There is an Indian proverb that states, ‘Everywhere that the mind can go, know that to be the field of maya’. Maya is an ancient Sanskrit word, and an important concept in the philosophy of Indian seers. It is usually translated as ‘illusion’.
So what does this mean? The mind can go just about anywhere?
Is every thought we’ve ever had, every experience we’ve ever enjoyed, therefore nothing more than an illusion?
At first glance, this seems like a pretty harsh concept to grasp. But, a deeper understanding of maya, and the concepts associated with it, transform this ancient proverb from bleak and pessimistic, to being universal, beautiful, and liberating.
The change in understanding comes from asking the questions:
Where can the mind not go? What is not maya, not illusion?
The answer lies in transcending our individual minds, to experience the eternal, unchanging field of unity that pervades everything in our diverse universe. Through meditation and yoga, the mind can act as a vehicle for taking us to an experience of unity beyond our own individual existence, beyond where the mind itself can go. This is the field beyond all maya.
With this understanding, the proverb ‘Everywhere that the mind can go, know that to be the field of maya’, is no longer just a bleak accusation that our lives are but a meaningless illusion. Instead, it is a beautiful teaser, alluding to this eternal experience of unity and freedom, accessible to every person, in every moment through their very own nervous system.
So what’s the practical value of this proverb?
How is it pertinent to our every day lives? To me, it’s a reminder not to get too caught up in the materialistic aspects of life. It’s a reminder to take the time out of each day for meditation, yoga and spirituality – for transcending the always changing and ‘illusory’ surface value of the world. The surface level joys of the world can no doubt provide happiness – but only transient happiness. The deeper levels of life, beyond the maya, provide a far more lasting state of fulfillment.
Take happiness from wherever you can get it. Take it from all levels of life, materialistic, and divine. But pursuing happiness only in the maya, only in the materialistic ever changing world, is like building a house without a foundation. Build the foundation of your happiness in unity, in the field that transcends all maya, because whatever you build on top of that will be stable, strong and ultimately Unshakable.
Guest post by Joshua Paling
Joshua graduated from Maharishi University of Management in 2010, with a BA in Maharishi Vedic Science. Joshua has a long-term interest in Meditation, Yoga and Indian Philosophy, and plans to soon become a teacher at Sydney’s Transcendental Meditation Center.
Read another post by Joshua Paling at Student Meditation.com