And maybe we then realize that what we call “my” life – this small personal part of a reflection of something much bigger – is inseparable from, and deeply connected with Life as a whole. We begin to sense the oneness, we feel the inner heart of the world, we listen to the earth.
— The Sacred Feminine for Life on Facebook
The earth is not a dead body, but is inhabited by a spirit that is its life and soul.All created things, minerals included, draw their strength from the earth spirit.This spirit is life, it is nourished by the stars, and it gives nourishment to all the living things it shelters in its womb.
15th Century Benedictine monk and alchemist
Yesterday I was in a downtown department store, and as I watched the movement of people within it, each bent on his or her own particular agenda, I recalled an exercise that I had followed in the past in regards to understanding Unity awareness.
I introduced the intention to see all movement as happening in one “substance.” (All movement is seen as Citi.) In this way I was aware of the eternal and the transitory simultaneously.
We can live, move, and breathe in this world while remaining aware that all are One. This is also “entering the Void with the eyes open”– the theme of Assignment 2.
I am coming to the understanding that in Assignment 3 I am to be a living, moving component in the ever-changing world while at the same time having a singular focus. Whatever art I produce must be part of the dance. Oh boy! I didn’t expect this. I prefer to be a sidelines observer in life, the one taking the photos of everyone else in motion.
Oh! But I also understand that being a “mover” is just the flip side of being the observer. What changes everything is being the Witness– whether observing from the sidelines or moving in the crowd, the challenge is to be Conscious.
Whatever action I am taking– whether moving a pencil or brush, or looking through a lens, I must be aware of myself taking that action. I must perceive myself as part of the moving, breathing whole.
There is a video online of an artist working in a tea house. He takes his brush, dips it in the tea, makes shapes on the paper. He then takes his pen and draws within the wet tea shapes with it. He appears to be Present, perhaps inspired by the Japanese tea ceremony. I can view this again as an inspiration.
My Grandmother was a quiet mystic. I found an essay she wrote called “Creation,” while looking in my files for a Christmas poem I had written. This quote is from that essay:
The crown of this creation is man. There is no part of him which is not created and brought forth out of nothing just like everything else.
— Laura Ann Krebs Ely
A new and deeper realization is dawning in me of the role that Grandma played and plays in my life. Let me explain:
I spent many hours as a child sitting on the green step stool or at the green formica bar in Grandma’s kitchen while Grandma cooked. We talked and were silent together in a kind of authentic flow of time and timelessness. In later years, as I reflected back upon this time, I knew I valued it immensely. I thought it was because it was there with Grandma that my cares floated away; I felt cared for and secure. As my understanding unfolds, I see that those times were times of Presence where the immanent and the transcendent were palpable. Neither of us articulated anything like this. We just knew they were special times (she never even articulated this– it would have been too sentimental for her).
Looking back, I realize that Grandma was “assigned” to me before I was born. She was my spiritual guardian before I was born and she continues to be my spiritual guardian from “the other side.” We are linked together in a definite but, at the same time, unfathomable way. The Great Mystery, within which we are both contained, holds our souls together. Grandma was wise enough to know (as revealed in her essay “Creation”), that we cannot contain this realm within the thinking mind. That said, she also knew that Science is able to illustrate something of it.
This morning as I brought myself to a greater state of stillness in front of the puja (altar) in my meditation room, I became aware that the palpably unique moment is also timeless. It seems to be contradictory, yet it is true. I was aware of what I would awkwardly call a “collapsed moment.” I was here in this unique moment on this day in my meditation room in Anchorage–and–at the same time at Claymont Court (the esoteric studies school that I attended in 1978-79). How can this be? It seems like the gateway to the Great Mystery. It seems like a threshold to Reality. What is it that can simultaneously occupy two disparate moments?
I was led to read about the Great Void in the book by Swami Shantananda entitled: The Splendor of Recognition (An Exploration of the Pratyabhijna-hrdayam, a Text on the Ancient Science of the Soul).
The sacred texts of Saivism, substantiated by the experience of yogis, state that the supreme Reality exists beyond the creation while manifesting simultaneously as creation. Reality is beyond form and also it is form; it is unchanging and at the same time it is constantly changing; it is eternal and it is absolutely fleeting. In other words, Reality is simultaneously transcendent and immanent; it is visvottirna, that which is the universe, and at the same time visvamaya, that which contains the universe. Taken together, these two inseparable aspects comprise the totality and fullness of Reality. The difference between these two seemingly contradictory descriptions is a matter of perspective. It all depends on how you look at it.
From our ordinary point of view, Citi (… Citi is that which is endowed with the power to know and perceive; it is that which makes other things appear. And how does Citi do this? Citi “makes” things appear in the sense that an object can only appear– or exist–in our experience when it is held in the field of our awareness. (p. 25)) is immanent, first of all; Citi takes shape as the entire universe, a cacaphony of sound and form. But from the transcendental perspective, Citi has neither form nor content, only an unfathomable boundless depth, which the sages of Saivism call mahasunya, the Great Void. The term “void” can be confusing. This is not to say that the Great Void does not exist; mahasunya exists. It is void, or null, only in the sense that there is no subject to perceive objects, for in the Great Void all manifestation is fused with the light of Consciousness.***Here, one experiences neither happiness nor suffering, knowledge nor ignorance, but a thought-free, steady, peaceful state.
***… a transcendant state in which the subject has merged with the object” (Mark S.G. Dyczkowski, The Doctrine of Vibration (1987), pp 118-22.)
The essential nature of everything is worthy of being known. It is said that the mind is knowledge (because knowledge is obtained through the mind). One should consider knowledge to be identical with the object of knowledge. There is no way other than that (to liberation). — Sri Guru Gita, V. 100
As I go forward to Assignment 3, I see that it is a continuation of the first two assignments. It will address time and eternity as existing simultaneously. Pretty heady-sounding when articulated. The key is to try to remain in the Witness state as I seek to become one with the object of perception as I engage in the artistic process.
I salute you. I am your friend, and my love for you goes deep.
There is nothing I can give you which you have not.
But there is much, very much, that, while I cannot give it, you can take.
No heaven can come to us unless our hearts find rest in it today. Take heaven!
No peace lies in the future which is not hidden in this present little instant.
The gloom of the world is but a shadow.
Behind it, yet within our reach, is joy.
There is radiance and glory in darkness, could we but see.
And to see, we have only to look.
I beseech you to look!
Life is so generous a giver.
But we, judging its gifts by their covering, cast them away as
ugly or heavy or hard.
Remove the covering, and you will find beneath it a living splendor, woven of love by wisdom, with power.
Welcome it, grasp it, and you touch the angel’s hand that brings it to you.
Everything we call a trial, a sorrow or a duty, believe me,
that angel’s hand is there.
The gift is there and the wonder of an overshadowing presence.
Your joys, too,be not content with them as joys.
They, too, conceal diviner gifts.
Life is so full of meaning and purpose, so full of beauty beneath its covering, that you will find earth but cloaks your heaven.
Courage then to claim it; that is all!
But courage you have, and the knowledge that we are pilgrims together, wending through unknown country home.
And so, at this time, I greet you, not quite as the world sends greetings, but with profound esteem and with the prayer that for you, now and forever, the day breaks and shadows flee away.
– Fra Giovanni Giocondo
A letter to a friend on Christmas Eve, 1513.
Fra Giovanni Giocondo (c.1435–1515) was a Renaissance pioneer, architect, engineer, antiquary, archaeologist, classical scholar, and Franciscan friar.