The cosmic, the universe, the all beyond yet inclusive of Earth, the vast ocean of energy-matter; the misty turn of galaxies and suns, bright lights and luminous clouds and further on, unfathomable curtain of night; so many well designed flames, so many mysteries of light; and here below we focus small, reduced, microscopic, with body heat no match for stars. Or more, we find it so by our binding in time, by animal nature, by blood, by minute psychologies and small pains, troubles rendered in large illusions, yet not one such visible from Space. But thought of the universe is more magical than time and lights brain with new fires; so then, small links to great and the sunlight spaces of the cosmic worlds are close as love.
“The hard swallow built into science is this business about the big bang… This is the notion that the universe, for no reason, sprang from nothing in a single instant… notice that this is the limit test for credulity. Whether you believe this or not, notice that it is not possible to conceive of something more unlikely, or less likely to be believed. I defy anyone. It’s just the limit case for unlikelihood: that the universe would spring from nothing in a single instant for no reason… It is in fact no different than saying, “and then God said, ‘Let there be light!’ What the philosophers of science are saying is “give us one free miracle and we will roll from that point forward, from the birth of time to the crack of doom.” Terence McKenna
Science divides the world into organic and inorganic, the living and nonliving. And we read of a time before there was life on Earth, and then a proliferation of theories to explain how life evolved from a material matrix defined as lifeless. In this conception, our mind stages a curious scenario where Mother Earth is a lifeless form, yet gives birth to life. In this dualistic picture, life somewhat mysteriously arose from lifelessness.
Metaphysical thinkers often affirm, in various ways, “Life is one, ” or “All things are one,” or simply “All is one.” Do they mean that organic things are one but that the material matrix that gave them birth is something other than and apart from the one? Or do they mean that organic life and nonliving matter are something other than “life” and that the spirit or soul, sanding apart from these, is life? If we take them at their word, all is one life, however well disguised in forms organic and inorganic.
The curious “life from lifelessness” concept is less mysterious if we supplement the narrower biological definitions of life with a more comprehensive and unitary definition. Namely, that all is life—an atom is alive, a human is alive, and a star is alive, and the “big bang” or the “big bloom” is a living action. Life is motion, and in evolution, motion becomes less unconscious and more conscious. Apparent “lifelessness” is not “dead matter” but just latent life. Is there then life elsewhere in the universe? It follows that there is nothing but life in the universe. Moreover, it would appear stingy, if not wasteful of space, that divinity would evoke a little bubble of organic life around planet Earth and leave the rest of the universe in a dead state. Probably, divinity is much more lavish.
The legendary idea of the “music of the spheres” rings true. Is an atom musical? Is a planet, a sun, or a galaxy musical? What of the auric sphere, the sphere of thought and consciousness? What of centers and subsidiary centers found in everything? It’s not just orchestral groups that are musical–one can sense the importance of resonance in all spheres where everything from the microscopic to the cosmic is understandable in musical terms. Meditative sensitivity to the transcendental music of life is infinitely more than the usual understanding of musical appreciation. Music, in a profound sense, is encoded with meaning where worlds of essential information are communicated in sound.
Since all is unity, particles of the cosmic song thread their way into everyday life–a human voice, the sound of the rain, or a bit of seemingly ordinary music. But customary conversations are often less conducive to perception than silence or the sounds of nature. And perceptive comparison with more musical expressions may render our usual talk embarrassing. Perhaps in this contrast there is a key of attunement and attainment.
Artistic variation on art piece by lilsnipeyxgfx.
Space, like spirit, includes all things, and in modern times has become the symbol of transcendent adventure and the playground of unfettered imagination. Space, inner and outer, is the ultimate frontier, the great matrix of evolution.
Things are the externalization of a hyper-dimensional reality that is behind and through them. And there is another spirit behind that leads deeper yet. We see numerous interpenetrating levels, all present now, and each hiding deeper spaces. Symbols, that is to say things, when rightly apprehended become hyper-dimensional portals.
And formal thought is a thing.
The secret places of thought are like the grandeur of the night sky. Though the eye seems just a small mysterious mirror of remote points of light, yet the spirit touches all points and fathoms the deep mysteries of our participation in cosmos. The depth of space and the depth of thought come to resemble each other, and sparkle with the same extraordinary resources. And just as a rough geode hides unexpected beauty, so in the most diverse levels of the external world may be found the sparkle of the reality.
God creates and man creates, and man creating well is most like God. We give ourselves to creation, finding there the true, most beautifully rendered forms. In this is sacred life, divine reflections finely drawn as well befits a soul remembering home. Not in music or in paint alone, but more in mind and in the spaces of the heart where all live who dream of times more like the thought of Gods.
The words you see here—and the thoughts I hope you see—are an illusion, but also relatively real. Words are real to the extent that some true spirit or knowledge imbues them, and they are also more or less real or unreal according to the consciousness of the reader.
Think of the words “real” and “illusion.” I propose that the world is not illusion on the one-hand and reality on the other. Is this obvious? Yet we often use the word “real” as white and absolute and “illusion” as black and unqualified. Sure, some accommodate some grays in their vocabulary, but usually human emotions are friendlier with the enthusiasm of an absolute and unqualified ego affirming judgment.
Are you with me or against me on this?
Or is the question: “To what degree?”
The spiritual universe expresses in radiant centers of fire and light, and the physical universe follows. The grandeur of the day and night sky mirrors this principle; the tiniest particles of matter mirror it, and the human aura also radiates according to the growth of spirit. Spirituality is correspondent with the color and quality of beautiful radiation. In humanity, radiation is love and giving. The eyes show this light, and the voice shows it. Every word and act radiates according to quality of character. Meditation is radiation and the measure of a life well lived shows in a unifying radiance.
Awakening to unity means no clear boundary between within and without. The light in sky, the light of the atom, the light of aura, the light of thought–all merge in mystic perception.
Picture an explosion of light. Does the image evoke human invention, a star, a man, an angel, a thought? Sensitivity to light varies, but our eyes read by and through light. And we read not just by the eyes but by interior resources correspondence with inner light. Each of us reads by virtue of what we are, and of what we are, we know as yet only the smallest part. Our imaginations do not comprehend the full radiance of the future.
Having experience, we wait with confidence on the sunrise. For the coming of more subtle lights we will need to reach deep into the future blue of intuitive spaces. Looking toward the future, we find a spirited fullness and gladness in anticipation of great things, as if we have seen the future light in a dream. Perhaps we have.
Thought is poised between dimensions, dropping easily toward earth and more rarely deep into luminous reflections of other worlds. In thought is an opening door, a world of rainbow silences lovely as light, where then, when the veil wears thin, thoughts come with the lighting edge of fire.
Where then, when the veil wears thin, the gleaming surfaces of objects dissolve to exquisite meanings. And in ready moments, mind glides quietly into the blue and into landscape of distant worlds, where with all drawn close to the eyes, the way is clear. And for company in and through all the glowing silences of lost spaces, are true friends, and love in the air all surrounding.
And more sure than fine sun of cloudless day, interior radiance proves spirit well. So clear, pure, tremendous, the ethereal pressures of sacred things to be, mount within us, and mysterious shadows of ancient days crowd round us in night and day. See then the Life laid out, a clear and certain path, even to the most distant stars and times. And Life as something far beyond our reach, proves illusion, for distances dissolve and real life fills the creative fires of each happy day.
In the garden, the child asks, “Where is God?” With omnipresence, we might find God behind that curtain of galaxies in the far depths of space, or in the gift of flowers? Where is God the child asks. Smiling mother touches the child’s forehead and answers, “Right here.”
Galaxies might look severe, yet It must be a fiery but gentle God that nurtures the aura of youth, for the muted radiance of the child is easy on the eyes. Still, galaxies can not be discounted. Isn’t God more intense than the brightest sun? Some imagine approaching the God of all things directly. and right now, yet even the distant center of our modest solar system gives us sunburn. And it’s not hard to picture that even a lesser angelic visitor may be more than our eyes can bear. It seems degrees of separation are required for our protection, and serious adaption to the advancing radiance. But even with the dangers of life, there remains the wonderful concept of a vast hierarchy of light, otherwise the gulf between man and deity would be impassable.
There! Ghost of light, arresting glimmer on the periphery of vision… Is that a magic mirror, a window, a door? If mirror, it does not reflect earth-light. If a window it might be a sacred landscape, a memory of ancient worlds or worlds not yet born. It is close now, and clearly an opening door. I see through to a world, and within and beyond that another and another–bright worlds of the past and worlds of the future, infinite vistas of painful beauty. They sweep around and through me and I go to them. Their flow is joyous, commanding, where each paints the fiery core of things. And now a chorus of shining, ascending, voices. They fill me with open spaces; they engulf and overwhelm; I am with them, of them… I love and become through them.
Runes, cards, I Ching, sticks, books, leaves, hands, stars, numbers, words, symbols, forms–all the same face, giving nothing or everything. Every pattern, every symbol system, the waves on the sand, the child’s face, every language, the same; the whole universe divined by I-evoking magic. Does it matter where we turn for the answers? I divine there is little virtue in the pattern, in the form itself; most virtue being in the reader or in the reader’s magic relation with “out there.” The sky and the earth are as full of Runes as is any man women or child.
How distant are we from Buddha and Christ? The gap may seem cosmic, but it would be wrong to emphasize separation. Besides both are local to Earth—that tiny dot in one of many galaxies.
The painter Veronese created many pictures of Christ close among people, a visual corrective to the conception of a distant and unapproachable Reality.
I’ve never been a great lover of forms, that is most made by man’s mind. Not religions, philosophies, and psychologies, nor even much that passes as arts and sciences. There is a hidden meaning in all of them, and this I love. Yet the ways these take through human agencies and arts often fails to resonate. There are, thankfully, beautiful exceptions yet excellent things remain rare.
The forms of nature are different–these I love. A crystal, a rainbow, faces, skies and clouds, or scintillating dance of light on water–these argue well in speaking direct to the soul.
That said, if I am with a religionist I may find something there to love. If with a philosopher, I may find some light behind. Often though I find in voice or eye some gleam or note that reads better than philosophy or religion. Perhaps it is that we are in essence better than our playthings.
Sky and earth are full of light, and the light is alive and its sources are alive. The terrestrial is luminous and the celestial still more luminous, and between them are worlds and worlds of wonder. We are in the celestial, born from it, and gradations of creative light work their magic through us. Yes, we are in the terrestrial also, born to it, but well equipped for seeing. No matter the chain of dreary foggy days, no matter the mind numbing circles; all temporary and temporal. Happy the perception of gradations of light; few thoughts worthy of the name are devoid of some sparkle and on occasion the mind will mirror the most extraordinary and unexpected patterns.
(click on picture to go to the artists webpage)
Saints of actual virtue, without bureaucracy or churches, shine bright in life and death. But people like to roundup numerous human intercessors and are fond of titles and royal attire. It’s advantageous for church leaders to create saints, the better to awe followers, the better to consolidate power, the better to give each one the desired personal object of devotion. But why must objects of devotion be the province churches and conventional religions? Do not objects of devotion surround us at every turn of life? And why should the modes of reverence be prescribed by ancient scribes and conclaves of old men? Saint makers, power brokers, strategists, bureaucrats—how will pure devotion flourish under the weight of such medieval inheritance?
The memory of some glows unrealistically white in death. Well good for reverence and good for optimism, but especially good if we could simply love the good without so much devoted whiteness of perception, and without intercession of plastic priesthoods. Let all good works be approved without layers of ceremony and the collective judgments of old men.
Whatever is good beneath robes is nourished from within. I bow before it. But how many royal layers does it take to suffocate a good man? We can survive the surround of old stones, but heavy walls of thought and emotions shut out most of the light.
We love the beautiful, but remnants of the beautiful are overlaid with ages of human error, and worldly saint makers compete with sanity and simplicity. The half-deceptions, the old dirges, the crazy human mix suffocates slowly–we learn sleepwalking with just enough real magic to keep us circling. Churches bind with nets of ancient magic, and the sins of the devoted are washed imaginatively white– for a price. The magic is neither black nor white, which suits the lazy, sleepy median. Ugliness woven with threads of truth serves millions, and remains a distinctly human concoction.
And to those who have subjugated women for ages, to those whose minds run in stagnant theological rivulets, to medieval theologians and politicians—to these I say the church of stone and worldly power is dead. Service lives, and virtue lives, but its needs are simple and unconfined. But the spider web of theology does not serve and is dead; control by fear is dead; materialism and stones and worldly power is dead; half-truth is dead. Let the last clamors of prejudice depart into silence.
I expect in death that saints have a ceiling of stars and sky yet I cannot but think that love of old stones dies. Certainly it pales next to the grand canyons of earth or any of the billion lights in the deep sky. It surely pales next to the greater canyons cut by curving walls of stars. I think stardom and the star-dome takes on new perspective in the light of death, and I cannot think a single great soul approves being named a saint.
A reflection on darkness and light , the nature of life, illusions, and meaning.
Our ordinary sense of time and space appears closely related to brain consciousness, our sense of time being different in dream or vision where we’re more separate from the physical body. Usually, what we’re conscious of in the brain is mostly confined to a narrow part of the present life with little or no vision of distant past or future. People sharply divide time into past, present, future, and often with compression into a dense material now of “eat drink and be merry.” There is usually no prophetic sense, no sense of timelessness, no consciousness of the vast sweep of evolution to disturb the illusion of the material “now.”
There is practical benefit in the sense of timelessness. For instance, the great majority of things we ordinary time-bound types get angry about are as nothing when viewed from sufficient spiritual altitude. It reminds me of the story of a great soul who repeatedly struck a match only to have it blown out by the wind. His friend noticed his extraordinary calm in the midst of this and asked:
“Don’t you ever get impatient?”
“Why should I?,” he answered, “I have eternity in front of me.”
But our sense of the infinite is often not strong enough to release us from bad habits and unhappy reactions to people and circumstances. Moreover, even our spiritual aspirations add fuel to fires of our problems. Whether from spiritual aspirations or more material motives, the relativistic part of us is imbued with a sense of urgency and dissatisfaction with things as they are. We feel “There is no time to lose.” But there is or can be, at the same time, a more serene self, undisturbed by unfolding events; it is self touched by the timeless. In one of his poems Robert Browning writes, “God is in his heaven and all’s right with the world.” Many mystics down the ages have voiced a similar impression. The mystic says, “Time does not exist,” and we have all the time in the world; the practical self deals with urgent issues. We have one aspect of truth in timeless terms and another aspect in the practical relativistic world of time.
Overemphasis on the relative or the timeless yields different pathologies, but health must be in balance. After repeated attempts we are impatient when the match fails to light. It is because we ourselves are not on fire with the realization of the infinite. If we live too much in the urgency of the moment we fail, yet if we are divorced from practical labor and responsibility we also fail. So it seems we must coordinate heaven and earth, the transcendental and the practical–perhaps then to strike a golden mean, to act rightly in the world while in continuity with the infinite.
Universe does not end or begin in blank cosmological abstractions of the mind. The further up I go in the scale of things–and I have gone but a little way, but more than enough to see this–the spiritual remains manifold as well as one. One may imagine pure white or dark or an abstract point, but that point is a door of prismatic beauty. The spirit is a rich manifold world brought close to the eyes; it is that as well as unity. How can we have eyes or eye when all is unity?–yet we do. Unity does not obliterate diversity but contains it. Agni Yoga says, “The spirit is a light of the beauty of the stars.” I will say that the infinite is unity yet full of plurals. The spectrum does not disappear in the white but is hidden in it.
If I were Christ, I would use, not a man-made building, but the whole world as my Church. I would adopt all humanity as my “chosen people.” I would not confine myself to religions or any particular religion. I would take the whole field of human culture as my spiritual abode–all art, all philosophies, all sciences–every good in all I would make my church. Every child, every man, every woman, I would draw to me without regard to the phrases on their lips or the pictures in their heads; I would regard only the heart. I would not prescribe forms for worship through buildings and ceremonies or hierarchies of old men. I would spread myself on the wind; I would sweep through all the world, through every gleam of light I would make my way. I would insert myself into the quiet thoughts of every good man, woman, or child. I would abolish creeds, theologies and archaic language. I would teach a new language, one not of old forms but of a pure new spirit.
Image by Iadineaa
How to distinguish the small and the great?
Beautiful small drop of ocean is great, but small talk is not great unless love disguised. The tiny star in space, radiant light beyond our reach, is great to our eyes. Space includes all and is great. The blind eye is not great but the eye that apprehends stars in space is great, for there is love in the deep of space and in the star and in the tiny eye that sees.
Have you seen the white faces, the stars on wall of night? Calm they seem, and cold, cold as Arctic light; hot they seem, burning bright into my eyes. New fires bloom there, and stars that lived and died long before an eye could capture light. Behind my prison sight, the sky seems phantom cold, spatial void unbridgeable. But there is more fire than prison eyes can see. Have you seen the cold sky warm to luminous shadows, patterns of things to be? Have you heard the cold clear call, the songs of distant stars? Behind this bloom of lights, voices sing and whispered stories come of deeps beyond, and futures holy light.