1996-12-14-Clutching the Illusion
• 1 Heading
o 1.1 Topic: Clutching the Illusion
o 1.2 Group: Pittsburgh TeaM
• 2 Facilitators
o 2.1 Teacher: Tomas
o 2.2 TR: Gerdean
• 3 Session
o 3.1 Opening
o 3.2 Lesson
o 3.3 Dialogue
o 3.4 Closing
Topic: Clutching the Illusion
Group: Pittsburgh TeaM
TOMAS: Greetings. I am Tomas. I am your teacher, your companion, your guide and your friend in our ascent.
Group: Greetings, Tomas.
TOMAS: It is good to be with you once again. I have been busy meandering around and planting seeds, as have you … and as many of you are today who are not in attendance. The work of the realm is consuming for many reasons.
TOMAS: I would like today to discuss with you to some extent the word “illusion” for illusion consumes most of your lives. Let me define for you what I mean when I use the word illusion, so that we understand each other in this discourse.
You read in your text today about perfection, relative perfection and imperfection, but I am speaking more in terms of reality and illusion and relative reality. You who are finite are born into a finite existence and, although it is absurd from our point of view, you are taught that this is your only existence, and so you approach your life under very circumscribed conditions. You believe that this is your reality, even your ultimate reality. When you have been born of the spirit, however, and the dawn breaks to the greater reality, you have an ability then to see what is real and what is illusion, and I would like to reaffirm that although this life in the flesh is finite, it is not necessarily entirely illusion, for that which has spirit reality, even that which has potential, is real.
Your relationships – even temporary, pleasure-seeking, profit-motivated relationships – may give birth to value and thus, to that extent, the relationship is real, although much of the interaction in the relationship could be construed as illusion. When you walk in the forest with divinity, even though you are in a finite environment, a finite being, you may walk in perfection and greater reality because of your attitude and approach to life, to the walk. But the thrust of my words regarding illusion have to do with the many individuals who perceive that this realm of reality is the reality and thus they are deluded; they live within an illusion of reality, a false reality.
Far be it for you to tell someone else that their reality is not real, that they live in and believe in an illusion. You will not make points testifying to such a truth. You will not create avenues for communication, bridge gaps and open doors. It is necessary then for you, as a seed planter, as a kingdom builder, to honor each individual’s understanding of reality, even that which is illusion.
It is difficult for evolving humankind to see into the reality that lies ahead, but it is not impossible for those of you who have advanced to appreciate the relative reality left behind, and so as you advance, as you evolve, as you grow in the spirit, you may look with loving-kindness on those who have not yet attained your understandings of reality.
And now for those of you who have an understanding of reality, who are surrounded by those who live in the illusion.
It is necessary for you to maintain your connection to the Greater Reality through prayer and meditation, through Stillness, through contact with your Indwelling God Fragment, and augment that relationship with your relationships with your spiritual peers, for without connection to spirit reality you yourself lapse into the illusion of a circumscribed time and space existence.
I thought it would be worthy to discuss this, this afternoon, for I have witnessed many of you succumb to physical illness lately and I have seen your lights extinguish. When you are under the weather, when you are trapped in your physicality, it is difficult to keep your head above water and to maintain any degree of spiritual strength, for all of your energy seems to go into the healing of the body. Even the mind feels/ becomes/ reacts as if it were sick/ tormented/ constrained to that lesser reality, indeed, that illusion which, in your illness, you regard as true reality.
It is understood that you are finite beings and that you are having a human experience, but as you counterbalance your human experience with the spiritual experience, you walk a balanced path. Surround yourself with symbols of spiritual association. Listen to music, which soothes your soul. Reach out and touch those who will reaffirm your spirit path, your spirit connection. Be patient as you allow your light to come on, as you gain strength, as you gain momentum.
This same truth holds not only for physical illness, but for psychological circumstances that present themselves in which people become ensnared. A person gets involved in a situation, it becomes the limited reality, their light goes out and they are living blindly in the illusion. It is no wonder that many of you despair, that many of you become confused. It is no wonder that your peers are frightened and lost. And so have patience and have mercy upon those who are lost, who are ill, who are caught in the illusion, for you know how miserable it feels to be there. You know what an uphill climb it is to the sunlight of the spirit.
Be patient with yourself as you grow, as you go through your cycles of growth, and always reflect your growth to your brothers and sisters that they, too, shall come to this point of seeking reality and they will begin their ascent into the spirit realms, your siblings in truth. Be tolerant of one another as you waver back and forth between the realms of reality and illusion, for as you know, ultimate perfection is a long way off. Rather, try to enjoy one another, savor the creative expressions of understanding in your peers, and be merciful on those who fear the spirit, who clutch the illusion. I am glad to be back with you.
Group: Good to have you here.
TOMAS: I have been away much of the time that you all have been ill. I have been working with the Canadian Teaching Mission and we are quite thrilled at the prospects there in our extension.
Mrs. M: That’s great. Great news.
TOMAS: It is great news. It is also wonderful to hear of your travels, daughter, to foreign countries and romantic places in the realm of body, mind, and spirit. Welcome home.
Ms. McD: Thank you.
TOMAS: Are there questions regarding the lesson or anything that we could enlighten one another with or entertain each other with this afternoon?
Leah: I’m curious. The language you used about our lights going out. I would have preferred that you said that they dimmed. Do they actually go out?
TOMAS: You realize, of course, that the very analogy is defective and so there is no hard and fast rule here, but I tell you true, it is my perception that they truly go out, for although the Thought Adjuster is alive and well, you are almost entirely disconnected from association with the spirit, and so your personal light has gone out.
It is only in and as you aspire to associate in and with the spirit that your light is steady. Even as you attempt to follow spirit guidance, your light will flicker as you encounter doubt and overwhelming challenges. But when you are ill or when you are cut off from faith or hope, your light dies. Only as you return to the spirit are you re-illuminated, are you re-connected, does the light begin to flicker and gradually become bright. It is not to say that you are spiritually dead, but you are spiritually asleep. Unconscious, if you will.
Which is why I urge you to keep your light burning, even as a dim night light, with soothing music, ministrations of a loved one, reminders of your finiteness in need of nurturance. Have someone read to you, surround yourself with healthy things as you are under the weather and this will help to remind you that this is a temporary set-back, a temporary condition.
Even as you become lost in your experiential realms, the same is true. Surround yourself with symbols of beauty and light and life that you may one day return to an understanding of the greater reality and not be content with the illusion. Has that clarified?
Loreenia: Sometimes the person is so sick, apparently, with the body – and the mind is caught up in it – and becomes so befuddled, it’s almost as if you’re incapacitated in the physical realm.
TOMAS: This is what I witnessed; this is what you experienced. And I tell you this is true. But it is a temporary lapse into illusion. I am glad to see everyone so well recovered.
Group: We are glad to be recovered! (Laughter)
Leah: Are there any lights flickering here?
TOMAS: Yes, your lights are flickering. I am not perceiving them to be blinding lights today, but they are on, certainly.
Mrs. M: Well, I was trying to tell some people at my mother-in-law’s funeral about the fruits of the spirit. I don’t think I was too successful. I think that one of my young nephews — and I always think of him as quite spiritual, but I wasn’t quite getting through — but I’m not going to give up yet.
TOMAS: I understand what you are saying and I think I see what you are doing. You are attempting to philosophize the fruits of the spirit for an intellectual understanding to those who have not experienced the fruits of the spirit in their life. It is necessary that they be born again in order to understand the concept of fruits, that they comprehend an understanding of spirit. You say that he is a spiritual lad. Rather than deluge him with mere words and intellectualizations, once again, daughter, experience these truths and realities with him.
Instead of trying to tell him, for example, about enlightened honesty, sit with him and share enlightened honesty, by your actions, by your interactions with him in your relationship. Share with him your heartfelt thoughts and feelings and emotions regarding your life from the standpoint of an aspiring soul, for he too has an aspiring soul and that will awaken in him a frame of reference, the frame of reference that you are trying to activate and titillate in him and in your relationshipLink title with him.
Mrs. M: That sounds good to me. I’ll think about that.
TOMAS: This is the importance of understanding that word “experiential.” You are experiential. You are having an experiential experience. It is so easy to become caught up in the intellectualizations of these marvelous concepts, but the gospel is alive. It is living. Not in the brain, but in the arena of the heart.
Mrs. M: Thank you.
TOMAS: Thank you.
Mrs. M: Well, I think I’m intimidated by this age group because I think they don’t trust anybody over 30, and so I’m trying to figure out, you know, what I could say that would be interesting to this young man.
TOMAS: Remember that Jesus’ technique was to ask them questions and to ask for help. If you ask them to perhaps carry something for you because you cannot lift it, they will understand that. They will appreciate their own youth and vigor, and as you walk together, they carrying your burden, you can engage them in a conversation that will lead them into the fields of promise.
Mrs. M: That’s good.
TOMAS: You are being true to yourself and you are not being artificial with them,
Mrs. M: I’ll be seeing some of them again in January and I can certainly prepare my mind a little bit.
TOMAS: Good. It is wise to anticipate the opportunity to serve. You must remain open, however, for the spirit to guide and direct your encounter for the opportunity may be presented for you. It is still well and good to think creatively in terms of how to promote the gospel, how to plant seeds that will come to pass as food for others, spiritual food for their own growth.
Mrs. M: I think I’d like to throw it open to input from others on when you have been successful in saying things that would interest these various age groups that are quite different from your own.
TOMAS: So you would like to open to the group a discussion on how their ministries have worked and compare notes? An excellent idea.
Mrs. M: That would be a discussion I would be pretty interested in, especially since I’m going to see all these relatives in January. They’re all coming to Pittsburgh for the second part of a funeral.
TOMAS: I trust that that is a mortal situation.
Mrs. M: It is my mother-in-law’s final internment.
TOMAS: A celebration of her passing.
Mrs. M: Yes. She was a wonderful person.
TOMAS: And still is.
Mrs. M: Oh, she is. She’s wonderful. And we all have that in common. We all love to talk about her. That’s a good starting point, probably.
TOMAS: Indeed, you may share your understanding of her manifestation of a fruit of the spirit.
Hester: I ask all of you, or some of you, that tomorrow I’ll be doing a funeral, to do exactly what you said, Elizabeth. All the grandchildren and the great grandchildren and one son will be in this group. And the son had ten children and the grandmother was fantastic, so hold with me. It’s going to take a lot of energy. A lot of energy was drawn in the death chambers.
TOMAS: I would refer back to our earlier words having to do with the light going out, for when there is a death, it is often the case that the survivor’s light also goes out in grief, in despair and sorrow of the loss and sense of abandonment. It is indeed wise to help these people keep their light burning, not only the light of faith that their dearly departed will resurrect, but that they themselves will resurrect to the joyousness of understanding the release of the one gone and their own release from pain at the natural process, that they indeed may find the light of love in each other to help sustain them in this earthly path. It is delicate work that you perform tomorrow, Hester, and I will also attend and the heavenly helpers also will lend a hand.
Hester: Thank you. We’ve already started it. We’ve asked them all to write a letter, and then any of them who desire can read the letter.
TOMAS: And you have begun the healing process.
Hester: I hope. That’s what I felt was coming.
TOMAS: Well done.
Hester: Thank you.
Mrs. M: We’re looking forward to celebrating (Christmas) for a couple of weeks now, Tomas, and I’m so glad you’re being with us. It’s really a special, wonderful time here.
TOMAS: Some find it so.
Mrs. M: I guess not all, that’s true.
TOMAS: It is a very difficult time of year for many. Indeed, you may use this season to manifest some of your fruits.
Mrs. M: Yes.
Leah: Well, a woman came knocking on our door at a quarter of one in the morning. Her engine had gone, and she was quite distraught, and telling us about her personal situations, and I listened to her and I felt kind of badly. I just gave her a cup of coffee and was thinking after she left it was an opportunity to have said something about God or something, and it was a missed opportunity. As it turned out the next day she came by and I got to push her car and she started talking about how her life was falling apart and I said to her, “Have you tried God?” and she just kind of looked at me. I was grateful just be able to say that, but . .. I was grateful that she came back.
Hester: I think we all try too hard sometimes.
TOMAS: I would like to say something about that, and that is that I am glad you have reflected on that having been a possible opportunity to enlighten or expand her grievance against life. Do not beat yourself up for not having all the answers and in being able to act on the spot, but as Mrs. M is preparing to approach her young people, you, since you spend so much time on the highway of life and encounter more than an average of unusual sets of circumstances with strangers, develop a method of connecting with them as perhaps in telling stories.
There are people who always have to tell a joke. You could become a storyteller and always have to tell this story of those who are in your debt, and then as you tell your tale, you may capture them, entertain them and open up an avenue for their understanding in the process. It is an affectation, yes, but it is also a conscious contact with someone who has crossed your path. If you have a desire to serve, if you wish to be able to affect people, if you regret after the fact that you were not able to do more, you might develop such a technique as telling a story.
Mrs. M: Well, I had an experience on the plane that was wonderful, and it made me feel as if God the Father was very close, and that is that we had to take the last two seats, the last three seats on the way to Chicago, and I just knew that I was going to meet somebody wonderful. I took the first seat that I saw and I sat next to the most magnificent Afro-American woman named Vicki and she and I talked all the way about our ideas about God and it was a wonderful encounter.
It was a really wonderful moment in my life, and I thought she too was feeling that way. And she told me, “Thank you for talking with me, because otherwise I was just going to review my work, which I already reviewed three or four times, because I’m nervous about a presentation, and I’m so glad I didn’t do it and talked to you instead,” so it was an absolutely wonderful moment of closeness.
TOMAS: I am glad of the experience for both of you. I reflect back on a lesson of not long ago having to do with merciful ministry and yet I perceive this situation was not so much a ministry as a comfort and a sharing of peers.
Mrs. M: And maybe was it confiding trust, because I confided in her and she confided in me so many very deeply felt things.
TOMAS: Yes, indeed, and it is odd but many of you find it easier to share with a congenial stranger than with your own immediate friends and family, that somehow if you can confide your deep dark feelings to someone you’ll never see again, they are safe, and yet you have deprived yourself and your immediate family, loved ones, of that same closeness, that same opportunity to bond and unite in the spirit and in the heart.
Mrs. M: Well, I’m going to work on that first week-end in January. In my heart and in my mind.
TOMAS: I take it then that you are anticipating a busy season.
Mrs. M: Yes, very much so. But a good one, because my husband’s family has a kindness that — they will be together and try to decide some very contentious problems that most families can’t seem to let go of, and so I see this family as trying to be different.
TOMAS: Perhaps the passing of the grandmother will open a door to heal some of these contentions. These are emotional denials, in effect. We were discussing this recently in the Butler group, that many times these defenses go up and it may take generations or centuries before they dissolve. It falls under the heading “enlightened honesty.” If these things could be approached and worked through from a spiritual point of view, a spiritual standpoint with enlightened honesty and confiding trust and merciful ministry, these would heal. This is an opportunity also for you,
Mrs. M., to serve, and I will pray for your successes and the successes and growths of the various members of that family as well as the greater family that they belong to.
Mrs. M: Thank you very much because they have all the possibilities in the world of tremendous growth through this experience because this is a very beloved person and some of them haven’t had the joy of faith too much but this might be an occasion that might prompt them to think about these things.
TOMAS: Yes. Radiate your joy in the resurrection and do not overmuch apply that adage of “misery loves company.”
Mrs. M: Right. I thank you. I can do that.
TOMAS: Have we accomplished anything of substance this afternoon in our discourse?
Mrs. M: I feel pretty good about my projected effort and your help about it is good.
TOMAS: I am happy to serve. If I am not able to serve, I am not necessary and will find another arena in which to serve. It therefore is gratifying that you have found our time together beneficial. I am glad of it, but I tell you I have the added advantage of seeing, from my vantage point, how much you have grown and so even if you did find me replaceable, I would know in my heart that I have done some good. I have served, for I have seen your growths.
It is a testimony to you, dear children, and your willingness to allow spirit guidance, and for you to take the time to ponder in your heart some of these concepts. Although the soul develops and grows a life of its own and in its own time, it is of benefit when you nurture that growth and when you associate with those who also encourage the nurturance and growth, and so I say to you I am grateful and thankful to you, Pittsburgh Pumpkins, for your platform, for the ability for me to be your Teacher here.
I am thankful for you, not only as students, but as associates. Our first year together was dynamic and progressive and effective and I have no reason not to believe that this year will also be fruitful, particularly since we have already established some good foundation, we have produced some good work, we have spread many seeds, and in unity, anticipate that the Father will water the seeds we have planted.
Leah: I would like to thank you for acknowledging to us that you notice our spiritual growth because we’re glad for our Teachers to give us a little gold star every once in awhile.
TOMAS: Yes, Leah, that is understood and it was and is my purpose in discussing, as an overview, our growth of this past year that you have earned high marks. Your personal development has been dramatic and your growth as a group has been even more noteworthy. The brotherhood/sisterhood has taken deep hold here. Indeed, it is good for it now can support others, for as others come in they will sense and feel the solidarity of purpose, the unity of faith among you.
Even though there remain remnants of contention among individual personalities and other human weaknesses, the strength that is generated by your appreciation of each other and the Teaching Mission and the spirit gods and goddesses of Paradise, make this experience real and thrilling and worthwhile. Not just for you but for all of the above. Consider yourselves A students.
Mrs. M: Oh, that’s a Christmas present.
TOMAS: In your understanding you may certainly to construe it thus. I had not intended to gift wrap it, but to convey my appreciation of you, dear child of God and dear student.
I have given some thought to our up-coming year study plan, but it will be some while in the developing stages. I have rather concluded my lectures having to do with the fruits of the spirit but I will constantly refer to them as part of our actuality here.
Mrs. M: That’s a good idea.
TOMAS: There is some rumor that they will be published.
Mrs. M: Oh. That’s good.
TOMAS: But throughout the holidays, it is expected that there will be emotional diversions and social outbursts which may preclude a serious study or in-depth discussion, so I am prepared to evolve the lessons of the following year to due course.
TOMAS: Having now expounded to some extent on a lot of professorial junque, I am going to prepare to take my leave that you may continue to enjoy each other and to enjoy this young and lovely day and to carry your lights into your arenas to commingle with the Christmas lights and the candle lights of the season. Go in peace. Farewell.
Group: Thank you, Tomas. Farewell.