Q. What role does the mind perform in the play of Maya? How can we realize that everything is just a play of Maya?
Ans. Mind is a projector. There is no harm in thinking you’re great. If you’re doing great work, you can’t deny it! You know deep inside, “Look, I’ve invented this thing! I’ve made Google or I’ve made Facebook, it’s connecting millions of people” and so on. It’s not a crime to give a pat on your back! It’s normal, it’s natural, it’s human you know. If you see, let’s say, a beautiful sight, you’re not gonna say “Oh! That’s one ugly sight. Please I don’t wanna look at it!”. That’s a state of denial. You’ll say “Yes, it’s beautiful”, and you move on and the next sight and maybe it’s not as pleasing, but still, that’s the colors of nature changing. This thing about Maya is directly a conglomeration of subconscious impression, tendencies of the mind, and conscious view that we have about ourselves, all three when they work together.
When somebody is lying there on the operation table, under the effect of anesthesia, that person does not feel anything. It’s not because they don’t have any ego. It’s because the conscious mind is fully into sleep! One aspect, one giant aspect of ego, is taken care of.
So, when you’re watching a movie, if it’s a good movie, it can make you cry, it can make you laugh, it can just take you on a whole ride of emotions! But the moment you turn it off, or if you turned it off and you didn’t even watch it, you would not go through those emotions!
So, living in this world is a subjective experience for everybody. Everybody is “in” it! And when you’re in it, you don’t have the aerial view anymore. An aerial view is objectivity, that’s when you see from a height and you say “Oh, I see trees in the woods” now. When you’re living in it, you’re going through all the emotions, but the moment you turn off the projector, which is “quietening of the conscious mind”, when the conscious mind is quiet, then it’s a spiritual procedure, it’s a spiritual surgery which you’re undergoing, to remove all that needs to be removed in that state of mind, so that when you come out of it, you are a better person. And that’s why in the beginning, if you need tools or systems or methodologies or gurus or help or scriptures, they CAN be of use in the beginning because as a physician, as a surgeon, you can’t operate on yourself! If you’re gonna put yourself to sleep, then who’s gonna operate on you? Right?
And somewhere, when you don’t need a general anesthesia, they would give you a local anesthesia so that you don’t feel the pain, but you’re aware that look, this is happening to me! And that’s why, it’s so hard to be devotional to a living entity because you ego is challenged! And then it breaks you, and then you feel angry, and then you say, “Yeah Whatever!!! I don’t need this man/woman and I’m gonna just get going!”.
But, the only way to see the play of Maya is “to contemplate on it with a quiet mind”. It’s a common feeling you know, I live it almost each moment of my life where I just find that “There is no real meaning to anything! Everything is, kind of, just happening, but what’s the point?”. And, in that awareness, you don’t feel attached to things, or people, or even what you create yourself. Because, you know, it’s all, at the end of the day, POINTLESS. It doesn’t matter who you are, or who you were, one day, you’ll be cremated. You’ll just be a handful of Ash!
So, between a simple sperm uniting with an egg, to becoming a fistful of Ash, what is the sum total of my journey? Am I going to walk that journey complaining, and thinking what life could’ve been or should’ve been, or, Am I going to walk that journey with utmost grace, knowing where I’m heading anyway. So, I may as well do as much good as I can now, may as well live my life the way that gives me happiness now, hopefully not hurting others in the process, because I’m going to go in a little vessel (Swamiji gestures His hands to make a vessel)!
You know, it would be a good reminder if all of us kept a little Matka (earthen pot), a small one. You can get them in indian restaurants where they give you yoghurt etc. So, just keep it next to you , maybe put some ash of a Yagya (Fire offering), and maybe when you feel on top of the world, you can just open it, just touch it a little, (and contemplate) “This is where I’m gonna end up!!”. And when you feel very low, open it and touch it a little, (and contemplate) “This is where I’ll end up anyway! So what’s the big deal?”. I think, it’s something worth doing!
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