Light was made for the eyes, and eyes were made for the light. Though our vision can be distorted, we were meant to see clearly. What motivates you to see clearly? What motivates you to not see clearly? There are many possible benefits to not seeing clearly. We can imagine that the isolated worlds we create are as real as things get. We can avoid many forms of pain that come with disillusionment—the loss of hope, the loss of pride, the loss of our own bearings.
Our illusions serve many purposes. They protect us, they empower us, they gratify us. What does it mean then to call them illusions? It is to recognize that the benefits they bring eventually run out. We invariably find ourselves no longer safe, no longer empowered, no longer feeling pleasure. It is thus a matter of when, not if, disillusionment will come. It is up to us to decide whether to face it earlier…or later, when we have “less life left”—at least that’s how our primary illusion would put it. Yes, there are many illusions, so relief from them is not typically a one-time thing. Disillusionment is a life-long process.
Now: why in the world would we ever want this? Why would we want to be stripped bare of the things that give us comfort, whether or not they’re actually illusions? Something has to happen. Something has to tell us that there’s something worth knowing on the other side of our illusions. Once the light does start to reach our eyes, we get an inkling that this process is worth pursuing. We begin to know that, beyond illusion, there is a safety, a power, and a pleasure that do not run out. We begin to fall in love with the light that we see and we begin to trust it. Soon, we start to crave disillusionment, because we know that with each vanquished distortion our cravings are actually satisfied. Gradually at first and then at exponentially growing rates, love begins to cast out fear, as light displaces—no, as light annihilates darkness.
Whether or not you want to believe it, disillusionment is coming. But so of course is light, which is the mechanism of disillusionment. There are ways you can invite the process to come sooner. You must start by believing that the process just might be worth inviting, that love just might reside on the other side of fear. How do you know what your particular illusions are? You can elicit them by asking yourself a simple question: “What are my fears?” You may then be tempted to deny them, saying, “I only believe in the light.” But that’s not how disillusionment works. Denial only deepens the darkness. Only when you face your fears do you ever begin to recognize them as illusions. Only when you face your fears does the light begin to make itself known to you.
What if you don’t want to face your fears? Then don’t. You have complete freedom in this matter. And though your fears will eventually face you, you need not fear this. Instead, if you prefer, you can rest in the thought that the light is coming to you and your fears will cease to exist. Either way, the fact of disillusionment is exquisitely good news.