by Michael Maciel
Just as a person’s face can reveal something about his or her personality, no one would presume that it reveals everything. There’s almost an infinity of stuff going on behind the masks that we wear.
Why do we presume, then, that the external world is any different?
I’m sitting at my dining room table looking out at the incredibly beautiful California Wine Country—hills covered in lush, green grass with vineyards and trees stretching out before them.
And like you, I sense that there’s something illusory about the landscape—the face of the “world”—that I’m seeing.
But what am I not seeing? The trees are all pointing their leaves at the morning sun, soaking in the light. The cells within the leaves are busy converting that light into food, which is then transported to the rest of the tree. Water is being drawn up from the roots, exuded from the leaves, along with oxygen, and it’s all taking place with mind-boggling precision.
One could almost say that the trees are conscious, but we would have to define what “consciousness” means. It might be better to say that consciousness is everywhere and that it’s operating in a particular way called “tree.”
There’s also a highway in the distance, where I can see people on their way to work. Each person is seeing this same world that I’m seeing, although from a different perspective and with different expectations. Every car contains a different kind of conscious awareness.
If I let myself, I can begin to see that there is more consciousness out there than face, that there’s more—WAY more—going on than what’s painting itself on my brain screen. There is so much more than the flat image reveals, indeed CAN reveal, that it’s no wonder that I begin to suspect that what I’m seeing is an illusion.
Maybe the word “illusion” conceals more than it reveals. Maybe what we call “illusion” is really more of a distraction. Maybe it’s the curtain that prevents us from seeing the real part of the world, the larger dimension, and the multiplicity of activities that are taking place 24/7 right before our eyes.
When we begin to see that consciousness is everywhere—that there is intelligent interaction between all things and at all levels—then time and space begin to take a back seat. The different time frames and spatial relationships begin to shift. Their boundaries seem to conform to a different dimension altogether. Even the colors start to reveal a deeper, more organic intelligence as they change across a timescape so different from my own.
When I look into that “face,” a personality so deep and so vast starts to reveal itself to me. I begin to sense that there are deeper realities still, dimensions that I cannot even imagine, much less perceive.
So, is the world an illusion? Not really. I’d say it’s more of a distraction. We see the painting, not the artist. And the weird thing about it is that in some inscrutable way, this painting paints itself. This painting we call the world is its own artist. But just as this world is one small component of a much larger world—the Cosmos—we can assume that there are lots of paintings and lots of artists, and they run deep, so deep that we could never count them all. It’s painters and paintings all the way down.
Rather than try to deny the existence of the world, as though it were a construct of the mind, maybe it would be better to look past the appearance—the face of it—and peer into what’s not so apparent. The reality of THAT might just be more than the average person could bear, which is why we are so enamored by the face and so blind to what’s behind it.