Both quotes are common, the first being more rational, the second being more spiritual. So, no contradiction here, just different fields where they apply. If we want to give material things, we must have them first, if we want to teach, we must know first. But if we talk about spiritual things, like love, support, inspiration, then the more you give, the more you get back.
The world is an illusion because we can only perceive it indirectly through our feelings, which might be distorted by abilities of our feeling organs, our attention, the flaws of the process of perception itself. Thus, we see not what really is but what we manage to see. We can call this an illusion.
The mind is an illusion too, it’s not a thing, it comes into existence out of a unique combination of things, which themselves are not things at the subatomic level, but more like waves. (Similarly, mass is not a thing – a very good explanation in this video). So we can call mind as well as mass illusions.
“We can call…” – this is the keyword. We use the same word to describe two different things and here the contradiction emerges. I’d say this is one type of illusion within another type of illusion. And the world in the first sentence is not equivalent to the world in the second sentence.
You are special because like every living being you’re different from others, you have a unique set of traits. But if we count just one trait, then you are one of many. You may be similar to even as much as 50% of the whole population.
It’s like chaos theory – the principles are simple, but interrelations are complex. What do we have in mind, when we talk about the world, its principles or interrelations? When we realize it, contradictions disappear.
Which one should be the first? Which one comes after? Maybe we start loving what we already do bit by bit, very slowly. And at the same time, we start doing what we love more and more often. And these loving and doing overlap more and more until finally merge after 100 years or so, but that’s still nice.
Do these two contradict each other? If we are satisfied with what we have and work to make the world better for others, then no. But if we try to change the world, to have more for ourselves, then yes, they contradict.
Is there any contradiction between these two? This is a tough one.
How can we be anyone else? If I am not self-confident, I am myself. If I am doing what others say, I am myself. A follower. If I am faking my personality, I am myself. A faker. What else could I be?
My body is not me. My mind is not me. My name is not me. So, who should I be? What is that “I”?
Faking, imitating others is a natural process of learning in any field. Being yourself is following your deepest values. Two different things. If one wants to fake – let them be themselves, let them fake. Why pretend to be a unicorn?
Is there actually any contradiction here? Maybe we can let our heart to imagine better future, set the goals that matter, and let our brain to find a way how to implement that future and how to achieve those goals?