One of the most helpful ideas of Buddhism is that our perception of life is an illusion. We know this because people have seen through the illusion. Until we are able to see through the illusion ourselves, we can take their word for it. Zen Buddhists recommend not to just take their word for it, but to experience it for yourself. This stance makes it easier to take their word for it. If you just entertain the idea that the world you perceive is an illusion, you can immediately improve your outlook. Suddenly, all of your problems are not real. Poof.
It is not usually that easy. We tend to be very invested in our problems. Just deciding that the mindset that led us to our problems is faulty does not change that mindset. If you suspect that life may be an illusion, that should awaken your curiosity. It’s like watching a magic show. When a magician levitates, you want to know how she did it. You want to see through the illusion. That seeking spirit will help you see through your illusions.
To find the trick, you have to explore your negative emotions and feelings. That is where illusion is strongest. Your true nature is content. So, when you are not content, you are suffering from the illusion. That is a good time to start looking. To look, you watch your thoughts without judgement. As your negative feelings move on, you will get better at watching because you won’t be so weighed down by your mood. Believing that it is all an illusion gives you the courage to look deeply at the negative feelings, because you know, that the feelings are not you, that they are your illusion. If you start to feel happy, that is part of the illusion too. If you feel like you are one with the universe, that may still be illusion, but maybe you’ve broken through. Some trick.