For example, right now you are listening to me. You can listen in two ways, because each thing can be done in two ways: Eastern and Western. You are listening to me; your emphasis can be on what I am saying, on the speaker – then it is a Western approach. The Eastern approach is that your emphasis be on the listener, the watcher, the observer, the witness. You are not too concerned with what is being said or what is being heard, but with who this witness is who is hearing this. You are seeing me…who is this seer who is seeing? That transformation, that change of gestalt, will bring you to the world of non-illusion; otherwise everything is illusory.
I understand your question. You mean by it that there must be something unreal in the outside world. No, the outside is unreal. It is not that something is real and something is unreal; the outside is unreal and the inside is real. With the outside, mind grows; with the inside, meditation. To work with the outside, your mind becomes more and more efficient – in the West the mind has become tremendously clever. When you start looking at the inside, at the looker, then meditation grows. Then you don’t become a great thinker or a great philosopher, but you experience truth…you become a great mystic, you become a Buddha, a Lieh Tzu, a Jesus.
But the whole emphasis – always remember – is on the mirror that reflects. Don’t become too attached to that which is reflected. You look in the mirror; your image looks so real, but it is unreal. Don’t get too obsessed with the image. The image is unreal in the mirror and the person who is standing before the mirror is also unreal. Only one thing is real: the consciousness that knows “I am standing before the mirror,” the consciousness which knows that the mirror is reflecting the one who is standing. That transcendental consciousness is reality, and through that descends the benediction, sat-chit-anand; through that one becomes true, conscious and blissful.
Why do we call the world illusory? Let me remind you again: by “illusory” we don’t mean unreal, we mean temporarily real, only for the time being real.
Why do we call the outer world unreal? Because it brings only misery and it gives you only projections, ambitions, desires; it never allows you to be really happy, authentically happy. It gives you hope but never fulfills it. It leads you on many journeys but the goal never arrives, hence it is called maya, illusion. It deceives you, it is a mirage – it appears to be there, but when you reach there you don’t find anything; and by the time you reach there, your desires are being projected further ahead. It is like the horizon: you go towards it, it goes on receding. You never arrive – you cannot arrive, by its very nature it is not possible, it only appears – it is not there.
Just the opposite is the case when you enter your inner world of consciousness: the closer you come, the more real it becomes; the closer you come, the more blissful, the more cheerful, the more joyful you become. The closer you come, the more authentic and true you become; and the moment you stand at the very center, you are truth itself. In that moment the Upanishadic seer declared: I am God, I am Brahma, Aham brahmasmi. In that moment of inner centering, Mansoor al-Hillaj declared: ana’l haq, I am the Truth. In that moment, Jesus says : “I and my God are not two, but one.”