Friday, August 13, 2010

The Third Power of Maya—Why We Can't See

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 and all consciousness in our universe is connected and interdependent. 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 all—that creates a false sense of separateness. These concealing aspects of our selves (like everything else in the world) are always in flux, always changing like moving targets, so they make it difficult for us to connect to one another. 
 Only our core of authentic 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 and justify my misperceptions.

Our being is obviously interdependent on many factors, beyond the microcosm of our forms. We are part of everything, something we all know intuitively, but the Veiling Power of Maya prevents us from seeing that.

" 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 our comparisons and judgments, definitions and labels, and assigns us to 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 ourselves with concepts of "knowledge," of "logic," with dogma, and with cultural imperatives, and by doing so lose sight of the eternal Akashic Field that unifies the greater Consciousness we share with the Earth and all it's naturally balanced life. 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 concealing projections of personal and collective Ego, become constantly apparent. 
It works like this with humans: When a person or thing is observed on it's surface, it activates the mental processes that begin to label and differentiate the observed as being separate from the observer – that's the concealing power. As those thoughts lead to judgments and opinions, they activate feelings—often fears. That's the projecting power. We unconsciously assign things that aren't true to what we see, and conclude that they are different than us, but the Earth is one small life form, really, so it simply isn't true.

However, if we simply witness people and circumstances to be what they are (without getting our panties in a bunch), we begin to see their inner truth revealed—the confluence of causes and events that form them. We begin to see them as fluid, ever-changing manifestations of Source—just like we are ourselves...just like everything is. We can begin to see a radiance of Being, shining 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 unceremoniously 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 of these things are perfect expressions of our shared Source. 
At all times, everything you witness, you are becoming through your attention. Through your intention. The energy of Being starts shining through and engaging every part of you. So you become—not just as yourself, but as everything you witness—a real contributing part of all Being, a part of it that's fully connected and completely interdependent. Your thoughts, actions, and intentions influence "The All," and all of it is influencing your sense of you. This awareness of the concealing and projecting engages a gracious revelation—The Revealing Power of Maya, as a Hindu may call it.

Real Art as well—not art as ego—also suspends the processes of our intellect, our preconceived labels and judgments, and forces us to experience this pure Being. It breaks through our unconscious concept of "reality," 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, and may have been the beginning of true intelligence and spirituality in the human form. 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. Just 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

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