Loosely translated in *Sanskrit, *Maya means “not that.”She is an illusion and although her name carries much deeper meaning and associations in regards to the metaphysics and creation process of our universe, especially in Hinduism, I am using her in a rather simple context illustrating illusion in material form.
During my personal encounters with her as I grow spiritually, I visualize her hand in hand with my clingy friend the ‘Ego’. I believe to some extent she feeds him as much as she feeds each and every one of our *five senses.
Maya is a grand illusionist, a master if you will of manifesting our desires and intoxicating our senses with her distracting presence. She has the power to drown your soul into the deepest shadowy bottom of a dark blistery bottle, creating an addiction to objects, people and things that at first seemed to be in the background. One gentle nudge from her dainty hands, and a decorative foreground of desire grandly manifests. We allow us to want it, to make it happen until we are submersed in her scent and under her spell.
She gives examinations to your senses over and over again, cunningly taking the reigns of control from your five senses, asking you seductively how importantly you want to meet with *Moksha and *Nirvana.
Laughingly and half-expectantly she waits for you to take back those reigns with all your mastery and strength.
Ego is a catalyst in this tug of war, he stands before me, in his entire armored splendor shielding and blocking my way so that I do not come to know that Maya never really held the reigns – that they were in my hand all along. That is why they work so well together, they masterfully hold up the veil of illusion feeding one another in the process. I sometimes believe one cannot exist without the other.
It is frighteningly easy to befriend the ever-ready ego and use him as amour to shield others from penetrating your core, he’s a great defense mechanism and has a thousand-and-one ways of presenting himself, no wonder we are all dependent on him.
Without the ego we could not convince ourselves that we are better, faster, more beautiful, stronger or that someone else had made a decision that we did not want. That they did it before us, and received what we wanted or have something that we did not have and felt the same was owed to us, something that Maya had given them first, that troublemaker. Then Maya would show us all the things we did not receive and conjure the possibility of having them for ourselves. We would not notice any of these scenarios at all if we willed the persistent Ego to disappear.
So the most natural thing is to pick up the easy feather weighted ego and let him transform into a metaphorical fencing around ourselves as a form of protection, as our barrier to not let the rawness of what we are be revealed.
The hardest thing to do is to drop him, to say “Farewell my slim ever- ready friend, for once I let you go, I can see myself with greater vision. No matter how many poisonous arrows are thrown my way I need not defend them with you, they already bounce off me”.
Then, once others amour themselves with the ego and you yourself are unarmed there is a birth of a new insight. I simply shrug my shoulders and say ok, if you need to display a sense of dominance, if you want to be the one to have the last word, or action so be it. It is not self defining at all, and if that’s the kind of closure you require to mask your inner inadequacies then so be it, eventually you will find the correct path and shed the amour. So be it. A simple shrugging of the shoulders can be so liberating. Try it.
Ego and Maya like this, because they have exorcised their most majestic abilities and conjured the glitteriest walkways for you to take the steps of your life and you decided after much deliberation to take the path less chosen. That narrow pathway in the horizon that seems uncomfortable and unglamorous, but the moment you step onto it, it transforms to whatever you will it to be based on the beauty within you.
Shockingly, Just as I need the ego, I need Maya, I need her to produce as much desire as possible so that I have the ability to overcome her. Once I have seen her in all her splendor and dressed in her garment of enchantments, disrobing my desires one by one, eventually there will be nothing left to desire, I can pat my stomach because I have had my fill, exhausting all her never ending resources. This is the only way to salvation, to reach internal bliss. Conquering her, I can dust ego off my shoulders and walk without the very weight that I have allowed to rest upon me.
Sanskrit – One of the oldest known ancient Indic languages of India
Moksha – to be released from the cycle of re-birth required by the law of Karma
Nirvana – Enlightenment
Five senses- Touch, taste, sight, smell and sound