A tribute to Walt Whitman and to the Graniet Flats TV series that made fine use of his words.
Video samples are from the TV series “Granite Flats,” 2013-2015, season 3, episode 1, “Our Rendezvous Is Fitly Appointed”
Wikipedia article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Granite_Flats
Netflix link: http://www.netflix.com/WiMovie/80044560?trkid=13641790
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.
The physical body is fiery–its atoms are bits of fiery energy, so our body can develop in special ways along a fiery path. Desire is also fiery; we burn with it, and the mind is often represented as fiery energy. All these are personal fires, and in way all are, as mythology has it, “fires stolen from heaven.”
Ideally, our life would be directed by spiritual fire, by subtle fires transcendent to personality. Then the beautiful fire of heaven and the external fires of body, emotion, and mind might meet and blend in magical harmony. This would be meditation or mediation.
We might say that true meditation is the union of spiritual fires with more external ones. But what if we engage in a process in which we experiment, as a personality, with the fires of our external nature, and while doing so we call it “meditation” or some other methodological name? Then, mistaking personal fires for spiritual ones, we might become an inflamed personality.
How then to define a path leading to union with spiritual fire as distinct from an inflamed personality? I’m thinking that it comes down to the question of whether we emphasize form or spirit. Form has its place as a vehicle for the spiritual, but often the form dominates, eclipsing the spiritual. Let us count some ways this occurs:
- Emphasizing rituals and set forms of all kinds instead placing our life in order.
- Emphasizing physical postures instead of spiritual orientation.
- Focusing on a center within the physical or etheric body instead of the radiant spiritual energies behind and through our psychology (Love, spiritual will, harmony, beauty, etc.).
- Emphasis on breathing exercises instead of the spiritual “breathing in” and giving forth that is, or should be, a healthy daily life.
- Emphasizing finding a physical guru instead of attunement to our inner teacher.
- Desire for psychic powers instead of desire to use our existing powers for the benefit of others.
- Emphasis on physical methods using sound, color, technology, or body manipulation.
- Emphasizing symbol instead of meaning.
To be without love is to be without spirit. Heartlessness and selfishness conspire with a materialism that measures human life by time and limitation. But love is resonant with the sense of the timeless spiritual—it is the extrasensory eye that views the hidden life and special being of life beyond time.
Naturally, the realization of timeless love has profound effects on how we experience and relate to others. The famous researcher in extra-sensory perception, Dr. J. B. Rhine, wrote:
“Our treatment of people obviously depends on what we think they are. The more we think of our fellowmen as deterministic physical systems, robots, machines, brains–the more heartlessly and selfishly we can allow ourselves to deal with them… On the other hand, the more we appreciate their mental life as unique… more original and creative than mere space-time mass relations of matter, the more we are interested in them as individuals and the more we tend to respect them and consider their viewpoints and feelings.”
At first glance, it may seem that love is uncertain and ephemeral, and that relations born from it do not last. But it is not love that is ephemeral, but the form of it under particular limitations of karma. True love exists in consciousness; is essentially spiritual and above circumstance. It is a faculty of the soul, and in fact the very nature of the deep self. Its binding power, its ability to harmoniously unite persons in a given instance may fail. But love as soul power remains, even where the limitations of persons thwart it. Behind the uncertainty of persons, behind the complex weaving of karma, the certain of love as the power of consciousness, shines continually.
The soul is immortal and its future is without limit. That is why real love brings with it a true intuition of the infinite. People pledge their love forever. Lovers, songwriters, and poets of each generation repeat similar lyrics. “I will love you till the end of time,” they say, “My love will never die.” The experience of love is instinctively linked to the feeling of “forever,” to a sense of moving beyond time. People speak of “immortal love.” The reason is clear–the consciousness of love gives the true sense of being without limits. If we look at the experience of love, we discover a most amazing thing–lovers pledge their love forever because a sense of “forever” is revealed by love. It is the nature of the soul. The writer Nathaniel Hawthorn put this clearly:
“We are but shadows: we are not endowed with real life, and all that seems most real about us is but the thinnest substance of a dream–till the heart be touched. That touch creates us–then we begin to be–thereby we are inheritors of eternity.”
Art by Cornelia Knopp
“I was lifted high,
In sun-bright healing winds—desiring now
A greater beauty…”
— Marion Wentworth
Usually, people think of beauty as something perceived, something we subjectively attribute to an object or a person. But I find the spiritual meaning of beauty is different. Spiritual beauty is not a passive perception but an active and transformative power. It is the energy of the intuitional world. We commune with such beauty, we enter into it and it enters into us. It is unity and Fire. It is “the world of pure meaning.” This beauty is not our personal response to an object in the world. Rather, beauty is itself a multidimensional world of rainbow archetypes.
In the archetypal world the divine mosaic shines in beauty. We encounter considerable fidelity problems in translating this world of pure meaning into its best correspondences in thought and words. It is a valiant effort, yet the lesser cannot fully include the greater. Still we try to mirror it. Fortunately, the mental mirror is itself in long-term evolutionary motion.
“…beyond the Beauty that is predicated of various forms and relationships, there is a pure Transcendent Beauty, and this is a mode of the very Being of the SELF. This Beauty is not something that is beautiful. It is Self-existent and casts its luster upon all things… Ecstasy is pure Beauty, as well as pure Joy and Knowledge.”
— Pathways Through to Space, Franklin Merrell-Wolff
Semantics is the study of meaning in language, thought, and communication. Our thoughts are embodied in language and images. We give our thoughts bodies; we create these bodies in the act of forming words and pictures. We incarnate in our thoughts and words and become identified with them. This identification is apt to create an illusion in that we feel we have hold of reality whereas in fact, we often only have hold of the words, some mental pictures and associated intellectual constructions.
The soul of words is the meaning, the experience that our words point to, or should point to. It is this living experience, the consciousness behind the forms that ensouls words. By this understanding of the nature of our verbal and conceptual incarnations we arrive at the possibility of Transpersonal Semantics. The word “transpersonal” points to that which is beyond the personal. “Semantics” refers to the meaning of words.
Let us define Transpersonal Semantics as spiritual-perspective-semantics. It is a way of thinking about body and soul with special reference to the way we humans use language in thinking and communication. So, a certain approach to semantics becomes an art of spiritual interpretation–a way of thinking and talking about spiritual and material problems and their solutions. In this sense, a key to better thinking is found by constant awareness of the difference between form and essence, between word and reality, between thought and the silent reality behind thought.
“Never did eye see the sun unless it had first become sun-like, and never can the soul have vision of the First Beauty unless itself be beautiful”
How to make our minds as sane and clear as the Sun? We can choose to focus mainly on what is beautiful, good, creative, uplifting; at the same time, to clearly know the obstacles but without making these our main focus.
Otherwise put, the key is resonance. If consciousness is occupied with the innermost beauty of things, a magical resonance is created that floods the space of the mind and surrounding space. Then the mind becomes a door into light. Right resonance in the mind and heart leads toward transcendence of the limited. We ponder the beauty of the candle and the star, and find they are not simply hot spots or opposites of ice. Rather, a door swings open, a door into fire, of which these luminous points are the messengers. The grandeur of this beautiful fire is enunciated by the morning light at the dawn of each new day.
Synchronization or resonance is a way of talking about vibration or frequency. We resonate with that which relates to our own nature. The phrase “sympathetic vibration” also expresses this. Emerson wisely said, “The secrets of life are not shown except to sympathy and likeness.”
Strings of a musical instrument vibrate together, even though they are not entirely alike, yet the similarity of their nature makes the resonance possible. So, to know the higher, we must become like it. We must sound the notes in our mind, body, and emotion that are resonant with their correspondences on transcendent levels. Each thought, emotion, or action that resonates with the higher is magical. Magic is the applied truth of the heart, the power to manifest and uplift.
I am a dead person; well, a relatively dead one. I know because there have been times when I was alive–the contrast between the two states is clear to me. Of course dead and alive are not really so binary. The world is full of the walking and talking dead. We all make our contributions to the litanies of the dead. What then is the rhetoric of the dead? It is the rhetoric of symbols larger than meaning where, like gray clouds, dense symbols obscure most of the light behind. All systems, religions, philosophies, all science, all are dead rhetoric if lacking spirit and a good motive. And while we are dead, all the good voices of past and future are likewise dead for us. But when we awaken to life, the best of past and future live in us.
Be wary of the words of dead people, be wary of me, and in this you affirm the primacy of spirit everywhere. In concert with my muses, I may occasionally flicker to life, the rest of the time you can ignore me without loss of much benefit.
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.
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.
A mystical dream experience
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 fiery angel comes to live with us, in her face the memory of all we have known, in her all the fiery angels of past ages. Her hand traces the brightest patterns of life, the hidden structures of worlds and time. With her, into the earth for a time, to sleep, to dream, and finally to wake, until now we see the creative, the essence of ourselves, the soul incarnate. Near her, the face of the whole world shines with fluid light. Near her the obvious invisible flame, and in this the world of subtle pattern, the flow of deep purpose, the great mystery. We live in this flame in our true aspect, and in it are all the faces of love in all times.
My image in the mirror is illusion, another not-me. Light bounces from body to mirror to eye and mysteriously paints another not-me in the brain. I look down on this image and name it. The name is an unsatisfying apparition, and when I pass the name to you it remains a curious ghost. Yet behind the mirror, behind the image, behind the word, behind these into the vast heart of light, I see the foundation that makes all illusions visible.
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.