Friday, August 13, 2010
The value of a mentor, standing behind you. The ritual of sealing a friend in your heart. Thank you Don, Cha Cha, John, Barbara, Wayne, Petrula, mi guapo hermano, Tom. And most of all to our friend, Rick. From the top of the Wasatch, to the big, blue Pacific...
The earlier posts on the Maya of Individuality, of Religion, and of Science and Media explored two of the main powers of maya, but only touched on the third...
The Maya of Individuality; the belief that we are separate from everyone and everything around us, is an example of the Veiling, or Concealing Power of Maya. This is the power that prevents us from seeing the true nature and character of things; the simple fact that all life, all consciousness in our universe is connected and interdepen-dent. In this sense we are everyone and everything, and everyone is us. It's only our Ego identification with this form: body, name, feelings, and the like, that creates the false sense of separateness. These concealing aspects of our selves, like everything else in the world, are always in flux, always changing, and so by nature make it difficult for us to connect to one another. Only our core of Being, our Eternal Self, is constant, and constantly connected.
Everything I put out there will impact on me and those around me; everything manifested in the world affects me and everything around it. I may not live near an environmental disaster, but the trauma of it on Nature affects me directly. I may walk away from treating someone badly, but it reflects in the heart of the world. The false belief that I am separate leads me to behave in ways that further separate me – to misperceive my own true experience of Life and create an imaginary (usually self-defensive or self-enhancing) story, to describe my misperceptions.
My being is interdependent on many factors, beyond the mi-crocosm of my form. I am part of everything, something we all know intuitively, but the Veiling Power of Maya prevents us from seeing.
"...an invisible and subtle essence is the Spirit of the whole universe. That is Reality. That is Atman. Thou art That."
Chandogya Upanishad , 6.12
The Maya of Religion, and of Science and Media – our self-defining associations with a set of cultural beliefs – are examples of the Projecting Power of Maya. It's the Ego-force that projects comparisons and judgments, definitions and labels, with their associated desires, identifications, and diversions. It hangs a defining filter over the world we perceive.
We identify ourselves as this or that: as Jew or Christian; as Conservative or Liberal; as a product of Intelligent Design, or one of sheer random chemistry; when all these definitions are simply shifting projections of the individual and collective Ego. The truth is that we are all pretty much exactly the same thing. Yet we identify with concepts of "knowledge," of "logic," with dogma, and with cultural imperatives, and in doing so, lose sight of the unchanging Akashic Field that unifies the consciousness we share with the Earth and all it's manifestations. We can't see the living, breathing forest, for how we choose to name (and use) the trees. This is the Projecting Power of Maya.
"Though it is hidden in all things, the Self shines not forth."
Katha Upanishad, 3.12
But inherent in these realizations is hidden a third, transcendent power - the Revealing Power of Maya.
Through inward, meditative exploration, through Art, and through Nature, the true qualities of being beyond the limitations of our form and the obstacles of our Ego, become constantly apparent. It works like this: When observed on it's surface, a person or occurrence may activate mental processes that begin to label and differentiate the observed as separate from the observer – the concealing power. As those thoughts lead to judgments and opinions, they activate feelings (often fears). That's the projecting power.
However, if we simply allow people and circumstances to be what they are (without getting our panties in a bunch) – the confluence of causes and events that form them – we begin to see their inner truth revealed. We begin to see them as fluid, ever-changing mani-festations of Source – just like we are ourselves. Just like everything. The radiance of Being begins to shine through, through every person, through every event. This is helped along a great deal by turning our attention inward in meditation. Then, the revelations begin.
A crow caws. A truck rumbles on the Interstate. A man shouts in the distance. A fish jumps with a splash. A girlfriend uncere-moniously dumps you. A forgotten relative leaves you a great deal of money. Your candidate loses the election. A cat sits in your lap, purring. All are right. All are Source. At all times, everything you witness, you are becoming through your attention. Through your intention. The energy of Being is shining through, engaging every part of you. And so you become, not just as yourself, but as all you witness, a real contributing part of all Being – fully connected and interdependent. Your thoughts, actions, and intentions influencing The All. Awareness of the concealing and projecting engages the revealing.
As well, real Art, not art as ego, suspends the processes of our intellect, our preconceived labels and judgments, and forces us to experience Being. It breaks through our "real" context, and forces us into a moment of graceful suspension. Into the moment, where we instantly perceive our connection to something greater than ourselves. this is the revelation that tied Art to ritual at it's earliest inception. The Revealing Power of Maya.
And in Nature... well, in Nature there's nothing but the Revealing Power of Maya. The membrane between our form and The Divine (our form as Nature) is just too thin not to experience the awesome connection of it all. Look at a duck. I dare you. Or a tree, or a stream, or a wildflower, growing through the crack in the parking lot asphalt…
"The All came forth from me, and the All came into me. Split a piece of wood, and I Am there. turn over a stone, and you will find me."
The Gospel of Thomas, Logion 77
The book: How to Survive Life (and Death), A Guide To Happiness In This World and Beyond is now available everywhere, but ask for it it at your local bookstore!