What I’d like to do in the first of these two papers is to look at the mediation of enlightenment proper. In the second, I’d like to look at the mediation of energy leading up to and including Ascension.
In setting out on that discussion I have to acknowledge that I have no expertise in enlightenment experiences, only an abiding interest in them, so whatever I say here is speculative. I say this repeatedly because I know what trouble a person can get into by posing as an enlightened being when he or she is not. And I am not an enlightened being.
One could say that all experiences of the kundalini are “spontaneous.” Clearly Metta is talking about the kundalini, but I hesitate to categorize it among what are referred to as “spontaneous” experiences of the kundalini because she seems to indicate that the experience was mediated:
“I found myself standing before a man, apparently a healer, who used acupressure points to release and encourage the flow of chi (essential energy) throughout the body.
“As I stood before this man, energy was moving and surging within the upper part of my body; he was kneeling behind me. Then, he touched my body in two places: first, on the mid-point of the back of my left arm, and then on the back of my right leg, just below the knee.
“Suddenly, an invisible, but significant, shift occurred internally: it felt as if any residual or latent energy blockages within my body had been instantly and completely released.
“Before I knew or could understand what was happening, the top of my head opened up, and a flood of brilliant white light poured over me, flowing into and through my entire body.” (1)
Metta’s experience is at once a kundalini experience and at the same time a mediated experience. I personally don’t use the word “spontaneous” to describe it.
I reserve the term “spontaneous” to describe those experiences which are not mediated. However, I have also to admit that I’ve come to believe over time that most experiences of enlightenment are mediated; we simply aren’t aware of the mediator.
The reason I’m sharing this note more generally is to touch just very briefly on the role of mediation in enlightenment before turning to galactic and celestial mediation in Ascension. By mediation I mean enlightenment that results from seeing, hearing, or being touched by a ministering spirit such as an angel.
I think St. Paul was referring to mediation when he wrote in Hebrews 1:14: “Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?” (2)
By “ministering spirits” I believe he was primarily referring to angels (though not always) and by “heirs to salvation” I believe he was referring to people who were about to be or who merited enlightenment. Remember that St. Paul was also enlightened through the mere appearance of Jesus to him on the road to Damascus. (3)
Angels are often described as ministering or mediating agents of enlightenment. Here is St. John of the Cross depicting an angel coming to Tobias and telling him when to expect enlightenment:
“The angel … told Tobias that, after the third night had come to an end, he would be joined to his bride in the fear of the Lord. Now when the fear of God is perfect, love is also perfect, and love is perfect when the transformation of the soul in God is achieved.” (4)
The Anglo-Saxon shepherd Caedmon was said to have been enlightened by the mere appearance of an angel. Swami Chetanananda mentions this event: “Caedmon was an illiterate herdsman, who did not even know the alphabet. One night he had a vision of an angel, and by that angel’s grace his poetic faculty came to life. Caedmon composed extemporaneously and even recited his hymns and poems in public.” (5)
Mohammed received his commission as a prophet by the mere sight of Gabriel and the hearing of his voice
“I swear by all that you can see, and all that is hidden from your view, that this is the utterance of a noble messenger. It is no poet’s speech: scant is your faith! It is no soothsayer’s divination: how little you reflect! It is a revelation from the Lord of all creatures.
“Had he invented lies concerning Us, We would have seized him by the right hand and cut off his heart’s vein: not one of you could have protected him!” (6)
“By the declining, star, your compatriot is not in error, nor is he deceived!
“He does not speak out of his own fancy. This is an inspired revelation. He is taught by one who is powerful and mighty.
“He stood on the uppermost horizon; then, drawing near, he came down within two bows’ length or even closer, and revealed to his servant that which he revealed.
“His own heart did not deny his vision. How can you, then, question what he sees?
“He beheld him once again at the sidrah-tree, beyond which no one may pass. (Near it is the Garden of Repose.)” (7)
“We revealed the Koran on the Night of Qadr. (i.e, the night of enlightenment, similar to what Paul called the last day of mortality)
“Would that you knew what the Night of Qadr is like!
“Better is the night of Qadr than a thousand months.
“On that night the angels and the Spirit by their Lord’s leave come down with His decrees.
“That night is peace, till break of day.” (8)
Here is Isaiah experiencing enlightenment at the hands of an angel who actually carries out an action that brings on illumination (placing a coal in his mouth), after which he receives his prophet’s commission and assignment:
“In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple … and one [seraph] cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.
“… Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.
“Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar:
“And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged.
“Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.
“And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not.
“Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed.” (9)
And finally I’ll reproduce Alfred Lord Tennyson’s account of enlightenment which contains three elements: The Seraph appears to Tennyson but also speaks to him and lifts him up. (10) With that, I’ll leave off the discussion. What I have done here is set the stage for the next part of this discussion by establishing that enlightenment is often mediated.
Thank you, Emi. I jump at any occasion to discuss enlightenment.
“I stood upon the Mountain which o’erlooks
The narrow seas….
“A curve of whitening, flashing, ebbing light!
A rustling of white wings! the bright descent
Of a young Seraph! and he stood beside me
There on the [mountain] ridge, and look’d into my face
With his unutterable, shining orbs.
So that with hasty motion I did veil
My vision with both hands, and saw before me
Such colour’d spots as dance athwart the eyes
Of those, that gaze upon the noonday Sun….
“I felt my soul grow mighty, and my spirit
With supernatural excitation bound
Within me, and my mental eye (1) grew large
With such a vast circumference of thought,
That in my vanity I seem’d to stand
Upon the outward verge and bound alone
Of full beatitude. Each failing sense,
As with a momentary flash of light
Grew thrillingly distinct and keen. I saw
The smallest grain that dappled the dark Earth,
The indistinctest atom in deep air,
The Moon’s white cities, and the opal width
Of her small glowing lakes…
“… The clear Galaxy
Shorn of its hoary lustre, wonderful,
Distinct and vivid with sharp points of light,
Blaze within blaze, an unimagin’d depth
And harmony of planet-girded suns
And moon-circled planets, wheel in wheel,
Arch’d the wan sapphire….
“… my human brain
Stagger’d beneath the vision, and thick night
Came down upon my eyelids, and I fell.
“With ministering hand he rais’d me up:
Then with a mournful and ineffable smile,
Which but to look on for a moment fill’d
My eyes with irresistible sweet tears…
“‘There is no mightier Spirit than I to sway
The heart of man: and teach him to attain
By shadowing forth the Unattainable….’” (11)
(2) Hebrews 1:13-4
(3) Acts 9: 1, 5, 7.
(4) St. John’s reference is to the Book of Tobias 6:18-22. St. John of the Cross, Kavanaugh, Kieran and Otilio Rodriguez, trans. Complete Works of St. John of the Cross. Washington: Institute of Carmelite Studies, 1973, 75.
(5) Swami Chetanananda in They Lived with God. Life Stories of Some Devotees of Sri Ramakrishna. St. Louis: Vedanta Society of St. Louis, 1989, 373.
(6) Dawood, N.J., trans. The Koran. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1964; c1959., 61.
(7) Ibid., 112.
(8) Ibid., 27.
(9) Isaiah 6:1 + 5-10.
(10) Hindus believe it to be a great blessing when a devotee receives from an avatar (in this case, the agent of enlightenment was an angel) darshan, sparshan, and sambhashan, or vision, touch, and sound.
(11) Alfred Lord Tennyson in Marghanita Laski, Ecstacy in Secular and Religious Experiences. Los Angeles: Tarcher, 1961., 401-2.