CONVERSATION 14 — ILLUSIONS
How often are we disappointed in our lives by people or circumstances; when things just don't seem to work out the way we expect them to? Why is it that people never seem to be the way we'd like them to be, and why also is it that others have to expect us to be a certain way too? There's always so much tension and stress as a result of all of these upsets isn't there?
So where does all this drama in our lives originate? Well, this is what you and I see all the time, isn't it, Kari — in our own lives, as well as those of our clients, our colleagues, friends and families. Illusions!
Illusions are all the things we perceive, that are different from the way they are in reality; or something that deceives us by producing a false or misleading impression of reality.
Great, so now we know what illusions are and how they come about — but we've only just scratched the surface, because the word 'reality' is where the real problem lies...
What then is reality? It's something that we see as being real, or that we assess as being the truth. The way we see the world is a reality, is it not? Sure it is! What I see is what I see, and what I know is what I know... It's real — that's my reality.
And yet, as we hold in Ontology, we each see the world differently. Each and every human being on the planet has their own unique experience of life. This means their own interpretations and assessments, their own truths and their own realities, no two of which are the same.
There may be similarities, but that's as close as it gets. Kari and I share a belief and a cause, and yet we see the world completely differently. Kari sees the world as a woman; I see it as a man. Kari goes outside today in Norway and has to deal with metre-deep snow, whereas I'm sweating it out in the punishing humidity under the South African sun... We are from different cultures and have different tastes. Our individual experiences of life could not be more different.
The road Kari and myself have chosen to travel together is, you might say, a mere illusion — and yet nothing is more real to the both of us. This is because we accept that the illusions are ever-present, constantly throwing up barriers and obstacles for us; challenging us at every turn. We embrace the illusions as being our teachers and our guides, rather than our enemies, because they afford us the opportunity of seeing or experiencing something differently from one moment to the next.
As an Ontological Coach, the focal point in determining a person's Way of Being, is through their language. Here is where the illusions are to be found. More often than not, what you say (your spoken word) highlights the illusions, because what I observe to be the 'real' story you're communicating is to be found in all the stuff you've left unsaid. Not necessarily in the sense that you say one thing, whilst meaning something completely different — but in that the real message is communicated by your body language, or the manner in which you speak and the way you skim over the things you don't want to say out loud...
So it follows that we unconsciously create our own illusions through our language. We are constantly beset by illusions and they affect the manner in which we experience life. People and circumstances disappoint us, because they don't align with our expectations. Understand too that the very same applies to the next person, and the next — each having their own expectations of everyone and everything else. The illusion here, is that the world changes according to our Way of Being, so that nothing apparently works out according to the way we want it, or nothing fits with how we originally perceived it to be. Now it becomes "your fault" or "things never seem to go my way"... Illusions!
Unless of course, you were to work with the illusions towards establishing what you want, despite them. Kari and I have a common calling — a shared reality — and we are both very passionate about what we want to manifest from that calling. Yet we understand that were it not for the illusions, we would not be able to differentiate between what is real, and what is not real. It would be the way I see it and the way she sees it and we'd never see eye-to-eye.
In the second half of the conversation, we will endeavour to assist you, our readers, in how to recognise and acknowledge illusions — turning them to your advantage. For now though, Kari, perhaps you'd care to illuminate illusions from the perspective of a Kinesiologist.
I want to start here, with a funny story I heard some time ago: A husband was sitting in the kitchen, watching how his wife cut off both ends of a roast before starting to cook it for dinner. "Why do you do that?" he asked. "That's the way it's done, I've learned that from my mother! That's what makes a perfect roast." The husband went to his mother-in-law and asked her: "Why do you cut off both ends of the roast before you cook it?" " Because that's the way to get a perfect roast!" she said. "I learned that from my mother!" The man went to ask Grandmother what it was all about. She laughed and said: "My oh my, are they still doing that? The only reason I did it, was that my oven was too small, I had to cut off the ends to make room..."
We can laugh at this story, but at the same time we feel a bit embarrassed, don' we? We have all experienced beliefs that at some point turns out to be just an illusion. And so often, even when we only feel a bit embarrassed, it covers up a deep fear. A fear we've learned to live with and take actions for during the years. By creating illusions to make it understandable.
You're absolutely right, Guy, when you say that every single one of us has our very own personal view of life. And why is that? Have you ever experienced the difference between the light at sunset and sunrise? Both show a beautiful sky, it's breathtaking. Still, the morning light is more blue, the evening light is more red.
Most of us don't see it. So why don't we see it? Again... Our magnificent brain! It creates the illusion that it's the same light...
I want to take you back to very early childhood, before the age of 2. You've come into this world, a world you don't understand, and you do all you can to figure it out. You don't have any logical sense yet, you're not able to understand the consequences of your actions. You live in complete trust, in the moment. Exploring! There are so many things yet to learn, but for now, there is just happiness and excitement.
Then mom comes, lifts you up and tells you that she's going out for a moment. She has to see the dentist and get her hair done, before she picks up some groceries. It will take a couple of hours, in the meantime, Grandmother will take care of you.
You panic!! The only thing you understand of all this, is that Mom is leaving without you! You have no idea what a dentist is, what it means to do your hair, or what a couple of hours is. All you now, is that she's leaving you! The fear you feel is the fear for your life, because instinctively you know that without Mom, you can't survive.
This goes on for 10 seconds! Grandmother is there, you love her, she's safe and warm and life turns out great again.
But what happened in those 10 seconds? The fear of being completely alone and scared for your life, does have an effect in your understanding for life. And it happens again, and again, because that's how life is. After a while we start to understand that Mom is coming home again and it is fun to stay with Grandmother. Everything seems good again.
What is the effect of this fear in you? How will your brain alter it, what "file" will it put this fear into? Will it alter the recipe of how important you are? What will it do with your trust in the world as a safe place to be... What about your trust in that you're loved?
This is the starting point of your own personal illusion about your self-worth! And for those who have read our previous conversation, I just want to remind you that the brain of a 2 year old is still evolving, so technically you're still in a hypnotic stage. And even if you forget what happened, it will always stay as a memory in your brain as a part of your interpretation.
As you grow, our dear friend Ms Amygdale will search for everything reminding you of those terrible 10 seconds of life and death fear, your brain gets the message and interprets every word and action of people around you and create your beliefs. And what you believe what you see.
In fact, our consciousness is created in a way that whatever is brought to your attention, will create a story. And that story is created entirely out of your own experiences in life. It's your own inner drama.
So what do we do? We find persons and relationships to play our inner drama out with. Persons that have their own illusions, that are perfectly suited to confirm our own illusions. So what do we get here? There is a chance that we create a mutual addiction of each others drama... And that is a topic to go into in another conversation.
Is there anything in our world as humans, that hold the only truth? Aren't our illusions what we need in order to grow? To develop as humanity? And as we develop as humanity, how does that change our illusions? Take a look back in time, how barbaric we find much of our history to be! At that time, it was the truth! Based on illusions...
How do we disclose illusions? And when we do... then we need another truth... isn't that an illusion too?
I want to answer this from my point of view before sending it over to you, Guy: The absolute greatest illusion of all as I see it, is that we're "only human", helpless in our own dramas, always waiting for "the other person(s)" to understand our situation and start changing to our favour... And forget about the enormous power inside each and every one of us, understanding that we're all unique and we fill out the picture for each other!
What about you, Guy? Do you have any examples to share of how we can disclose illusions through language?
Well as a matter of fact I do, Kari. But first, your mention of looking back in time and the truths and illusions which prevailed, reminds me of how Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) was convicted on suspicion of heresy and confined to house arrest until he died — simply for claiming in his book "Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems" that (amongst other things) the Earth and other planets orbit the Sun.
The reality for mankind at the time was that the Sun and all other planets orbited the Earth, and any suggestion to the contrary was unthinkable — in fact punishable! Such was the collective fear of the unknown! The close-mindedness of that era was such that there was no room for freedom of thinking, leading to what we would now define as preposterous illusions on a vast scale.
Luckily, in the modern age we are — for the most part — able to question 'the truth' and suggest new concepts without persecution, even though it must be said that as the human race, we have a very long way to go before we have freedom of consciousness for all. This is the quest which Kari and myself have chosen to follow.
Now to your question, Kari. Some years ago, there was a young black man (I will call him Themba for the purposes of this story) attending a PowaBase workshop who was extremely withdrawn and uncommunicative in his language. When asked a question, he would search for the answer he thought you wanted to hear, or invariably just answer yes or no. Every aspect of his Way of Being showed that he had retracted into his shell. His performance at his place of work was very mediocre and he had essentially been sidelined as someone who was 'going nowhere' in his job.
Naturally, it became apparent that Themba was in dire need of immediate coaching, to establish the reasons for his demeanour and assist him in finding a solution. Upon questioning, it surfaced that he had grown up in an area of South Africa that was, in the upheaval and unrest of early 1980's Apartheid, a political hotbed, with violently opposing factions.
Themba's parents — who were political activists at the time — had explained to him in no uncertain terms, that he should speak to nobody. One did not know, if there was a knock on the door at night, whether it was a neighbour come to borrow some sugar, or someone who had come to kill you and your family. So his 'truth' became "what I say could get me killed"! Imagine that, as a small child of four or five years, who's natural desire is to learn about life, to talk to people and to challenge everything, being restricted in such a way for fear of his life and those of his family!
The problem here, was that nobody rang a big bell in 1994 (when democracy came into being in South Africa) and shouted, "it's okay to talk freely now!" No, those illusions were for Themba (and millions of other South Africans, I might add) well and truly entrenched. So many people, too fearful still to make themselves heard, because of that unconscious story, "what I say could get me killed."
Fast forward to a late-thirty-something Themba, who was still too afraid to talk, yet had no clue as to why he couldn't. Well, once he had shared his tale, it was established how his interpretation of the events originating in the 1980's, had led to his unconscious, yet life-defining story of "What I Say could get me Killed."
To cut a long story short, Themba was coached towards observing the language of his assessment of that period of his life and the story he had created as a result. Then he was able to change both assessment and story, i.e.: Is it still dangerous to talk freely and openly to people? No. Does the story "What I Say could get me Killed" still apply today? No, it was all a grand illusion. How do I choose to assess my circumstances now? I am able to open up and share my thoughts and feelings with anyone I choose. What is my new story? I am creative, outspoken and can achieve anything I desire!
And guess what? This is exactly what Themba did for himself! He became one of the movers-and-shakers in his company, he found that he was brilliantly creative in many ways and applied the realisation to his life and job, resulting in astounding progress. Themba went from 'going nowhere' to 'shining star' literally overnight.
So to break it down, Themba was initially coached into observing his limiting patterns of behaviour (his barriers); then defining the story behind the barriers and the assessment at the root of it all. Once the entire drama was laid bare before him, he could replace the assessment, the story, and in fact his entire Way of Being, with that of his choosing! He accomplished his process of transformation and disclosure of his illusions purely through observing his language.
This process does not necessarily require coaching, but you most certainly need to develop your skills of observation (a topic Kari and I discussed in Conversation 4), because it's not easy to spot the unconscious stories we create for ourselves. Remember, that one of the reasons these stories become unconscious for us, is the following: In our formative years as a child, the assessments we make are entirely different from those we would make of the same situation as an adult. The emotional responses we have (and the memories of the emotions) are the same throughout our lives — joy, sadness, fear, whatever... So we make assessments based upon our emotions and create a story as a result. As we grow older, we forget the stories, as they were but childish assessments, but the emotional memories remain. Many years pass and we still react to the same fears, except now they become limiting patterns of behaviour, as the stories are now unconscious and we're unable to join the dots...
Should you, valued reader, feel that you have barriers to success that you are incapable of solving alone. please feel free to contact either Kari or myself and we will gladly assist you!
Kari, I'm sure that you have a Kinesiologist's way of looking at how to disclose our illusions, so please do share!
Your Themba story is a beautiful example of how illusions live their life, completely undetected and create the understanding of life for every one of us. And they get so real! Because they are! Illusions are made from your assumptions about your experiences, what we don't realise is that they stay the same even when they're outgrown. We nurse them and we use them and love them for how they help us to understand why life is as it is. And we look for companions, other people with similar illusions, so they can confirm that our illusions are the truth. We do it in relationships, personal and work-related, we do it in politics, in our mutual belief-systems, in our culture, our race and in humanity as a whole.
We put people in "boxes" and "know" how they are, based on their behavior, their partners, education, what they do for a living, where they live, the colour of their skin, what their religion might be, there is an overwhelming amount of "boxes", all connected to illusions. And we look to others for acknowledgement, to be sure we hold the truth.
The thing is, that there is no truth except one, and that is love. So, is that my illusion? Is that our mutual illusion, Guy? Because what is love?
Have you ever fallen in love? Have you ever given birth to a child? In the moment when there is only pure love, does anything else matter, except the only reason for love? You feel alive, you feel happy, nothing can take that feeling away from you! You don't have to sleep, you don't have to eat, it's enough to be filled with this amazing feeling. Love.
Very often clients tell me, in their first session, about an unhappy relationship. "My husband does and says so-and-so, my wife does and says so-and-so. I don't think I can handle it anymore, it makes me sick!"
For me, that always exists, if I dare say so... The best way to disclose your illusions, is to be aware of what people around you, show you. Your family, friends and co-workesr. And very much so, the person you've chosen to share your life with! Hopefully because you fell in love!
I always tell my client to let that problem rest for a while, until we've balanced some of the issues and disclosed some of the illusions. I never say why, I just explain it with the fact that when stress-related issues are cleared out, it will be easier to make the best choice!
What I know, is that this person, driving my client to the point where he or she doesn't want to continue anymore, is a magnificent teacher! Without even knowing it! Just like my client is a magnificent teacher for the next person!
I want to go back once again, to the little two-year-old. He is very determined with what he tries to accomplish, learning about the world. And now he understands that he's not a part of mom, he's actually a person of his own, with things he wants to do on his own. Sometimes he's not allowed to do this, because it can be potentially dangerous or if he doesn't get his way, then he becomes a grumpy little boy!
It is kind of cute, isn't it? And the amazing thing is that it is so easy to distract him, and after a few minutes, he forgets it all and is just as happy as before! I don't think it is just as cute, when I see a 50-year-old man acting the same way. When he turns into this grumpy little two year old, because he doesn't get his way...!
The two-year-old is experiencing a feeling of separation. He so desperately wants to do what he wants to do, he doesn't understand why he can't. So he feels separated and alone. Again, not for long! Just for a few seconds... And he acts! Often with anger, screaming, kicking, punching! And he gets a reaction from the grown-ups! What is the reaction he experiences? It will be the start of the illusion called separation. It will be the start of a behavior-pattern that will continue until he gets that it's all an illusion! As the years go by, this illusion will get bigger and bigger, like a spiderweb. The reaction will stay the same...
The illusion that we're separated from other people is collective. We all feel that from time to time, it's a natural part of life. If we don't feel alone from time to time, we can't recognise and understand how important we are!
And when we get angry, no matter what the reason is, we meet this illusion. And this is why I tell my clients to wait until we've had a few sessions before making a choice about what to do. Because this person, making you mad, pushing you to your limits, is your very best teacher! This person reacts to your actions, based on your illusions. He or she shows your illusions right to your face, without filters. And every word or action that creates any feeling other than love, joy, happiness and harmony, highlights your illusions!
If you really want to have a life of balance and harmony, take a deep look at your life and what your surroundings reflect back to you! And try to be honest... Remember that every single thought or feeling you have is your own, nobody else's. It's unique to you. Honour it! And grow!
We often talk about Abundance, Guy. Next week I want to talk about what we really mean with that. What is abundance, and what role do illusions play when it comes to it?