The yoga I study is called Anusara. It is based on later Indian yogic philosophies known as Tantra. The head guy in these philosophies is Shiva. He is the creator, destroyer, maintainer of the world and it’s order. As my husband Chris likes to note “Shiva was a bit of a bad ass”. Well two of Shiva’s other qualities are concealment and revelation. I never really understood those two until last night.
The philosophy follows the line that we were manifested into being so the universal could delight in its own embodiment. Basically God, the universal, whatever name you want to put on it, lives in us-more specifically it lives in our heart. Unfortunately God decided that we would not be omniscient and have all of the universe’s knowledge. Instead the knowledge would be camouflaged, like layers of an onion or dust on a mirror. This concealment is known as Maya. As we practice yoga, meditation, being present, we start to rub the dust off the mirror and begin to see our true self and our connection with everything and everyone around us. This revelation brings great joy and that is how I felt when I returned to my ryokan last night.
If you read my previous blog you noted that not having a window and a Japanese tub were my only disappointments. I practiced gratefulness for all I did have (clean room, close to station, being able to come to Japan to study) and I was very content with my little abode. I came home yesterday to find my futon neatly rolled up and my window open! I was delighted. I even took pictures of the miraculous event. Later that evening, needing some hot water therapy after walking Tokyo for 6 hours, I decided to go down for a late shower. I chose the other shower room to discover that low and behold- it has a Japanese bath! Again delighted. (I now recall Oba-chan saying “Kore wa ofuro wa arimasen” which means “This one does not have a bath”). So I started thinking. If the window and the bath had been there the first night, would I have really appreciated it? Would have felt this complete joy and delight upon seeing them? Probably not. I would have taken them both for granted. That is the purpose of Maya. By concealing some aspects and then revealing them later the world had created more joy and gratefulness. That is why there is concealment and revelation and now I understand them so much better.