Posts Tagged physical realities
“We Are then Simple Awareness, Simple Foci of Consciousness in the Vast Expanse of the Universe”: Matter as Metaphor, Part Seven: We Are Stars Are Us.
Because of the Impending Ecological Crises, “Man” Is No Longer the Center of the Universe. As With Primal Peoples, Nature Is Assuming Primacy in Consciousness.
Therefore the physical world cannot be anything but a manifestation of the psychic in its basic rootedness and concurrence with the psychic. It follows that the messages that one discovers in contemplating the phenomena, as “given,” of the physical world are endless. And they are messages both universal and personal, corresponding … exactly, one might guess … to the fact of there being shared physical realities as well as individual physical realities—that is, spaces which one sees in one’s unique way, or in which one has sole or near-sole dominion.
We Are Stars/ Stars Are Us
Now, as shown by Lawlor especially, this sort of perception of Reality is the common view of those peoples who we indicate with pejoratives such as “primitive,” “savage,” and “uncivilized.” Displaying our fear of our own primal roots in this way, we cut ourselves off from a perception which has been our birthright for possibly ninety-nine percent of our existence as a species. Furthermore, as mentioned earlier, it is a viewpoint our science is beginning to give back to us.
As similarly pointed out, this is the common perspective of mystics — who we also commonly denigrate and even persecute, thereby displaying those same things about ourselves in relation to them.
We do these things on the basis of an extremely recent (in the grand scheme of things) Western hubris and anthropocentrism which began to reach a peak at the time of the Renaissance in Europe in the late Middle Ages. Placing ourselves on pedestals comprised of our ethnocentric beliefs in an overweening ego and of an all-powerful — a supreme and superior but unfortunately anthropocentric — “rationalism,” we presumed ourselves unto gods.
The symbol of this Renaissance “humanism” — from da Vinci’s sketch originally — is that of man, arms and legs wide, in the center of a circle. And while it is widely acknowledged that this symbol depicts humanism, it is totally unacknowledged that this is a perfect representation of anthropocentrism as well. For, in da Vinci’s symbol, “man” is placed in the center of the circle, thus, in the center of the Universe . . . the world revolves around “him.” This depiction is so much a part of our experience, so much a part of our pedagogy and culture, that it is only by looking to other cultures, with other perspectives, that we might by contrast see its significance.
In many parts of the world, the center of the cosmos, as depicted in a rendering of the center of a circle, would no doubt be a figure or symbol of Nature, or of the Divine. It might, for example, be a tree in the center of a circle — e.g., the “tree of life” — in a great many other, less-dissociated cultures, for example, the vast majority of the indigenous ones. For those cultures see Nature and the interconnectedness of Nature as the center of the Universe and themselves as a part of that larger whole.
Lawlor (1992) says of the Australian Aborigine, for example:
The subjugation and domestication of plants and animals and all other manipulation and exploitation of the natural world — the basis of Western civilization and “progress” — were antithetical to the sense of a common consciousness and origin shared by every creature and equally with the creators. To exploit this integrated world was to do the same to oneself. (p. 22)
By contrast, our Western symbol of humanism — and we see now, anthropocentrism — coincided with vast advances in technology and science . . . but also — we are only now finally acknowledging — it coincided with extermination of indigenous peoples (by these same, so-called, “renaissance” peoples) and with the beginnings of the rape of nature, which we are now seeing the fruits of in the global environmental crisis.
Nevertheless — no doubt because of the impending ecological crises — this is changing; and more and more this anthropocentrism/”humanism” is on the wane. The deep ecology movement is the perfect example of this, but the renewal of interest in primal, indigenous cultures and in their perspectives is also evidence of this change.
With this change, “man” is no longer the center of the circle, the center of the Universe. Instead, the Cosmos, or Nature, is returning to the center of the focus. God is once again becoming the focus of consciousness and “man’s” ego is taking a powder, so to speak, or, at the least, is stepping aside a bit.
This is the stage described in Buddhism as the waterdrop becoming one with the ocean (“the dewdrop slips into the shining sea”). It is expressed by Sathya Sai Baba as a stage when the individual disappears into God, or becomes one with God. And it is exemplified everywhere in Zen Buddhism, especially in Zen art, which likewise depicts naked Nature — i.e., a consciousness truly reflecting, in an undistorted way, that which is, or, one might say, the still lake that perfectly reflects the sky and moon. It is also wonderfully depicted in the ninth frame of the ten ox-herding symbols, where neither ox nor herder is visible, and all that is, is Nature Unsullied.
So it is in this sense, at this stage, that we see ourselves not as the center of the Universe, and not even as babes (our “inner child”-ren) in the Universe. But we have physically disappeared from the center of the circle (the center of consciousness). We are then simple awareness, simple foci of consciousness in the vast expanse of the Universe.
Furthermore, it is interesting that the evolution of this symbol — viz., from man in the center of the circle to the Universe in the center of the circle (or life force or consciousness in the center of the circle) — appears to have gone through the stage of “birthing into the Universe.” This is exemplified, for example, by the symbol at the conclusion of “2001” wherein the fetus is seen as suspended in the Cosmos, like a star.
Thus, at this stage — before we actually become one with the Universe . . . and become just foci of light in the vast universe of consciousness, i.e., become stars — we go through a process of focusing on our perinatal origins. In other words, we go through our personal, pain-driven reality constructions — a product of our earliest experiences in the womb and at birth — we place them in the center of the universe, the center of consciousness, and we clear them out. We do this so we might truly see the Universe as it is, not distorted by our personal psychic overlay.
Later, in the stages of evolution of our consciousness, we no longer are even “babes” (or fetuses) in the universe, but instead have transcended even that. In this stage the personal disappears . . . we disappear (in the symbol) . . . and then the Universe alone exists.
Continue with The Earth Is the True Bible, Matter Is a Language, The Universe Is a Book of Deity and Philosophy, Ever Teaching Us: Matter as Metaphor, Part Eight
Return to The Transformational Element of UFO Abductions and Its Blow to Materialism: We Are Being Booted Into a Higher Awareness and a Need to Save the Planet.
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The World Is Rife with Messages — Personal and Universal — Regarding the Meaning of Existence, Our Place in the Universe, and Guidance for Getting Us hOMe
Matter As Metaphor, Part One: Physical Realities as Metaphors for Inner Realities … The Physical World Is Our Indirect Perception of Psychic and Spiritual Realities
If one is open to this possibility, the messages/truths are everywhere to be found. And the Universe and one’s experience of Reality becomes the grandest, wisest, truest, and most beneficent of teachers.
Physical Realities As Metaphors for Inner Realities
There is every reason to believe that he meant this literally. And, considering that in this context “guru” had the meaning of God and the cosmic divinity, the statement bespeaks much more than that as well.
Lawlor (1989b) tells us how the Australian Aborigines’ idea that the world is a metaphor or imprint for a truer inner reality is the essential element in their world view. As he put it:
All of existence is the projection outward of internal, subjective states into objective ideas, forms, and substances; the Sky is the “dreaming” of the Earth. All life and all energies emerge from the Earth, even those we consider subtle and celestial. There is a constant exchange between the Earth and its dreaming. The stars in the sky are the spirit energy of beings who were born from, and who have lived on, Earth, just as all men emerge into the world from the female womb. These ancestral beings return from the dreaming (the starry firmament) as radiated light and heat, which generate new life on Earth. The male sperm is analogous to this radiation as it fertilizes the female but, itself, was born from the female. Our minds and imaginations are always attempting to listen to the voice returning from the starry ancestors and we then reimage them. (p. 43, emphases mine)
In another place Lawlor (1992) phrases it: “The dreamtime creation myths of the Aborigines guided them to see the physical world as a language, as a metamorphosis of invisible spirit’s psychological and ethical realms” (p. 22).
Similarly, Laing (1988) tells us, “The whole world was once part of man’s psyche, but no longer” (p. 62).
This idea of the physical universe as reflecting and expressing our basic spiritual and psychological realities is a common perception and viewpoint of mystics of all traditions. In the West, the twelfth century mystic, Hildegard, wrote about this vision of reality. Of her, it’s been said, “Hildegard plainly uses physical laws as illustrations of spiritual truths” (Uhlein, 1991, p. 54). And further on: “Physical images are most useful to Hildegard in comprehending the things of the soul” (p. 54). This relates to the idea of physical reality as metaphor.
Like the Platonists, she understands the world to consist of four elements: fire and water, earth and wind. She employs these pairs archetypically, to describe psychological traits and to create complex analogies for spiritual development. (p. 54)
The point is that this is the same way in which we are talking about physical reality as metaphor: that in fact the world as we perceive it gives us lessons in underlying realities which are, in the absolute sense, more true; that, in actual fact, the psychological traits of which she speaks are simply reflected in nature in the form of earth, wind, fire, and water, and so on.
This perspective is expressed poetically this way:
How in autumn, even before the leaves fall,
When they’re all at their height of color,
Next year’s leaves are already there, tiny,
on either side of the stem of each leaf
where it meets the branch,
Already there, waiting,
Before the leaf that is still there
is dead and falls,
Tiny folded leafbudsheath
Resembling two hands in prayer
Palm to palm with fingers extended.
Life after death exists
even before you’re dead.
Or how when a redwood tree is cut down or blown over
It doesn’t die because the roots
Curl up out of the earth and become
Each of which can grow to be
Just as tall just as old
as the tree which was there before.
It’d be as if you were cut off at the ankles
And your top taken away to make The Milwaukee Journal
And your toes curled into the ground and came up
as ten new “you’s — looking exactly like you
and being exactly like you.
And so a redwood you see now that’s 2000 years old
may’ve come from the root of a redwood that was
2000 years old
that may’ve come from the root of a redwood that was
2000 years old
so far back that it’s literally one million years old!
And that’s why they’re called Sequoia sempervirens,
Proving . . . what?
Even before you’re dead
life after death exists. (Antler, 1991, p. 61)
At this point, I feel it is important to stress that I am proposing much more than that the physical world is a source of metaphors or analogies for expressing psychic and spiritual truths. If this were all there were to it, I would be saying nothing more than that our perceptions of reality are a good poetic source, which is rather close to asserting nothing at all.
One’s Experience of Reality Is the Wisest and Most Beneficent of Teachers.
From the preceding chapters, it should be clear that what I am saying is that the physical world is our indirect perception (for direct perception, look within) of spiritual and psychic realities. Hence, the physical world can not help but express the spiritual and psychic. What I am saying is: Look around yourself; the world is rife with messages, both personal and universal, relating to your place in the Universe, the meaning of our existence, the meaning of existence itself, and, most importantly, of guidance for getting us back hOMe. If one is open to this possibility, the messages/truths are everywhere to be found. And the Universe and one’s experience of Reality becomes the grandest, wisest, truest, and most beneficent of teachers.
Continue with Looking Deeply Into the Message of the World … and Siddhartha: Have You Also Learned the Secret of the River That There is No Time? Everything Has Reality and Presence.
Return to Humans Have Developed Language Because of Their Inability to Truly Communicate … We Substitute Pseudo for Real Activity: Ritual as Shadow, Part Eleven
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