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MAYA

Maya is the power by which we are fooled into believing that which is not ultimately true, that which is only ephemeral appearance. It is also called illusion, but this is mostly misunderstood. The illusion is not that the world of form appears, it is that mind interprets and personalizes what is perceived by the senses, and by this, a world of illusion is created, a personal world, filtered through fear and desire, revulsion and attraction, beliefs and preferences.

From the hypnotism of this power to delude, this Maya, arises ideas of right and wrong, good and evil, and with that, the belief that I know how the world should be. This is true of our views of the external world experience, but also our views of and resistance to our own bodymind experience. Because we have fallen for the power of Maya, we suffer. We blame, accuse, debate, defend, offend, regret, self-improve, self-judge - arguing with our apparent external and internal world experience. We seek solutions to the suffering this causes by trying to arrange things externally and internally into a form we believe will make us happy, content, at peace, secure, free of fear and stress. Of course, that doesn’t ultimately work.

“If politics follows my personal beliefs - I will be happy.”
“If society looks the way I want it to - I will be come to rest.”
“If my mind stops its incessant chatter - I will find peace.”
“If my psychological issues related to the past are resolved - I will be healthy.”
“If everything goes the way I want it to - I will be secure.”
“If I come up with the perfect philosophy - life will make sense.”
“If I find out the meaning of life - I will know what to do.”
“If I do enough sadhana for the next twenty years - maybe I will get enlightened.”

We have tried these strategies our entire life. Is it not yet clear that it is a fool’s errand? How much longer do we need to come to that conclusion? How much longer do we need to suffer, and seek outside for relief, to no avail? When will it all be resolved? In the future? How about now?

Peace, freedom, ease, happiness, contentment, fulfillment, are clearly not found by those means, otherwise we would have all of that by now, god knows we’ve tried. The Bible says, “The Kingdom of Heaven is within.” The ‘within’ is misunderstood. It simply means, peace and freedom are inherent as who you are, here and now, when the belief in and arguing with Maya ends. It usually ends because of exhaustion, the frustration of being tired of seeking, seeking, seeking, spiritual and mundane, and yet still suffering and not finding peace. This is a perfectly valid reason to come to the point of finally being ready for freedom. All of that seeking, that striving, that correcting and judging, that suffering because of ignorance, is grace, if it brings us to the point of wanting to come to know truth, to come home.

Truth is so simple, so ordinary that we will continue to overlook it and never see its value, unless we are at the point of surrender, of real humility, of the authentic desire and openness to know. When we are tired of wanting more, more, more, we will be ready for nothing. And it is in nothing, not in something, that freedom and peace are found. This may not be appealing to a mind still seeking, philosophizing or spiritualizing, a mind that still wants to find some special permanent state or condition, but when one is ready, through the grace of having tried everything and seeing its folly, then one is humble, open and willing enough to look and see, for one’s self, what is so clearly here, true, obvious and ordinary. Peace and freedom is the natural human condition, but, the unhealthy mind, which has fallen hook line and sinker for Maya, cannot accept that. It wants more, and it will get it, and then again, be disappointed. That is exactly why it almost always takes a shock, or extended suffering and the subsequent failure to find relief through seeking, for one to be ready.

If one is ready, the message is simple. Stop. Turn around. Have a shift of knowing. Instead of knowing only the objective world - inclusive of the five senses, thoughts, emotions and sensations, all passing experiences - come to know yourself as the knowing of all of that, which is not an experience and does not change. It is peace already. This is a 180 degree turn around, from subject/object, to pure subject with no object, in which all objects ever-changingly appear. It is the self-effulgent light of knowing, knowing only itself. It is existence knowing itself. It is I knowing myself. It is knowing and being, which are one and the same, no separation, not two.

This is the perennial message, shared by sages since the beginning of humanity. This message is not new and never changes. It is here and now eternally. Why not have a look and find out for yourself?

Sal - 2020

 


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