The Germans were possessed by the idea in the nineteen thirties that they were a superior race and that life was about competition between races. This crazy idea caused the horrors of the Second World War.
Eighteenth-century Englishmen considered slave trade a decent way to make money. Also highly regarded men could buy and sell even young children. They accumulated huge fortunes and sang psalms in church on Sundays.
Ideas, beliefs and delusions can cause so much misery and pain.
Some people believe that life is meaningless; others believe that nothing but money is important. Some people believe that something is wrong with them; others believe that there is a God somewhere who demands that women must be covered with burqas. Some people believe that they are completely worthless; others believe that they are absolutely wonderful.
How would you see yourself and the world, do you think, if you wouldn't have your colored glasses on? Why is it so difficult to free oneself from delusions, misunderstandings and nonsense? Is there really nothing we can do about it?
To wake up, as I see it, is to suddenly realize that a crazy belief is a crazy belief, a misunderstanding, a delusion. This sudden awakening does not come about because someone is lecturing you about awakening or because you tell yourself that now you have to stop this bloody nonsense. We are like nicotine addicts who know very well that smoking is causing cancer and all sorts of diseases but we keep on smoking anyway.
A young man can be deeply in love and totally blind to the fact that the love of his life is in love with someone else. When it finally sinks in he will feel like he is waking up from a dream.
Also deeply religious men realize sometimes that God is just a word which means different things to different people.
Spiritual awakening and salvation can also be delusions.
True awakening takes place, I think, when we realize fully that we will never know who we are and how the world is working.