The Gift of Maya

Driving to the gallery today, (I own an art gallery, sounds fancy…know that apart from dealing with fine art I also clean the toilet), I began thinking about the beautiful letter written to me the other day.

The reader claimed “The Red Speck“, “stalked” her.  The book would magically appear in places she hadn’t left it.  The slim text “fell” on her chest twice while she slept…

I love the idea of the book as more than an inanimate object, walking around on little legs, hiding, waiting for the opportune moment to plop down on an unsuspecting reader, all for purely positive purposes.

I filled it with magic and symbolism from a variety of traditions, choosing concepts to help move the main character forward through emotional pain and broken thinking.  Why wouldn’t the book be able to materialize magically?  She called the book to her on a subconscious level, repeatedly.

The point to this long winded blog post is that in writing the book I was determined not to explain myself. If the reader understood the concepts presented within the allegory great, if not, it was my hope, that the book would still be understood albeit on more of a surface level, but understood nonetheless.  What has shocked me over the last couple of years is how strongly people relate to “The Red Speck” on a purely visceral level.  I attribute this to the use of symbolism.  I purposely avoided the intellect and spoke directly to the collective unconscious, through ancient symbols.

Now with time and a bit of separation, I’m ready to explain certain aspects of the book. Whereas “The Red Speck” is written in the simplest of language, as a fairy tale of sorts, the concepts held within are a bit more complicated.  Bear with me, the definitions are a bit laborious, but I think worth the effort.

In Chapter Nine “The Gift of Maya”, Sophie meets a character named Maya.  Maya appears as a little girl who gifts Sophie a prism. In this chapter I’m having a wonderful time playing with two really interesting and completely different concepts, one from religion and  one from physics: maya, and Total Internal Reflection.

Maya : 

“In the religions of India, Maya (Sanskrit māyā, from“not” and yā “this”) is a term denoting three interrelated concepts: 1) power which enables those in its possession, most often gods, to produce forms in the physical word, 2) the reality produced by this process, 3) the illusion of the phenomenal world of separate objects. In early Vedic mythology, maya was the power with which the gods created and maintained the physical universe. With the onset of the more philosophical Upanishads and eventually the school of Advaita Vedanta, maya came to refer to the illusion of the worldly realm as it related to Brahman, the supreme cosmic power. Each physical object, as well as each independent ego-consciousness, is deemed illusory when considered in the monistic context of Brahman. In many branches of Hinduism, maya must be overcome in order to liberate the soul from reincarnation and karma. Similar conceptions of maya are held within Buddhism and Sikhism.” – from the New World Encyclopedia

Total Internal Reflection :

“When light propagates from air into glass or from glass in to air it may change its direction of travel.  Snell’s law reveals the relationship between the directions of travel in the two media.

n1sinθ1 = n2sinθ2

Consider light propagating in glass with index of refraction n1 = 1.5 towards a glass-air boundary.  If the angle the light makes with the normal to the boundary in the glass is θ1, then the angle it makes in the air is given by

sinθ2 = (n1/n2)sinθ1 = 1.5 sinθ1.

If sinθ1 > (1/1.5) = 2/3, or θ1 > 41.8o, then sinθ2 is greater than 1 and there is no solution for θ2. The angle θc for which sinθc = n2/n1 = 1 is called the critical angle.  For angles greater than the critical angle there exists no solution for θ2, and there is no refracted ray.  The incident light is totally reflected, obeying the law of reflection.  If n2 = 1.5 and n1 = 1 then the critical angle is θc = 41.8o.

Total internal reflection occurs only if light travels from a medium of high index of refraction to a medium of low index of refraction. 

Summary:  Let light travel from medium 1 into medium 2 and let n1 > n2.  Then the critical angle θc is given by

sinθc = n2/n1

For angles greater than the critical angle the incident light is totally reflected, obeying the law of reflection.

Prism reflectors

An ordinary glass mirror consists of a reflective metallic coating on the back of a sheet of glass. This is not the only way to make a mirror. Total internal reflection can be exploited to make a perfectly reflecting mirror using only glass, with no metal backing.  It is possible to use prisms of various shapes to reorient images.” -  More

Maya literally means “not this“.  Maya is an illusion.  The little Indian girl does not exist, she embodies a concept.  She gives Sophie the prism, a tool to help her in overcoming false realities created in the mind and manifested in the material world, all based on the projection of an inner narrative that does not serve her best interests.  It is possible to use prisms of various shapes to reorient images.”  

The term and physical phenomenon of “Total Inner Reflection” is so metaphorically perfect for what I was trying to communicate, as it highlights the process of allowing light from the outside world in, (…from a medium of high index of refraction to a medium of low index of refraction…), to illuminate our beings.  …that at just the right angle, it creates a reflective mirror like surface with which we can examine ourselves completely, was a gift from the writing gods.

 

S. Conde

A Letter : My Gratitude

I received this in my email today. What an absolutely beautiful way to start the morning. Thank you for taking the time to express yourself. Letters like this encourage me tremendously. Thank you.

“I really must tell you about my relationship with The Red Speck.

So it all began innocently enough. Strangely when I first got it, every time I sat down to read it something would come up. So on my bed stand it sat. A few months go by and I’m resolved to just read it already. Most of the books I get I read within the first week.

Finally the day comes, and there I am with The Red Speck. 20 pages in I’m, how do I put this, hysterically crying. I’m laughing now as I write this but really, sobbing hysterics. I know “the red speck” in the distance too well. SO in my hysterics I fling the book back onto the night stand and sit sobbing to write a letter I’ll never send, to my speck… I was an emotional puddle on the floor. Determined not to be a total emotional blob, I am now cursing the book and telling it to kiss my ass. Yes, so it sat there. Then it began stalking me. YES the book stalked me. In the bathroom? I didn’t put it there. It fell on my head twice while I was sleeping and I woke up with it on my chest.

Kicking and screaming, I become resolved that this book will not allow me not to finish it. The next 20 pages had me in tears again. Not just crying, but releasing pain that for too long I’ve held to my chest.

A few weeks later I finished it. WOW, when the universe wants to tell you something it doesn’t mess around. What a wonderful, cleansing, healing calm this little book has brought me. Kicking and screaming the entire way, because why do anything the easy way?

Remembering who you are is the gift I took home from “The Red Speck”. It will forever be on my book shelf next to my Richard Bach, who is also amazing. Well done Stacy, well done indeed.”

-Lyric Thompson

(published with her permission)

Lyric was also kind enough to post a review on Amazon.

A Walk

Photo Credit : Gina Mikel

               Photo Credit : Gina Mikel

We decided to walk.  It wasn’t far.

I attempted conversation.  My efforts were not matched.

We walked in silence.

The sun shone, warmth on my skin.  Softened by the breeze.

A perfect day.

Silence, but for the leaves.

I removed my glasses.

From realism to impressionism in a breath.

Royal Poinciana, baby mangoes and palms.

Gingerbread houses.

Sweet red flowers we licked when we were young.

Silence.

Leaves rolled past my feet.

We walked.

I saw my house.  Like the one in Haiti.

Arch after arch, after arch…

Wrought iron and rocking chairs, on the porch.

There I was.  Rocking.

In a white cotton dress.

Deep inhalations, linseed oil and paint.

Cooking.  Someone was cooking. I was cooking.

The sound of drums and laughter.

Life. A life well lived.

Beneath me was life, and I was happy.

Quietly experiencing joy from the balcony above.

Dreaming.

He opened his long arms wide as we walked.

He saw a friend.

We spoke.

Bubble burst.

Glasses firmly in place.

 

S. Conde

 

 

 

 

My Gift to You

BookCover

The New Year is upon us, resolutions and all.

Considering “The Red Speck” is about personal growth and transcendence, I felt now would be a good time to give it away as a holiday gift to all of you who follow me and have supported the book with your kindness and shockingly heartfelt positive reviews.

Follow the link below, at checkout, enter the coupon code : YH35D

My free copy of “The Red Speck”

If you’ve already downloaded the book, share this with anyone you think might benefit from the lifting of Maya and total internal reflection.

The coupon for 100% off is good through the 9th of January. Thank you so much, truly. Let’s see what good we can do in 2015.

oxo,

S

“The Red Speck” blends lush, sensuous imagery with raw emotion on an individual’s otherworldly journey to psychological wholeness. Sophie’s heartbreak leads her to awaken in an unknown but strangely familiar world in which she meets and learns from gorgeous archetypal characters tinged with the colors of Miami and the old South.”

“While an engaging story on its own, the reader will find genuine insight into into their own fixations that hold them back from happiness, including hints on how to move forward. The author has a gift for taking airy spiritual and psychological experiences and thoroughly grounding them in the body. She accomplishes this by painting vivid, emotionally engaging scenes with words, evoking a visceral and sympathetic response in the reader in a manner similar to the techniques found in the poetry of Rumi. In this way the protagonist’s alchemical transmutation of leaden emotions to joyous golden freedom becomes our own. Highly recommended.”

Perspective

per·spec·tive        pərˈspektiv/ noun

1. the art of drawing solid objects on a two-dimensional surface so as to give the right impression of their height, width, depth, and position in relation to each other when viewed from a particular point.
2. a particular attitude toward or way of regarding something; a point of view.

Not so wholly dissimilar definitions of the same word. An accurate drawing of a point in space and a feeling about the view.

The second definition is geographical and situational.  It changes depending on where you stand and what you think.

Once in a while, we’re blessed with an epiphany.

e·piph·a·ny       iˈpifənē/ noun

1. the manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles as represented by the Magi (Matthew 2:1–12).

  • the festival commemorating the Epiphany on January 6.
  • a manifestation of a divine or supernatural being.
  • a moment of sudden revelation or insight.

A moment of sudden revelation or insight is indeed a holy thing.  A shift in perspective.

An awakening.

 

S. Conde

 

Undone

What we love with passion undoes us. This is known.

So in choosing love we accept death.

Embrace it.  Know that it comes regardless.

Some claim to love life, yet simply fear death.

The inevitable.

They straddle the sidelines.  Forever safe.

From a comfortable distance.  And they live.  They exist.

But what life is this?

Is it better to risk all and love with passion?

…or quietly from the womb like cocoon of a reclining chair?

 

S. Conde

 

 

 

Reversing Polarities

I went to speak with her last night.

A perfect night.

A warm and windy night.

I approached the steps of her home.

There she moved, in front of me.

Divine.  Glorious. Dancing.

Naked and wild under the new moon.

I smiled.  She noticed.

I approached lovingly.

Respectfully.

She tickled my feet with cool fingers.

Questioning where I’d been.

Laughter was my only reply.

She knows me.

I asked her to bathe me. To wash away my fears.

She agreed, in her way, and kissed me.

Slowly at first, as was my desire.

Our passion grew in perfect rhythm.

One with the other.

She blessed me with wave after wave of salty water.

Cleansing me of worry.

With each swell my burden dissipated.

Relieved.

As I relaxed, so did she.

Receding.  Soft, rolling undulations.

Allowing me to finish the process myself.

 

Photo by Jaime Ferreyros

“Day Of The Mermaid”                                           Photo by Jaime Ferreyros

 

 

S. Conde