What is maya? Maya is illusion. It is a veil of illusion that is part of the creative power of Brahman – Brahman being the absolute reality that we have been talking about over the weeks.
So what does that veil of illusion do? It stops us from perceiving what really is. And if I said you can see something but it isn’t what you think it is. So what is the example of illusion? A good example is at sunset when the sun is appearing to sink into the sky, nothing like that is happening because the sun is fixed. It is stationary. What is moving is the earth around it. And that gives the impression that the sun is sinking and that is an illusion for us.
Now even as human beings, we live in different worlds. What do I mean by that? It is not we don’t live in this world and this world isn’t real - it’s totally real for us. But because of the way we see the world, we don’t even live in the same world as each other. So in this case, illusion would be equivalent to mind plus reality, or reality plus mind processes and filters. Which then give us the impression that we are living in the same world but we are not because we live in our own worlds into the filter of the way we look at life. The way we see things are completely different.
So if you asked somebody to ‘look at that tree’. Somebody would see the tree, somebody would see how old it is, somebody would see what the different fauna and flora there. And so on. So we all have different filters through which we look at life, so we don’t even live in the same world.
It is interesting that Beau Lotto, the professor of neuro-science at University of London said something very important about perception. He said that only 10% of seeing is real seeing. 90% of it is the stories we tell ourselves, the narrative. So if I said to you ‘What compounds this maya?’ This whole issue? What compounds this maya is the fact that we have a certain sense of our self. In this instance we are talking about the small self, that part of us that is a constantly changing reality. And why would I say that? Although I am Rita, 5 foot 3, good looking…. The interesting thing is that my perception and my image of me is changing constantly. So if I am 5 foot 3 and someone else is much more beautiful and 5 foot 4 and that’s the right height, it might give me an impression that perhaps there is something to be achieved. And therefore my perception of me might change.
I suppose a better example would be that I am a nurse, but if I come across a really fantastic nurse, then I realize that I am a so-so nurse and not the most fantastic nurse. So my realities and self- perceptions are changing constantly through either the people that are influencing me, or whatever.
So this compounds us.
Imagine you are looking at the world of reality. What is at the core part of ourselves. Trying to perceive that reality with a changing mind. It is impossible. It is so difficult.
So that is why Patanjali in the Patanjali yoga-sutras said this. “And now the discipline of yoga… yoga begins when mind ends” And that’s quite an important statement because being unified with your innermost core, who you are, that total complete self. That can’t happen unless the mind stops and ceases. He then goes onto sutra 3 where he says that except for witnessing, you are identified with all other parts of the mind.
So it is only when you are witnessing that you start to see and perceive the reality that you are at the very core of your being - the wholeness, the completeness, the fullness and the amazing you. So what am I saying friends? Actually I am saying that if you get a chance, the only way to step out of your mind is to step into your witnessing part of yourself. And that is when you learn to meditate, because that is the time that you start to witness everything. And you will find that your life will take on a new meaning, it will give you a different vision, a different way of perceiving what reality is.
So I hope this Instagram helps you. Thank you.