In a number of spiritual texts, you read that the world is an illusion, that apparent form is just a mirage, a Maya. Yet Maya itself comes in 3 forms, not just as illusion. What then is reality and how does perception of it evolve?
We begin with what might be called the classical physics approach. The world is built of physical objects which are in turn composed of particles of mass. The energy of inertia (tamas) is dominant. The Maya of the world at this stage serves as a covering over our essential nature. Only the very apparent world is real or even recognized.
As inertia gives way to energy (rajas), the world becomes seen as an energetic system. We might call this the quantum physics perspective. The apparent physical world is an illusion that masks a deeper truth. This is where Maya is illusion. Interestingly, it’s also a stage where a lot of meaning is removed from life as our world is found to be groundless, arising from nothing, a vacuum.
As energy becomes clear and smooth (sattva), the dream changes again. Rather than being illusion, it becomes a field of knowledge, the play of God. We begin to be able to directly perceive the mechanics of becoming and dive much more deeply into fundamental reality. More deeply than the quantum fluctuations of the vacuum state of physics. We’re able to study the ground of creation in which our universe is formed.
Note that the world itself has not changed in any of these stages. Only the perception has changed – but that changes what we see considerably.
Next we could describe a series of stages of relationship with the above.
At first the world is out there. We are a separate being in a separate world of separate objects.
As we connect to the deeper nature of our own reality, we begin to discover that same reality infuses all things. Everything, including ourselves arises in the one. Gradually, more and more things come together in a grand common overview.
Meanwhile, as we deepen into the fundamental values of becoming, we ourselves go a step deeper and become that which contains creation. In other words, we are not only one with it, it is within us.
As the perception of the world becomes more subtle and inclusive, the dream of God is found not to be a random sort of thing like we might daydream but a highly intended dream where every aspect is structured for Self to know Itself more thoroughly. A contemplation or soliloquy of astonishing dimension.
Deeper still, we discover that these core intentions are stored in deep memory. The world is thus a remembering of itself through us.
By this point, there is no difference between our own form and that of any other. And there is no difference between form and the formless. They are one and the same “stuff”. The world has becomes real again, but in a completely new context. All being one thing, displaying itself through all forms and formless.
We are remembering ourselves through remembering our form and remembering our world. Each aspect of the whole detailing a further aspect of infinite being on the stage of life.