Practical Maya

Practical Maya

In the past, I’ve written about the 3 forms of Maya, the dream of the world. When inertia (tamas) is dominant, Maya presents a covering. It hides. When activity (rajas) is dominant Maya is  the illusion. When the energy clears (sattva), Maya becomes a ladder of knowledge.

This can be applied broadly to how we experience the world. But it can also be applied to specific circumstances.

For example, you’ve broken up from an intimate relationship. Your life will be affected by the quality of energy you carry. The healing you’ve done or not done.

If you are in resistance (inertia) with unprocessed feelings, you will have “blind” spots around it. Areas of town, people, restaurants or perhaps songs you may avoid. This will be “sub-conscious” and automatic because the energy creates a covering or mask. It will affect related areas of your life such as your ability to enjoy life, see old friends, or be empathic.

But because it is masked, it cannot be seen directly. We can only notice it’s there by it’s side effects or by what others observe who are not in that energy. We may notice irrational avoidance. Gaps or a blindness. The more sluggish emotions like fear, shame, and guilt.

Lets take the same relationship breakup example and assume some further processing or areas where it’s more active. The energy has shifted to rajas. Now we’re seeing, but in the illusion. We’re making irrational judgments, like thinking all members of the opposite sex are evil. Or the once loved is a horror. Fiery emotions like anger and blame are prominent. Perhaps craving or hate. We don’t see clearly and are reactive. This is a step up from inertia but may be less comfortable. We’ve moved into the disintegration stage of the growth cycle.

Residual karma works through these energies, showing up with unexpected circumstances to which we respond automatically. This is not necessarily a negative circumstance. It may include love at first sight or a new-found passion. The key is that the energy source or cause is hidden or unclear. We may even say “it’s my nature” if it’s a long habit.

Finally, when the energy is cleared and purified, we reach a point of balance and clarity. A point of neutrality and acceptance. Later, we may even find the love we once felt for them is still present, but now more abstracted, without desire. We understand why we loved them. The coverings have all been removed.

We could describe these as the stages of energy or of healing.
Resistance, confusion, and acceptance.

Dr. Kubler-Ross defined 5 stages of the acceptance of death. Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance. We can see from the above that this is a shift from inertia to energy, back to inertia again until final acceptance.

Grief is another way to explore this. Grief is defined as “the total response of the organism to the process of change”. In other words, change = loss = grief. We experience grief as a response to the perception of loss. Another word for grief is suffering.

But remember, this is closely associated with how we perceive the change and how attached we are to maintaining what is being lost. If we are caught by our story about what’s happening, we don’t say “I feel upset”, we say “I am upset”. We are identified with the experience.

The change adaptation process reveals how we heal:
1) Accept the reality of the loss
2) Allow and experience the pain of the loss
3) Adjust to being without the lost
There is also an optional 4th step. One that writes a new story to replace the loss:
4) Reinvest in the new reality

This points out a key detail here. The healing begins [completes] after acceptance. When the energy is clear. When awareness is restored. Awareness as always is the key.

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  1. Davidya

    In another forum I got some feedback on this article:

    “…at the very end you write that healing begins after acceptance. But even from a common sense point of view, wouldn’t there have to be some healing in order to get to acceptance? Maybe it’s a matter of degree. To the extent that we accept, to that extent is there healing.

    A small point: I definitely locate fear not in the tamas/heavy/dull category but rather in the speedy/spacey/vata category.

    …I’d call the tamas/kapha stage dullness; the rajas/pitta stage resistance; the sattva/vata stage acceptance. BUT, even the acceptance stage must fall away in order for complete healing to occur. Wherein we no longer accept what happened because we ARE what happened. Then even maya as the ladder of knowledge falls away but it’s okay because we’re swimming in that ocean of Beingness.”

  2. Davidya

    The later part of the article has 2 standard models for comparison. The second seemed to suggest healing post acceptance, but you’re right. It happens during the process. It simply completes after acceptance.

    I suppose I’d suggest fear might be seen as a blend. I can see why you’d see fear as a reactive rajasic emotion. But all emotions are energy drivers so could all be seen to have rajas. But fear has a strong inertial thing too. This sense of pull or grip.

    The ‘resistance, confusion, acceptance’ stages were a reflection of the process I described and the mayas. We may wish to use other words for the gunas but resistance creates dullness, and rajas is the breaking up of resistance in this context. Perhaps the deeper issue is in making the distinctions black and white. As i mentioned above, if there are emotions involved, there will be some energy/rajas quality.

    And you make a great observation about even the sattvic value falling away.

    The idea was to illustrate how the mayas effect our perceptions of a healing process. Some further exploration may be useful to refine the terminology and examples to better the second part of it.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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