We talk all the time in our Yoga Sutra class about how the world is an illusion and how we need to pierce the veil of maya to see the truth. We wonder why we have so much trouble seeing beyond the false superimposition over actual reality. But the recent hubbub over the accidental coffee cup in Episode 4 of Game of Thrones really brought home to me that far from seeking the truth, we are horrified when it is accidentally revealed even for a brief moment. We don’t want our illusions shattered. Not one bit.
Twitter was ablaze with outrage. How dare they be so sloppy? How could such carelessness exist on set and during filming? And even if it did, how could the directors and editors miss it? How was it ever allowed to be aired that way? The error was quickly corrected and the cup edited out of the episode for future airings but the damage it seems had been done.
The coffee cup in Game of Thrones was an unwelcome clue. It pointed to the fact that the elaborate fantasy we had been following for nearly a decade was just that, a painted set with costumes and wigs and cgi, brought to life by actors and actresses, people just like us, who needed their cup of coffee during endless monotonous takes. Utterly out of place in the great hall at Winterfell, it was a jarring reminder that this world we were immersed in was not real. It exposed our willingness to suspend disbelief and our need to cherish an imaginary place where dragons exist and heroes die valiant deaths and beautiful women ruthlessly fight for power.
The coffee cup ruined that perfectly woven illusion and it made us mad. If we can get so attached to an illusion that we know from the start is merely a fantasy, destined to last only 8 seasons, then is it any wonder we can’t shake off the illusion we are born into?
Lasting thousands of lifetimes and with a plot fueled by our own desires, casting us as the heroes of our own endless adventures, its grip on us is incredibly strong and impossible to escape, unless we want to.
There are many clues on our journey, that like the coffee cup, give us hints that all is not as it seems.
We can choose to ignore them, the teachers, the scriptures, the techniques that give us a glimpse of reality, or we can protest at the unpleasant intrusion into our much cherished beliefs, and do our best to erase and edit out whatever shatters the myths we hold dear. Or we can pay attention to the clues and bring our own much-too-long-running fantasy series to a final and fitting end. We can stop entertaining ourselves with what is impermanent and unreal and finally experience the Truth.