I've been reading a book on Eastern philosophy. So many good quotes.
I am not the body, because the body is impermanent and subject to growth and decay; I am not the mind and its thoughts and feelings and dreams, because they too change and pass away; I am not the consciousness in deep sleep, because although there the perception is freed from duality and division, it comes to an end on waking; what I am is the witness of all that persists through all these states
—on the Upanishads, ancient Indian writings
When people begin to reflect with freedom from presuppositions and religious superstition they tend to the materialist belief, though deeper reflection takes them away from it
Shankara, points out that when we wake up from a dream we know that it is illusory because we experience the greater reality of the physical waking world. The question that faces Vasubandhu is this: if we wake up from the ordinary world, what is the greater reality that allows us to see that previously we had only dreamt?
O God, if I worship You for fear of Hell, burn me in Hell, And if I worship You in hope of Paradise, Exclude me from Paradise. But if I worship You for Your Own sake, Grudge me not Your everlasting Beauty
—Rabi'ah, a Muslim Sufi
love…allows for a direct cognition of God by the soul.
For several epochs I was flying about in space like atoms of dust without a will, after which I entered the inorganic realm of matter. Crossing over to the vegetable kingdom I lost all memory of my struggle on the material plane. From there I stepped into the animal kingdom, forgetting all my life as a plant, feeling only an instinctive and unconscious urge towards the growth of plants and flowers…rising in the scale of animality I became a man pulled up by the creative urge of the Creator whom one knows. I continued advancing from realm to realm developing my reason and strengthening the organism. There was ground for ever getting above the previous types of reason. Even my present rationality is not a culmination of mental evolution. This, too, has to be transcended, because it is still contaminated with self-seeking, egoistic biological urges. A thousand other types of reason and consciousness shall emerge during the further course of my ascent; a wonder of wonders!
—Rumi, a Muslim Sufi. Centuries before the theory of evolution, one might add. He also said "I am not...even a Muslim as the term is generally understood." Like many Sufis, he flirted with heresy.
Life is not an illusion, but an affirmation of physical reality. The illusion is death.