Reality is merely an illusion,
albeit a very persistent one.

Albert Einstein


Illusions command themselves to us because they save us pain and allow us to enjoy pleasure instead.  We must therefore accept it without complaint when they sometimes collide with a bit of reality against which they are dashed to pieces.

Sigmund Freud


Our greatest illusion is disillusion.  We imagine that we are disillusioned with life, when the truth is that we have not even begun to live.

Paul Brunton


A human being is part of the whole, called by us the universe; a part limited by time and space.  We experience ourselves, our thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical illusion of consciousness.  This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affections for a few persons nearest us.  Our task is to free ourselves from this prison.

Albert Einstein

There is no end to illusion.  Life is a train of moods like a string of beads, and as we pass through them they prove to be many colored lenses which paint the world their own hue.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

The greatest illusion is the belief that life has nothing to teach you.


Every illusion carries pain and suffering in the dark folds of
the heavy garments in which it hides its nothingness.

A Course in Miracles


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Disillusion is the last illusion.

Wallace Stevens


"The things we see," Pistorius said softly, "are the same things
that are within us.  There is no reality except the one contained
within us.  That is why so many people live such unreal lives. 
They take the images outside them for reality and never allow
the world within to assert itself."

Herman Hesse


We begin life with the world presenting itself to us as it is.  Someone--
our parents, teachers, analysts--hypnotizes us to "see" the world and
construe it in the "right" way.  These others label the world, attach
names and give voices to the beings and events in it, so that thereafter,
we cannot read the world in any other language or hear it saying other
things to us.  The task is to break the hypnotic spell, so that we become
undeaf, unblind, and multilingual, thereby letting the world speak to us
in new voices and write all its possible meaning in the new book of
our existence.  Be careful in your choice of hypnotists.

Sidney Jourard

The greatest obstacle to discovery is not ignorance--
it is the illusion of knowledge.

Daniel J. Boorstin

I have realized that the past and future are real illusions, that they
exist in the present, which is what there is and all there is.

Alan Watts


How strange when an illusion dies. It's as though you've lost a child.

Judy Garland


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I think my quarry is illusion.  I war against magic.  I believe that, though
illusion often cheers and comforts, it ultimately and
invariably weakens and constricts the spirit.

Irvin D. Yalom
Love's Executioner and Other Tales of Psychotherapy

Knowledge kills action; action requires the veils of illusion.

Friedrich Nietzsche
The Birth of Tragedy/The Case of Wagner


Look at the world as a mirage, as a bubble floating
in front of you.  See it like this and death will have
no fear for you, and you will not be
attached to the world.

Buddhist wisdom


If you know something is an illusion, why pretend it is reality?

Lionel Suggs

Whatever is a reality today, whatever you touch and believe in
and that seems real for you today, is going to be, like the reality
of yesterday, an illusion tomorrow.

Luigi Pirandello


It is critical to understand the difference between an illusion and
the one who makes the illusion.  For example, when I was a kid, I
worshiped the rock start Gene Simmons of KISS.  I wanted to be
just like him and did everything I could to make that happen.  The
trouble was, I was emulating an illusion.  It turns out Gene Simmons
wasn't the blood-spitting, fire-breathing rebel I saw on stage.  That
was all an act.  It was only years later that I learned the truth.  He was
an educated, conservative man who never touched drugs or alcohol
in his life.  I felt like such an idiot.  But I was only thirteen at the time
and believed everything I saw.  I shudder to think how differently
my life might have turned out had I known the truth and
emulated the illusion maker and not the illusion.

Blair Warren



We must select the illusion which appeals to our temperament
and embrace it with passion, if we want to be happy.

Cyril Connolly


Illusions are art, for the feeling person, and it is by art that we live, if we do.

Elizabeth Bowen


An illusion which makes me happy is worth a verity
which drags me to the ground.

Christopher Martin-Wieland

The world is an illusion.  Why is it unreal?  Because none of the knowledge
is going to remain permanent, as real knowledge.  I had a number of identities;
I was a child, I was a boy, I was a teenager, I was a middle-aged man, I was
an old man.  Like other identities I thought would remain constant,
they never remained so.  Finally, I became very old. . .
So which identity remained honest with me?


Truth is simple, but Illusion makes it infinitely intricate.  The person is
rare who possesses an insatiable longing for Truth; the rest
allow Illusion to bind them ever more and more.

Meher Baba


The stripping away of illusion and the struggle to find personal
reality can be likened to the peeling of an apple.  As one peels
away the layers of unreality. . . eventually only the core remains.

Meredith L. Young


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The universe is illusion merely, not one speck of it real, and we are
not only victims, but also captives, bound by the
mineral-made ropes of senses.

Annie Dillard

Nothing is more hidden from us than the illusion which lives with us
day by day, and our greatest illusion is to believe that
we are what we think ourselves to be.

Henri F. Amiel


There is no more dangerous illusion than the
fancies by which people try to avoid illusion.

Francois Fenelon


Western industrial society sneers at the relatively harmless myths and
acquired beliefs of the native peoples of the world--a good many
of which have at least some basis in fact--while perpetuating irrational
beliefs and practices so dangerous that they are destroying the earth.
And probably the most destructive of all the Illusions of the West is the
superstitious notion that Technology will solve all our difficulties.

Benjamin Hoff
The Te of Piglet

Everything is illusion.  Learn this and you will be free from suffering.

the Buddha


Your subconscious mind has adopted an enormous array of lies about
yourself, underscoring what’s wrong with you and the world.  You have
been playing out these untruths in your relationships, career, finances,
health, and other significant arenas of your life.  The world you see is
based on a mass of illusions that appear to be real because so many
people agree with them and base their lives on them.  Yet popularity
cannot make fiction true, and habit cannot render fear more substantial
than love.  The only cure for illusions is truth.  The only cure for
a mistaken identity is to remember who you are.

Alan Cohen
A Course in Miracles Made Easy



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(Found online images come from a variety of unattributed
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Yes, life can be mysterious and confusing--but there's much of life that's actually rather dependable and reliable.  Some principles apply to life in so many different contexts that they can truly be called universal--and learning what they are and how to approach them and use them can teach us some of the most important lessons that we've ever learned.
My doctorate is in Teaching and Learning.  I use it a lot when I teach at school, but I also do my best to apply what I've learned to the life I'm living, and to observe how others live their lives.  What makes them happy or unhappy, stressed or peaceful, selfish or generous, compassionate or arrogant?  In this book, I've done my best to pass on to you what I've learned from people in my life, writers whose works I've read, and stories that I've heard.  Perhaps these principles can be a positive part of your life, too!
Universal Principles of Living Life Fully.  Awareness of these principles can explain a lot and take much of the frustration out of the lives we lead.



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