Illusion (quotes)


An illusion is something that is false but that seems to be real


We chase illusions and hang onto them


To have illusions is a human condition

  • Now I believe I can hear the philosophers protesting that it can only be misery to live in folly, illusion, deception and ignorance, but it isn’t – it’s human. Desiderius Erasmus

We embrace illusions that give us pleasure and save us pain

  • Illusion is the first of all pleasures. Oscar Wilde
  • Illusion is the first of the pleasures. Voltaire
  • Illusions command themselves to us because they save us pain and allow us to enjoy pleasure instead. We must therefore accept it without complaint when they sometimes collide with a bit of reality against which they are dashed to pieces. Sigmund Freud
  • Oh, how powerfully the magnet of illusion attracts. Gutzkow
  • PleasurePain

We chase illusions because of a fear of the unknown

  • It’s fear of the unknown. The unknown is what it is. And to be frightened of it is what sends everybody scurrying around chasing dreams, illusions, wars, peace, love, hate, all that–it’s all illusion. Unknown is what it is. Accept that it’s unknown and it’s plain sailing. Everything is unknown- -then you’re ahead of the game. John Lennon
  • The unknown

We chase illusions to stop feeling so empty and alone

  • We’re born alone, we live alone, we die alone. Only through our love and friendship can we create the illusion for the moment that we’re not alone. Orson Welles
  • Who knows what true loneliness is – not the conventional word but the naked terror? To the lonely themselves it wears a mask. The most miserable outcast hugs some memory or some illusion. Joseph Conrad
  • Illusion is needed to disguise the emptiness within. Arthur Erickson

We often tend to hang onto our cherished illusion for dear life …

  • A great deal of intelligence can be invested in ignorance when the need for illusion is deep. Saul Bellow
  • Sometimes people don’t want to hear the truth because they don’t want their illusions destroyed. Friedrich Nietzsche
  • You must remember, my dear lady, the most important rule of any successful illusion: First, the people must want to believe in it. Libba Bray

… for we often often much prefer a kind illusion to a cruel or painful reality

  • An illusion which makes me happy is worth a verity which drags me to the ground. Christopher Martin- Wieland
  • You see, that is why it is so easy to fool people with our illusions, Yue. In this world, illusions are usually much kinder than the truth. Zoë Marriott
  • If most of us remain ignorant of ourselves, it is because self-knowledge is painful and we prefer the pleasures of illusion. Aldous Huxley
  • If we choose, we can live in a world of comforting illusion. Noam Chomsky
  • A pleasant illusion is better than a harsh reality. Christian Nevell Bovee
  • Better a dish of illusion and a hearty appetite for life, than a feast of reality and indigestion therewith. Harry A. Overstreet
  • Reality

The pain of losing our illusions


Losing our illusions can be a very painful experience

  • How strange when an illusion dies. It’s as though you’ve lost a child. Judy Garland
  • One sometimes weeps over one’s illusions with as much bitterness as over a death. Guy de Maupassant
  • Life has no meaning the moment you lose the illusion of being eternal. Jean-Paul Sartre
  • Nothing is more sad than the death of an illusion. Arthur Koestler
  • Pain

Don’t be too hasty to tear down the illusions of another

  • One of the greatest bores in life is a too knowing fellow, who sees through all delusions, and will never let you enjoy any of them, not even your favorite ones, no matter how agreeable they may be, but must be always waking you out of some delicious dream, only to tell you, “My dear sir, you are dreaming;” as if it were not both proper and natural to dream. He forgets that many things are pleasant only while the delusions which make them so last. Christian Nestell Bovee

Painting illusion in a positive light


Some argue that embracing illusion is an important part of being happy

  • Don’t part with your illusions. When they are gone you may still exist, but you have ceased to live. Mark Twain
  • What do we any of us have but our illusions? And what do we ask of others but that we be allowed to keep them? William Somerset Maugham
  • We must select the illusion which appeals to our temperament and embrace it with passion, if we want to be happy. Cyril Connolly
  • It is respectable to have no illusions, and safe, and profitable and dull. Joseph Conrad
  • Therefore, trust to thy heart, and to what the world calls illusions. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
  • Happiness

In many ways, illusions sustain us, inspire action and create the world

  • It is our illusions that create the world. Didier Cauwelaert
  • Knowledge kills action; action requires the veils of illusion. Friedrich Nietzsche
  • The one person who has more illusions than the dreamer is the man of action. Oscar Wilde
  • Illusion begets and sustains the world; we do not destroy one without destroying the other. Emil Cioran
  • Action is consolatory. It is the enemy of thought and the friend of flattering illusions. Joseph Conrad
  • The soul has illusions as the bird has wings: it is supported by them. Victor Hugo
  • Action

Painting illusion in a negative light


Others argue it is better to awaken to a painful truth than be deceived by illusion

  • The years that are gone seem like dreams–if one might go on sleeping and dreaming—but to wake up and find—oh! Well! Perhaps it is better to wake up after all. Even to suffer, rather than to remain a dupe to illusions all one’s life. Kate Chopin
  • It is natural for man to indulge in the illusions of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth, and listen to the song of that siren till she transforms us into beasts… For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth, to know the worst, and to provide for it. Patrick Henry

Illusions imprison and weaken us

  • You’re a prisoner of your own illusions – about yourself and about the world. Dan Millman
  • I think my quarry is illusion. I war against magic. I believe that, though illusion often cheers and comforts, it ultimately and invariably weakens and constricts the spirit. Irvin D. Yalom
  • In our natural state, we are glorious beings. In the world of illusion, we are lost and imprisoned, slaves to our appetites and our will to false power. Marianne Williamson
  • It takes a lot to wound a man without illusions. Ellis Peters

Illusions create suffering when they clash with reality

  • Suffering points out that there is falsehood somewhere. Suffering occurs when you clash with reality. When your illusions clash with reality when your falsehoods clash with the truth, then you have suffering. Otherwise there is no suffering. Anthony de Mello
  • Whatever happens in the world is real, what one thinks should have happened is projection. We suffer more from our fictitious illusion and expectations of reality. Jacque Fresco
  • We suffer primarily not from our vices or our weaknesses, but from our illusions. We are haunted, not by reality, but by those images we have put in their place. Daniel J. Boorstin
  • Inflamed by greed, incensed by hate, confused by delusion, overcome by them, obsessed by mind, a man chooses for his own affliction, for others’ affliction, for the affliction of both and experiences pain and grief. Buddha
  • Suffering

Illusion leads to inevitable disillusionment

  • Disillusion is a natural stage that follows the holding of an illusion. Susan Shaughnessy

Illusions stop us from taking action when reality demands it

  • I often find that people confuse inner peace with some sense of insensibility whenever something goes wrong. In such cases inner peace is a permit for destruction: The unyielding optimist will pretend that the forest is not burning either because he is too lazy or too afraid to go and put the fire out. Criss Jami
  • A man cannot drink from a mirage, but he can drown in it. Brian Herbert & Keven J. Anderson
  • Action

Illusion can lead to hatred and violence

  • Much violence is based on the illusion that life is a property to be defended and not to be shared. Henri Nouwen
  • HateViolence

The need for illusion can lead to addiction

  • No other human being, no woman, no poem or music, book or painting can replace alcohol in its power to give man the illusion of real creation. Marguerite Duras
  • Addiction

Our illusions can make fools of us

  • People are so ridiculous with their illusions, carrying their fool’s caps unawares, thinking their own lies opaque while everybody else’s are transparent, making themselves exceptions to everything, as if when all the world looked yellow under a lamp they alone are rosy. George Eliot

Illusions stop us from being truly happy

  • You’ve got to drop illusions. You don’t have to add anything in order to be happy; you’ve got to drop something. Life is easy, life is delightful. It’s only hard on your illusions, your ambitions, your greed, your cravings. Anthony de Mello

Forms of illusion


Perception is an illusion

  • There is no truth. There is only perception. Gustave Flaubert
  • People see what they want to see and what people want to see never has anything to do with the truth. Roberto Bolaño
  • Truth is universal. Perception of truth is not.
  • There are no facts, only interpretations. Friedrich Nietzsche
  • There is no truth. Only points of view. Dame Edith Sitwell
  • Your perception of the world around you is not necessarily the same as what is actually occurring. Peter Ralston
  • Nothing exists except atoms and empty space; everything else is opinion. Democritus
  • Perception

Reality is an illusion for it is based on perception

  • Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a persistent one. Albert Einstein
  • There is no reality, only perception. Strategy: Identify the filters through which you view the world. Dr Phil McGraw
  • Perception is merely reality filtered through the prism of your soul. Christopher A. Ray
  • The human understanding is like a false mirror, which, receiving rays irregularly, distorts and discolors the nature of things by mingling its own nature with it. Francis Bacon
  • Perception is real even when it is not reality. Edward de Bono
  • What was once called the objective world is a sort of Rorschach ink blot, into which each culture, each system of science and religion, each type of personality, reads a meaning only remotely derived from the shape and color of the blot itself. Lewis Mumford
  • What we perceive determines what we believe. What we believe determines what we take to be true. What we take to be true is our reality. Gary Zukav
  • Nothing exists except atoms and empty space; everything else is opinion. Democritus
  • Nothing is real. John Lennon
  • Reality is a palette that humans paint on to let themselves sleep better at night.  Indu Dhiman
  • All descriptions of reality are temporary hypotheses. Gautama Buddha
  • I don’t pretend reality is the same for everyone. Diane Setterfield
  • In reality, there are an infinite number of perspectives, but we act as if there were only one. Genpo Roshi
  • Over 7 billion people in this world and a single reality? Not very realistic. Open your minds. Lucas T. Andrietti
  • Reality

Truth often is an illusion

  • Official truths are often powerful illusions. John Pilger
  • Truth

Opinions and viewpoints are illusion, especially if fixed

  • Even as you grow wiser and wiser with age you must remind yourself that an understanding is never absolutely final. What’s currently right could easily be wrong later. Thus, the most destructive illusion is a settled point of view. Since life is continuous growth and movement, choosing a fixed point of view is essentially a declaration of death. Marc and Angel Chernoff
  • Your opinion is your opinion, your perception is your perception–do not confuse them with “facts” or “truth”. Wars have been fought and millions have been killed because of the inability of men to understand the idea that EVERYBODY has a different viewpoint. John Moore
  • It is pure illusion to think that an opinion that passes down from century to century, from generation to generation, may not be entirely false. Pierre Bayle
  • Opinion

Old patterns and behaviours are illusions

  • Learn to be the unshakable witness to your old patterns and behaviours, knowing that they are simply illusions; the programmes of a previously misguided subconscious mind. Know that through meditation, creative visualization and the repetition of positive affirmations, these old patterns will in time be replaced by new empowering behaviours and beliefs which although just as much an illusion, will ensure your success rather than your failure. By allowing your Higher Self to lead you, you open yourself up to a world of miracles in which you can consciously create your reality. Tania Kotsos

Knowledge is often an illusion – one that greatly impedes discovery and progress

  • The great obstacle of progress is not ignorance, but the illusion of knowledge. Rod Beckwith
  • The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge. Stephen Hawking
  • The greatest obstacle to discovering the shape of the earth, the continents, and the oceans was not ignorance but the illusion of knowledge. Daniel J. Boorstin
  • The greatest obstacle to discovery is not ignorance – it is the illusion of knowledge. Daniel Boorstin
  • It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so. Mark Twain
  • It’s not always what we don’t know that gets in our way; sometimes it’s what we think we know that keeps us from learning. Steve Maraboli
  • Knowledge

Pleasure is an illusion and it is pain that lifts the veil

  • Pleasure can be supported by an illusion; but happiness rests upon truth. Sébastien- Roch Nicolas De Chamfort
  • Pain destroys the illusions of false, that is, elitist pleasures. It burns from the inside out. It, therefore, sensitizes us to what is truly beautiful in life. Matthew Fox
  • Pleasure

Safety and security is an illusion

  • Don’t talk to strangers. Don’t do drugs. Don’t smoke. Don’t drink and drive. Don’t have sex. Wear a condom. Wear sunblock. Wear a seat belt. Wear a helmet. If you see something, say something. Just say no. Stop, drop, and roll. Stop, look, and listen. Look both ways before you cross the street… Safety is an illusion. Bad things can happen to anyone at any time, whether you follow the rules or not. You can check left, check right, check left again before you step off the curb and into the crosswalk, but that won’t stop an anonymous asshole in his shitty pickup from putting you in intensive care… Megan McCafferty
  • As the ego is no longer running your life, the psychological need for external security, which is illusory anyway, lessens. You are able to live with uncertainty, even enjoy it. When you become comfortable with uncertainty, infinite possibilities open up in your life. Eckhart Tolle
  • We have an illusion of security, we don’t have security. Isaac Yeffet
  • Security

Control is an illusion

  • A great deal of anxiety is caused by trying to hang on to the illusion that we can control life, when we really just need to let go and trust that the universe is taking us exactly where we need to go. Trust that we have the strength and the wisdom to handle whatever circumstances come our way. Amanda Harvey
  • Control is an illusion in life. The reality is that we have very little control over most things in our lives, and struggling to try and keep a tight grasp on things that we cannot possibly hold onto can only cause us suffering. Amanda Harvey
  • Horror fiction shows us that the control we believe we have is purely illusory, and that every moment we teeter on chaos and oblivion. Clive Barker
  • Your problem is how you are going to spend this one and precious life you have been issued. Whether you’re going to spend it trying to look good and creating the illusion that you have power over circumstances, or whether you are going to taste it, enjoy it and find out the truth about who you are. Anne Lamott
  • Control

Perfection is an illusion

  • Perfection’ is man’s ultimate illusion. It simply doesn’t exist in the universe…. If you are a perfectionist, you are guaranteed to be a loser in whatever you do.” David Burns
  • Perfectionism

Thinking that external events can hurt you is an illusion

  • Another illusion is that external events have the power to hurt you, that other people have the power to hurt you. They don’t. It’s you who give this power to them. Anthony de Mello

Our thoughts and emotions are illusions

  • All thoughts achieve the same outcome. They take you out of the truth of life, out of the present moment, and into a world of illusion. Leonard Jacobson
  • Don’t believe everything you think. Thoughts are just that – thoughts. Allan Lokos
  • Don’t follow past thoughts, don’t anticipate the future, and don’t follow illusory thoughts that arise in the present, but turning within, observe your own true nature and maintain awareness of your natural mind, just as it is. Garab Dorje
  • Everything generated by the mind including our thoughts and emotions is an illusion. It’s fabricated reality. Adyashanti
  • My thoughts are not who I am. All my thoughts about me and the world are an illusion. Once I know this, I can be truly still and experience the Immense Silence. Adyashanti
  • ThinkingEmotion

Concepts and beliefs are illusions

  • All the concepts and beliefs we possess, no matter how precious, are part of the illusion too. Adyashanti
  • It is an illusory pursuit to look to concepts and ideas in order to find truth, to find peace, to find that which will liberate us. Adyashanti
  • Belief in the absence of illusions is itself an illusion. Barbara Grizzuti Harrison
  • Belief

Hope can be an illusion

  • A poor man with nothing in his belly needs hope, illusion, more than bread. Georges Bernanos
  • It is natural for man to indulge in the illusions of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth, and listen to the song of that siren till she transforms us into beasts… For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth, to know the worst, and to provide for it. Patrick Henry
  • Illusions are the mirages of Hope.
  • Hope

Dreams are illusions

  • We cast away priceless time in dreams, born of imagination, fed upon illusion, and put to death by reality. Judy Garland
  • Dreams are illusions, and we can’t let go of them because we would be dead. David Copperfield
  • Dreaming

Faith is an illusion

  • Great feelings will often take the aspect of error, and great faith the aspect of illusion. Robert Burton
  • In the beginning there was faith – which is childish; trust – which is vain; and illusion – which is dangerous. Elie Wiesel
  • Faith

Time is an illusion

  • The distinction between the past, present and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion. Albert Einstein
  • If time is not real, then the dividing line between this world and eternity, between suffering and bliss, between good and evil, is also an illusion. Herman Hesse
  • The magical, supernatural force that is with us every second is time. We can’t even comprehend it. It’s such an illusion, it’s such a strange thing. Anthony Hopkins
  • Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so. Douglas Adams
  • Time is an illusion. Time only exists when we think about the past and the future. Time doesn’t exist in the present here and now. Marina Abramovic
  • Time

The past and future are illusion

  • I don’t think the human mind can comprehend the past and the future. They are both just illusions… Bob Dylan
  • I have realized that the past and future are real illusions, that they exist in the present, which is what there is and all there is. Alan Watts
  • To be identified with your mind is to be trapped in time: the compulsion to live almost exclusively through memory and anticipation. This creates an endless preoccupation with past and future and an unwillingness to honor and acknowledge the present moment and allow it to be. The compulsion arises because the past gives you an identity and the future holds the promise of salvation, of fulfillment in whatever form. Both are illusions… Eckhart Tolle
  • The one wholly true thought you can hold about the past is that it is not here. To think about it at all is therefore to think about illusions. A Course in Miracles
  • Whatever is a reality today, whatever you touch and believe in and that seems real for you today, is going to be – like the reality of yesterday – an illusion tomorrow. Luigi Pirandello
  • Cognitive psychology tells us that the unaided human mind is vulnerable to many fallacies and illusions because of its reliance on its memory for vivid anecdotes rather than systematic statistics. Steven Pinker
  • The pastThe future

Thinking that now doesn’t matter is an illusion …

  • One of the illusions of life is that the present hour is not the critical, decisive hour. Write it on your heart, that every day is the best day in the year. Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • The illusion that times that were are better than those that are, has probably pervaded all ages. Horace Greeley

… for now is all there is

  • Yet know this: there is no such thing as an incorrect path – for on this journey you cannot “not get” where you are going. It is simply a matter of speed—merely a question of when you will get there—yet even that is an illusion, for there is no “when,” neither is there a “before” or “after.” There is only now; an eternal moment of always in which you are experiencing yourself.  Neale Donald Walsch
  • We are living in a culture entirely hypnotized by the illusion of time, in which the so-called present moment is felt as nothing but an infintesimal hairline between an all-powerfully causative past and an absorbingly important future. We have no present. Our consciousness is almost completely preoccupied with memory and expectation. We do not realize that there never was, is, nor will be any other experience than present experience. We are therefore out of touch with reality. We confuse the world as talked about, described, and measured with the world which actually is. We are sick with a fascination for the useful tools of names and numbers, of symbols, signs, conceptions and ideas. Alan Watts
  • The rat racer’s illusion is that reaching some future destination will bring him lasting happiness; he does not recognize the significance of the journey. Tal Ben-Shahar

Communication can be an illusion

  • Electronic communication is an instantaneous and illusory contact that creates a sense of intimacy without the emotional investment that leads to close friendships. Clifford Stoll
  • There is no such thing as conversation. It is an illusion. There are intersecting monologues, that is all. Rebecca West
  • The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place. George Bernard Shaw
  • Electronic communication is an instantaneous and illusory contact that creates a sense of intimacy without the emotional investment that leads to close friendships. Clifford Stoll
  • Communication

Thinking you are only physical is an illusion

  • The illusion is we are only physical. Vanna Bonta
  • For nearly one hundred years we have known that the material world is an illusion. Everything that seems solid – a rock, a tree, your body – is actually 99.999% empty space. Deepak Chopra
  • You think of yourselves as humans searching for a spiritual awakening, when in fact you are spiritual beings attempting to cope with a human awakening. Seeing yourselves from the perspective of the spirit within will help you to remember why you came here and what you came here to do. Neale Donald Walsch
  • In order to experience everyday spirituality, we need to remember that we are spiritual beings spending some time in a human body. Barbara de Angelis

Blaming and wanting to change others is an illusion

  • Anytime you have a negative feeling toward anyone, you’re living in an illusion. You’re not seeing reality. Something inside of you has to change. But what do we generally do when we have a negative feeling? ‘He is to blame, she is to blame. She’s got to change.’ No! The world’s all right. The one who has to change is you. Anthony de Mello
  • Blaming

Independence and dependence are illusions

  • Let’s face it. In most of life we really are interdependent. We need each other. Staunch independence is an illusion, but heavy dependence isn’t healthy, either. The only position of long-term strength is interdependence: win/win. Greg Anderson
  • Independence

Romantic love is an illusion that often ends in disillusionment

  • But that afternoon he asked himself, with his infinite capacity for illusion, if such pitiless indifference might not be a subterfuge for hiding the torments of love. Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez
  • For love to last, you had to have illusions or have no illusions at all. But you had to stick to one or the other. It was the switching back and forth that endangered things. Lorrie Moore
  • Romantic love is an illusion. Most of us discover this truth at the end of a love affair or else when the sweet emotions of love lead us into marriage and then turn down their flames. Thomas More
  • Love can sometimes be magic. But magic can sometimes… just be an illusion. Javan
  • Maybe illusion and artifice—lies, even—are a necessary part of romance. Jody Gehrman
  • Some of the greatest love stories ever told are the ones we make up in our own mind. Shannon L. Alder
  • When your heart truly adores somebody, your mind perceives a halo on that man’s head. Toba Beta
  • The nostalgia of a moment’s love can be an illusionary precipice from which we fall from truth; in heartbreak, what we escape to in the past is what tortures us in the present. Mike Norton
  • Love matches, so called, have illusion for their father and need for their mother. Friedrich Nietzsche
  • Love is the child of illusion and the parent of disillusion. Miguel de Unamuno
  • A man’s wife is his compromise with the illusion of his first sweetheart. George Jean Nathan
  • RomanceRomantic love

Progress can be an illusion

  • I was to learn later that in life that we tend to meet any new situation by reorganizing; and what a wonderful method it can be for creating the illusion of progress while producing confusion, inefficiency, and demoralization. Petronius Arbiter
  • Reorganizing can be a wonderful method for creating the illusion of progress while producing confusion, inefficiency, and demoralization. Petronius Arbiter
  • Progress is not an illusion, it happens, but it is slow and invariably disappointing. George Orwell
  • Progress

Complexity is an illusion

  • Complexity is, generally speaking, an illusion of conscious desire. All things exist in as simple a form as necessity dictates. When a thing is labeled ‘complex,’ that’s just a roundabout way of saying you’re not observant enough to understand it. Lee Martinez
  • Complexity

Attachment is an illusion

  • Attachment is the great fabricator of illusions; reality can be attained only by someone who is detached. Simone Weil
  • Non-attachment

Having a sense of separateness from others is an illusion …

  • The fundamental delusion of humanity is to suppose that I am here and you are out there. Yasutani Roshi
  • We are here to awaken from our illusion of separateness. Thich Nhat Hanh
  • A human being is a part of the whole that we call the universe, a part limited in time and space. We experience ourselves, our thoughts and feelings, as something separated from the rest—a kind of optical illusion of his consciousness. This illusion is a prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for only the few people nearest us.  Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living beings and all of nature. Albert Einstein
  • Every heart is the other heart. Every soul is the other soul. Every face is the other face. The individual is the one illusion. Marguerite Young
  • For it’s only the illusion of individuality that is the origin of all suffering—when one realizes that one is the universe, complete and at one with all that is, forever without end, then no further suffering is possible. David R. Hawkins
  • Enlightenment is the direct result of freedom from the illusion of a separate self. A profound understanding of this ultimate simplicity provides all that is required for an awakening to enlightenment. Gary Crowley
  • Our separation of each other is an optical illusion of consciousness. Albert Einstein
  • The infinite expression of One, through our mind, is divided into individual people, moments and experiences. When you know that this is what the mind does then you can appreciate it and enjoy it. Otherwise, you end up being someone at a magic show trying to tell everyone how it’s all an illusion… but you came to be a part of the illusion, so enjoy the magic. If you aren’t enjoying the magic, you’re missing the point. Matt Kahn
  • Why struggle to open a door between us when the whole wall is an illusion? Rumi
  • There is an optical illusion about every person we meet. Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • The unbroken realization that you are indivisible from the universe, from universal consciousness, from the source of everything – that you are that source, that there is no other, no second, nothing that is not part of that unity, except as transitory illusion. If you could maintain that realization at all times, through waking and sleeping states of consciousness, across the threshold of death itself, what would you be? Daniel Pinchbeck

… an illusion that the ego thrives on

  • The ego, or more accurately, the belief that one is the ego, obscures the Realization of the Reality of the Self as the Oneness of All That is. The dissolution of the ego results in liberation from the bondage of the illusions that create suffering. David R. Hawkins
  • The source of wisdom and power, of love and beauty, is within ourselves, but not within our egos. It is within our consciousness. Indeed, its presence provides us with a conscious contrast which enables us to speak of the ego as if it were something different and apart: it is the true Self whereas the ego is only an illusion of the mind. Paul Brunton
  • Transcending the ego

Desire, and the sense of lack that creates it, is an illusion

  • Desire is fueled by the illusion of lack and that the source of happiness is outside oneself and therefore has to be pursued or acquired. The importance of the object of desire is thereby inflated and overvalued by its symbolism and mystique. The pleasure of the sense of Self is blocked by desire. When that desire is fulfilled, the ego ascribes the resultant sense of joy to the acquisition of an external. However, this is a clever illusion because the actual source of the pleasure is that the block to experiencing the joy of the Self has been temporarily removed. The source of the experienced happiness is the radiance of the Self that shines forth when it is not shut off by an ego distress.
  • Desire

Problems are an illusion

  • All problems are illusions of the mind. Eckhart Tolle
  • I do not really have “problems”; I only think I do by the way I interpret my circumstances. A “problem” is an illusion. It is a limiting perception without gratitude. Dr. Darren R. Weissman
  • If you can talk brilliantly about a problem, it can create the consoling illusion that it has been mastered. Stanley Kubrick

Art is an illusion

  • Art has a double face, of expression and illusion, just like science has a double face: the reality of error and the phantom of truth. Publilius Syrus
  • Painting is an illusion, a piece of magic, so what you see is not what you see. Philip Guston
  • Illusions are art, for the feeling person, and it is by art that we live, if we do. Elizabeth Bowen
  • Of course, the illusion of art is to make one believe that great literature is very close to life, but exactly the opposite is true. Life is amorphous, literature is formal. Francoise Sagan
  • Sometimes my art is just an illusion – or is it? Criss Angel
  • Artists use frauds to make human beings seem more wonderful than they really are. Dancers show us human beings who move much more gracefully than human beings really move. Films and books and plays show us people talking much more entertainingly than people. Kurt Vonnegut
  • Art

Film is an illusion

  • The secret to film is that it’s an illusion. George Lucas
  • We all need illusions. That’s why we love movies. Monica Bellucci
  • Making films is sort of like you’re pulling off a magic trick. It’s sort of like an illusion. It’s not real but you want it to appear real, and all kinds of things go into that, from the clothes you’re wearing to the make-up, to the light. Jeff Bridges
  • Movies

Photography is an illusion

  • Photography, as we all know, is not real at all. It is an illusion of reality with which we create our own private world. Arnold Newman
  • Photography is a kind of virtual reality, and it helps if you can create the illusion of being in an interesting world. Steven Pinker
  • Photography

Free will is an illusion

  • Free will is an illusion. People always choose the perceived path of greatest pleasure. Scott Adams
  • As far as I can see, it’s not important that we have free will, just as long as we have the illusion of free will to stop us going mad. Alan Moore
  • Free will

Limitations are illusions

  • When you look in the mirror, what do you see? Do you see the real you, or what you have been conditioned to believe is you? The two are so, so different. One is an infinite consciousness capable of being and creating whatever it chooses, the other is an illusion imprisoned by its own perceived and programmed limitations. David Icke
  • Limits, like fear, is often an illusion. Michael Jordan
  • Limitation

Fame is an illusion

  • Since fame is an illusion and death is in our future all we have is the next moment before we are swallowed into oblivion. Al Goldstein
  • Film is an illusion. Fame is ephemeral. Faith and family are what endure. Emilio Estevez
  • Being a famous actress may give you a sense of being important, but believe me, it’s just an illusion. Juliette Binoche
  • Fame

Words and language is an illusion

  • Words are illusions. Bodhidharma
  • Language, philosophy, and science are interwoven into the design of words, which are manipulated to create surprising illusions. John Langdon
  • WordsLanguage

Here are some more sources of illusion

  • There is an old illusion. It is called good and evil. Friedrich Nietzsche
  • A system of morality which is based on relative emotional values is a mere illusion, a thoroughly vulgar conception which has nothing sound in it and nothing true. Socrates
  • Everything’s fine today, that is our illusion. Voltaire
  • It is an illusion that youth is happy, an illusion of those who have lost it. William Somerset Maugham
  • For you who no longer posses it, freedom is everything, for us who do, it is merely an illusion. Emile M. Cioran
  • Luck is merely an illusion, trusted by the ignorant and chased by the foolish. Timothy Zahn
  • Friendship has its illusions no less than love. Stendhal

Spirituality, Science and illusion


The preference for hard truth even over cherished illusion is at the heart of Science

  • When Kepler found his long-cherished belief did not agree with the most precise observation, he accepted the uncomfortable fact. He preferred the hard truth to his dearest illusions; that is the heart of science. Carl Sagan
  • Science

In a spiritual sense, the world is full of illusion

  • Do not be misled by what you see around you, or be influenced by what you see. You live in a world which is a playground of illusion, full of false paths, false values and false ideals. But you are not part of that world. Sai Baba
  • Like a magician’s illusions, dreams and a moon reflected in water, all beings and their environments are empty of inherent existence. Though not solidly existent, all these appear, like water bubbles coming forth in water. Gung Tang
  • We live in a fantasy world, a world of illusion. The great task in life is to find reality. Iris Murdoch
  • Is not this whole world an illusion? And yet it fools everybody. Angela Carter
  • Spirituality

Religion can create illusion, especially if you believe all others are wrong

  • All religions, all this singing, one song. The differences are just illusion and vanity. The sun’s light looks a little different on this wall than it does on that wall, and a lot different on this other one, but it’s still one light. Rumi
  • If you believe your religion is the Truth, you are using it in the service of the ego. Used in such a way, religion becomes ideology and creates an illusory sense of superiority as well as division and conflict between people. Eckhart Tolle
  • Religion is an illusion and it derives its strength from the fact that it falls in with our instinctual desires. Sigmund Freud
  • Religion

Letting go of illusion is what life is about


Life is a kind of dream that we dream

  • Dream delivers us to dream, and there is no end to illusion. Life is like a train of moods like a string of beads, and, as we pass through them, they prove to be many-colored lenses which paint the world their own hue. Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • You’re a dream. Like everything else. Kelly Creagh
  • What is life? A madness. What is life? An illusion, a shadow, a story. And the greatest good is little enough; for all life is a dream and dreams themselves are only dreams. Pedro Calderon de la Barca
  • People who have realized that this is a dream imagine that it is easy to wake up, and are angry with those who continue sleeping, not considering that the whole world that environs them does not permit them to wake. Life proceeds as a series of optical illusions, artificial needs and imaginary sensations. Alexander Herzen
  • Sanity is a madness put to good uses; waking life is a dream controlled. George Santayana
  • Life is God’s dream

The aim of spirituality is to live with, not within, the illusion

  • Be in the world, do not ignore it. Spirituality does not have to mean finding a cave and hiding out forever. Be in your world but not of it. Live with the Illusion, not within it. Yet do not abandon it, do not retreat from the world. That is not the way to create a better world, and it is not the way to experience the grandest part of you. Neale Donald Walsch
  • Spirituality

The illusion exists so we can get to know ourselves and awaken to who we really are

  • I remember I am simply using illusions to create a localised contextual field within which I can experience, and not merely conceptualise, any one of the myriad aspects of Who I Am. I use this contextual field like an artist using a paint brush, producing wonderful pictures and creating powerful and extraordinary moments – moments of grace – in which I may know myself experientially. Neale Donald Walsch
  • You will choose either to continue living the illusion that you have created as if it were real. Or you will choose instead to step away from the illusion, to see it as an illusion, and to use the illusion in order to experience heaven on earth, and the Ultimate Reality of Who You Really Are. Neale Donald Walsch
  • When I see others in need, I allow myself to use the illusion to express the part of myself that I choose to experience. But be clear that I never do anything for another. Everything I do I do for myself. That is because the self is all there is. In this way, there is no resentment. Neale Donald Walsch
  • Awaken to who you truly are

Letting go of illusions is what life is all about

  • Life consists in molting our illusions. We form creeds today only to throw them away tomorrow. The eagle molts a feather because he is growing a better one. Elbert Hubbard
  • In youth, we feel the richer for every new illusion; in mature years, for every one we lose. Madame Swetchine
  • Everybody sooner or later has to drop the luggage and the baggage of illusions. Carlos Santana
  • Letting go

Letting go of illusions is what spiritual evolution is all about

  • Spiritual evolution occurs as the result of removing obstacles and not actually acquiring anything new. Devotion enables surrender of the mind’s vanities and cherished illusions so that it progressively becomes more free and more open to the light of Truth. David R. Hawkins
  • The real can be known only through the illusion. You cannot know the truth directly. First you have to know that which is not true. First you have to encounter the untrue. Through that encounter you become capable of knowing the truth. If you know the false as the false, truth will dawn upon you. Osho
  • It is helpful to remember that neither Truth nor Enlightenment is something to be found, sought, acquired, gained, or possessed. That which is the Infinite Presence is always present and its realization occurs of itself when the obstacles to that realization are removed. It is therefore not necessary to study the truth but only to let go of that which is fallacious. Moving away the clouds does not cause the sun to shine but merely reveals that which was hidden all along. Spiritual work, therefore, is primarily a letting go of the presumably known for the unknown, with the promise of others who have done it that the effort is more than well rewarded at the end.
  • Evolution

Awakening out of illusion is what brings spiritual enlightenment

  • Awakening is ultimately the journey of an individual toward an understanding of the nature of the Ultimate Reality behind the illusion that we only think is ultimately real. It is the highest calling of man, for the destination is what many call God.  Steve Baxter
  • Enlightenment is the direct result of freedom from the illusion of a separate self. A profound understanding of this ultimate simplicity provides all that is required for an awakening to enlightenment. Gary Crowley
  • Enlightenment

The rewards of letting go of illusion


To let go of all illusion is to be left with the truth

  • Get rid of all of your illusions and what’s left is the truth. You don’t find truth as much as you stumble upon it when you have cast away your illusions. Adyashanti
  • Truth

To let go of illusion is to be left with wisdom

  • Losing an illusion makes you wiser than finding a truth. Ludwig Borne
  • Wisdom comes by disillusionment. George Santayana
  • Wisdom

To let go of illusion is to be left with experience

  • Experience comprises illusions lost, rather than wisdom gained. Joseph Roux
  • An illusion dissipated is an experience gained. Christian Nestell Bovee
  • Only here, because of the illusion of intellectualism, our society separates the validity of human expression. Joseph Jarman
  • Experience

How to lift illusion


How do you start to lift the veils of illusion?

  • How do you lift the veils of illusion? You start by asking your Higher Self to lift them and being willing to see what is revealed. Question things you have taken for granted. Explore new areas. Imagine you are a small child or that you have just arrived on the planet and are examining things for the first time. Orin

Lift illusion by getting to know yourself

  • The most successful people are those who don’t have any illusions about who they are. They know themselves well and they can move in the direction of their best talents. They know the kind of culture they thrive in and how they can benefit from that culture. Unfortunately, most people don’t understand themselves. Most people don’t want to lose their illusions about themselves. Bud Bray
  • Truly it is an evil to be full of faults; but it is a still greater evil to be full of them and to be unwilling to recognize them, since that is to add the further fault of a voluntary illusion. Blaise Pascal
  • If most of us remain ignorant of ourselves, it is because self-knowledge is painful and we prefer the pleasures of illusion. Aldous Huxley
  • Self-knowledge

Lift illusion through the power of understanding

  • Do not repeat after me words that you do not understand. Do not merely put on a mask of my ideas, for it will be an illusion and you will thereby deceive yourself. Jiddu Krishnamurti
  • Don’t believe what your eyes are telling you. All they show is illusion. Look with your understanding, find out what you already know, and you’ll see the way to fly. Richard Bach
  • Understanding

Lift illusion through contemplating death and the fleetingness of life

  • One of the most powerful spiritual practices is to meditate deeply on the mortality of physical forms, including your own. This is called: Die before you die. Go into it deeply. Your physical form is dissolving, is no more. Then a moment comes when all mind- forms or thoughts also die. Yet you are still there – the divine presence that you are. Radiant, fully awake. Nothing that was real ever died, only names, forms, and illusions. Eckhart Tolle
  • We live in a cloud of illusions and rarely realize that we are spinning this web of fiction for all the hours and days of our lives, unless we are fortunate or unfortunate enough to die slowly. Perhaps slow death may be the only moments of reality for the total life of many earthlings. Because the dying person is forced to face the fact that he is about to become zero. Richard Rose
  • DeathFleetingness of lifeImpermanence

Lift your illusions through the power of gratitude

  • Both abundance and lack exist simultaneously in our lives, as parallel realities. It is always our conscious choice which secret garden we will tend…when we choose not to focus on what is missing from our lives but are grateful for the abundance that’s present- -love, health, family, friends, work, the joys of nature and personal pursuits that bring us pleasure – the wasteland of illusion falls away and we experience Heaven on earth. Sarah Ban Breathnach
  • I do not really have “problems”; I only think I do by the way I interpret my circumstances. A “problem” is an illusion. It is a limiting perception without gratitude. Dr. Darren R. Weissman
  • Gratitude

Lift illusion by losing your sense of being the centre of the universe

  • Most of our energy goes into maintaining our own importance. If we were capable of losing some of that importance, two extraordinary things would happen to us. One, we would free ourselves from trying to maintain the illusory idea of our grandeur; and two, we would provide ourselves with enough energy to catch a glimpse of the actual grandeur of the universe. Deepak Chopra
  • Hospitality is essential to spiritual practice. It reminds you that you are part of a greater whole. Putting others first puts you in the midst of life without the illusion of being the center of life. Rabbi Rami M. Shapiro

Lift illusion by expanding your consciousness

  • Our business is to wake up. We have to find ways in which to detect the whole of reality in the one illusory part which our self-centered consciousness permits us to see.  We must not live thoughtlessly, taking our illusion for the complete reality, but at the same time we must not live too thoughtfully in the sense of trying to escape from the dream state.  We must be continuously on watch for ways in which we may enlarge our consciousness.  Aldous Huxley
  • Consciousness

Lift illusion by going on an inner journey

  • There’s a lot of fear connected with the inner journey because it penetrates our illusions. Taking the inner journey will lead you into some very shadowy places. You’re going to learn things about yourself that you’ll wish you didn’t know. There are monsters in there—monsters you can’t control—but trying to keep them hidden will only give them greater power. Parker Palmer
  • The journey inwards

Lift your illusion through meditation

  • Meditation is about carving out a very small amount of time from within the illusion of time to help you experience something that is beyond time. Martin Boroson
  • Meditation

Lift illusion through the power of love

  • Love — not dim and blind but so far-seeing that it can glimpse around corners, around bends and twists and illusion; instead of overlooking faults love sees through them to the secret inside. Vera Nazarian
  • Infinite love is the only truth. Everything else is illusion. David Icke
  • Love

Lift illusion through inner stillness and quietening the mind

  • Why is silence the greatest teacher? Because real truth never speaks. What would be the point? Truth simply is and so does not need to be reminded of this. On the other hand, illusion cannot be convinced for it doesn’t actually exist except as a thought, belief or concept. Michael Jeffreys
  • StillnessMeditation

Lift illusion through the power of sex and orgasm

  • The beauty and wisdom of Tantra is that it enhances sexuality as a doorway to the “ecstatic mind of great bliss”. Truly, at the peak of orgasm, we pierce through the illusion of fragmentation and separation, and glimpse the unity and interconnectedness of all beings. And through the other–our partner–we fall in love with life. Margot Anand
  • Sexuality


  • Why struggle to open a door between us when the whole wall is an illusion? Rumi
  • If it looks real and feels real, do you think it matters if it’s real? Daniel Nayeri

On a lighter note

  • Are you looking for something real in this world of illusions? Call me. Casual Flings need not apply. I am looking for Love. Aprilynne Pike
  • What if everything is an illusion and nothing exists? In that case, I definitely overpaid for my carpet. Woody Allen
  • Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so. Douglas Adams
  • It isn’t an optical illusion; it just looks like one.
  • Middle Age: That period when a man begins to shed his hair his teeth and his illusions.
  • Reality is an illusion that occurs due to the lack of alcohol. C. Fields
  • Reality is merely an illusion albeit a very persistent one. Albert Einstein
  • Tradition is the illusion of permanence. Woody Allen
  • What if everything is an illusion and nothing exists? in that case I definitely overpaid for my carpet.   Woody Allen