Spirituality principles, struggles, knowledge base and insights for the earnest seeker.

How To Deal With Disillusionment

At some moment in our lives we have all experienced disillusionment. Some are aware of it while others are less enlightened. This article is a primer on the subject of disillusionment and how to deal with it.

All of us have a mental construct of the world in our minds. This mental construct is how we see ourselves, our loved ones, friends, relatives, strangers and the wider world’s social norms, politics and ideologies. This mental construct helps us understand the world in a way that makes it uniquely our own. In a way, our mental construct represents what we think reality is.

As we go through life, events occur that might make us question our mental construct. Someone dear to us may say or do something that is totally against how we see them. Certain things might happen that would contradict everything we think we understood about people, events and places. When something like this happen – especially if it is strong and personal enough – we might have a crisis of confidence that leads to disillusionment.

How Disillusionment Feels Like

disillusionmentDisillusionment can bring about very strong emotional reactions. Often times we will feel immense pain as though we have been betrayed. It may even feel as though a cherished part of us – a feeling or an ideal – has died. This may manifest as anger towards others because we feel cheated or deprived of something we think we deserve or have a right to. Each of us have our own unique way to respond to disillusionment. Some appear to stay calm and weather the storm while others throw tantrums like little children. Regardless of how we react it is important to acknowledge that disillusionment is a real event and not something concocted by the mind. As such it is important to deal with disillusionment properly so as to bring about a positive outcome from something that is essentially a very painful event.

What Is Disillusionment?

The key to dealing with disillusionment is to first understand what it actually is. The word disillusionment in itself explains two very important things. The first is the root word which is illusion. One cannot be disillusioned without first having illusions. What this means is although we think our mental construct of reality is true and accurate, it is actually merely a poor representation of it. I need to emphasize the word poor. This is because no one really knows what reality is. No one has figured it out in all its totality. Reality is multi-layered and complex beyond our imaginations. As such, any representation we may have of it in our minds are merely ‘working models’ designed to help us function in the world. We attach ourselves so strongly to these poor representations of reality that it essentially becomes an illusion. So anything we think we know for so certain is actually an illusion of the fact, not the fact itself.

Life and reality however, care very little about our beliefs and illusions which brings us to the second important point of the word disillusionment. Life and reality function according to their own laws, regardless of whether we are aware of them or not. Sometimes when our illusion clashes with the realities of life, it gets destroyed by the latter. Our illusion is broken and shattered – we become disillusioned.

Why Disillusionment Is Not A Bad Thing

The disillusioned often feel like the ground beneath them has vanished.

The human ego is such it is rarely willing to admit when it is wrong. Admitting to being wrong about things closest and dearest to us is unbelievably difficult if not impossible for most people. When disillusionment regarding such personal matters set in, it might become very difficult for us to come to terms with it. The knee jerk reaction during such times is to pretend it never happened and to carry on living as though everything is normal. We suppress our emotions and bury them deep into our consciousness. We think if we could just forget about them then they will never bother us ever again and we can go on with our lives. Most people react this way to disillusionment. It is really sad and tragic. The reason why we react this way is because we have a completely wrong view of what disillusionment means for us.

You see disillusionment does not mean that you are wrong and worthless. Disillusionment certainly does not mean that you have lost and some other person you despise has won. Disillusionment is not trying to indict you as a fool or push your sanity over. All these reactions simply come from our egos. It is our own egos that prevent us from seeing what disillusionment actually is – a blessing in disguise.

Disillusionment is a way for the universe (or God if you wish) to reach out to you. It is reaching out to you and saying “Child here is where you been wrong. Let me correct you so you may heal and grow.” Disillusionment is the universe’s  hand reaching out and giving you a gentle nudge. The universe bears no malice toward you. God has no evil agenda against you. The universe is not out to proof its greatness – that is apparent to those who can think, see and feel. If anything the universe cares and loves you and only wants to see you grow stronger. If disillusionment was particularly painful for you it was so because you were too attached to the illusion. So shed your little prideful ego and embrace disillusionment – no matter how painful it may be. Beyond that lies the truth for your growth and healing.

A Spiritual Approach Toward Disillusionment

In Spirituality, disillusionment is an important part of spiritual growth. One cannot and will not grow spiritually if one has never experienced disillusionment. Disillusionment allows a seeker to give up his old views and adapt new ones which are more enlightened and spiritual in nature. It is like the snake shading its old skin, like the caterpillar crawling out of its cocoon and transforming into a butterfly. Disillusionment is that transformative process in spirituality. The degree to which it happens corresponds to the degree of spiritual growth. No two aspirants are alike. Each one is different and experiences it in their own way but the end result is always the same – a more spiritual and all-encompassing outlook of life. One that is at peace with the harsh realities of life but never losing sight of its beauty and never losing compassion for it.

Disillusionment is a sign you are in the cusp of making a new discovery. Before a new insight can emerge in our consciousness, the old idea that it is to replace must first be broken down. Disillusionment is that breakdown happening.

Disillusionment can often times be painful. The greater the insight that is to come, the greater the pain one will have to endure. How well we endure this pain will indicate how worthy we are to receive the new insight. Far too often people shy away from such pain – choosing instead to run back to that illusion that can no longer be sustained and continue to live in denial of their own consciences – thinking if they try hard enough, the disillusionment will fade. Well it doesn’t. One may drown oneself in pleasure and intoxication but that lingering feeling will continue to knock upon the doors of our minds begging us to heed its call. We can choose to ignore it of course, but if we think by doing so it will not be painful as well then we are naive indeed.

I wish I could say to you that once disillusionment sets in you just need to wait it out and a new dawn, a new day will arise and you can rise and proclaim glory to God. Sorry, but it will not be anything like that. What you will have to do is to endure and persevere to seek out the truth. Now, that the lie has been laid bare before you, your duty is to find out what the truth is. Upon this path you will tread alone, none will be there to accompany you or comfort you. However, know amidst the loneliness you are not the only one. You are walking upon a well-trodden path, one followed by countless men and women before you and countless others will follow you as well. This is a most ancient of roads we walk and those before us has left us the benefit of their wisdom. You may want to avail yourself of some of it. At the very least, it may provide some measure of comfort in knowing that you are not going insane. Sometimes you may even find answers in words and places you least expect it. Such is the way of the universe. It guides the true seeker. The seeker is never lost.

So if you are disillusioned, fret not dear seeker. For yours is the privileged of the new insight. You rise now to a new height of self hood. You will gain a sight that others around you will either admire or despise. You will be liked by some and hated by many others and still this will not bother you. For you seek not the glory of the world. Yours is an inner search – it and for itself and that is something no one can steal.

Walk in Spirit.

A labor of love for the seeker – whoever you are and wherever you may be. May you find solace in these words.

Your brother in spirit

ben gill

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