Jan 302015
 

UrsaMajorHeveliusThe clear bead at the center changes everything.

There are no edges to my loving now.

You have heard it said that there is a window

that opens from one mind to another.

But if there is no wall, there is no need

for fitting the window, or the latch.

We take long trips.

We puzzle over the meaning of a painting or a book,

when what we are wanting to see and understand in this world,

we are that.

Does sunset sometimes look like the sun is coming up?

Do you know what a faithful love is like?

You are crying. You say you have burned yourself.

But can you think of anyone who is not hazy with smoke?

Daylight, full of small dancing particles,

and the one great turning,

our souls are dancing with you.

Without feet, they dance.

Can you see them when I whisper in your ear?

They try to say what you are, spiritual or sexual.

They wonder about Solomon and all his wives.

In the body of this world, they say,

there is a soul, and you are that.

But we have ways within each other

that will never be said by anyone.

This human shape is a ghost

made of distraction and pain.

Sometimes pure light, sometimes cruel,

trying wildly to open,

this image so tightly held within itself.

*

The Sufi opens his hand to the universe

and gives away each instant, free.

Unlike someone on the street who begs for money to survive,

a dervish begs to give you his life.

*

ursamajorNot until someone dissolves,

can he or she know what union is.

That descends only into emptiness.

A lie does not change to truth

with just talking about it.

Soul of this world,

no life, no world remain,

no beautiful men and women longing.

Only this ancient love

circling the holy black stone of nothing,

where the lover is the love,

the horizon and everything within it.

It may be sometimes noisy in the school of love,

but there is never any distinguishing past from present.

No judge decides a precedent here.

In matters of love, judges cannot speak.

 

Rumi, Ursa Major: The Great Bear, the Big Dipper

Jan 112014
 

adamandeveAdam and Eve are not just two people. They are a metaphor for the primordial Vessel whose existence preceded creation. Just as all the colours of  the spectrum exist within a single beam of sunlight, the Vessel encompassed all matter, space, time and consciousness. And all the souls of humankind were also present in the Vessel.

The Vessel shattered because of a contradiction in its nature. It had been created only to receive, but, in being filled with the Creator’s Light, it had also received and taken on a degree of the Creator’s own nature: the desire to share. All of our existence now is predicated on the goal of transforming this duality into a single desire, the desire to receive for the sake of sharing, in order to be able to finally reconnect with the Creator and receive the fullness of His Light.

This can happen in only one way. The shards of the shattered Vessel – you and I – must choose to make it happen. We must choose of our own free will to transform ourselves into ‘beings of sharing,’ as the kabbalists say, first on an individual level, and ultimately as a collective transformation of all humankind. Not even God can do this for us. Transformation is the supreme expression and the only expression of free will. It is the choice we make in every thought, feeling and action. Adam and Eve faced this choice in the Garden. They chose wrongly, but, their intentions were good.

*

The allure of evil makes that choice more difficult, and therefore more worthy. Evil, in its way, therefore serves the Creator. Indeed, by understanding this we can free ourselves from its temptations. A parable in the Zohar dramtises this teaching: A king forbade his son to consort with harlots, but the he hired a harlot to test the strength of his son’s character. The son was tempted – until he realised that the harlot was acting in the service of his father. She then lost all power over him.

The serpent in the Garden (acting in the service of our Father) is essential to our final transformation, but he certainly doesn’t make it any easier! At the time of his fateful encounter with Adam and Eve at the Tree of Knowledge, their state of being was fundamentally different from what ours is now. They embodied the pure energy of desire, and Kabbalah teaches that desire is inherently a positive force.

While the conventional view of our first ancestors portrays them as transgressors, the kabbalists point out that their motivation was to serve God. The serpent understood this also. In fact, he used their positive intentions to manipulate them for his own ends. He fostered the transformation of their pure, undifferentiated desire into desire to receive for themselves alone.

And the serpent said to the woman, ‘You are not going to die, but God knows that as soon as you eat of [the tree] your eyes will be opened and you will be like divine beings who know good and bad’. (Genesis 3:4)

*

Because Adam and Eve were not fully constituted to receive the Light – because the Vessel had not yet earned an unmediated connection – they were overwhelmed by the moment in the same way that a weak electrical circuit will flash brightly and then burn out at the sudden infusion of a powerful current. The kabbalists literalise this principle through a startling addition to the narrative:

Adam and Even took a second bite!

In the interval, a fundamental transformation had taken place, but not the positive one that had been envisoned. Rather, their desire had lost its sharing intention and had become self-serving. They were farther than ever away from unity with the nature of God, and this is exactly what the serpent had intended. It is essential to understand, however, that the impasse is also an opportunity. By traversing it, we can truly prepare the Vessel. We can earn the Light. We can receive it and take fulfillment in it. Most important, we can share it.

*

We have spoken of Adam and Eve as a couple, but until that second bite of the fruit they were not separate at the spiritual level. This detachment took place at the same instant that the divide widened between the Vessel and the Light. Where there had been unity and equilibrium, there was no dissimilarity and fragmentation. Where there had been eternal existence in Paradise, there was now mortal life in the physical world.

*

After the Fall, immortality consciousness was gone, replaced by a consciousness – a knowledge – of death and evil that instantly expressed itself in the physical dimension of life. But despite all this, the plain fact of immortality remained untouched, but in the same way that the signal that carries a TV programme remains in the air even after the set has been turned off.

With the Fall of Adam, the bad news is that we stopped receiving the programme. But we also began the process of repairing the receiving mechanism and getting it tuned in again. This correction, this tikkun, is our task for however many years it requires and however many lifetimes. When an individual human being truly completes this process, immortality is restored.

The Essential Zohar, Rav P. S. Berg

 

Dec 252013
 

perseusI have been tossed between moon and sun and stars and visions of water, wind, hills and forests. They come to me as ancient intimates. I had known them millions of years ago. They were once within me. We parted from ourselves I know not how or why.

We have played hide-and-seek with each other through the aeons. And now they come near. The spirit in them is as near to me as the beatings of  my own heart. Now we meet again it is like the meeting of lovers who had parted but yesterday. The immortals never forget their loves through all inbreathings and outbreathings of the universe.

A.E. The Avatars

Nov 242013
 

soulAnd the God of Gods created the soul, fashioning it for beauty.
He gave unto it the gentleness of a breeze at dawn, the scent of flowers, the loveliness of moonlight.
He gave unto it also the cup of joy, and He said:
‘You shall not drink of this cup save that you have forgotten the past and renounced the future.’
He gave unto it also the cup of sorrow, saying:
‘Drink that you may understand the meaning of joy’.
Then God bestowed within the soul love that would depart with the first sigh of content,
And sweetness that would flee from the first word of arrogance.
He made a heavenly sign to guide it in the path of truth.
He placed in its depths an eye that would behold the unseen.
He created within it a fancy to flow like a river with phantoms and moving figures.
He clothed it in garments of longing woven by angels, from the rainbow.
Within it he placed also the darkness of bewilderment, which is the shadow of light.
And God took fire from the forge of anger,
Wind blowing from the desert of ignorance;
Sand he gathered from the seashore of selffulness
And dust from beneath the feet of the ages;
Thus he fashioned man.
And unto man He gave blind strength that leaps into a flame
In moments of mad passion, and lies down before desire.
God gave him life which is the shadow of death.
And the God of Gods smiled and wept, and He knew a love which hath no bound nor end;
Thus He united man and his soul.

Kahlil Gibran, The Soul

Sep 172013
 

atalantaThree Golden Apples from the Hesperian grove.
A present Worthy of the Queen of Love.
Gave wise Hippomenes Eternal Fame.
And Atalanta’s cruel Speed O’ercame.
In Vain he follows ’till with Radiant Light,
One Rolling Apple captivates her Sight.
And by its glittering charms retards her flight.
She Soon Outruns him but fresh rays of Gold,
Her Longing Eyes & Slackened Footsteps Hold,
‘Till with disdain She all his Art defies,
And Swifter then an Eastern Tempest flies.
Then his despair throws his last Hope away,
For she must Yield whom Love & Gold betray.
What is Hippomenes, true Wisdom knows.
And whence the Speed of Atalanta Flows.
She with Mercurial Swiftness is Endued,
Which Yields by Sulphur’s prudent Strength pursued.
But when in Cybel’s temple they would prove
The utmost joys of their Excessive Love,
The Matron Goddess thought herself disdained,
Her rites Unhallowed & her shrine profaned.
Then her Revenge makes Roughness o’er them rise,
And Hideous feireenesse Sparkle from their Eyes.
Still more Amazed to see themselves look red,
Whilst both to Lions changed Each Other dread.
He that can Cybell’s Mystic change Explain,
And those two Lions with true Redness stain,
Commands that treasure plenteous Nature gives
And free from Pain in Wisdom’s Splendor lives.

Michael Maeers, Atalanta Fugiens

Sep 152013
 

“Of Beauty….I repeat again thahermest we saw her there shining in company with the celestial forms; and coming to earth we find her here too, shining in clearness through the clearest aperture of sense. For sight is the most piercing of our bodily senses: though not by that is wisdom seen; her loveliness would have been transporting if there had been a visible image of her, and the other ideas, if they had visible counterparts, would be equally lovely. But this is the privilege of Beauty, that being the loveliest she is also the most palpable to sight. Now he who is not newly initiated, or who has been corrupted, does not easily rise out of this world to the sight of true beauty in the other. . . . But he whose initiation is recent, and who has been the spectator of many glories in the other world, is amazed when he sees anyone having a godlike face or form, which is the expression of Divine Beauty; and at first a shudder runs through him, and again the old awe steals over him. . . .”

 

Jun 262013
 

MusŽe national du Moyen-ågeAnd when he was come nigh, even now at the descent of the mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen; Saying, blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest.

And some of the Pharisees from among the multitude said unto him, Master, rebuke thy disciples. And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.

And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it, saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes. For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.

Jun 252013
 

venus and adonisAnd as the bright sun glorifies the sky,

So is her face illumin’d with her eye:

Whose beams upon his hairless face are fix’d,

As if from thence they borrow’d all their shine.

Were never four such lamps together mix’d,

Had not his clouded with his brows’ repine;

But hers, which thro’ the crystal tears gave light,

Shone like the moon in water seen by night.

‘O, where am I?’ quoth she, ‘in earth or heaven,

Or in the ocean drench’d, or in the fire?

What hour is this? or morn, or weary even?

Do I delight to die, or life desire?

But now I liv’d, and life was death’s annoy;

But now I died, and death was lively joy.’

Venus and Adonis, William Shakespeare

 

Jun 092013
 

stress-chant-omRadiant in his light, yet invisible in the secret place of the heart, the Spirit is the supreme abode wherein dwells all that moves and breathes and sees. Know him as all that is, and all that is not, the end of love-longing beyond understanding, the highest in all beings.

He is self-luminous and more subtle than the smallest; but in him rest all the worlds and their beings. He is the everlasting Brahman, and he is life and word and mind. He is truth and life immortal. He is the goal to be aimed at: attain that goal, O my son!

Take the great bow of the Upanishads and place in it an arrow sharp with devotion. Draw the bow with concentration on him and hit the centre of the mark, the same everlasting Spirit.

The bow is the sacred OM, and the arrow is our own soul. Brahman is the mark of the arrow, the aim of the soul. Even as an arrow becomes one with its mark, let the watchful soul be one in him.

In him are woven the sky and the earth and all the regions of the air, and in him rest the mind and all powers of life. Know him as ONE and leave aside all other words. He is the bridge of immortality.

Where all the subtle channels of the body meet, like spokes in the centre of a wheel, there he moves in the heart and transforms his one form unto many. Upon OM, Atman, your Self, place your meditation. Glory unto you in your far-away journey beyond darkness!

He who knows all and sees all, and whose glory the universe shows, dwells as the Spirit of the divine city of Brahman in the region of the human heart. He becomes mind and drives on the body and life, draws power from food and finds peace in the heart. There the wise find him as joy and light and life eternal.

And when he is seen in his immanence and transcendence, then the ties that have bound the heart are unloosened, the doubts of the mind vanish, and the law of Karma works no more.

In the supreme golden chamber is Brahman indivisible and pure. He is the radiant light of all lights, and this knows he who knows Brahman.

There the sun shines not, nor the moon, nor the stars; lightnings shine not there and much less earthly fire. From his light all these give light; and his radiance illumines all creation.

Far spreading before and behind and right and left, and above and below, is Brahman, the Spirit eternal. In truth Brahman is all.

Mundaka Upanishad

Apr 162013
 

Rossetti_maryIt came to pass then, when the First Mystery had finished setting forth these words unto the disciples, that he said unto them: “Who hath understood the solution of these words, let him come forward and say it in openness.”

Mary again came forward and said: “My Lord, concerning these words with which Pistis Sophia hath sung praises, thus thy light-power prophesied them through David:

Mary interpreteth from Psalm cii.”‘1. My soul, praise the Lord, let all that is in me praise his holy name. My soul, praise the Lord and forget not all his requitals. Who forgiveth all thy iniquities; who healeth all thy sicknesses; Who redeemeth thy life from decay; who wreatheth thee with grace and compassion; Who satisfieth thy longing with good things; thy youth will renew itself as an eagle’s.’

“That is: Sophia will be as the invisibles who are in the Height; he hath, therefore, said ‘as an eagle,’ because the dwelling-place of the eagle is in the height, and the |164. invisibles also are in the Height; that is: Pistis Sophia will shine as the invisibles, as she was from her beginning.”

It came to pass then, when the First Mystery had heard Mary say these words, that he said: “Well said, Mary, blessed one.”

Sophia is led to a region below the thirteenth æon and given a new mystery. It came to pass then thereafter, that the First Mystery continued again in the discourse and said unto the disciples: “I took Pistis Sophia and led her up to a region which is below the thirteenth æon, and gave unto her a new mystery of the Light which is not that of her æon, the region of the invisibles. And moreover I gave her a song of the Light, so that from now on the rulers of the æons could not [prevail] against her. And I removed her to that region until I should come after her and bring her to her higher region.

“It came to pass then, when I had removed her to that region, that she again uttered this song thus: She continueth to sing. “In faith have I had faith in the Light; and it remembered me and hearkened to my song. It hath led my power up out of the chaos and the nether darkness of the whole matter and it hath led me up. It hath removed. me to a higher and surer æon, lofty and firm; it hath changed my place on the way which leadeth to my region. And it hath given unto me a new mystery, which is not that of my æon, and given unto me a song of the Light. Now, therefore, O Light, all the rulers will see what thou hast done unto me, and be afraid and have faith in the Light.’

This song then Pistis Sophia uttered, rejoicing that she had been led up out of the chaos and brought to regions which are below the thirteenth æon. Now, therefore, let him whom his mind stirreth, so that he understandeth the solution of the thought of the song which Pistis Sophia hath uttered, come forward and say it.”

Andrew came forward and said: “My Lord, this is concerning what thy light-power hath prophesied aforetime through David: Andrew interpreteth from Psalm xxxix.”In patience I tarried for the Lord; he hath given heed unto me and ear unto my weeping. He hath led up my soul out of the pit of misery and out of the filthy mire; he hath set my feet on a rock and made straight my steps. He hath put in my mouth a new song, a song of praise for our God. Many will see and be afraid and hope in the Lord.'”

It came to pass then, when Andrew had set forth the thought of Pistis Sophia, that the First Mystery said unto him: “Well said, Andrew, blessed one.”

GRS Mead, Pistis Sophia, Chapter 74