Reflection on the Delusion

This post is a personal reflection, an inner conversation with myself. When I use the pronoun ‘you’ I am addressing myself. It is not directed to anyone other than my self. I just want to invite you in on the conversation.

Humanity lives in a delusion, which I will describe as an agreed upon construct of reality. The word delusion is hard, shocking, intimidating, terrifying, and even insulting. I am an unconscious participant in this massive delusion that I call ‘the real world’ and christen it as reality.

I would also suggest that humans share in this ‘Matrix’ of delusion. Perhaps I am a digital representation ‘caught in the self-centered dream’.

We rely upon this shared construct to shield us from the terror of what may not be, and the possibility of what may not be, actually is and isn’t simultaneously.

“The Matrix is a system, Neo. That system is our enemy. But when you’re inside, you look around, what do you see? Businessmen, teachers, lawyers, carpenters. The very minds of the people we are trying to save. But until we do, these people are still a part of that system and that makes them our enemy. You have to understand, most of these people are not ready to be unplugged. And many of them are so injured, so hopelessly dependent on the system, that they will fight to protect it.” Morpheus, The Matrix

Khurana, Simran. “Unforgettable Morpheus Wisdom From The Matrix.” ThoughtCo, Aug. 27, 2020,

We all fight to protect our delusion — our “own private Idaho”. ( And perhaps it’s time to make friends with our enemies, which only turn out to be ourselves, once we take our masks off.

From the dawn of time and until the end of time, this delusion, or self-centered dream, will persist because Time is only relevant within the delusional Matrix of our self-centered dream.

I have a hunch that we live within an eternal continuum that contains time and space.

This Matrix is held compassionately in this ‘womb of reality’ until we are ready to be unplugged from our delusion.

We think that if we measure durations and activities and link them together, that we will arrive at a solution, that we call reality. Cause and effect, good and evil, light and darkness, enemies and friends, love and hate, sanity and insanity. Contrasting conundrums that don’t quite add up. We construct gardens of Eden, notions of Nirvana, bliss, devils, and angels with flaming swords, to reward and punish ourselves for our delusions, with our own delusional Matrix.

“Jesus! What a mind-job! ”

Cypher, The Matrix

The Matrix1999; Director: Andy Wachowski, Larry Wachowski,

We have deemed ourselves unworthy of the Garden and Grace. We have devised original sin to explain why things don’t go our way. We must have pissed god off somewhere along the way.

We construct elaborate myths to help us understand our delusions. We try to connect the dots, but the dots don’t really connect to create a coherent picture. These elaborate sophisticated constructs are devised to explain the inexplicable, that ‘really’ don’t require or ‘need’ any explanation at all.

Perhaps we just ‘need’ to observe, watch our breath, and surrender to ‘not knowing’, which may be the most useful knowledge of all? I’m working with that.

Knowledge, according to the creation story from the Bible, is what separated us from the garden in the first place. Is ‘original sin’ perhaps rooted in the need to know outside of what we actually know, right Here and Now?

The ‘Garden’ is the ‘Now’. The separation from our ‘being just this moment’ is perhaps the original sin that has held us hostage with our own beliefs. We put the gun to our own heads.

“Caught in the self-centered dream, only suffering;

Holding to self-centered thoughts, exactly the dream.

Each moment, life as it is, the only teacher; Being just this moment, compassion’s way.”

Charlotte Joko Beck

Holy books, holy people, holy cows — religion, spirituality, philosophy and science — all of these construct our notion of reality, which mostly displaces us from our-Selves.

Reality stops at the door of our delusion and waits on us to open it from the inside.

“If you meet the Buddha, kill him.” this famous quote is attributed to Linji Yixuan (also spelled Lin-chi I-hsuan, d. 866)”

If and when you meet The Buddha,
Kill him.
Then come back
And sit.
In Zazen.
Enlightenment is there,
Before it arrives.

“Zen master will say, ‘Kill the Buddha!’ Kill the Buddha if the Buddha exists somewhere else. Kill the Buddha, because you should resume your own Buddha nature.”

In Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind (Weatherhill, 1970), Shunryu Suzuki Roshi;

Perhaps, what we ‘choose’ to see is a also a part of our collective psychosis. We want to declare that we, in our personality — our mask, are the masters of our fate and molders of our reality — “co-creators”… “exactly the dream”. Psychosis is defined as a mental disorder characterized by a disconnection from reality. (I use this as an analogy, not in a clinical sense ). I further refine this definition of reality is something that we shared and agreed upon somewhere along the line. Our shared delusion.

‘Choice’, in this example, is also an element of the delusion. Is it partly because of the terror that comes with the alternative that none of what we see actually exists — ‘impermanence’? Or could it be, that we fear we would suffer a psychotic break, if we open our eyes and pull the covers from over the top of our heads? …Then down the rabbit hole we go.

From the story of pre-homo sapiens scattered over the savannas, hunting, tool making, forming family groups, to evolving into ‘modern’ humans, forming tribes and city states and nuclear weapons. I imagine, that perhaps the transition from the simple family and tribal groups, and their struggle to survive, have infused our ‘modern DNA with primitive corporeal existence.

I would also argue that the wonder and respect that the so-called primitives nourished, to live in their environment harmoniously, has also been lost to the violence and chaos of modern civilization. Technology has done us very few favors toward our evolution. I think, at some instinctual level, hidden deep in our basal ganglia, and autonomic fight or flight responses that helped us when were were primitives, has largely gone unchecked in our social and spiritual evolution.

We, by and large, have exchanged the wonder and naivete that was probably present in our ancient ancestors. The sun, the moon, the stars, birth and death, were all a part of the mystery of life. And out of sheer existential terror, we got stuck as a species, grasping and inflicting our most base survival instincts on each other and the whole world. We shit in our own nests.

Yet, here we are, Life. We see it, hear it, feel it, and touch it, and smell it, whether we like it or not. We really can’t avoid it.

“The Matrix is a system, Neo. That system is our enemy. But when you’re inside, you look around, what do you see? Businessmen, teachers, lawyers, carpenters. The very minds of the people we are trying to save. But until we do, these people are still a part of that system and that makes them our enemy. You have to understand, most of these people are not ready to be unplugged. And many of them are so inert, so hopelessly dependent on the system that they will fight to protect it. Unfortunately, no one can be told what the Matrix is. You have to see it for yourself.” The Matrix is the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blindly. The Matrix is a computer-generated dream world, built to keep us under control in order to change a human being this [this copper-top D cell battery].

“What is real? How do you define real?”

“This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill—the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill—you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes.”

“I’m trying to free your mind, Neo. But I can only show you the door. You’re the one that has to walk through it.”

“Have you ever had a dream, Neo, that you were so sure was real? What if you were unable to wake from that dream, Neo? How would you know the difference between the dream world and the real world? “

“What you know you can’t explain, but you feel it. You’ve felt it your entire life, that there’s something wrong with the world. You don’t know what it is, but it’s there, like a splinter in your mind, driving you mad.”

“If real is what you can feel, smell, taste and see, then real is simply electrical signals interpreted by your brain.”

Khurana, Simran. “Unforgettable Morpheus Wisdom From The Matrix.” ThoughtCo, Aug. 27, 2020,

To deny the delusion is also delusional.

“The Insight that Brings Us to the Other Shore”, (The Heart Sutra)
by Thich Nhat Hahn

while practicing deeply with
the Insight that Brings Us to the Other Shore,
suddenly discovered that
all of the five Skandhas are equally empty,
and with this realization
he overcame all Ill-being.

“Listen Sariputra,
this Body itself is Emptiness
and Emptiness itself is this Body.
This Body is not other than Emptiness
and Emptiness is not other than this Body.
The same is true of Feelings,
Perceptions, Mental Formations,
and Consciousness.

“Listen Sariputra,
all phenomena bear the mark of Emptiness;
their true nature is the nature of
no Birth no Death,
no Being no Non-being,
no Defilement no Purity,
no Increasing no Decreasing.

“That is why in Emptiness,
Body, Feelings, Perceptions,
Mental Formations and Consciousness
are not separate self-entities.

The Eighteen Realms of Phenomena
which are the six Sense Organs,
the six Sense Objects,
and the six Consciousnesses
are also not separate self-entities.

The Twelve Links of Interdependent Arising
and their Extinction
are also not separate self-entities.
Ill-being, the Causes of Ill-being,
the End of Ill-being, the Path,
insight and attainment,
are also not separate self-entities.

Whoever can see this
no longer needs anything to attain.
Bodhisattvas who practice
the Insight that Brings Us to the Other Shore
see no more obstacles in their mind,
and because there
are no more obstacles in their mind,
they can overcome all fear,
destroy all wrong perceptions
and realize Perfect Nirvana.

“All Buddhas in the past, present and future
by practicing
the Insight that Brings Us to the Other Shore
are all capable of attaining
Authentic and Perfect Enlightenment.

“Therefore Sariputra,
it should be known that
the Insight that Brings Us to the Other Shore
is a Great Mantra,
the most illuminating mantra,
the highest mantra,
a mantra beyond compare,
the True Wisdom that has the power
to put an end to all kinds of suffering.

Therefore, let us proclaim
a mantra to praise
the Insight that Brings Us to the Other Shore:

Gate, Gate, Paragate, Parasamgate, Bodhi Svaha!
Gate, Gate, Paragate, Parasamgate, Bodhi Svaha!
Gate, Gate, Paragate, Parasamgate, Bodhi Svaha!”

This life is an elaborate game of “now you see it, now you don’t”, with our eyes wide shut.

If you deny and break from the delusion — the agreed upon construct of reality — you are considered psychotic (not in the clinical sense, in this discussion). And if you don’t accept the delusion, you are delusional, living the self-centered dream. Both psychosis and the agreed upon construct exist within the delusion. I think (which is dangerous), that maybe observing, intensely cultivating, as Thich Nhat Hahn puts it, “interbeing“, just might be something to consider.

“Looking deeply” means observing something or someone with so much concentration that the distinction between observer and observed disappears. …When we see the nature of interbeing, barriers between ourselves and others are dissolved, and peace, love, and understanding are possible.” (Is interbeing a transcendental acid trip? Just asking for a friend.)

Living Buddha, Living Christ
Thĥch Nhật Hanh, Elaine H. Pagels, David Steindl-Rast
Published 1995

Now you see it, now you don’t, just keep looking. Perhaps it is you that is the doorway waiting to be opened.

“Knock, knock Neo”. The Matrix

All of these reflections defy words and concepts. This is a drop in a vast ocean, a ‘wrinkle in time’. This is part of my ‘process’ of cultivating interbeing — a hopeful work in progress. Humanity uses words and concepts to define reality. Perhaps it is ‘Reality’ that is also compassionately defining and liberating us. Let us surrender to this Compassionate Grace, “the Insight that Brings Us to the Other Shore” (Thich Nhat Hahn).

“Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost, but now am found
Was blind but now I see.” John Newton

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