“Might there be levels of truth of reality that are missed by the science-orientated, common-sense consciousness we use to navigate our way through traffic jams, supermarkets and e-mails?” Jonathan Black, The Secret History of the World

“Not all meanings are meant to be clear at once. Some ideas take time. Some words are designed to lead us on inner journeys, with truth hidden deep inside them.” Brian Froud

I consider myself to be a materialist, although a very spiritually inclined materialist. And also I consider myself a rationalist with the concession that, as a human being, I must admit to non-rational dimensions to life (you ever read anything on quantum physics? That’s the land of Faery right there). Because of this, and for the sake of my “irrational” health and sanity, I have suspended disbelief to embrace another mode of thought in order to touch depths within myself not open to rational or common sense thinking. My vision of the universe has become transformed, unlocked by symbols that act as keys upon my soul. Perhaps this story is a mere tapestry of fantasy, but look carefully for the element of truth, a single thread, which can lead you back to its source, perhaps the Source.

Long ago, Heaven and Earth were one, there was no separation, no duality. But then a shadow appeared, and began a long process of separating the spiritual and the material. The many great and magical beings disappeared from the material world leaving no trace of their existence. And the many beings of Earth grew quiet and isolated from one another, unable to communicate any more, for all creatures of mineral, plant and animal were once friends and companions, forming a great company with one another and with the magical and divine beings. Yet despite this they still resonated with the rest of the cosmos, albeit faintly and unconsciously.

In only a few creatures of the Earth did the higher spiritual nature of Heaven remain, reflecting itself through spiritual vision, reason and imagination. One such creature were the humans, beings with a great capacity to understand and transform the world around them. In humanity the gods invested their Wisdom in order that when spiritual and material became divorced by the Shadow of Separation, there remained a seed of spirituality in a material world to preserve a guiding light in this despiritualised world.

Finally the Shadow of Separation grew so strong that even humanity lost contact, becoming mired in a materialistic delusion, now closed to Cosmic Inspiration and interested only in material gain. Despite this some people have worked secretly to keep the truth of our spiritual source aflame within us, protecting it from forces that look to steal or destroy it.  But this is inevitable and even necessary.

Do not think that the Shadow of Separation is not without a useful role in this for it is just an initiator of a new process necessary for the independent evolutions of Heaven and Earth. For each must grow in its own way before reuniting. That is why humans are not aware of Heaven, for we must find it for ourselves. This has been entrusted to us by Heaven; that we learn the secret teachings past down to us through the Ancients by the gods and overcoming the glamour of the material in order to spiritualise it.

Can you feel it? Come out from the material light of the City and open to the spiritual light of the Cosmos. Go to the woods where only moonlight and starlight shine, sharing their presence, if little else. They look at you and you look at them. They await you to return to them.

Can you feel it? The whole Cosmos seems to be waiting for humanity to take the long climb back up to Heaven taking the material world with it.

Can you feel it? All beings of animal, plant and mineral resonate with their connection to the Cosmos, though even they do not know it, and you were ignorant of it until now. Though unconscious of it, they too await us to fulfil our duty so that they can reawaken to the unity of Heaven and Earth.

It is in all life to reawaken to this. our very beings are made from the very stuff of the Cosmos. We are Stardust, it is in our nature, it is our destiny. Can you feel it?

“You don’t see something until you have the right metaphor to let you perceive it.” Robert Shaw

“Before Lovelock used the name Gaia, people could not really grasp his ideas at all. His friend, the novelist William Golding, suggested the name of the ancient Greek mother-goddess, Gaia. And when Lovelock tried that name, people began to understand him.” Mary Midgley

One of the problems with Gaia is that she’s very difficult to see. Of course I can see the Earth, it’s unavoidable, but when I say Gaia I mean the self-sustaining living system; a planetary ecosystem or even superorganism. I can’t directly see the all of the processes that go into the whole planetary system and certainly not in just my short human lifetime. It is too large and complex and even today’s science suffers from that limit, itself being quite a young human experience.

If you try to know Gaia by isolating one part, like the atmosphere, a forest or an ocean surface, you lose sense of the “big picture.” To get a sense of what Gaia is its best not to get too carried away with the details because you might lose the context. And here is where we replace the reductionist and atomistic way of seeing things for something holistic or “top-down,” that uses physiology as a model and metaphor for understanding the Earth’s living systems. This requires some intuitive or peripheral viewing to begin to work with, that can be adjusted and refined as our understanding of its workings become clearer.

I say peripheral because it’s one of those things that catches your attention out of the corner of your eye but seems to disappear when directly looked at. Put another way, it’s like when you like too closely at the details of a painting and you lose sense of what the pictures is because all you can see are colours and brushstrokes. Looking at the details of a painting, or of the Earth’s living systems, is a useful and necessary way of learning how the whole has come together, but to get a good view of it all we really have to “fly with the eagles,” get a view of the whole landscape as a working body.

Maybe it is an imaginative metaphor or poetic license. Maybe it is simply a lens through which we can view the Earth and our place on it. The fact is humans have been living with these lenses for a long time, and even science has to use metaphors as it struggles to create language for concepts that are beyond our immediate experience and accessible only through the imagination. By such lenses we are inspired and guided by a vision that has a bearing on our sense of meaning and morality.

Now I want to suggest an exercise, to “connect” with Gaia without intellectual analysis. If you have access to natural surroundings, go there and sense Gaia around you. You can visualize it in your mind, and you can feel it in your heart but also you can connect the experience with your body, letting it resonate through your being. Take any or all examples and see how it feels.

Feel that the Earth is a body, something that can be healthy or unhealthy, that evolves and changes depending on the forces acting upon it and within it.

Feel that Gaia is something to have a relationship with, or as a web of relationships between sky, land, sea, Sun and all organisms that has been evolving since life first appeared on Earth and to which humans are just newcomers.

Feel that life was just a passenger on a volatile rock but that grew and became a very influential force on the planet, where all organisms evolved together to keep the Earth alive.

Feel that water is the lifeblood of Gaia, that it also pumps through you.

Feel that photosynthetic life absorbs the energy of the Sun and then finds ways of sharing that with other organisms, along with nutrients.

Feel that the air you breathe and the food you eat are a source of communion with all other living things.

Feel humanity as an intelligent parasite living off of Gaia like an energy-hungry and resource-greedy disease.

Feel the outcome if humanity carries on like this.

Feel that humanity, like any disease, is killed off by its host in order to be healthy.

Feel that humanity chooses a different fate and works towards a healthy symbiosis with Gaia, directing our intelligence to work in harmony and collaboration with her.

In feeling Gaia this way we embrace a worldview that guides our attitudes and actions to a very different relationship with the Earth than we have now. Personifying the Earth has little to with defying science and more to do with engaging those aspects of the human psyche that cannot be convinced by intellectual analysis alone and creating an empathy with the very system that supports our existence. Harmonious planetary relationships require that we can feel with Gaia, not only think with Gaia.

“Art does not solve problems but makes us aware of their existence. It opens our eyes to see and our brain to imagine.” Magdalena Abakanowicz

 

“The capacity for wonder has been called our most pregnant human faculty, for in it are born our art, our science, our religion.” Ralph Sockman

 

“The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed.” Albert Einstein

 

“The possession of knowledge does not kill the sense of wonder and mystery. There is always more mystery.” Anais Nin

 

Oh yes, all very nice quotes, very “inspirational” but probably nothing without the grounded perspective of the next quote…

 

“On this planet, we are probably the creatures most capable of perceiving and responding to God’s vision of a different, better world. God’s primary avenue for liberation is through responsive human hearts. We can wait for supernatural miracles, or we can roll up our sleeves with God and get to work.” C. Robert Mesle

 

That about sums it up for me. We no longer need to be God’s passive “puppets” but active cocreators, consciously participating in the ongoing creative evolution of Creation! In the past humans had to make up for the mystery of the universe by projecting various ideas onto it. We didn’t know anything about it, so it was best done by filling in the gaps of our knowledge with magic, myths and miracles. In a word, imagination.

 

Of course we could think that as knowledge expands we need the imagination less, but I don’t believe that for one second. It is the imagination that lets our knowledge grow, it is a tool that helps us break free of outdated ideas and think beyond the box into newer dimensions of knowledge. Without the imagination, we’d have no way of understanding things like genetics, astrophysics or quantum physics, because these things can never really be experienced directly. It is the imagination that allows us to “experience” them. For me, practicing “miracle mind” is a necessary stage before the expansion of knowledge and experience, a provisional state of being that allows us to take the next step in evolution. I still enjoy looking at the world with myths in mind, especially when I have some creative project in mind (the sun really does ride around in a chariot!).

 

But our knowledge and our control over that knowledge will never be absolute; we’ll forever be searching the mysteries, and forever practicing some form of “miracle mind”. Myths, magic and miracles are still a part of what makes us human, what gives us a sense of a world that is alive and meaningful, that the world is somewhere where you “roll your sleaves up with God and get to work.”

So… GET TO WORK! 😉

“Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart. Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens.” Carl Gustav Jung

“Common people retreat from the world to country houses, the seashore or the mountains, but it is always in your power to retreat into yourself. Give yourself this retreat; renew and cleanse your soul completely.” Marcus Aurelius

“Your sacred space is where you can find yourself again and again.” Joseph Cambell

There I was, watching a beautiful scene unfolding before me. The large sky a clear blue and the sun shining upon lush green grass while birds dance and fly around trees and under bushes. Then I think of something… I remember something….something inside… something… something… “ADAM! Wake up daydreamer, get out of ‘your own little world’ and join us in the real world will you.”
The outside invades, pulling me out of my inner space, a subjective psychic space that noone can touch, even me apparently.

This is a problem, society’s unwritten dogma is that the objective material world has more worth than a individual’s subjective world but if it has any worth then it is for objective and materialist reasons. But the one thing I think makes humans human, is this ability for inner space, the abstract world as opposed to the concrete. It’s where our culture comes from, our arts, sciences, religions and ethics. Without it we’d be like any other animal, following the drive of instinct within the restrictions of environment. Inner space allows us a partial transcendence of environment and instinct to create new ways of living, problem solving, invention, an alchemy of mundane objects and situations transformed by the psychic powers of the mind, namely imagination, intellect, vision and intuition.

For years I haven’t properly been able to live in my inner space, I’ve been pulled out of it for some reason or another. For the last couple of years it’s been a bit of a battle to maintain it, what with 40hrs work a week, then domestic duties like dog walking, mowing the lawn, DIY, etc etc etc. Some of them necessary but also some not so. After this you might be able to find inner sanctum, that is if you’re not socialising or too tired to do anything but sleep. Was it worth me sacrificing that much of my time just to lose out on a vital part of myself? I don’t think so but all this comes from a society that unconsciously (or even consciously) makes its people a mere product of and resource for its materialism.

Through my life I’d occasionally go into natural places just to be away from these things. I’d sit under stars and just look up at them on cool nights, I’d find a secluded place somewhere in some woods and called it my “sacred grove.” Sometimes what I thought I was doing was connecting to nature in some deep mystical way. Perhaps I was, but mainly as I look back, it was really out of necessity to find my inner space again, to preserve that essential part of me. This is a practice I do now, I sit in a tree, by a stream or by my cairn to let my inner space play, or even work, just by itself with nothing outside imposing itself upon it.

What about now? Well now, I work on that inner space, I have the freedom to do that without it being denied me. Am I getting lost in “my own little world”? No, because my inner world is filled with energy, it is not some distant disconnected experience but something that is growing with vital energy which I learn to focus and flow with. In fact, my inner world hasn’t just been idly sitting within me, because it does find its manifestation. My dream was to live and work closer to Nature and also live in a spiritual context. Now, I live in the countryside, working in gardens, conservation and also on my own spiritual developement. So when people tell me I’m just daydreaming I can look around me and see what my dreams have become because I took an opportunity that so many others miss.

I know that I definitely do live in the objective world that I share with others and I do not want to run away from it. At the same time I have an inner world, just as real as the outer world for me, just as important to me as the outer world because it is from here that my life and destiny unfold, manifesting themselves around me and fulfilling the potential of my human spirit.