What is the nature of our world? Is it as it seems; a hard-edged, walled-in Skinner Box, in which we are rats, closely monitored for our individual performance, our ability to outwit, outlast and outplay according to laws of randomness and separateness?

For most of us, slowly coming to terms with the true nature of our universe and the underlying 'reality' of our existence, this is perhaps the hardest part to accept; that the world we have been living in for so long is not what it seems. That everything we experience is just an illusion. That time, form and space is all one, that it's all an illusion. That this world with its hard edges and solid structures is actually a particle soup, and not a very chunky one either. That everything consists of the same loose collection of 'stuff' occupying mostly empty space (and that space, when you look closely enough, is 'stuff' too). That time may seem to pass, or we may seem to pass through time, but – because time is also 'all one' – time happens all at once.

So the illusion is a magic trick of sorts. But it's a whole lot more than that. Let's take a quick look at where the word 'illusion' came from:

il·lu·sion (ĭ-lɷ'zhən) n. An erroneous perception of reality. [Middle English, from Old French, from Late Latin illusio, from Latin, a mocking, irony, from illusus, past participle of illudere, from in+ludere, to play.]

So you see, the illusion is a game we play, a game of perception. Of course, we've constructed complicated rules and conventions governing how we agree to deal with weight, density, time and so forth. Not arbitrarily, but according to how best we've learnt to process and 'explain' the world.

The ancient people had a better appreciation of the illusion than we do today. Ubuntu is an acknowledgement of one-ness, that you should 'do unto others', not in case one day they 'do unto you', but because, at the most fundamental level, they are you!

The religions of the Axial Age though, with their Golden Rule, misunderstood this. 'Do unto others as you'd have them do unto you', nice as it sounds, is about self-interest and separateness, not about one-ness.

Enter Descartes and Newton, and the illusion took hold as the dominant theme of our consciousness, their theories cast in stone as the rule book of separatist 'enlightenment'. But since the late 19th Century, scientists like Bohr, Einstein, Heisenberg, Schrödinger, Bohm et al have started peeling back the illusion and revealing the one-ness behind it, leaving much of the Newtonian/Cartesian playbook flapping in the wind.

We'll look at more of what they've discovered in future, including one of the most recent, David Bohm, who lays it out quite nicely in terms of an 'explicate order' (the illusion that we see, carved up by Newtonian and Cartesian thinking into separateness and duality) and an 'implicate order' which is the unbroken wholeness of all-that-is, the one-ness of space, time and matter, connected at the most fundamental level.

Part of the illusion is the belief that every game needs an opponent, and duality (which fits in nicely with the Cartesian separateness of 'I think therefore I am' and Newtonian antagonism of 'equal and opposite reactions') provides us with a ready supply of opposition. Whether they qualify on religious grounds, moral grounds or racial grounds, any 'otherness', no matter how spurious, will do.

Is there a reason for all of this? Of course there is; there's a reason behind every game. Do we play purely for our own amusement? No. Well then - since we're not told it's a game – are we playing for someone else's amusement? No. Like most games, we play to learn about ourselves.

Like a video game that is divided into a series of levels, the first challenge is to accept that it is a mocking game, an illusion, an extrinsic, 'explicate' order, and that behind it there is a fundamental, intrinsic, 'implicate' unity to the universe. This awareness of one-ness gains us admission to the next level, where we learn to let go of our attachment to the old rules and how to flow with the new energy of this 'unified field'. This in turn allows us to go to the next level, where we tap into the power of one-ness, to find our own niche in relation to all, our own position in the field, in a way that is 'in the zone', inspired (in spirit) and in synch with all-that-is (what we call our life purpose).

What it is definitely not about is winning or losing but - yes, you guessed it - about how you play the game. But then, any kid (whether they embrace the truth or not)can tell you that.

Author's Bio: 

Bryn is a freelance writer living amongst the vines and olive trees of South Africa's beautiful Western Cape province with his wife and three children.