Last night I talked with several people. I told them that, sense they were in my dream, that they were not real but creations of my dream consciousness. They did not argue about it, so they probably were not real. But if you were one of them, and just didn’t want to speak, I apologize.
It rained today, a cold gray sky. The air feels pure and clean even in the city. It also rains in Afghanistan. It rains on the terrorists and on the children bent over the Koran. I know, in time, the rain will wash away the blood. I do not know, I cannot think how they see the rain now, or if they see it. I do not think they see how much higher its origin is than books called sacred. In the West, we also bury our heads in a book; I do not know how many will lift their heads to see. God knows the gleam of rain and the drip of its voice is intense. Do they not hear its painful beauty in the dark just before sleep? I am commanded by rain and by a thousand such voices daily. I know the gleam of it must come to the most hardened and lost soul, but how many ages hence? It rained in Babylon thousands of years past, not much, but how many drops of heaven do we need? I pray for rain, and for eyes that see.
The paradox, the yes and no of things is pervasive. It’s not just the transcendent that is intellectually elusive. The child asks, “What is a flower?” How can we answer? How deeply do I know what a flower is? Yet we try to answer.
What is a personality; what is the definition and the limit? We say it is vehicle, that it is a mask, that it’s on the surface of things. Then we say all is one, so the soul and personality are one. But there is time we say, and Saturn’s rule is the root of this separation. Yet we sense that time is an illusion, and for those who love, “time is not.” We find no clear dividing line between spirit and matter, between personality and soul, no place where personality ends and soul begins.
The mask we call personality is deceptive. If the mask speaks of the mask, how could it be other than deceptive? Yet, to the degree that it is integrated with soul, the mask is no longer deceptive. There is no mask in honesty, in wholeness, in unity—and unity is the essence of all. Yet, the most transcendent unified light still uses a form. And if a human form and human symbols are used, a degree of imperfection lingers, an element of deception.
Where then is personality, and where soul? Among actual humans, I do not know if I’ve ever met a personality. I’ve seen faces in degrees of radiance and faces transmuting pain. But in all this alchemy, no personalities like the mental construct. Today, I suggest there is no category of personality rapport and or soul rapport. It may be convenient to speak of them, but they are not what is before our eyes. The existence of personality is factual, but it is not true. Before our eye is an exquisite play of light and shade, a world of gradations in flowing colors and shapes. The persona and its provincial and cosmic matrix are worlds of dancing lights, bits of energy with star-like distance between the points of illusion. The soul is the indefinable light that holds these stars in place and feeds their life.
The shine of personality is attractive. But it is somewhat like a moon, shinning with borrowed light. Its real beauty is not in the form at all, but in the soul shinning through. Personality is love in disguise. Virtually everyone I meet in the normal course of life looks well attired to me. They do not speak the language of personality only, they speak also the language of the soul. They do not always know they speak it, even when they do it very well. We hear the voice behind the voice. They cannot hide it; it is the nature of things. I see where the gleam in the eye comes from, even though they have forgotten to explicitly mention it.
Most metaphysical students I’ve met are somewhat crazy. The more materially oriented are also crazy, but their craziness is less complex, less sticky, less profound. The average man’s craziness does not blaze like a full moon. Perhaps I’m crazy to think thus, but if so there’s a bit more evidence for my case.
Most human crazy-making activity arises from negative emotions and lack of illuminated thought that would make better spiritual alignment possible. We learn to think, and if we are clear, focused, and orderly about it, we may begin to find our way out of the thought-maze, and learn to reject much that then shows itself to us as childish and impossible.
Clear thinking operates under the sunshine from our higher or spiritual nature. Then, our mind would not simply be intellect in the conventional sense, but a “mind of light.”
I tried to read her in stories, and in the books called sacred and most secret, yet she eluded me. Sometimes I thought I caught a glimpse of her in nature, but it resolved into shadows. I was sure, I knew, that if there were shadows there was also light. So I invoked an elaborate alchemy of approach, yet no prescription sufficed, and she yielded not. In the stars I looked for her, but every map gave more questions and never the face I sought. Glimpses, shadows, glimmers, always the gray game but never the luminous face. I made an alter of finest quality—by this I found exactly and only my creation, nothing more. She held herself aloof from the ancient images; my charms held no appeal. We gathered to invoke her name, but to no avail. Every charm was dispersed, and every craft and every conjurer’s task was as nothing to her. All commands, all entreaties came to naught. To number and element she remained immune. Nothing cast or broken, nothing done or woven, no cycle, no intonation served.
What was the strange and mysterious place of her birth? At first I thought the ancients had sent her, and that the word of her coming was already known among the simple people, even mirrored in their rituals. Then I thought she had always been with me, waiting for the day when she could speak. But I learned she had spoken long ago, and many times since, and down the ages to present moment. She had come to me in luminous dreams I had not remembered. She sang and whispered, but I did not notice. I know now how distracted I was by my toys and tricks. Coming to this, I dropped them, and on a morning before the coming of dawn, I left all behind. I went then to the mountaintop, and sat in silence for a long while. There was nothing within, and seeming nothing without, and I felt and knew that nothing of the old was needed now. Life became simple. I had nothing and needed nothing, save something to give—and that would now be the object of my quest.
And when the sun rose, she came to me at last. Not as whisper but as thunder, not as glimmer but as a storm of light. Her shafts of song assailed the secret places of the soul. She sang a new alchemy that cannot be bound in a sacred book. Her presence unveiled a new history of the world all laid in geometry of fire. Her charms were constellations, her craft a sphere of glory, her magic the sunlight of a thousand worlds.
You’ve probably not met The Active Enzyme Lemon-Freshened Junior High School Witch. Maybe she’s alive and well on a planet a constellation near Andromeda; we don’t know for sure and humility prompts us to realize that there are a few corners of the universe we’ve not yet visited. But she has such a charming name that, in a serendipitous mood, we might be half-convinced that she is quite real. In any case, a book for children was written about her, but unlike many related texts it does not purport to be anything other than fiction. Fiction often overlaps with fanciful abstractions and the real and unreal are intricately interwoven. We also know that many abstract words are only “shadows hiding a vacuum.” And what we know about the “The Active Enzyme Lemon-Freshened Junior High School Witch,” is that she is a high-flying abstraction pieced together from things that we do have knowledge of.
The thing about the witchery of high-flying language is its emotional appeal. It is glamorous, and at the same time often touches on matters of real importance: God, love, death, humanity, finding the right path, our place in cosmos, our true nature… These are so important, so luminous in the depth of consciousness that we may find them compelling even when badly expressed and mixed with all manner of invented balderdash. So when we encounter a truth that is distorted, watered-down, and morphed with extraneous material of all sorts–even then–we may find this pseudo-truth attractive and absorbing. The words we hear and the associations they evoke work magic so that anything with some real truth in becomes a challenge. And like the Active Enzyme Lemon-Freshened Junior High School Witch, the name can be so charming that we may be half-convinced by the name alone. This particular witch is an abstraction, selected and composed from a wide array of things.
The root meaning of the word “abstract” is to “draw away,” in essence to draw away from the things physical, concrete, and specific. If one were aspiring to things spiritual, this would seem, at first thought, to be a good idea. But some mentally unhealthy conditions are also characterized by withdrawal. So what are the differences between the benign metaphysician and the neurotic?
One difference, semantically defined, is what we might call word/reality split. It is the disunion between the words and the things or realities that they stand for. Often, we listen to someone using high-level abstract words, and we don’t know what they’re talking about. In such cases, there are at least two possibilities: either our experience is too limited or uneducated for comprehension, or they actually don’t know what they’re talking about. In this latter case the person who has “lost touch” doesn’t know it and are quite sure that they know what they’re talking about. They may be proud of their language and love the associated emotions.
We live in a “New Age” of information and misinformation overload, and this poses special challenges for us. In the metaphysical and philosophical world, there are thousands of competing verbalizations with contradictory pronouncements. If we gulp down lots of metaphysics, unless we’re an exceptionally well-rounded and clever, we’re apt to wind up with fine case of muddle-de-physics.
Naturally, many of us think—prematurely–that we’re exceptionally well rounded and clever, and so are quick to get into trouble. Which brings up the next notable difference between a metaphysician and neurotic: ego. Knowledge of a special language makes us feel special. Familiarity with lofty terms seems to elevate us, and set us apart from the crowd. We may become part of a world saving in-group. We are trying to be less lonely and be recognized for our knowledge and high status. Salvation of the world is, of course, an essential and admirable pursuit. And it would benefit all of us if more of those enthusiastically engaged in this activity did know what they were talking about, and if they actually could fly as high as the witchery their words suggests.
“It is inherent in our intellectual activity that we seek to imprison reality in our description of it. Soon, long before we realize it, it is we who become prisoners of the description.” —Aneurin Bevan
“Great God, what a universe! And we discuss it over our teacups as though it were a thing we carried in our waistcoat pockets.” –L. P. Jacks
“Men suppose their reason has command over their words; still it happens that words in return exercise authority on reason.” –Bacon
“The world is satisfied with words. Few appreciate the things beneath.”—Pascal