“May the rains of lava, blazing stones and weapons
From now on become a rain of flowers,
And may all battling with weapons
From now on be a playful exchange of flowers.”
-Shantideva, A Guide to a Bodhisattva’s Life, 10:9.
It was the Promethean wish that all beings find happiness and the mindful causes of happiness. This is and was the goal of all sages in all ages, to awaken the mind, the light of the spirit, to co-create, participate with the world in freedom and loving kindness, wisdom and compassion, truth and love.
“The people who sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death, light is sprung up.”
-Gospel of Matthew, 4:16
Metaphysically speaking, darkness comes first, then light. The gardener knows that, without light, nothing blooms or comes to fruit, but without darkness nothing germinates, roots, and holds ground. Selflessness, emptiness, the willingness to learn, contemplative openness and yogic concentration, is the key to unlocking the seven seals or charkras of enlightenment. When we recognize and acknowledge trouble, conflict, and suffering, a space is created for compassionate action to arise. Think of the darkness of the garden compost.
“Hello Darkness My Old Friend, I’ve Come To Talk To You Again…”
-Song ‘Sound of Silence’ by Simon and Garfunkel
Meditation is like that. In the dark silence, the quiet mind sits still in the heart until the voice of the silence speaks, or new light emerges. The ancient India Upanishad invocation speaks-
Lead me from the unreal to the Real;
Lead me from darkness to Light;
Lead me from death to Immortality.
In the Gnostic Gospel of Pistis Sophia, Jesus reveals to his disciples “the mysteries of the Light of the Father,” and tells them:
“Do ye seek after these mysteries? No mystery is more excellent than they which shall bring your souls unto the Light of Lights, unto the place of Truth and goodness, unto the place where is neither male nor female, nor form, but Light everlasting.” Many sacred scriptures speak of darkness or ignorance turning to light and wisdom.
Or is it an injunction to transcend opposites? Carl Jung’s evocatory title to his great work, ‘The Mysterium Coniunctionis: An Inquiry into the Separation and Synthesis of Psychic Opposites in Alchemy’. Think of it as the mysterious conjunction of the sun and moon, inner and outer, spirit and matter, purusha-prakriti. Jung knew the secret processes of alchemy, yoga, and healing. First you separate the gross, dark matter, prima materia, from the subtle body. Both are then purified, afterwhich a re-uniting or communion takes place at a higher level.
Goethe speaks in Faust:
“Wedded couples seeking bliss
Let this wisdom guide you;
The recipe for love is this,
that first we must divide you.”
The first step in Patanjali’s Yoga Aphorisms (the first known book on Yoga) states-
“Yoga is the ceasing of the modifications of the mind”.
The first step in yoga, then, is to stop going through changes and sit the mind still, within. If full of light, go dark in stillness listening. If too dark, turn on the light. Look for a new balance.
“In darkness we do all we can, in daylight we’re oblivion; our hearts so pure and clear.” -Dougie MacLean, ‘Turning Away’
Stopping the noise and chatter of the mind and world round, being here now in stillness is the usual first step in both meditation and yoga. It is in deep inner listening, stillness, that a new light, a new insight, may emerge.
One suggested meditation practice is the mind asana of the heart, sitting still in the heart, while observing a spark or starlight at the brow or forehead (See Robert cd talk: ‘Heart Meditation’). There is an intimate relationship and dance of life between the head light and the wisdom of the body, the heart. Many spiritual practices consist of discriminating between the two, purification, and then later, a re-acquainting or uniting.
“With half-closed eyes focused on the tip of the nose, the mind steadily fastened [on its object], and the active prana current of the ida and pingala nadis suspended [by guiding it into the sushumna], thus the yogi reaches the slate of realization of Truth in the form of a radiating light which is the source of all things, and the highest objective to be reached. What higher state is there that he might expect?” -Hatha Yoga Pradipika
It is in the re-creating of heaven (star) and earth (heart) that new worlds are born, or new opportunities and insights emerge.
“Direct your [inner] gaze upon ‘light’ by slightly raising the eyebrows. Then perform shambhavi mudra as you have learned it. This induces samadhi. Some confuse themselves by the alluring promises of the shastras and tantras, others by the Vedic Karmas, and still others by logic. None of them recognize the real value of this mudra, by the aid of which one can cross the ocean of existence.” -Hatha Yoga Pradipika
Crossing, or making the proper passage or ‘passover’ from the head to the heart necessitates that you have a head to start with which to see the promised land, and a heart of wisdom and compassion to incarnate or manifest such ideal or vision.
“He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.” -Gospel of St. John, 1:8
God (Father Archetype), the Word (Christos, Logos, Buddhi-Manas), life (Spirit), and light (Mindfulness, Dharma, Duty) are the four-fold initial ordering revealed in the gospel of St. John the Divine, but it is hidden everywhere in all sacred scripture to the wisdom eye of the heart. It is the Tetragrammaton, Pythagorus’ Tetraktis. It is Plato’s cross upon which humankind is hung, strung, and maintained. It is the Native American four directions, the four Vedas, the four elements. Plato said around 500 BC, the World Soul is crucified in time and space within each individual. Thus, the World Spirit/Soul is rose rooted or rosy crossed in every human heart, in every mindstream continuum. We are spiritual beings with a body and soul. May the physical body find its soul in the world of virtuous merit. May the soul find its light in the Spirit of the World. May the World find itself in each and every Heart awakened in love and truth.
“Words are mere sound and smoke, dimming the heavenly light.”
Yoga and Meditation can quiet the mind into the heart of understanding where the light of the universal logos, the World Word Ether or Askasa, the true voice of the silence, can be heard. There is a worldly materialistic light wherein we see differences and act out of separateness causing unnecessary suffering due to not understanding the true nature of the self, being light and love, wisdom and compassion. There is a light born within that awakens the way of virtue and joy. There is a holy quiet listening spiritual darkness within betrayed by anger, jealousy, hatred, ignorance and delusion. There is a rainbow of possibility open to each of us to explore our own spirituality in freedom, joy for the open road, and compassionate truth.
May each of us discover and find our unique way, and may the world find peace and wholeness. Om Tat Sat.
May the Light of Truth Eternal, whose echo throughout the ages keeps alive in each heart, spiritual imagination, inspiration, and the intuition, energize our hearts. May the highest truth enlighten our minds and quicken our hands and feet in compassion’s loving kindness! May all beings find joy, happiness and dharma mind. May the Light of Truth Eternal, whose echo down the ages has kept alive the spark of Spirit, enkindle our souls with spiritual intuition, energizing our hearts to enlighten our path.
The secret of light is that we make it shine.