We can say our story is a mask over the soul, as a I discussed in Awakening to the Soul. We can say the soul is a mask over the cosmic Purusha*. And Purusha is a mask over Being. And Being is a mask over silence.
Some describe these “masks” as Maya, the illusion. Indeed, the journey of enlightenment is one of removing the masks, waking up from the layers of dreams.
Some teachings reject the world outright, but this is not a fully integrated view. When we first awaken, there is still a duality – the outer world and the inner silence. The world seems illusion. But awakening is not complete until these come together, until the duality is one. Until the silence moves forward to include the world. This is full integration, wholeness.
In that place, the world shifts from being an illusion to being the flow of silence within itself. It is none other than the silence. This is not illusion, it is the true seeing, it is the world made real again, but in the heart of silence.
Thus, we should not reject the world. Robert Scheinfeld suggests we treat it like a game. Have fun, enjoy expressing and experiencing whatever arises.
As this experience deepens, the heart opens more fully. Byron Katie tells us “when you love what is… the world becomes the beloved.”
Ramana spoke of the world as real but not as a bunch of matter and energy but rather an uncaused experience in the Self. This is called Ajata Vada or non-causality. In fact, the appearance is inseparable from the Self. This point cannot be understood intellectually but must be experienced directly.
It’s also worth noting that unless we make exceptional progress, there will always be some remains of mask, some Lesha Avidya that continues while we remain human. It’s simply the nature of being in the world, however much we are not of it.
*definitions for Purusha vary as it is less distinct than, for example, an apple. Purusha is a word used for the energetic sheaths of the body but in this context, the one-soul or cosmic spirit. Sometimes, it’s also used as a term for absolute awareness, the silence, but that’s not the intention here.