One of first things that opened my mind to a different view of reality was the concept of illusion. In The Four Agreements, Don Miguel Ruiz calls it mitote, fog or smoke.
When I was I child, I learned to see the world through the eyes of my parents, my teachers, and society as a whole. I learned to label everything, Mom, Dad, Bird, Tree, House… I learned where to put my attention, how to behave, what was wrong and right, and even how to feel. I internalized their ideas and they became mine. And thus my ego was born. When I looked at a tree, I would think tree and forget what it looked like before I even knew that word. When I broke the rules, I would feel guilty not remembering I was without guilt before I knew there were rules. The pure being I once was became clouded by a fog of concepts. I could not see myself or the world as they really are. And as everyone is conditioned differently, everyone experiences the world differently. Once I got this, the story of the Tower of Babel got a whole new dimension.
The word oak tree does not even come close to describing an oak tree in all its being. It does not tell me anything about the sheer majesty of its being, what its bark feels like, sap running trough its veins, what its leaves look like up close, the many different shades of green absorbing light, how they move in the wind or the sound of their soft rustling. Nor can the word ‘I’ describe who I truly am. I am not Norea, it is what I’m called. I am not a daughter, a mother, a wive, these are only the roles I have taken upon myself in this life. I am not good or bad, right or wrong, strong or weak, smart or stupid, these are the concepts my ego uses to describe me. The truth is I simply am, as is the oak tree. Different forms of energy. As clouds and rain are different manifestations of water.
It took me some time to really understand language is only a means of communication, it has no meaning in and of itself. Words are just words and thoughts are just thoughts. They make up a world in a box, a personal drama, an illusion of the mind. The smoke in-between that keeps us from knowing what we are, Don Miguel Ruiz says. It is words and thoughts that keep me from seeing who I really am. I. The stillness between my thoughts. Pure being without words. I am.