The painful, yet beautiful illusion of reality

The illusion of our reality is often an interesting one, filled with coexistence of pain and pleasure, joy and sadness. In Shivate Tantra, it is believed that Shiva and Shakti embodied human form for the Lila, divine play, of the maya, or illusion. As humans, they were able to experience a finite body. Through the kleshas (limitations) and kanchukas (excuses/beliefs), they were able to experience limitations. Yet, they were also able to experience the senses and elements. In order to transform, they had to remember their true nature, moving through the limitations back into the limitless.

Tony Robbins said in an interview, “There are two states you live in — beautiful states or suffering states.” I think that pretty much sums it up- you’re either in a state of beauty, flow, joy or you’re not. When you’re in a suffering state, more often than not, you’re bogged down by the limitations. Looking at it from this perspective makes the limitations seem bad. Perhaps that is limiting in and of itself.

What if we chose our limitations we would experience in our life, and thus our suffering, as our own lila (divine play) to move through them and back into our true nature? This could be the paradox shift from suffering.

Try this…

Think of something simple in your life that isn’t working that way you’d like. Perhaps there is someone you deal with regularly who irritates you. What are all the stories you tell about that person?

  • They’re annoying.
  • They always want to one up people.
  • They think they have it worse than others.
  • They think they’re more important.

How do you feel as a result?

  • Belittled
  • Frustrated
  • Angry
  • Exhausted

Now flip those. What if the person wasn’t annoying? Byron Katie these turnarounds in The Work.


  • “They’re annoying” could become “They’re not annoying”, “I’m annoying”, or “They’re amazing”
  • “They always want to one up people” could become “They’re humble” or “They’re trying to feel like they matter” or “I’m not asserting myself”
  • “They think they have it worse than others” may become “They don’t think they have it worse than others” or “They are looking for love” (which is probably more true)
  • “They think they’re more important” becomes “They are important” or “We are all important”


What would be different? And if they magically weren’t annoying, how would you feel? Peaceful, happy, creative?

Now that you have the two ends of the spectrum, what within you is reflected in the challenging situation? In our example, the annoying person is trying to meet their needs, albeit not in an effective or efficient way. In what way do you ignore or discount your needs? In what ways do other people ignore or discount your needs?


What would it take to clear or heal any negative feelings around this within yourself?Do you need to be more clear, more assertive, more compassionate, more loving?


What would it take to feel the feeling you identified as opposite from what you feel now? Do you need to change the way you communicate (starting with yourself)? Do you need to take action or stop doing something to be more aligned with your desired feeling?

The final question, are you ready to do make that shift and do that work?

It’s up to you.

Start with a simple challenge and work your way up to more difficult situations in your life. It takes a little time, a lot of compassionate yet brutal honesty, and a willingness to make a change. If you’re willing, a more joyful state awaits.


If you need some help, let’s chat! Email me Leave a comment below with your experience doing the steps in this post. And if you’d like more strength, balance and peace daily, check out my free 7 day series Living Yoga Off The Mat here.