I remember that, after the vision I had on Feb. 13, 1987, (1) I remained in bliss for three days. Bliss is a remarkable thing because it increases one’s ability to know. So I remained in a heightened state of knowing for three days and saw metaphors everywhere in nature of the divine relationship.
The trees spread their arms to the sky as if in adoration of the Divine. Their leaves fell off but the trees don’t die, just as our bodies fall away but we also don’t die. Birds fly through the sky leaving no trail, just as the soul passes through life leaving no trail.
The path I walked on, keeping me from the wet grass and carrying me to the goal, the way the sand and sea mixed and mingled and then returned to their original state – everything I saw and interacted with had something to say about the nature, design and process of life or the Divine. I’m willing to bet that matters were designed to do so.
The human reproductive cycle repeats the birth of this world and the creation of life forms. The Father leaves his God-spark, similar to the human seed, in the matrix of the Mother, similar to the human womb.
After lifetimes of experience, which resemble gestation, the Child of God leaves the Mother’s womb and returns to the wider life and the Father. It’s incredible how so many features of life expressed some divine relationship.
One of the most potent metaphors is the division of the One into genders – male and female.
The One is undivided. But to accomplish its purpose of having God meet God in a moment of enlightenment, it created male and female life forms. And it fashioned an illusory world for these life forms to inhabit and evolve in.
The One is still and silent and cannot create per se. Not in the ways that we think of as creating. So it created a universal primal vibration, which we know as Aum or Amen, the Word of God or Sound-Brahman [Brahman means “God”], and this vibration called all matter into being through the attractive force of love. (2) God is always only one so that God was that vibration, just as God was also the stillness. This conscious, creative, living vibration of love we’ve come to call the Divine Mother. (3)
That vibration, illusory as it was, became distinguished from the stillness by sages of old, being characterized as the cosmic female against the cosmic male of stillness. Just as reproductive relations between the human male and female mirror the process of spiritual evolution whereby the purpose of life is achieved, so the existence of male and female itself was meant, I believe, to mirror the illusory differences at the topmost levels of Reality.
Of course psychological depictions of the human male and female are the mirror opposite of cosmic depictions. In human psychology, the female is cast as receptive, passive and the human male as penetrating, active, based on sexual roles. But the division of the human species and of the cosmic levels of reality into two types based on gender realities or analogies remained a central feature of spiritual explanations for millennia.
Sacred books like the Bible were written with many levels of meaning embedded in them, communicating encoded enlightenment teachings. I’ve looked elsewhere at the enlightenment formulas that Jesus wrote into his parables of the treasure buried in the field, the pearl of great price, the great fish, and the mustard seed (4) so perhaps I won’t repeat those here.
But other prophets are known to have written many enlightenment motifs into the Bible. My favorite is Moses’ description of the ascent of Mount Sinai, which St. John of the Cross best explained. The Biblical passage follows:
“And the Lord said unto Moses, Go unto the people, and sanctify them to day and to morrow, and let them wash their clothes. And be ready against the third day: for the third day the Lord will come down in the sight of all the people upon mount Sinai. And thou shalt set bounds upon the people round about, saying, Take heed to yourselves, that ye go not up into the mount, or touch the border of it: whosoever toucheth the mount shall be surely put to death: There shall not an hand touch it, but he shall surely be stoned, or shot through; whether it be beast or man, it shall not live: when the trumpet soundeth long, they shall come up the mount.” (5)
St. John of the Cross explains the significance of this divine drama. He shows us that the ascent is a consciously-derived set of actions, designed to leave in our recollection an enlightenment tableau.
“When God ordered Moses to climb to the top of the mountain … He commanded Moses not only to ascend alone, and leave the children of Israel below, but to rule against the pasturing of beasts on the mountainside. [Ex. 34:3] The meaning is that a person ascending this mount of perfection to converse with God must not only renounce all things, by leaving them at the bottom, but also restrict his appetites (the beasts) from pasturing on the mountainside, on things which are not purely God. For in God, or in the state of perfection, all appetites cease.” (6)
St. John furnishes us with another clue to unlock the full meaning of the Sinai drama. He was spiritual director to the nuns and monks of the discalced Carmelite order. He drew a picture once of the ascent up Mount Carmel which he counselled them to undertake. What was the Mount Carmel he depicted? It was the human head. (7)
He depicts the human spine ending in the brain. He’s testifying, I think, to the knowledge of what Easterners call the kundalini, which Da Free John called “the current of immortal joy.” (8) There are hints in his works that he knew of the chakra system. For instance, he describes his enlightenment experience, making reference to “lilies,” which could be his term for the chakras.
“I abandoned and forgot myself,
Laying my face on my Beloved;
All things ceased; I went out from myself,
Leaving my cares
Forgotten among the lilies.” (9)
The top of the mount was the crown chakra that King David was probably referring to when he said: “His foundation is in the holy mountain.” (10) The holy mountain is the human head.
If St. John is right, then Moses may have created a ritual for the people to follow that would burn into their minds an enlightenment motif. What they were really doing was learning at a subconscious level the lore of the rise of the kundalini up the chakras.
As the kundalini reaches various chakras, enlightenment experiences occur. Spiritual awakening (Hindu) or stream-entering (Buddhist) happens when the kundalini reaches the fourth chakra. This enlightenment might involve the seeing of a discrete light: the light of the Child of God or Self or Atman. (Some will see a light; others will experience consciousness; still others may have a vision.)
Savikalpa samadhi, in which form persists, also called cosmic consciousness, occurs when the kundalini reaches the Third Eye or sixth chakra. This might involve the seeing of a light in all creation: the light of the Mother, Shakti, or the Holy Spirit.
Kevalya nirvikalpa samadhi or God-realization (Brahmajnana) occurs when the kundalini reaches the seventh chakra. This might entail the seeing of a light that transcends creation: the light of the Father or Brahman.
The levels of enlightenment continue on from there, Brahmajnana does not bring moksha or liberation. A higher level, Sahaja Nirvikalpa Samadhi, apparently does. (11)
So it was important to know about the kundalini energy rising in the spine and a motif of the ascent of Mount Sinai is how that lore may have been passed along. The Bible is chock full of other examples.
The Bible is in fact a treasury of enlightenment formulas and some day if I have the chance I may develop more of them.
But for now, what I’d like most to establish is that the most basic relationships that we enjoy as well as the manner in which nature was designed are, I believe, crafted so as to provide us with clues to the nature of the Divine and of the divine process of life leading to enlightenment. The Bible is also written to offer us similar clues and other sacred books undoubtedly do as well. (12)
I’ve said elsewhere that the universal laws work to assist us to realize the purpose of life. (13) So do the ways in which life and nature were designed and so do the devices written into the Bible as a form of code or treasury of formulas.
(1) See “Ch. 13, Epilogue,” at http://goldenageofgaia.com/spiritual-essays/16244-2/the-purpose-of-life-is-enlightenment/ch-13-epilogue/
(2) “On the Nature of the Divine Mother or Holy Spirit” at http://goldenageofgaia.com/spiritual-essays/on-the-nature-of-the-divine-mother-or-holy-spirit-2/
(3) Loc. cit.
(4) See for instance “I am the Light of the World,” at http://goldenageofgaia.com/spiritual-essays/cross-cultural-spirituality/i-am-the-light-of-the-world/
(5) Exodus 19:9-13.
(6) Kieran Kavanaugh and Otilio Rodriguez, trans. Complete Works of St. John of the Cross. Washington: Institute of Carmelite Studies, 1973, 83. [Herefater CWSJC.]
(7) Ibid., 66-7.
(8) Da Free Free John, The Knee of Listening. Original Edition. Clearlake, CA; Dawn Horse Press, 1984; c1973, 157.
(9) CWSJC, 69.
(10) Psalm 87:1.
(11) See “Completion vs. Enlightenment,” at http://goldenageofgaia.com/ascension/on-processing-vasanas/completion-vs-enlightenment/
(12) Perhaps it would be good to offer one further example to cement the point. In his Zen Teachings of Bodhidharma, the first Ch’an Patriarch says that any person who circumambulates a stupa for purification is missing the point. The stupa represents the human body. The point would be to circle the human body repeatedly with one’s awareness, as the Buddha did in Vipassana meditation to rid oneself of the sankaras or sensations on the body, which would still the mind and bring on liberation. Bodhidharma is showing the act of walking around a stupa to be symbolic only.
(13) “The Origin and Purpose of the Universal Law,” at http://goldenageofgaia.com/spiritual-essays/16244-2/the-origin-and-purpose-of-the-universal-law/