Someone asked: “What would cause mystical experience?”
In the broadest sense, wider experience in all forms comes through evolution, both in the external and spiritual sense. So it is the growth of the soul—through many life times—that results in mystical or spiritual experience. So, to some degree, people tend to be born with an inclination toward such experiences. As a result some people have spontaneous mystical experiences that appear to have little relationship with the life they are living. If one happens to be, as a result of many lives of growth and experience, at a point of readiness for revelation then a seemingly trivial life experience—something seen or even a thought, can trigger mystical experience.
But more specifically, however, there is a path—or a number of them according to needs and temperament—that accelerates evolution in a way that tends to evoke whatever immediate potential exists for spiritual experience.
Many would say that it is meditation that leads to mystical experience, and while this can be true for many, the path is much broader than that. In addition to what we come in with at birth, it is our way of life—how we think and feel and act—that determines whether our potentials for deep experiences are activated or remain latent.
The key thing is: real mystical experience includes some degree of transcendence of the little ego—that is of the little mind, emotions, and body—that we have misidentified as “I.” The question becomes then, what type of life is resonant with such transcendence? What type of life takes us beyond the little self-centered ego with its many desires and petty concerns?
First, this is a life of love and service, a life that expands our focus beyond our personal needs into the wider world of humanity and nature. The second factor is how the mind is used—the mind must be developed and educated along some line, otherwise, our ability to be helpful or creative will be limited. Third, right meditative thinking, and more universal thinking is key. The life of service, of love, of creativity, and right thinking is supported by study. Right thinking means educating and equipping the mind so that it is an instrument of service and creativity. Right thinking means optimism and focusing the mind on questions related to wisdom, questions related to the needs of humanity, and of the part we can play in making the world a little better for all who live in it.
We should understand this word “service” very broadly. The mother serves by being a good mother. The scientists serves by discoveries. The artist services by inspired creations. The statesman services by good governance that takes into account the highest good for the greatest number. We serve by thought, by communication, by words of kindness, by words of warning, by words of poetry. And most importantly, we serve by making our emotional nature clear and translucent so that it is no longer dominated, as is the usual case, by fear and selfishness.
In the way of life that is service, the key thing is motivation. There is only one true motive and that is love, broadly understood. So, we do not let our interest in personal things dominate. For instance, the desire for mystical experience should not be uppermost in our minds or condition unduly our emotions. The evocation of mystical experience is the byproduct of right living. It will come to us when it is time, according to natural and spiritual law. Such experiences are useful not only to ourselves personally, but to others, to world. It is same with meditation. Meditation should not be something pursued for its own sake. Your awakenings, your talents, are gifts for giving.
QUESTIONS: “As a tip for a beginner, how do you approach meditation? What is your goal? What do you gain from it?”
I approach meditation without a desire to get anything out of it.
I find that it is best to think of one’s self as a channel, a receiver of gifts that are then to be passed along.
Meditation can be different things depending on the approach used. It can be about thought, about love, but fundamentally it leads beyond the mind.
Objectively, the tools are images/visualizations, words (affirmations), and forgetfulness of the physical body. A few deep breaths and total relaxation are good, but–in general—strenuous breathing exercise are to be avoided.
The fundamental power of affirmation is in the expression as “I am X” where X is God, spirit, life, humanity, beauty, love, spiritual power, order, harmony, etc. This corresponds to the fact and realization of unity. Meditation is movement toward consciousness unity.
The gains or effects of mediation vary depending on the type and depth of it, but they include:
* direct realization of spiritual reality
* knowledge of one’s purpose in life and of the meaning of life (nonverbally apprehended)
* detachment and disidentification from the things that formerly bound us
* realization that there are “More things in heaven and earth than are dreamed of…”
* sensing of deeper energies on some level, including energize in the body itself
* relationships with the sources–individual and/or groups–from which great spiritual teachings come
* consciousness of immortality
* greater mental clarity and self control
* the realization of the profound significance of the life of service to humanity
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
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.
Everyone lives in the often difficult aura of the world, in the aura of nations, groups, families, associates, and friends. Some helping professions, such as counseling, by their nature expose the helper to often horrifically difficult auras of troubled people.
People vary considerably in their sensitivity to these auras, some more “open hearted” people are especially prone to absorb energies from the surrounding ocean of human emotions. Many of us are mediumistic, psychically sensitive, or resonant to this surround. In general, it is is the “heart type” that is most subject to the collective and individual auras that make up their personal surround. The devote, the artists, and certain types of educators and “people persons” are especially sensitive. Such sensitive people can become debilitated, disrupted, or weighted down by the heaviness of what comes upon them in the normal course of life. By contrast, it is the “head type” that is less subject to the auras of other persons—the active mind provides a measure of insulation that makes them less vulnerable. Yet even head types sensitive to the surround, just not as keenly as their brothers of the heart.
One must remain sympathetically in touch with others and compassionate toward the world, so it is not advisable to attempt to isolate ones self completely—an impossible task in any case. Nevertheless, there are certain actions that can be taken to soften the impacts and help us stay in a more healthy state, despite the difficulties of the world and people.
To render this memorable, let us call it “SAM,” that being an acronym for Saturation, Affirmation, and Mentation. Let us elaborate these three.
“Saturation” is both the nature of the problem and, at the same time, a solution. When sensitive, we become saturated with the surrounding energies of persons and circumstances—we absorb them like a sponge. That is, we are apt to do so if we are not already saturated with something better—something benevolent and deliberately chosen by us. One way of attaining the necessary saturation is reading. For instance, if we fill ourselves with inspirational reading, with something that is attractive, uplifting, enlightening, then that “fullness” will tend to prevent us from absorbing too much of the world and persons. For this to be effective, the reading should be frequent, persisted and over a considerable period of time—it should be something that we want to make a part of us, something that we will then carry with us at a subconscious and sometimes conscious level.
Affirmation is one of the most powerful forms of meditation. Find, memorize, and take to heart a brief and bold formula that begins with phrase “I am…” This should be brief, because that makes its use more powerful and when brief is easier to use frequently. This should be a metaphysical formula. An example is:
“I am a point of light within the mind of God, I am a strand of loving energy within the stream of love divine.”
Needless to say, the effective use of such a formula requires feeling, one must put ones full self into it, speaking with conviction. Speak it from the deepest level you can meditatively access. Act as if what you are affirming is a realized fact in your personal consciousness. Used often, and well, such a formula will tend to dissipate the lower energies that we may have absorbed.
There are two parts to mentation– we could call them Limited and Unlimited.
Limited: Use more of your head and less of your emotions. It is on the emotional level that we are most vulnerable. The mental level can and should be a quieter and more illuminated place. For example, you are assisting someone who is in trouble. The scientist in you actively seeks clear understanding and is thinking about how best to handle the situation. There is a challenge here, and you are mentally intent on rising to meet it. You are not to be a mere dumping grounds for the others woes—instead you are mentally and spiritually present and full of solutions. You are the remedy, the health, and the cure and it is this that your mind will be vibrant with.
Unlimited: I’ve suggested above that the mind should be a quiet and illuminated place. The light of the mind descends from the intuitive realm which is, in fact, a great world of light. One of the basic revelations in that light is the fact of the unlimited nature of life and of the soul, and there also is the knowledge that Good will inevitability triumph. No matter how horrific the person or circumstance is that confronts you, the fact is that they will be transformed toward the good and ultimately attain the well being that waits for them. It may not be soon, and you may or may not be the one who turns the key for them—but it will come. This last “remedy” is the most difficult to appreciate and apply. I’ve defined the “Unlimited” here, somewhat in the abstract. I will close with a passage from Walt Whitman who offers us a definition of the same in more concrete terms.
“I saw the face of the most smeared and slobbering
idiot they had at the asylum,
And I knew for my consolation what they knew not,
I knew of the agents that emptied and broke my brother,
The same wait to clear the rubbish from the fallen tenement,
And I shall look again in a score or two of ages,
And I shall meet the real landlord perfect
and unharmed, every inch as good as myself.
The Lord advances, and yet advances!
Always the shadow in front! always the reached
hand bringing up the laggards!
Out of this face emerge banners and horses—
O superb! I see what is coming,
I see the high pioneer-caps—
I see the staves of runners clearing the way,
I hear victorious drums.”
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.
“Working out beneath the surface of the information and communications revolution, is an arcane process with tremendous implications for humanity’s future. In the digital circuits on which the Internet, computers and cellular phones all rely, electricity is made to run through the circuitry pattern on a silicon chip performing an ordered, repetitive dance – the rudiments of ceremony and ritual.” Lucis Trust
A compilation about the essence of spirituality, what it is, what it means, and nature of direct realization or enlightenment. A video montage of personal narratives of spiritual experience.
Well, surely heaven is not what most people think and imagine. It’s not the singing of old church hymns and, if heaven had walls, they would not be decorated with the plump cherubs of old paintings. Of angels I have no doubt there are many, though minus the feathery wings of Earth’s ornithological types. That is the trouble with the way humans picture heaven, it becomes a projection of the earthly imagination. Surely, there are no towering churches or collections of virgins for the would-be resident.
Now that said, there is a consensus in many esoteric works that the mind and emotions, being exceptionally creative, means that all these things are collectively created on a psychical level. So whatever people imagine heaven to be–personally and collectively–that it becomes for the persons who participate in that thought form. So one can easily see how–in the psychical world–crowds of devoted followers gather around their Jesus to hear the repetition of sermons. But all this must be structures, forms of the earthly experiences projected, as it were, into the skies of the the “heaven worlds.” In modern terms, an illusory matrix.
As I have it, all this described is not heaven but a collection of human counterfeits, the very same counterfeits one meets with in the minds of humans generally. How then to elevate the term and concept “heaven” beyond its usual earthly import? “Structures,” which is to say forms and materials, are the stuff of worldly life. But there is something else, something truly spiritual, that casts its luster over, in and through the earthly world. The word I adopt for this is “archetype.” There is a pattern in and through and behind everything an archetypal beauty being the soul of every form. Truly perceived, life in the external world becomes a window through which the real heaven can be seen. It is not structure, but the creative energy behind.
The nearest analog to heaven in the objective world is light, color, sound, and geometry. These suggest the archetypal pattern on which all is based. To put it otherwise, the soul of every truly beautiful thing and experience of life, exists as a living and dynamic archetype in spirit, and that includes all that every individual is in their deepest self. The archetype of thought, emotion, consciousness, nature, and of the entire cosmic expanse, all exist in “heaven.”
“Hell” is in the life hear on Earth, and heaven also, when we can see through to it. That being the case, we need not wait for death to know what heaven is, because it is present now within and about us. It is a living presence in and through us and in and through all things. So then, yes, it is Consciousness–a whole rainbow of consciousness. All that people love and cherish about external life is the shadow of real life, the life called “heaven.” Not one good thing in world—in past, in present, or in future time—not one good thing is ever lost. The good unfolds always in an infinitude of wonder that is life. The heart of all is good beyond dreaming and it lies open before us now and through all the lives and deaths on which our spirit rides.
And about evidence there is this:
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.
We would like perpetual renewal of life and vitality. We would like to feel that dawn is coming with a rush of new benevolent energy. We would be like to be in spirit like the best morning of our life. Today, I reiterate a bit of transpersonal semantics conducive to renewal:
A word is, or might be, sacred.
I do not fancy myself religious in any conventional sense, but there is a good idea in the religious of the world, that of “sacred word.” I do not say it is in bibles or churches. But it might be in you. And if we were to meet, I would listen for it. You might not even know you spoke it, but I fancy that I would know.
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 create letters, blends, sounds, spaces, waves… I’ve watched the play from childhood. I remember how the play came, dreamlike, automatic… watched now from a distance I see the faint stirring of purpose in it. There was a hidden singing not mentioned in the grammar books. The unfolding syntax still looks magical as if by angelic help. But now we come to divinity manifest in consciousness, and the meaning of it.
Before words, worlds, kingdoms, I am amazed. Words spring spontaneously into sound, each as mysterious as my forgotten first word. I cannot find the full depth of their silent origin anymore than I can find the full depth of space. I know the subatomic structures of the brain do not yield the secret of words; their shapes and sounds are more spacious and multidimensional. I follow the sounds, and am alive in the creation and in the origin. I create with words and am created by them. I feel their musical patterns move from spherical to complex geometries, becoming vital spinning stars, life forms, the shapes of thoughts in space. I try to mirror the world of original patterns; it is impossible art, but full of joy.
To summarize the esoteric perspective in modern terms, brain and DNA are the physical nodes of a multi-dimensional matrix of energy. The energy matrix is composed of etheric, emotional, mental, and spiritual fields. These are the extensions of our “psyche” or identity that stands behind and works through–and are functionally integral with the physical body, brain, DNA, and glandular system. Emotional, mental, and spiritual consciousness exists as energy fields that are, in essence, independent of the physical body (as in after death condition) but dependent on the body while in physical embodiment.
So brain and DNA are not a fundamental cause but secondary causes. This is apparent from a study of the ageless wisdom. What may not be so apparent is the extent to which this understanding is staring to shift the orthodox scientific perspective–at least so far as the pioneers are concerned:
“DNA might be the ultimate “Dynamic Noetic Antenna” Dynamic meaning vibrant, evolving, systemic; Noetic meaning knowledge, pattern, recognition; and Antenna meaning antenna, receiver, tuner. Maybe DNA is nature’s version of a profoundly complex radiolike circuit that receives information rather than creating it. Of course, it will create information too, but it may be designed to selectively register and read electromagnetic patterns in the body and beyond. “
“The Living Energy Universe,” Gary Schwartz, Ph.D & Linda Russek, Ph.D
“Through the research of Dr. Lipton and other leading-edge scientists, stunning new discoveries have been made about the interaction between your mind and body and the processes by which cells receive information. It shows that genes and DNA do not control our biology, that instead DNA is controlled by signals from outside the cell, including the energetic messages emanating from our thoughts. Using simple language, illustrations, humor, and everyday examples, he demonstrates how the new science of Epigenetics is revolutionizing our understanding of the link between mind and matter and the profound effects it has on our personal lives and the collective life of our species.” “The Biology of Belief,” Bruce Lipton, PhD
“beliefs and emotions can trigger the expression of DNA strands.”
“The Genie in Your Genes” Dawson Church
The Living Matrix Movie Trailer
“…emotional and mental diseases are associated with specific imbalances or disturbances in the chakras and human energy fields.”
“The Chakras and the Human Energy Fields,” Dr. Shafica Karagulla
Addenda: Some References to Peer Reviewed Journals
“Because of four major clinical, prospective studies done in three countries, and a host of papers published in peer-reviewed journals, the near-death experience today is the number one choice of scientists worldwide to study consciousness itself…Medical schools and medical personnel in country after country are now acknowledging this: that the near-death experience is real, valid, and verifiable – a condition they must deal with – that defies what is known medically about the human body and the brain/mind assembly.”
“Existing research is mainly in the disciplines of medicine, psychology and psychiatry. Interest in this field of study was originally spurred by the writings of Jess E. Weiss (combat veteran who collected near-death testimony from soldiers in World War II), Dr. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross (psychiatrist), Dr. George Ritchie (psychiatrist), and Dr. Raymond Moody Jr. (psychologist and MD). Moody’s book Life After Life, which was released in 1975, brought much public attention to the topic of NDEs. This was soon to be followed by the establishment of the International Association for Near-death Studies (IANDS ) in 1981. IANDS is an international organization that encourages scientific research and education on the physical, psychological, social, and spiritual nature and ramifications of near-death experiences. Among its publications are the peer-reviewed Journal of Near-Death Studies and the quarterly newsletter Vital Signs.”
“Near-death experience in survivors of cardiac arrest: a prospective study in the Netherlands”
“Because of four large clinical studies done in three countries, and a plethora of papers published in peer-reviewed journals, it can now be said that the near-death phenomenon is not caused by conditions such as: oxygen deprivation, carbon dioxide in the blood (hypercarbia), optical illusions, temporal lobe excitation/seizures, drug-induced hallucinations, depersonalization, dissociation, reliving birth trauma, culture dependence, dying brain theory, self-fulfilling prophecy, visual deception, or any other known cause. No critic or skeptic of near-death states has ever studied or researched the entire phenomenon as it occurs – which covers the conditions involved, the full slate of scenario elements, how that effects the individual, and the pattern of physiological and psychological aftereffects that tends to be lifelong. . . with both adults and children, including babes being born, after birth, toddlers, and the very young (who talk about their experience when proficient at language, or draw or act it out).”
All the chains of thought and words, the countless sounds and songs of our inner life, all make calls to hidden realms. Common words reinforce the common bondage, while the higher ones call to freedom and life. In words, these bodies of thought, a secret life and help is woven, and a beautiful magic lives in the spark between word and meaning.
The mediators of mystic potentialities surround us. I believe the most sacred invocations may slip unexpectedly into your voice and the voices of friends. See how a song repeats, how the lyrics come rounded with magic appeal, how the words hide joyous scriptures just beneath… I feel the most secret musical formulas are calls that set lines of light dancing in the air, lines of communion along which run the colors of our love for all that is luminous and beautiful. They thread instantly across mountains and seas, binding the most remote points in creative intimacy. There are voices in the lattice of lights, a vibrant intercourse, a comprehension that is the archetype of speech.
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.
Physical methods are analogous to symbols, useful up to point, but dreary and confining as a primary occupation. Unless we find our way behind each symbol it becomes a shell, a useless husk. The center and the pivot of our life should be subtle. An approach to life that pivots on any physical method or substance is a fundamental error and incompatible with spirituality.
“The greatest moment is like the silent interplay of shadows in a budding forest—the silence of a thought’s interacting shadows extending inside me.”
— Second Light, Vilhelm Ekelund
Metaphysical thinkers often become preoccupied, not with true spiritual life, but with a kind of pseudo-spirituality bound up with external things, with things intellectual, emotional, and physical. People become preoccupied with the pseudo-spirituality quite easily and that to the great detriment of both normal healthy material life and true spiritual life. These masquerades of spirit are defined by the lack of true motive.
Transition from a personal vision to a transpersonal vision is largely dependent on meditative apprehension of the heart and its fusion with wisdom. When the fire of the heart becomes the goal and the vision, the focus becomes transcendental. Spiritual motivation has few true exponents because people try to approach a higher path in the same way as worldly one.
Everything transcendental is above the limits of external language. In direct realization we no longer need translation by linking words to meanings via external personal experiences. Yet fidelity of “reception” and “transmission” are still issues. We may catch a meaning directly, but there will still be limitations surrounding its embodiment on the personality level, that is in the form it takes in the mind, emotion, or physical world. Yet, in the depths of consciousness we can still sense the truth directly. And if the realization is revisited directly, it becomes apparent that the body we give it is inadequate. Words and images never fully embody the realities of spiritual life.
We might picture magic as opposed to science where science is natural and magic is supernatural. But here we have one of those deceptively simple binaries that are worth questioning. Besides, in recent years, the axioms of quantum physicists start to sound like mystics, and many begin to use language that marries science and magic. For example, today a Google search yields 597 hits for the unusual phrase “quantum magic,” and 102 for “quantum sorcery.” But long before the latest science, the public mind was seeking a blend of worlds, at this writing, Google-net shows us 48,600 references to “spiritual science.” Of course many of these links have little to do with science and quiet a number bear little or no relation to anything truly spiritual. But the links do reflect how the mass mind responds to psycho-spiritual atmospheric pressure–an integrative pressure seeking manifestation in human culture.
We might think of “supernatural” as the unexplored natural, then a true magician would be a scientist in disguise. Or we might think that there is only the natural and that a true magician is a developing scientist. Or we could discard the word “magic” altogether in favor of a less burdened term. But this is contrary to the powerful wave that is solidifying the idea of magic in the public mind. This wave finds expression in numerous new mythologies, in books, and motion pictures. Much of this material is of a superficial kind, yet everything has a higher or deeper correspondence, and a writer or artist will sometimes bring through something of magical significance. There is this beautiful passage by Thomas Wolfe, from his book “Time and the River:”
“At that instant he saw, in one blaze of light, an image of unutterable conviction, the reason why the artist works and lives and has his being–the reward he seeks–the only reward he really cares about, without which there is nothing. It is to snare the spirits of mankind in nets of magic, to make his life prevail through his creation, to wreak the vision of his life, the rude and painful substance of his own experience, into the congruence of blazing and enchanted images that are themselves the core of life, the essential pattern whence all other things proceed, the kernel of eternity.”
In this, we find a subtler sense of the meaning of “charms” and “spells” associated with magical lore. The passage is about invocation, and it does address the supernatural, but it’s not so much phenomenological as psychological and spiritual, or if it is phenomenal, it places us in the realm of right motivation. There is in it the definition of magic as manifest spirit, the union of heaven and earth.
So then, the magician is thinker and creator, and good thought is like magic out of the air, like a clear day when the atmosphere sings with subtle possibilities. Magic is soul force, a secret wind that electrifies the body and collapses the space between points. It stimulates the spirit of service and makes the eyes supernaturally bright.
Art by David Urbanke
The Egyptian sun worshipers have moved on, and modern science now speaks of a ball of hot gasses. Yet the center of our solar system remains spiritually commanding. We might picture seven dimensions of the sun, or forty-nine And to make these wonders present for us now, to make them come out of the air to us and to all, that would be most practical.
“…every genuine child feels the sun shine right into his chest in quite another way than grownups do…”
Second Light, Vilhelm Ekelund
Looking out upon the world, it may sometimes seem that a beautiful change is not possible. The weight of the world and its chaos seems overwhelming. And it is the same when, at certain stage, we confront the burden of our own chaos. Some find the weight so great they become seriously ill or even end their own life in a vain attempt at escape. So also in the large world where it sometimes seems whole nations are obsessed with a path of chaos and death. The pain and chaos of group and the personal worlds mirror each other.
But there is a moment of realization, the moment when we wake to inner power and divinity. In this revelatory light, all things look different, and all things look possible. There is then no barrier too high and no way too difficult. We come to know then, with certainty, that the ultimate triumph of the good is inevitable. No matter the history or the long chain of dark days. It becomes clear that no circumstance and no limits can ultimately withstand the transformative energy of spirit. No cycle of chaos will remain unbroken. The power of divinity spirals up irresistibly and may not be denied. No human construction can long withstand it. There will be a new world in the future, and it will be good beyond dreaming.
“Love, from its awful throne of patient power
In the wise heart, from the last giddy hour
Of dread endurance, from the slippery, steep,
And narrow verge of crag-like agony, springs,
And folds over the world its healing wings.”
— Percy Bysshe Shelley
The walls of the house may melt away, yet afterward one may question the reality of the phenomena. All sense perceptions and their psychic alloys are rightly subject to the questioning intellect. But there is a consciousness that imbues certain events and is not subject to question–this consciousness contains the answer.
Inevitably, things become better. The beginning and ending of karmic cycles and the weaving and blending of waves is exceedingly complex. It is difficult to say what is ending and what is beginning, or even sometimes what is for the best and what is not. But our spirit perceives the beginning and the conclusion and is secure in the knowledge of the inevitable triumph of Good. This knowledge is at the heart of that perennial optimism that sees the light of tomorrow. We know how thought shapes the future and how our attitude and orientation contributes to the stream of events. We are alert to the worst possibilities as temporary delays in the cosmic scheme, yet we remain alight with the vision of the best and with our hands and feet well employed.
The future of mankind exists as an archetypal reality. Each one who sees this helps manifest the inevitable, forges a link with brotherhood, and lightens the burden of humanity. One can directly experience the coming renovation in human consciousness because the focus of true individuality is in continuity with a greater life or being that is the foundation and root of unity.
We can distinguish psychic from spiritual perception in this way: psychic perceptions do not interpret themselves, but spiritual perceptions do. We must seek and question the meaning of a psychic perception, just as we do with any normal sense perception. But in spiritual or intuitive perception, the meaning is given directly, being inherent in the experience. In the spiritual we may see, hear, or sense something—or more properly expressed, become something, because we apprehend that which is part of our being. If the spiritual experience is genuine, we do not need to ask, “What does this mean?” The question does not arise because true spiritual experience takes place in a world of pure meaning, and in this world perceptions contain their own validation, their own seals of authenticity. Validation is inherent in and inseparable from the experience. Instead of having to intellectually explain the experience, the experience itself is the explanation and the meaning. Likewise, in the case of “intuition” which means “direct knowledge,” we find that intuition is the answer, not the question. Mental or intellectual questioning arises in relation to phenomena, but intuition is the matrix of light that contains the answers.
Psychic and spiritual or mystical experience may sometimes be combined. For instance, we can have a vision, in the sense of a picture or image of something correspondent with the material world, and we can hear a voice with words that take objective form in our mind. These psychic experiences may be factual, or illusory, or some blend of the two. But the soul of a true mystical experience is real, while the form it may take in words or images is only relatively so, and is never fully adequate to express the spiritual which is formless. Spiritual experience may take a form in the mind or in expression through images or words. We normally give spiritual experience a psychical body either consciously or unconsciously, but these formal expressions are symbols, and are always a relatively limited embodiment and not the reality itself.
Is light form or formless? Even physically considered, it is energy and relatively formless. But “light” is a word adopted by both physical scientists and metaphysicians. We can use the word to point to something physical, psychic, and spiritual, because light is on spiritual as well as material levels. But here we make an intellectual distinction, which though it has some real validity, fails to reflect the continuum of things. We can say that psychic perception relates to form and that spiritual perception relates to formlessness, and this is more or less correct. Yet form and spirit remain a continuum, and our perceptions evolve in the fluid middle ground between material and spiritual material between the finite and the infinite.
For simplicity, I’ve divided the spiritual and personal levels. But in reality, things are not so sharply divided, and we should blend them because that’s more realistic. In this way we find that in objective seeing or hearing there can be a spiritual component. Everywhere, the spiritual transparency is laid over the personal one. So in every experience, physical-psychic-spiritual, we’re presented with a unified field. The physical and psychic (emotional-intellectual) components of any experiences may be rightly questioned. We can examine them and assess them. But if there is a spiritual component, if our experience has a soul, then that is the self-validating part. The body of our experience, the form it takes in our sense or psyche (shape, color, words)—these are the external or relative part, the part that intellect can address. But the spiritual part is transcendent to the intellect and phenomenal perceptions.
We would like perpetual renewal of life and vitality. We would like to feel that dawn is coming with a rush of new benevolent energy. We would like to be in spirit like the best morning of our life, to find in the light of new day the best actions and words.
About words, today, I reiterate a bit of transpersonal semantics conducive to renewal: a word is, or might be, sacred. I do not fancy myself religious in any conventional sense, but there is a good idea in the religious of the world, that of “sacred word.” I do not say it is in bibles or churches. But it might be in you. And if we were to meet, I would listen for it. You might not even know you spoke it, but I fancy that I would hear and know.
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.
Let us consider the world of the “esoteric” or “spiritual science”—these suggests a wide diversity of things such as psychic phenomena, the supernatural, mysticism, meditation, tarot card reading, kabalistic obscurity, crystal balls, reincarnation, astral bodies, auras and chakaras, Eastern thought, metaphysics, and the occult. For some, the language may also call to mind witches and wizards, seances, a yogi in a mountain cave, magical charms, mysterious rites, and perhaps even some UFOs thrown in. And for some, the esoteric terms even associate with cults, satanic worship, or some TV show on the latest strange, weird, or bizarre phenomena. We might say that, the human scene, being what it is, people inevitably acquire a superficial picture; a caricature of whatever realities esoteric language is intended to point to. And among many people, a term like “esoteric” or “occult” conjures emotions most strange, while in this maze of language and concepts–usually but vaguely and poorly defined–wander the metaphysically oriented people of the world.
All this is not to belittle the truth underlying the language, but rather to help us realize more clearly the difficulties of discerning that truth. It helps to realize that excellent things are rare, and that for every true teacher, there are a thousand pretentious gurus. For every true psychic, there are a thousand pseudopsychics. For every prophetic visionary, thousands of false prophets walk the earth. And for every truly enlightened individual, there are thousands spiritual charlatans. And the matter is further complicated by the fact that we rarely have just obviously “false” communications but a cryptic blend of the true, and half-true, of false, and a partly false. There are a thousands of shades of partly true offered us from every direction.
And everywhere we find systems, gimmicks, offerings of pretty packages, of effortless cures and quick enlightenments, and even metaphysical versions of get-rich-quick schemes. And for every purely wrought axiom of wisdom, there are a thousand clichés and inferior versions.
It may also help us to realize that, at one extreme, everything becomes counterfeited and debased. Everything has false and glamorous versions. Everything has illusory and shadowy counterparts. So, on the surface, everywhere is scattered fool’s gold.
At the other extreme, in deeper spaces, is the clear gold light of wisdom. But between the extremes is a world of grays where things gradually shade toward the light. This is the world where our discrimination and insight are constantly tested. This is the world where we must learn to think and see ever more clearly. We live along a twilight path of human understanding, a world mixed of dark and light. Yet, along the way, we may more optimistically recall that shadows suggest the light that cast them.
Take heart then that the Powers that be thought so well of us as to lay upon our path such difficult circumstances. Our own powers are equal to the challenge, if not today, then surely tomorrow, and we have an infinity of tomorrows.
Let us bring out of the dense fabric of human thought some clear ideas, set them upon a pedestal, elevated, striking, luminous—suitable objects for reflection. The light of them is beautiful and, in one way, simple, yielding to us by interior radiance that vision of clarity we so deeply need for the difficult journey.
The past is finite but the future is infinite. The past is useful up to a point. Yet seeking our identity in the past, the past becomes a heavy drag upon consciousness and killer of freedom. The past corresponds to a limitation, to set forms that have come and gone. Yet people define themselves mainly by the past, so binding themselves to the fixed boundaries and the circumscribed habits of personality and group.
The inner self is prophetic, so it is possible to find identity in the light of the future. There is nothing of value in the past that will not be better-born in the future. The value of what was, the soul of it, is always in motion and not long tethered to any time and form. So, when the time is right, let the flowers and melodies of yesterday fade, all their beauty was borrowed from the timeless–the source of their wonder is now and ahead upon the path of ascent.
The mysterious life force circulates within, but is not marked as miraculous; once born to Maya, we forget. So we go to nature, as if to better commune with creative forces. Natural beauty provokes deep memory, for down the ages we saw the same moon and the same clouds, and the wind in the trees whispered the same secrets as now. We come to nature as to a sacred meeting place, finding there an old friend. We look then upon nature, as into the eyes of a long lost love, and remember.
A narrative on a moment of inspiration related to illumination and revelation. A reflection about the contrast between the ideal, the vision, and current limitations. A meditation on the nature of words, meaning, and guidance.
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.
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.
Let’s rotate the concept of faith, looking at it from various sides.
“Faith is verification by the heart.”
“Faith is the beast.”
— A. C. Swinburne
“Faith is the bird that feels the light and sings when the dawn is still dark.”
As with so many things, a key to clearer understanding is found in the relation of words and meanings. Most do not think much about it, but consciousness of this relation is of major importance. The essence of the word/meaning relation is this: Meanings are in people, not in words. Words are like arrows pointing to something, and often we wrongly assume that we know what that something is and whether it’s a real thing or not. In this, we often have a false and egotistic “faith” in our own ability to understand what is in the minds and hearts of people. Certainly the surface of religion and “faith” is a tragedy of the first magnitude. Yet, everything has hidden facets. So, in the deeper sense, faith may be visualized as knowledge that is half in shadow and half in light.
We are here in a spiral, in the arm of one of many galaxies, in the flow of galaxies without number, here in the Infinite… We are here in small houses, countless buildings of a small humanity; our humanity that, through bad faith and bounded histories has hidden itself from the slow and luminous transmutation that must lead us from dim faith to radiant knowledge.
People use the word “faith” to cover a multitude of intellectual and emotional sins—dishonesty, fear, lack of commonsense, and justification of childish concepts. It is known that the hierarchies of humans bolster their power by encouraging ignorant faith. In the lower sense, faith leads to worship of man-created images and acceptance of unfounded authority based on fear, self-interest, and unthinking desperation to escape the surrounding chaos. People look up with dim faith and try to build religions out of God but mostly build them out of themselves. They look up and sense only a tiny part of a picture, adding their halting often-discordant colorings to everything.
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.