Tag Archives: Maya

Double Maya

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Do the senses distort reality? It is more than that.  In a way, we live in double maya, and we could say our senses distort unreality rather than reality. On the surface of it, our senses put us in touch with maya—the external world. On to this maya, we project additional interpretative illusion. So, for instance, it might be said that we do not see things as they are—even physical things—but we project another layer of unreality upon them from our habit self. So we have unreality compounded by the dullness of our own perceptual habits-limitations.

There is book on the philosophy of drawing and painting titled, How to Draw what you See. The gist of this book is that people generally do not draw or paint well because they do not see what is in front of their eyes. Instead, they see a kind of stick-figure creation in their own minds and draw that. From this point of view, the ability to actually see more clearly what is right before our eyes would be a step toward the real—a kind of yoga of maya. I think though, that in truth, this yoga of maya moves toward real art, that is, it would shade over into subtler yogas because spirit and matter are an essential unity.

Someone says, ”Ancient wisdom states in different ways that we live in a world of maya, that our senses distort reality.” Yet we know spirit and matter are a unity, so we could also say the opposite that: “Ancient wisdom states in different ways that we live in a world of reality, and that our hyper-dimensional senses progressively reveal this reality.” This is a way of saying that the senses have multidimensional levels. It is only seeing or hearing or sensing in the most superficial way that is maya mirroring maya. To really see is to move inward or upward in graded steps, in other words, to be initiated into new revelations of what is present in consciousness and in the universe. We learn to see what has always been before our eyes, and also through that to deeper realms beyond.

“What was any art but a mold in which to imprison for a moment the shining, elusive element which is life itself.”

— Willa Cather

A Dead Person Musings

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I am a dead person; well, a relatively dead one. I know because there have been times when I was alive–the contrast between the two states is clear to me. Of course dead and alive are not really so binary. The world is full of the walking and talking dead. We all make our contributions to the litanies of the dead. What then is the rhetoric of the dead? It is the rhetoric of symbols larger than meaning where, like gray clouds, dense symbols obscure most of the light behind. All systems, religions, philosophies, all science, all are dead rhetoric if lacking spirit and a good motive. And while we are dead, all the good voices of past and future are likewise dead for us. But when we awaken to life, the best of past and future live in us.

Be wary of the words of dead people, be wary of me, and in this you affirm the primacy of spirit everywhere. In concert with my muses, I may occasionally flicker to life, the rest of the time you can ignore me without loss of much benefit.

Behind the Mirrors of Illusion

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My image in the mirror is illusion, another not-me. Light bounces from body to mirror to eye and mysteriously paints another not-me in the brain. I look down on this image and name it. The name is an unsatisfying apparition, and when I pass the name to you it remains a curious ghost. Yet behind the mirror, behind the image, behind the word, behind these into the vast heart of light, I see the foundation that makes all illusions visible.