Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Maya: The Potential Mascot for the Spritual Journey


Last night I found a full-length mirror leaned up against the free-shelf in my apartment building! It has been a long time since I've been able to assess the appearance of my entire body at once, so this was cause for celebration: crushed Farmer's Market strawberry, vodka, and seltzer cocktails for everybody!

Somewhere around muddling the strawberries, our cat found the new mirror leaned up against the wall next to our door. She did the classic, adorable cat thing of looking at herself in the mirror, smelling herself in the mirror, meowing at herself in the mirror, and then attempting to get behind the mirror because clearly the cat-that-looks-smells-and-sounds-mysteriously-just-like-me is on the other side of this solid structure. Watching her wander in circles around the mirror brought us such joy that we started following her around the apartment with it, inciting greater excitement and confusion. This wasn't really fair. Our cat is simple the way that the dog in Hyperbole and a Half is simple.

Fortunately we failed to force a psychotic break, and today the kitty is sleeping leaned up against her new kitty-in-the-mirror-friend...so I take that back: we did force a psychotic break. Now she's like that fish in Finding Nemo instead of the dog in Hyperbole and a Half.

I promise I'm getting to the point: Maya. No, that's not what we named the kitty-in-the-mirror, although...

Maya means, roughly, illusion, and it's the word used in Hinduism to describe the idea that what we perceive as the world around us, solid, factually proven, dependable reality, is a big, fat lie created and fed by our egos. The idea that I'm me, you're you, Lady Gaga is Lady Gaga, and God(dess) is either non-existent or so far away (S)HE might as well be is in fact, utter bullshit.

Practicing meditation and/or yoga allows one, theoretically, perhaps after many lifetimes, to perceive reality through this illusion. Life, death, space, time finally disappear and it's just God(dess) because, actually, that's all there is and we're just little parts of it with obnoxious egos telling us something different.

Now, I don't actually believe that per se. I believe in a distinction between Creator and Created. Without God(dess) we wouldn't exist and as far as that goes I see that we are all one interdependent entity, but I don't hold that ideally I'll cease having a separate identity and have my consciousness absorbed into the great Over-Soul and yes, Hindus, I know: that's my ego talking. But God(dess) created my ego to, so it must serve some purpose!

I'm both over-simplifying and digressing, but my point is, my cat is under the impression that Maya (hehe...) is real. From my perspective it's pretty obvious she's living under a false understanding of her world at the moment, but I can't make her understand that. Good luck, and God speed, cat!

I think maybe it's sort of like that for us: the concept of Maya still applies in my book-my understanding of reality: what matters, what I need to spend my time on, is, I know, heavily flawed. God(dess) can see that, and can see how far or how close I am to breaking through to what really is, but (S)HE can't do it for me. I'm on my own. Good luck and God speed, cat! But I'm not on my own, because in the midst of crazy, beautiful complex creation, there are sign posts, tools, hints, encouragement, helping me to maybe, eventually, and hopefully soon because I don't know that I hold with reincarnation either, get it right.

Mirrors, and the way cats react to them, and the way we react to cats reacting to them, acted as a signpost for me. Of course, just like wandering around Venice, a sign-post will only help you for about thirty seconds and then you're lost again.

Ah well...good luck, and God(dess) speed! Watch out for Maya =^..^= (Sorry, couldn't resist!)

Live Omily,
~em

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