Tarka #2: On Illusion

In this issue of Tarka, On Illusion, we engage with the intersection of the modern, virtual world and the legacy of philosophy and contemplative practice that values imagination, dream states, and the significance of illusion.

Tarka Issue #2

On Illusion

  • Historical, Polemical, and Experimental Essays
  • Introductory Articles on Key Topics
  • Interviews with Pilar Jennings and Jeffery D. Long
  • Three Book Reviews
  • Articles on Practice and Translation

Articles from this Issue

VR and Somatic Inquiry: Visualizing or Somatizing Balance?

What is the link between Ideokinesis (and the many derived somatic approaches that use it) or other forms of visualization within somatic movement and VR?

The Language of Image in the Clinical Setting

The language of image is one we speak every night as we dream. It just takes a little prompting for us to be able to develop our latent facility with this language. Simple questions, such as “What does this image remind you of?” open the messages from images in powerful ways.

How Could the Body be the Self?

Most of modern yoga is done with the Advaitic intention of oneness, even if its practitioners don’t know it! And though the boundaries have become so blurry over time that we accept the integration of these two systems without even questioning it, it is important to realize what a huge leap it originally was to incorporate dualistic yoga into the non-dualistic system of Advaita.

Advaita Vedānta – Recognizing Nonduality through the Upaniṣads

The Upaniṣads, the ancient oral texts within the corpus of the Vedas, are the world’s earliest extant discussions of nonduality. They develop an integrative vision that reveals the hidden connections tying individuals to the world.

Illustration by Naomi Alessandra

Adventures in Consciousness

The exact origin of dream yoga is opaque in Buddhism. Some scholars trace dream yoga back to the Buddha. Namkhai Norbu, a master of the Nyingma school of Tibetan Buddhism, says it originated in the tantras (especially the Mahamaya Tantra), which are shrouded in mystery and authorship.

Healing By Being Awake: The Shamanic Rite of Jagar in the Himalayas

Jagar comes from the Sanskrit root, jāgṛ, which means “to go on burning, to be awake, to be watchful and to awaken.” It refers to the first state of consciousness described in the Māṇḍukya Upaniṣad—waking (jāgrat). It’s distinguished from the two other states of the conscious mind—dreaming and deep sleep—by the quality of consciousness experienced.

Illustration by Naomi Alessandra


A yantra is a meditative ritual device used in South Asian Tantric traditions. It is a blueprint of energy of a specific field of consciousness. Although yantras are sometimes described as representing a deity, each yantra is more than a symbol. A yantra is a literal matrix of divine consciousness.

The Many Faces of Māyā – An Exploration of a Paradoxical Concept

Māyā: the very name conveys a sense of mystery. Cognate with the English word magic, māyā does, indeed, refer to something magical. Like magic, māyā involves the diversion of our attention from the real to the unreal, or from reality to the appearance of reality.

From the Introduction

The idea that “the world is an illusion” an that reality might not actually be as it appears may seem counterintuitive, a topic more at home in fantasy literature and science fiction than in therapy and philosophy. Yet almost every religion addresses illusion, to some degree, and highlights the imagination as an effective tool to engage with it. This suggests that perhaps there is more to truth than what is encountered through objective reasoning. Fantasy, fairy tales, myth, science fiction, sacred geometry, iconography and abstract, impressionistic art all work to communicate truths that run deeper than mere objective, surface analysis. But if imagination binds as frequently as it transforms, how are we to know which forms of illusion are true?

Stephanie Corigliano, TARKA Journal Managing Editor

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