“Planes of evolution are made of the degrees of .”
–Lover’s and Others, H. C. Morse
I think evolution is not simply adaptation and reproduction of forms but the development of relationship between spirit and form. Physical survival is a tool of evolution, but evolution in the larger sense uses and transcends death, advancing not just by acquisition of better forms but by adaptation of forms to spirit.
The scope of evolution is not simply biological survival. There is evolution of physical and spiritual fires that range from atom to man to galaxy, all expressing in a multi-dimensional universe, a spirit-matter continuum. There is evolution of consciousness, of love and wisdom. There is evolution of powers and undreamed possibilities. There is evolution of beauty and mind. There is evolution not simply of blood but of spiritual radiance. I picture how the laws of nature express the will of the God, or if we like, of ascending gods and angels. And always, what we see and can reason about is but the smallest part.
“Gliding o’er all, through all,
Through Nature, Time, and Space,
As a ship on the waters advancing,
The voyage of the soul—not life alone,
Death, many deaths I’ll sing.”
— Leaves of Grass, Walt Whitman
People notice thoughts and emotions within themselves. Is this simple division an adequate description of what transpires in consciousness? Often not, but this binary tends to guide and define the inner life and common discourse about it. We may speak of thoughts or feelings for which we do not yet have appropriate words, but are “feelings” and “thoughts” adequate terms for the full kaleidoscope of inner experience? And who was it that first defined or limited consciousness to the somewhat trivial sounding binary of thought and emotion?
Clear water flashes silver in the sun. So lifted are all feelings in the soul’s light.
“I cannot be awake for nothing looks to me as it did before,
Or else I am awake for the first time, and all before has been a mean sleep.”
— Leaves of Grass, Walt Whitman
Question, quest: to seek, ask.
The quest is born of fire.
But the sleeping body asks no burning questions.
We search for understanding. Many thoughtful comparisons present themselves, and for the sincere thinker the weighty questions cannot be avoided. Details from diverse fields call attention to the need for grand synthesis. We seek because the motivational force is beautiful. Each facet of the mosaic of life comes to embody a transcendent reflection of startling beauty. So the hard surface of things leads inward toward the profound luminous world of the soul.
“To know Rather consists in opening a way
Whence the imprisoned splendor may escape”
If something is merely pretty to us, it means we are yet on the surface of it. When it becomes beautiful–then is the shock of transformation. When our fires burn dimly, the perceived surface sparks only ephemeral curiosity, and the true colors are invisible to our sleep eyes. If the fire of beauty is not yet kindled in us, it means we’ve fallen into sleepwalking. So at each stage we must counteract somnambulism. Let us sense the evolution of knowledge as a limitless ocean of beautiful possibilities.
Search, Question, Quest, Find, Speak
“Here is the efflux of the soul,
The efflux of the soul comes from within through embower’d gates,
ever provoking questions,
These yearnings why are they? these thoughts in the darkness why are
Why are there men and women that while they are nigh me the sunlight
expands my blood?…
Why are there trees I never walk under but large and melodious
thoughts descend upon me?…
What is it I interchange so suddenly with strangers?
What with some driver as I ride on the seat by his side?
What with some fisherman drawing his seine by the shore as I walk by
What gives me to be free to a woman’s and man’s good-will? What
gives them to be free to mine?”
— Leaves of Grass, Walt Whitman
Let’s think and play a bit with geometry, proceeding from the most simple.
Geometry begins with a point. It is a focus and in way the most illusive, being abstract and without dimension. We might think of the point as unmanifested potentially. And we might say that, being without visible aspects, it is unity, or the source of unity, and that it is the beginning point or cause from which everything flows. Since it is origin, it is an apt symbol of spirit.
A ray, extended from the point yields a line. This first radiation has a terminus. Let us call this terminus dense matter or effect, or that which is most remote from the origin. So, from potentiality (spirit) comes radiance, relationship, and relativity.
The simple line itself yields three entities: the origin (spirit), the terminus (dense matter), and all relativity in between. The line is also a unity in polarity, and is essentially one, a single line.
If we extend an infinite number of co-equal rays from our central point, the collective end points of these rays describe a circle, or if we add another dimension, a sphere. Perhaps we may take this as symbol of all possibilities, of all that radiates from the Alpha point or cause.
But, returning to the simple, we have three: point, endpoint, and the relation between. Relations are part of knowing. Consciousness means “to know,” and the simplest form of knowing is that of the relation between two entities. So let’s call this relational middle ground “consciousness.” So in our play with the line symbol, we have:
Apart from the line, the simplest regular geometric representation of trinity is the triangle, and the next simplest such form is the square. The triangle gives us three points and the square gives us four points, and we might picture these two figures as a basic duality, analogous to the start and endpoint of our line. These two simple figures, the triangle and square, give us an added dimension in that their combination (3 + 4) yields seven entities.
It’s an entertaining thought that “a square” is a person regarded as dull, rigidly conventional, and in another sense a square suggest something block-like, solid, or sturdy. We might take the square, externally considered, as a symbol of spiritless personality. We can then, easily see the square as correspondent with matter. The triangle or trinity principle stands behind the square as spirit, and one often finds the triangle as the symbol of deity or of the higher self.
There are many alternative symbol systems that have some value. In thinking with and about symbols, it is not so important to derive a fixed or rigid system (which would be a uninspired personality thing to do), but it’s important that we think and strive to get at the meaning of things in the most simple and clear terms.
Externally or physically, the things we know are those that reach the brain. And for most of us, there is a mechanism that keeps us largely focused on things physical, on experiences coming through the five senses. But the threads of our lives run deep into psychic and spiritual worlds, and there is a part of us with other senses, a higher or deeper part of which we, ensconced as we are in the physical brain, remain largely unconscious.
We live our life, so speak, in parallel worlds and in addition to our ordinary waking consciousness, have also a vast and mostly hidden life. It is a life of which we, in our physical brain consciousness, remain mostly ignorant. For most of us that is the design of nature and the way, for the time being, that it should be.
It is as if a one-way mirror stands between our ordinary consciousness and the heights and depths of our life in the psychic and spiritual worlds. Our brain lives on the reflective side of the mirror, and our higher self lives on the transparent side. Usually we are unconscious—at the brain level–of our larger identity and it’s life on the inner planes, and we do not realize to what extent we live this higher life, and do we realize that our “I” is but a small part of a larger deeper consciousness. At all times, the deeper part is an active participants in our life, but while the material world engages most of our attention, our brain registers little of this deeper nature. Most of what we are in our higher nature is hidden behind the one-way mirror so that when we look inward we see only the usual physical and emotional awareness. But there is another part of us that lives on the far side of the mirror, and in that space sees not only down toward physical personality, but outward to the psychic worlds and up to the world of spiritual.
Each of us is structured differently according to our needs and karmic conditions, so not all mirrors are the same. And the matter-energy barrier, of which our “mirror” is symbolic, is not a static veil but a dynamic one, being part of the living etheric-biological structure of our bodies. And sometimes, our mirror, or part of it, becomes more like translucent glass or a transparent window. Then for a time the mirror may no longer act as a barrier between worlds, so that we register part of our inner life in the brain. Then, to some degree, we experience “continuity of consciousness” where our brain registers not only the usual physical existence, but also aspects of spiritual or psychic life.
Brief or tenuous connection between worlds can be disorienting and radical thinning of the veil can be especially difficult, for most of us have trouble enough with the problems of a single level. There are many cautionary stories about magicians who evoke energies they are not yet ready to handle, a theme applicable to meditation practices. There are natural and forced developments that thin the veil between worlds, of which meditation is often cited. There are dangers associated with the premature development of anything, and this is especially true of psychic and spiritual experiences. If a strong energy is poured suddenly, prematurely, and persistently into an unready personality, then we may have a rending of the veil between worlds, with chaotic or pathological effects.
Awakening energies often proves confusing, and in seeking to understand them, a meditator may adopt one of the many schools of metaphysics or seek some teacher or guru to guide them. Unfortunately, the current wave of humanity hasn’t produced many spiritual midwifes who have the knowledge to lead people through such an energy crisis. Nor has it produced large numbers of sane, balanced and healthy souls who are ready for the difficulties of sudden awakenings. Instead, we have many half-right teachers in the world, and sad to say, some will make matters worse rather than better. In some cases crisis is actually precipitated in the first place by dangerous meditation practices taught by a pseudo-guru or drawn from a metaphysical book.
Gopi Krishna, in his book “Kundalini, The Evolutionary Energy in Man.” aptly describes the state of the world in this respect. He writes:
“I consulted other holy men and sought for guidance from many reputed quarters without coming across a single individual who could boldly assert that he actually possessed intimate personal knowledge of the condition and could confidently answer my questions. Those who talked with dignified reserve, looking very wise and deep, ultimately turned out to be as wanting in accurate information about the mysterious power rampant in me as those of a more unassuming nature who unbosomed themselves completely on the very first occasion without in the least pretending to know any more than they really did. And thus in the great country which had given birth to the lofty science of Kundalini thousands of years ago and whose very soil is permeated with its fragrance and whose rich religious lore is full of references to it from cover to cover, I found no one able to help me.”
Art by ihave3kids (modified)
Without intuitive light, we exist imprisoned in symbols, in forms, in surrounding things. But by light we pass through symbol to meaning by way of intuition. Or failing this we are caught in symbol, mistaking it for the real. To be caught is easy, because symbols are not entirely dark–there is borrowed light in them, a moonlight reality, mirror of the sun’s radiation. Without the sunlight of intuition, only glamour is visible, and we exist then in an eerie moonlight world, knowing only surface lights. While moonlight is from the surface, sunlight shines from an inner depth. So moonlight is borrowed but sunlight is fiery-original and an apt symbol of intuition. On the surface we live in a moonlight world of things, yet rightly seen each natural thing conjures for us the sunlight world.
True life expresses in a radiance that illuminates all surrounding things. Knowledge or consciousness may be conceived as the source of this interior radiance–it is the light of intuition or teaching from within. It is revelation of truth, the release of imprisoned splendor.