The greatest illusion in the world is the illusion of duality. In the science of Yoga, this concept is called Maha Maya. Maha means great, Maya is the illusion. It is about the greatest illusion of our existence. An illusion is an imagination so strong that we believe it to be true. The illusion of duality describes the imagination of being separate. It sounds a little complicated. So I’ll try to put it in simpler terms.
The great power of duality
Duality is so difficult to understand because we live in the middle of it and know nothing else. Duality means separateness or opposition. ‘Dual’ is Latin and means ‘containing two’. So duality is the opposite of unity. Everything in our world is dual: good and bad, light and dark, above and below, male and female, warm and cold. So in some religions, this duality is called God versus the devil. Our whole life exists in this separateness. I have ego-feeling, which means that I am me and the others are out there. This separateness enables our human experiences like suffering, hatred, jealousy, but also human love or object love. But all this is only an illusion.
Duality in shamanism
Many shamanic traditions tell about the origin of mankind. It is assumed that the earth is a big playing field and us humans are the players. Our soul has chosen this experiment of life. Before we came to earth as a soul, we were a great primal soul. All together in a great sea of souls, not separated from each other. Now we are here to experience the separation and to learn from it. After our death, we take all our knowledge back to the original soul and thus share our knowledge with all other souls, because in truth we are one soul.
Longing for unity
Our innermost core feels this oneness and we try all our life to restore this oneness. Therefore we look for a partner. Sex plays such an important role in human life because it makes us feel this oneness for a second. But this is not permanent. As long as we are on earth, we cannot find true oneness with anyone else, only with ourselves.
Overcoming the illusion of duality
‘Yoga’ means unity, which is the exact opposite of duality. The goal of yoga is unity, overcoming duality. All yogic methods only aim at this. If one achieves it, one is ‘in yoga’, in oneness. Other names for this state are Bliss, Enlightenment, Samadhi, … So Yoga is about overcoming separateness. You and I are one. We are part of the primal soul. Mentally, we can quickly overcome this duality. I am aware that we are one and the same. This realization will change your life dramatically. Fights and quarrels suddenly no longer make sense. But unfortunately, mental insight does not last long, because we quickly forget them. The goal is therefore not mental insight, but the experience of our whole being. Only those who experience unity with every pore can live in this dream of unity in the long run. Yoga helps us to achieve this.