Secrets of Maya

The Best Kept Secrets of Maya

By Desmond Yeoh

Ceramic Products Manufacturer in Malaysia

Ceramic Products

The best kept secret is the one that is openly known but not understood and used. Maya has kept this secret from us by making it appear to be common knowledge; so common that it appears unimportant. It is a good strategy. When it becomes common, no one

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is interested to delve deeper into it to see its worth. If the secret is kept hidden, then it becomes attractive and many will search high and low for it. The best hiding place is the most unlikely place that the seeker will look.

The first secret is this; we are all beings of habit. In psychology, habit is defined as ‘routines of behaviour that are repeated regularly and tend to occur subconsciously.  Habitual behaviour often goes unnoticed in persons exhibiting it, because a person does not need to engage in self-analysis when undertaking routine tasks. Habituation is an extremely simple form of learning, in which an organism, after a period of exposure to a stimulus, stops responding to that stimulus in varied manners. Habits are sometimes compulsory’.

We all know that we are beings of habit but we do not use this understanding to improve ourselves. If we truly understand it, we will see the easy answer to all our problems. All the self-improvement books are only giving us new habits to inculcate. If we want to make changes in our life, we just need to break out of the habitual patterns that bind us to suffering[1].

From a spiritual perspective, our karma is our habitual patterns. When we act out or habit, we are not acting wisely and this allows our karma to unravel itself. If we are able to break out of our habitual pattern, we can change our karma. We can just look back at our past problems and see how our habitual patterns contributed to it. Some people get into fights all the time and see the world as cruel and evil. They do not see how their habitual thinking and emotional patterns contributed to those fights. If they do not transcend the habitual pattern, they have to bring it to their next incarnation and so on until they finally overcome them and burn that karmic pattern forever.

It is bad enough that we do not use this secret; we even allow the world to use this secret against us. Watch a movie and you will notice that every scene is kept within 5 seconds. Our mind is conditioned to have short attention spans. Modern technology speeds everything up to the point that speed is expected of us. Everyone is moving at a frantic pace. It is a habitual pattern that is very contagious. The result is a build up of stress, irritability and anger within humanity. These negative energies then manifest themselves as natural disasters.

The Masters say that to have peace, we must remain still. To be still, we must first learn to slow down. For instance, if we are in the habit of walking quickly, we can learn to walk slowly. A good benchmark is to walk at a pace that is sufficiently slow to enable us to feel the pressure against the soles of our feet as we walk. Feel the pressure on the sole of one foot as the pressure moves from the heel to the front toes and then to the other foot.

We can allow ourselves more time to drive to or from work. No matter how much we rush, we cannot reach our destination that much faster. My wife often comments that it is sad to see many of the drivers rushing to get to their destination even in the weekends. Old habits die hard. Because we were rushing throughout the weekday, we bring that habit into our weekends. We spend loads of money buying objects to help us relax without realising that relaxation comes from the mind. If the mind is not able to relax, the body will remain tense.

At work, there is nothing that can kill our joy of working more than the habit of rushing through our work out of habit. Because our mind is conditioned to have short attention spans, we skip from one task to another and give it a wonderful name so that it becomes a virtue. We call it the ability to multi-task!

At the beginning, we do not enjoy our spiritual practices because we are going against our old habit patterns. Sleeping in for an extra hour is a hard habit to break. However, as we continue to go against our old habits and see the benefits that we gain from the new habits, it becomes effortless. We brush our teeth every night before going to bed without a thought to it because it is a good habit that we have developed.

When we want to make changes, the initial effort would be difficult but we should remember that once we get going, it becomes easy and effortless. When we try to push an immobile vehicle, the initial push is the hardest. After that, it becomes easy. However, Maya often wins because the initial effort is made to appear greater than the benefit derived from the good habit. We then give up before the new action or attitude becomes a habit. An action needs to be repeated for about one or two weeks because it replaces the old habit. If it is not sustained, we revert back to our old habits. Therefore, inertia is Maya’s way of keeping us bound to our old ways. This is the secret that Maya has kept hidden from us. It is not obvious because it is so simple!

Our spiritual practices give us more energy and peace of mind but we often do not see it because once we step into our daily life, we begin to waste the additional energy by rushing around. We then argue that it is not worth our effort to spend time on our spiritual practices and our magical excuse is that we have no time. Maya wins!

Some habitual patterns are shared by humanity as a whole and trying to change it appears to be unusual. For instance, all unrealised human beings harbor anger and hatred towards their enemies. In my previous article, “Accepting Difficult People” we explored why it is important to pray for the happiness of the people who make life difficult for us. This appears to be irrational but once we develop the habit, we will transmute most of the anger in our life into loving kindness and we will have greater peace and happiness.

Before we go on to the second secret, we need to remember that Maya is not a separate being. So we do not need to be afraid or be angry at Maya. Maya is the collective knowledge, beliefs, perception and experience of humanity as a whole. It is like a giant mental magnet that pulls you to conform to its belief system. If we do what society does, we are normal. If not, we are crazy. Maya makes it difficult for us to change.

Swami Rama’s Master once contrived a test for him.  He asked one disciple to praise Swami Rama and another to insult him. When he was praised, Swami Rama felt good and remained silent. When he was insulted, he got angry and complained to the Master, “That is not fair. I did not do anything. Why is he insulting me?”

The Master replied, “He is not being unfair. You are being a fool! You are a fool because you do not trust your opinion of yourself. You allow the opinion of others to affect you. I asked them to praise and insult you”. Swami Rama never forgot this lesson.

If we do not trust in our own opinions of what is right and allow the opinion of others to affect us, we will always be pulled by the magnetic Maya. Once we transcend our attraction to praise, and aversion to blame or insults, we would be free from the magnetic pull of Maya. We take back the power to determine our own destiny.

Here is another well kept secret of Maya; Negative thoughts and emotions cannot sustain themselves in the light of our awareness.  Unlike the first secret, it is not well kept because it is commonly known. It is so because Maya place in us the habit of seeking so many distractions, we do not have time to be aware. This secret can be easily tested by observing any negative emotion the next time it arises. We will easily experience the truth of it[2].

A friend shared with me his experience on this subject. He said, “I was looking at the video of Anandamayima, the Divine Mother. I have read that all her disciples feel rejuvenated after meeting her. I think that is because the Divine Mother takes on the negativities of her followers when they are in her presence. As I watched her video, I asked her, ‘Mother, how is it possible for you to take on the negativities of everyone you meet and not feel burdened by them’. The answer came to me intuitively. Because she is in total awareness all the time, all the negativities get absorbed and purified by the Divinity within her instantaneously. Then I realised that we can do this for ourselves and our loved ones by training and strengthening our awareness”.

His last statement intrigued me. I asked him, “What do you me when you say that we can do this for our loved ones?”

He replied, “Recently, my wife had a problem with her family. I listened emphatically as she shared with me her problems. I could feel her emotions. I actually felt like I was sharing the emotional burden, which I gladly continued to do. As I listened to her, I maintained my awareness on the emotions that were rising and falling within me and watched them disappear eventually. Our conversation cleared her thoughts. I did not say much but I think the awareness that I maintained throughout the conversation helped to ease her suffering”.

I sensed the truth of what he said and felt grateful to him for sharing this insight with me. When helping others, our presence is sometimes more important that our words.

With these 2 secrets alone, we have the key to improve ourselves. From a spiritual perspective, self-improvement does not mean that we add to the knowledge we already have. We improve ourselves by removing or letting go of our limiting beliefs, perceptions, experience and knowledge. By doing so, we lighten our load and become lighter. We become more at peace with ourselves.

To apply these 2 secrets, we must acknowledge our problems. If we are finding fault with others all the time, we must acknowledge our fault-finding attitude. If we continue to put the blame on others, we will not be able to apply these secrets that can set us free. The Divine will help us only if we seek His guidance. If we do not have the courage to admit that we have a problem, He will not interfere with the false perception of we have of ourselves. Admitting our weaknesses is what humility truly is. It is the kind of humility that allows us to grow and progress on our selected path towards self-realisation.

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[1] Changing our habitual patterns is the main foundation of my e-book ‘Filling our Life with Celebration’. I have outlined various positive habits in the book and I will not repeat them here. The book can be downloaded from our website

[2] A related article is ‘Using the Breath to Neutralise Negative Emotions’ in the e-book ‘‘Filling our Life with Celebration’.

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. balachandran
    Sep 28, 2011 @ 11:23:08

    OH MAYA who are you? You are you VISHNUS dream that we are all caught in. Tell me why you are so powerful. Will you be my friend? Would you ease the very flow of your dreams? I need to be sane to live in madness; then dear MAYA ease my very soul for I have kept it for KRSNA.


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