. The last paragraph was spot on. The king in a palace does not see a brighter rainbow than a tramp sheltering under a bridge although the tramp may enjoy it more than the king whose pomp and circumstance tend to overshadow the wonders of nature's free gifts.

Thank you for your caring comment on my blog.

Dominic Rivron said...

I agree. It's interesting, too, that we can also be (to paraphrase your post) "deluded that we are unpopular and poorly-thought-of by all; deluded that we are dull, less quick-witted, less humorous and have less sex appeal than most of our friends and acquaintances, etc." Delusions can be both optimistic and pessimistic.

Ruth said...

Wonderful! Were you listening to our discussion at home this morning??

This is incredibly pertinent to where I am at the moment in a quagmire of familial turmoil over our family cottage. This morning's topic with my husband was exactly this, about those who are deluded and block any change that needs to happen.

And so, to avoid my own delusion, I realized I'd better stop knocking my head against what won't likely change in certain personalities, and go about problem solving and thinking critically within the constraints of what we have.


The Weaver of Grass said...

This metamorphosis happened to me many years ago upon my second marriage Robert.

Anonymous said...

Alleluia ! Future always be in the future and now can you see that weather so fine ?! Yes Forecast say it will be change, but now...I like so much the ambiance of your own new photo SW.

Amanda said...

Beautifully said, Robert, especially the last paragraph. We are so domesticated from birth on to believe the lie of our own imperfection, as don Miguel Ruiz says, that we can spend our lives unlearning them.

Rebrites@yahoo.com said...

or as contemporary sage Macrina Wedekehr says, "I will believe the truth about myself
No matter how beautiful it is."

The Solitary Walker said...

Hilary: I'm glad this worked for you.

Am: It's all happening right here, right now. Indeed. Thanks for the link.

The Solitary Walker said...

Yes, George, I agree. There are our psychological delusions, and also our 'higher' metaphysical delusions, which you touch on here.

Thanks for visiting, Arija!

Dominic: You make a very good point here.

The Solitary Walker said...

Ruth — there are always those who will never change or compromise. My father was one. After banging my head on a brick wall for ages, I eventually learnt to accept it, and work round it. You need a little guile, I might add!

A good place to be, Weaver.

Thanks, Anon!

Yes, I think the lie is of our own imperfection as well as of our own perfection, Amanda. Thanks for your comment.

Love this, Reb!