Question: Many Eastern and New Age religions claim that all separateness and self-identity is an illusion; What are your thoughts on that?
Answer: I see some of the thinking involved with this kind of outlook as an escape valve to not have to develop ways to transcend the ego/selfishness.
Of course, it’s important to see the interconnectedness of all things; I have had experiences of the interconnectedness of all things as well. But the connections are complex, and need to be seen for what they are. The things that keep us separated in spirit can’t be wished away, but must be understood and righted.
In my view, ego/selfishness can’t be transcended by merely saying that it’s an illusion; it is a willful process which takes unending work, and hard work at that. There are many philosophies and religions, especially trending now in our current age, that want to tell us that all we need to do is acknowledge that we are one with the universe and — Whoola! — that’s it. End of story. The problem is, I don’t recall Gandhi, Buddha, or Jesus claiming that to become unified with God and those around us, or to realize spiritual enlightenment, is such an easy task as to merely say that our apparent separateness is an illusion.
I believe that we are all unified to the Spirit of God on a very basic, fundamental level (as the interconnectedness of all things to the Spirit of God). As I illustrate in my writings, I believe that we are a part of God that God willfully gave to us to be something new and unique. To be whatever we want to be. To share or not share. To raise ourselves to the heavenly heights, or suffer unhappiness in the pits of selfish indulgence.
For me, unity doesn’t mean a loss of identity. We share ourselves with God and all things and they share themselves with us, and in that way we are unified, we are One, but never do we lose who we are. It’s not the losing of self but the sharing of self that makes the whole process of life so beautiful and enjoyable.
Maybe I’m right, maybe I’m wrong, but that’s The Truth as I See It.