Start seeing the world more clearly - Maya
Have you ever been driving your car and the window is foggy but you keep driving thinking it’s not too bad? Finally you put the defroster on and the windshield clears and you realize how limited your vision was…yikes. This analogy is a perfect descriptor of how many of us walk through the world, with a foggy windshield and not bothering to put our defrosters on, very similar to the concept of maya in yoga.
As humans, we need to consciously put our “defrosters on” to clear our vision and break free from the illusions that are presented to us in our everyday lives. So many people go through their entire lives without ever clearing their “windshield” because they don’t realize how “fogged” or “blurred” their vision actually is.
It’s a common occurrence, we get so wrapped up in our everyday tasks and stress that we really aren’t seeing clearly. When we do start seeing “clearly”, it’s like woah, how did I not notice how blurred my vision was before. In this post we’ll look at how “clearing your vision and seeing through illusion” can help you to start to be at a place where you feel more peaceful, connected, and free.
Maya in yoga
This concept of the foggy windshield relates back to something called “maya” in yoga philosophy. Maya is a veil that blocks us from seeing the world clearly. It’s basically a veil of illusion that clouds our view of the world. Maya makes us see the world through a super narrow, foggy lens.
So this phrase of clearing your vision or seeing through illusion comes from yoga philosophy; this is where we get deeper into the roots of yoga past just movement based practices.
What is this illusion that maya is referencing?
The illusion is when we see everything in the world as separate. This is what we see in our material world in our basic state of waking consciousness, we view everything as separate entities.
In Eknath Easwaran’s translation of the Bhagavad Gita, it’s said that in this level of consciousness, our basic waking state, we are correct to see everything as separate, but the mistake is in believing that this separateness is the ultimate reality.
The “illusion” of maya is not that our world isn’t real, the illusion is believing everything to be separate just because it looks that way to our human eyes. This brings us to the purpose of yoga. Yoga is a Sanskrit word that means union when translated to English. The point of practicing yoga isn’t to become stronger or more flexible, it’s to see the union and unity in all things.
Yoga leads us to see the world as a whole. It uncovers the “veil” so we can see that all in the world are connected. Yoga also helps us to see ourselves as a whole, meaning you see the mind, body, and soul as all connected, the three are not separate.
The degree to which this veil clouds your vision can change. For example, you could be walking around with a super foggy windshield or your windshield might only be slightly foggy because you’ve start to wipe away the fog that’s clouding your vision.
At this point you may be wondering how you can start to remove this fog and illusion of maya so let’s look at some ideas.
Ways to see through the illusion
1- Facing/addressing your problems
First up to help you see through illusion, we have working to overcoming obstacles and truly facing your problems instead of running from them or avoiding them.
An example of this could be if you feel really stressed all the time and you say, “oh it’s because of my job” and leave it there instead of finding a solution.
Another example is say you have back pain and your doctor gives you the option of going to physical therapy or taking a pill and you choose taking the pill because it’s easier….
Address your problems, we all have them; doing this will help to start to clear illusion because you’re taking responsibility instead of walking around with your eyes closed.
2- Work to be truly present in your day
The next thing that you can do to clear the illusion of maya is to try to be really present throughout your day.
Sometimes we think we’re being present but we aren’t, we’re just stuck in our repetitive cycles. When you’re truly present, it can make such a difference in noticing the magical side of the world.
Since I’ve been defogging my own ‘maya window’, I see beauty so often now even in places like my own backyard. I notice and appreciate things that I would have never even seen before. I also notice things like synchronicities much more often that I probably would have missed before as well.
So try to be in the present moment, this isn’t always easy but work towards it and keep yourself open to seeing things differently.
3- Yoga and meditation
Practicing yoga and meditation is very effective for clearing illusions. This makes sense right, maya is a philosophy in yoga so yoga gives you the tools to clear it away. Yoga offers so many different paths that you can take to clear away the illusion of maya. You can learn more about what yoga has to offer in my free 7 day yoga experience.
Even physical based yoga practices can be helpful in clearing away the illusion of maya, especially if you do savasana at the end. Yoga helps you to connect with your inner self and allows the veil become more transparent because you’re changing your consciousness. Through yoga you do start to realize that all in this world are connected and spiritual.
4- Be understanding of others that are still in the "illusion"
Lastly, just recognizing that there are many people that are walking around this world with their eyes “closed” completely in the illusion can help in clearing your own vision.
I think the more you spiritually awaken and that you start seeing through this “veil,” you sometimes see what other people do and are like….wtf. So we have to remember to take that step back and remind ourselves, I’ve been there before too and be loving and understanding of that. Remember we are all connected and know that maybe some people will be ready to open their eyes and you can share your knowledge with them.
This isn’t to say you shouldn’t try to create positive change in the world, it’s just to remind you to approach others with understanding.
This concept of maya in yoga philosophy has had a profound impact on my life which is why I share it with you, in hopes that it helps you on your spiritual and life journey. Keep learning and expanding your mind and spirit.