6 November 2010 4 Comments

Disillusionment as a Positive Process, Part 1

The rich glory of autumn leaves gently release their temporary grip on the trees of which they were once a part. Revealed now the trunks and branches these leaves are now seen only to have clothed. This is a fitting time to explore the shedding of beliefs once held dear, taken to be a part of us.

P1010300“The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie — deliberate, contrived and dishonest — but the myth — persistent, persuasive, and unrealistic.” ~John Kennedy, 1962

The notion that it is possible to understand life is a myth, as irrational as fantasy.
Life is larger than the most brilliant rational mind can conceive; incomprehensible, and ever-expanding.

When the facts of life rudely–and effectively–interrupt and separate us from cherished beliefs we may become disillusioned. Disillusionment can become an emotional wound and a cause for self-doubt, or you can use it to stimulate spiritual development. Your choice.

Disillusionment is so valuable it could be called precious or even sacred. The gateway for necessary readjustment, losing illusions allows us to clarify and upgrade what we think and how we believe, expanding our options.

Let’s dive into what happens when we become disillusioned–and how we can use it:

How do you manage it when you are counting on life to be the way you believe it to be and events prove that life is different? You may be thrown into a sea of confusion, seeking to sort out whether life itself went wrong, or what you believed about it. And of course—if you are a spiritual person—life is never wrong.

Insights and events that used to fit together like puzzle pieces now seem to belong to a much bigger puzzle. You don’t know where all the edge pieces are any more. You are not sure whether all the pieces you have fit in the picture, or whether a handful of pieces are missing. You may have found that beliefs that sustained your actions, attitude, drives, and enthusiasm are false or based on partial truths. Do you dig deeper? Or do you voice the say beliefs with intensified vigor and conviction, hoping to drown doubts and return to normal?

Being disillusioned feels like losing your way. But it is a positive process! Denial is what happens if we refuse the gift of disillusionment after a shattering experience. Denial is like a big plug in the natural flow of realization. Disillusionment can be turned into a good thing, the wise thing. It opens doors, expands, dissolves what is no longer useful and puts us in “beginners mind.”

Disillusionment is the handmaiden of transformation.  P1010878

Support systems and dearly held beliefs may crumble. It hurts. It confuses. It disorients. What do we do next?

Disillusionment means dropping illusions. It is a rubber-hits-the-road process. Go with it. Look boldly at all beliefs, not cynically but with the delicacy of intuitive discovery. Look fairly. Do not be too quick to find answers or cast them in cement. Stay open, flexible.

Consider what it takes to birth wisdom from within instead of taking answers from others. Releasing illusions about life makes room for the real mystery of Life Itself.

In Part 2 we will explore the awful beauty of disillusionment more keenly, with a compassionate eye toward using unsettling experience for spiritual development.

“Idealistic sentimentality is no guarantee for deep, experiential understanding.” Rick Levine

How have YOU benefited from an experience that made you question what you believe?

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4 Responses to “Disillusionment as a Positive Process, Part 1”

  1. Greg 7 November 2010 at 8:31 am #

    The experience is the key. It unlocks my mind and its ability to only have a single vision at times. The opening comes when the heart and soul are involved in a new vision of a idea that I feel, may be true for ones true self.

    It is more of that inner work that is a constant companion when I open to all posibilities life has to offer. I just need to have a different way of seeing what is really going on. Also accepting that there is something new and different out there that will move my understanding of myself and the planet forward to new levels of integration and being my true self.

    Thank you,

    • Teresa Dietze 7 November 2010 at 2:23 pm #

      Beautiful comment, Greg. It demonstrates your sincerity and full engagement with your process. Thank you! 🙂

  2. Ken 6 March 2016 at 6:38 pm #

    The thinking here resonates for me in a death context. Illusions provides a false sense of security by preventing us from drilling down to the realization of our pending fate reality. We differ from other species ‘knowing’ what lies ahead but this insight is so anxiety provoking that we individually and collectively create elaborate distractions and invoke them with ‘meaning’ to insulate us from overwhelming thoughts about dying and the idea of the ‘end (nothing). We can’t bare to conceptualize the end of our consciousness so we invent cosmic scenarios of rebirth or integration or turn to religious illusion of afterlife. I haven’t read part 2 but the “spiritual development” language has me thinking that matters of ‘spirit’ are just more illusions that we incorporate to replace the ones we lose along the way. They all still add up to distracting ourselves from the clock running out and having to say goodbye.

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