Illusion is a tiny kingdom fully encircled by the Kingdom of Truth. It is a mock kingdom. It is intended to be a replication of the Kingdom of Truth, with all its rights and privileges, but since you can’t pull that off without a Truth to base your kingdom on, and since there is only one Truth, and that Truth already had a Kingdom, (and we’re in it)… well, you can see the colossal problem we once faced. We did the very best thing we could do given the bind in which we found ourselves: we put cotton in our ears, shades over our eyes, amnesia in our minds, and pretended we had our own Truth.
(Our hearts had to go with us, but we couldn’t change those… So, they just hurt from time to time… Or we lock them away for safe-keeping…)
Within our tiny kingdom, we do not experience all the rights and privileges of living the Truth, but instead experience the unreliable effects of misperception. There’s ups and downs, to be sure, but when we realize how much we ultimately dislike the place, we begin the process of breaking out. Sometimes this means going ballistic within the tiny kingdom, which accomplishes nothing. Drag racing, for instance, is a far superior use of large quantities of energy in a small amount of time than say- yelling, kicking, screaming, shooting, lying, cheating, stealing, breaking baseball bats into small pieces, or blaming the government. Sometimes this desire to be free translates into meaningful behaviors such as packing a small amount of supplies in a knapsack and running away in the night to find the border, and cross it.
We get lost in the mountains, unfortunately. Although the tiny kingdom of illusion is tiny, it is in fact ringed with tall, nasty mountains. No one can tell you exactly what trail to follow, because these mountains are tricky little shape-shifting suckers. They gang up on us. Some how, some way, however, maybe after years of desperate wandering, your desire finds a way through. Even though your ears are filled with cotton, you hear a voice and it guides you. Even though your eyes are half-blind, you find a map you can read perched on a big rock with a little rock holding it down. A drunken idiot sings a song from a ledge high above you, whose words are a riddle whose solution is the direction you require.
The exit station is an unmanned chain link gate. You pass through, at last, and collapse into a beautiful meadow. Though still half-blinded, you can feel the warmth of a real sun on your face. You look around eventually and see- one hundred yards away- the entrance gate to the Kingdom of Truth. You’re in between the two border control stations.
The swath of land is a tent city in all directions. You are welcomed, served food, given instructions on where and how to set up your own tent, told where to find supplies. Normally they are quite abundant, but sometimes there are temporary shortages. You’ll get the hang of it, you are assured. In the evenings, many of us gather and watch the sun go down over the Kingdom of Truth. It is so, so beautiful.
Off in the distance, you hear a wailing cry. What suffering could there be in sight of such beauty?
You look around and realize this borderland looks like a strange re-enactment of the tiny kingdom you just left. Some still have cotton in their ears, or blots of amnesia on their minds. Some are still blind. Some are clinging to the map that took them through the mountains, afraid to set it down. Others are gathered in small circles, telling the story of their escape. But everyone is warm inside- so unlike the people you met in the tiny kingdom. It is a re-enactment of a pattern whose content seems to be on the verge of percolating and spilling over into tangible form.
That day, Jesus comes into this transition zone, to be with friends. We’re all expecting to learn something, to receive some final insight, but Jesus just wants to be near to us, to hear our voices- to talk about our day and hear all the new ideas from camp. He loves to hear about what is happening, and he says those new ideas are the leading edge of Creation. I wanted to go back with him and enter the real Kingdom, but while we were talking I found myself lapse into an old uncertainty. I found myself wanting him to teach, while I listened and learned. Tell me, I thought, about how to remove cotton from one’s ears.
He must have seen this coming. He just patted me on the shoulder and told me I was out of the mountains now. There is a pattern to engaging with Creation, He said, that once was needed, but is no longer… I think I understood what he meant later, as the sun was setting over the Kingdom, and Jesus, myself and a few others were playing a delightful game of catch amidst a field of chirping birds.