LECTURE 10
Seeing through the Veil: Reuniting Three Dimensions of Reality



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Lecture 10

SEEING THROUGH THE VEIL:
Reuniting Three Dimensions of Reality

Mystics and Scientists Conference Winchester, April 2002
Copyright © Anne Baring

Fra Angelico "Angel Annunciate"
(National Gallery, Perugia)

This angel insisted on being placed here, right at the beginning of my talk. Perhaps it wanted to participate in this conference. Perhaps it comes as an emissary from the unseen dimensions I am going to talk about.
     I think that from the first stirrings of conscious awareness we have sought relationship with the universe. This is one of our deepest instincts, the root of our desire to explore and discover - but above all, to imagine. The human imagination from earliest times, was focussed on the sun, the moon and the stars. The earliest lunar notations date to 40,000 bc. But the moon for millennia has symbolised the mysteries of an invisible world, the mysteries of the soul. In this painting we see a man guiding his craft towards a crescent moon, towards an encounter with those mysteries. The visionary or mystical tradition of many different cultures says that like a child separated from its mother, we are separated from an invisible ground of being. But the memory of fusion or union with that ground lives on in us as a longing for reunion, for the ecstasy of belonging once again to that greater Other. We sail the fragile vessel of consciousness on the surface of the great sea of Life not knowing that we are, in essence, what we seek. Mystics and visionaries of all cultures have tried to tell us what they have discovered: that we are in this ground like a fish is in water or a bird in the air and have tried to help us dissolve the illusion of our separate existence.
     Blake believed that he had a great task - to open our eyes inwards to the Eternal Worlds. Dante gives us a glimpse of these Eternal Worlds in his magnificent vision of the Empyrean, portrayed here by Gustave Doré. So now, at the end of this day, I would like to invite you to enter an imaginal space where these Eternal Worlds are granted existence. I would ask you to create a space between breaths, between thoughts, a space for being rather than doing, a space for the imagination. I would like you to consider the idea that "Imagination is not the creator of illusion but the illuminator of reality." (1) Coleridge said this: "The primary imagination I hold to be the living power and prime agent of all human perception, a repetition in the finite mind of the eternal act of creation in the infinite I AM." (2) He seems to suggest that imagination is the very ground of our consciousness, of our awareness, our capacity to think, to create. (3) But imagination is also a faculty that can act as a rainbow bridge connecting our consciousness to the Eternal Worlds. Einstein's theory of relativity came to him when he was sitting on a hill imagining that he was riding a sunbeam to the edge of the universe and returning towards the sun. The image came first, the theory later. Einstein himself said "Imagination is more important than knowledge: knowledge points to all that is; Imagination points to all that will be." (4) A seventeenth century alchemist gives us a wonderful image of the imagination: he describes it as the star in man: the celestial and super-celestial body. (5)
     This rather alarming image of the Cyclops (Odilon Redon), could be said to reflect the loss of the connecting eye, the eye of the imagination. The rational or literal eye stands lonely and supreme, dissociated from the landscape of the soul. It seems to me that the problems of our time may be rooted in the loss of connection between the head and the heart, between rational mind and imaginal soul. When we are cut off from our deepest instincts, our need for relationship with something instinctively felt to exist, life loses its meaning and the neglected territory of the soul becomes a barren wasteland. In its despair, it turns against life, against its own life. When this happens, society begins to disintegrate. As Yeats said, "Things fall apart. The centre cannot hold. Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world."( 6)
     I first thought of the title of "seeing through the veil" because of the plight of the women of Afghanistan. Then I thought about the veil that lies between our perception of reality and deeper dimensions of consciousness. This image shows a man putting his head beyond the known universe, gazing in wonder at what is being revealed to him. It is an image of going beyond the known, an image of quest, exploration, discovery - experiences which belong as much to the true path of science as to the mystic vision. The great giants of science have vastly extended our knowledge about the phenomenal world. But why have we neglected the testimony of the visionary giants - the astronauts of the soul - who have explored the invisible dimensions of reality? I feel the time has come to break through the limitations that have for so long confined us, to dissolve the veil that separates us from those dimensions. We seem now to be on the verge of a quantum leap in our understanding, the birth of a new level of consciousness. Some have called this birth "The Great Awakening."

What elements are contributing to this awakening? I would like to focus on two. Over the past fifty years a priceless treasury of texts as well as methods of healing from older cultures have been recovered for us. Each of these traditions has contributed to the birth of this new consciousness. In the next sequence of slides, I would like briefly to pay homage to them. In the tradition of Kabbalah, God is transcendent and unknowable as the Void but also, through a process of emanation, immanent in all worlds including this material one. This painting by a modern kabbalist (James Russell) shows the interpenetrating worlds of what in Kabbalah is called the Tree of Life - offering us a blue-print or template of the cosmos, both visible and invisible.
     No people has understood the indivisibility of spirit and nature better than the Daoist sages of China. (painting Sung dynasty) None has entered more deeply into the soul of nature and understood and respected the relationship between body, soul and spirit. Observation and contemplation over thousands of years brought them the insight that the body exists within the wider matrix of nature and nature within the wider soul of the cosmos. They understood that the boundless energy of the universe that they called qi flows through everything that exists. Through the flow of that energy everything is connected to everything else. Their insight might be summed up in the words of a modern teacher of Qigong: "I am within the universe and the universe is within me."
     Tibetan teachers, exiled from their homeland, have brought us methods of meditation and told us of the luminous state of consciousness that is the ground of our own consciousness. A master of the Tibetan Tantric Path says "The luminous awakened mind is always present; we need simply to recognize it." (7)
Great Sufi teachers have also come to the west. The incomparable poems of the Sufi mystic, Rumi, and the writings of other visionaries describe their encounter and ecstatic union with this primal ground. Persian painting (The court of Gayumarth)
     The magnificent texts of the Upanishads, giving us insight into the indissoluble unity and divinity of life, are also now available to us. They teach us that our own consciousness has neither birth nor death and is inseparable from the radiant light of the divine ground that they called Brahman. (Trimurti, Elephanta Caves, Bombay). In the Bhagavad Gita Arjuna cries out to Krishna: "Thou art the Knower within me and the One to be known. By Thee alone this universe is pervaded. Overjoyed am I to see what I have never seen before." (8)
      The gnostic texts recovered in 1945 at Nag Hammadi, in Egypt, after being lost for some 1700 years, give us the same essential revelation - that God as Father and Mother is the ground of our own being and the ground of all creation. (Christ in Majesty, Vezelay). In the gnostic Acts of John, Jesus, speaking from His at-one-ment with that ground, says these words to His disciples on the eve of His Passion:

I am a light to you who behold Me;
I am a mirror to you who perceive Me;
I am a door to you who knock at Me;
I am a way to you, a wayfarer… .
You have me for a couch, rest then upon Me. (9)

     Truly with these traditions, each of which activates our connection with the imagination, we have been offered a feast, made possible by the dedicated work of hundreds of individuals, East and West. But who has arranged this awakening if not Cosmic Intelligence, or the Holy Spirit, or Sacred Mind, or Universal Energy - whichever image you prefer - working through centuries and millennia and the souls of countless individuals to awaken our slumbering consciousness to awareness of its ground.

     The inevitability of death weighs like a stone on the human heart. So much fear and grief and anger are associated with it. I think it is extraordinary that we still know so little about what lies beyond it. Older cultures knew far more than we do but instead of building on their experience, we have lost the living relationship that they had with the dead. But now there is the growing testimony of people who have experienced nonordinary states of consciousness. Many know through their experience that consciousness continues beyond the death of the body and that they are met and addressed by a consciousness or presence that manifests as Light. I would like to introduce to you a remarkable book called Dark Night, Early Dawn by Christopher Bache. For many years he was professor of Religious Studies at Youngstown State University and is now Director of Studies at the Noetic Institute in California. His book gives the record of his encounters with what he calls Sacred Mind, following the methodology developed by Stanislav Grof. I consider it to be the most important contribution to the record of visionary experience since William James's The Varieties of Religious Experience. This is what he has to say about the Light:

"After some intervening experience, I was brought to an encounter with a unified energy field underlying all physical existence. I was confronting an enormous field of blindingly bright, incredibly intense energy...This energy was the single energy that comprised all existence. (10)

     As you can see, I take it as given that Blake's Eternal Worlds exist. I also believe that physicists are rapidly moving towards a rendez-vous with the intelligence of the universe. There is a physicist called Amit Goswami (Professor of Physics at Ohio State University) who has written a book called The Visionary Window which builds a bridge between quantum physics and the ancient insights of Indian philosophy. Like the traditions I have just mentioned, he sets out the basic premise that consciousness is the ground of all being and that our consciousness is, in essence, That Consciousness.

"Positing consciousness as the ground of being" he writes, "calls forth a paradigm shift from a materialist science to a science based on the primacy of consciousness…Such a science leads to a true reconciliation with spiritual traditions, because it does not ask spirituality to be based on science but asks science to be based on the notion of eternal spirit…Spiritual metaphysics is never in question. Instead, the focus is on cosmology - how the world of phenomena comes about" (11)

     I once had a dream that I was standing next to a scientist who was gazing through his telescope at the starry night sky, as these astronomers are doing. (night sky) I remember that he tried to tell me what he was seeing but he was struck dumb with wonder. This dream came back to me while I was watching a riveting Horizon programme (BBC2 14 Apr 02) which told the story of a group of physicists and cosmologists who have come to the conclusion that there are eleven dimensions to our universe - the eleventh being the most extraordinary and that our universe may be one of an infinite number of parallel universes which move like giant waves through the eleventh dimension, setting off Big Bangs as they impact each other, so bringing new universes into being. The hypothesis of the mysterious all-containing eleventh dimension is described as M-theory - M standing for mother, membrane, magic and mystery. They say that this dimension may be only a millimetre away from us yet we have no awareness of its presence. As the presenter of the programme commented, it seems as if scientists may be moving closer to mystics.
     So how could we visualise the three levels or dimensions of reality in the title of this talk? This cosmic mandala from Bhutan, describing the involution of energy into matter, may help us. Very broadly defined, the three dimensions are the ultimate ground of being or root of consciousness that I have just been talking about; a complex intermediate dimension which I will come to in a moment and, thirdly, the manifest world that is familiar to us. But as this mandala shows, it is helpful to imagine these worlds or dimensions not as places with fixed boundaries but more as vibrational fields of energy which interact with and interpenetrate each other. It is impossible to say where one begins and the other ends. The outer rim represents the phenomenal world; the triple spiral spinning in the centre represents the luminous ground of being. But what connects them to each other?
     Now I want to talk about something that both science and religion have neglected. This may not be surprising for science perhaps, but religion could have understood it had it not neglected the feminine principle. Imagine a boundless web or matrix of relationships connecting us and our familiar world with the source or ground of being. What we call life is an excitation on the surface of a sea of energy, continually flowing, dancing into being. This sea of energy is the substratum of the physical universe. The scientific name for this field or sea is the quantum vacuum. But the sea is also one of the oldest images of the soul and so, making something of a quantum leap myself, I would like to connect this sea of energy with the ancient image of Cosmic Soul. Soul is a word that carries the imprint of the feminine principle, the connecting, containing, relating principle of the universe. I prefer the word soul to the scientific word field because it has a resonance that relates us to older cultures where soul in this cosmic, inclusive sense, was a living reality. Soul in this cosmic sense is something inconceivable and immeasurable in whose life we participate. It is the matrix or vehicle of the unknowable ground of being that has always been imagined and defined as spirit.
     Imagine this limitless web as an incredible, multi-levelled system of dimensions nested within dimensions, with information continually being exchanged between these dimensions - at the molecular level, at the level of our own communication with each other, at the level of planetary life, and at the level of galaxies and perhaps universes of which we know nothing. I think of it as a kind of cosmic internet with molecular e-mails being exchanged at all these different levels. If we could see through the physical forms, including our own bodies which appear so fixed and solid to us, we would see billions of patterns of energy interacting with each other. We would see tiny particles of light called photons flowing through every cell of our bodies. We experience ourselves as distinct, separate beings, but if the whole of creation, seen and unseen, is one integrating and intelligent organism, one flowing, undivided cosmic energy, then our soul, our mind and our body are connected to many levels of that vastly greater organism and reflect it as microcosm to macrocosm. We are, as William James said, "islands on the surface, yet connected in the Deep." I turn to Bache again to amplify this idea:

"What stood out for me in the early stages was the interconnectedness of everything to form a seamless whole. The entire universe is an undivided, totally unified, organic phenomenon. I saw various breakthroughs…as but the early phases of the scientific discovery of this wholeness. I knew that these discoveries would continue to mount until it would become impossible for us not to recognise the universe for what it was - a unified organism of extraordinary design reflecting a massive Creative Intelligence. The intelligence and love that was responsible for what I was seeing kept overwhelming me and filling me with reverential awe…The unified field underlying physical existence completely dissolved all boundaries. As I moved deeper into it, all borders fell away, all appearances of division were ultimately illusory. No boundaries between incarnations, between human beings, between species, even between matter and spirit. The world of individuated existence was not collapsing into an amorphous mass, as it might sound, but rather was revealing itself to be an exquisitely diversified manifestation of a single entity." (12)

     In Christian culture, soul has been imagined as something personal to us - the quintessence of our being - and something that survives physical death. But this suggests that our life is separate from the greater life of the universe. Long before the idea of a personal soul took root, soul was understood in a different way, as something inclusive and all-embracing to which we belonged, a greater invisible dimension in whose life we lived, something we were intimately connected to, and through it, to each other. In the Bronze Age, the goddess as Great Mother personified this matrix of soul and this ancient idea was transmitted through the pre-Socratic philosophers to the image of Plato's World Soul, later called Anima Mundi. ( I came to this insight after The Myth of the Goddess was published and am only now able fully to articulate it). I have been told by a friend of mine, Crawford Knox, that in the earliest visionary tradition of the Temple in Jerusalem as well as in the earliest centuries of Christianity - until the time of St. Augustine in fact - this idea of containment within a cosmic entity endured: people felt that creation took place within the being of God, that the whole of creation was evolving or growing towards union with God. There was nothing outside God. After St. Augustine, however, God and the world grew further and further apart, and with it our sense of isolation and the chasm that separated spirit from nature.
     The idea of a planetary intelligence integral to the earth's ecosystem is returning to us today in the image of Gaia as the ecological movement gathers momentum, but the concept of Cosmic Soul, Cosmic Intelligence extends far beyond planetary life.
     Science has discovered the Quantum Vacuum but does not yet recognise that it is conscious. However, the ancient tradition of Cosmic Soul says that this great intelligent matrix of life, this immeasurable sea of being is alive with spirit and that spirit longs for us to awaken to awareness of its "unutterable existence."

From a transpersonal perspective," Bache writes, "superconscient awareness already exists, and everywhere surrounds us. It has painstakingly created the organic form that finally has the capacity to support an increased measure of this awareness in the physical sphere, but we have not fully actualized this potential because of the mental habits formed during earlier stages of our evolutionary and cultural development. Everywhere this superordinate awareness presses in upon us, looking for points of entry, trying to reach us in our dreams, our meditations, and our moments of undistracted selflessness." (13) Elsewhere he writes, most movingly, of one of his encounters with this Consciousness:

"Though these experiences were extraordinary in their own right, the most poignant aspect of today's session was not the discovered dimensions of the universe themselves but what my seeing and understanding them meant to the Consciousness I was with. It seemed so pleased to have someone to show Its work to. I felt that it had been waiting for billions of years for embodied consciousness to evolve to the point where we could at long last begin to see, understand and appreciate what had been accomplished. I felt the loneliness of this Intelligence having created such a masterpiece and having no one to appreciate Its work, and I wept. I wept for its isolation and in awe of the profound love which had accepted this isolation as part of a larger plan. Behind creation lies a Love of extraordinary proportions, and all of existence is an expression of this love. The intelligence of the universe's design is equally matched by the depth of love that inspired it." (14)

     In the nested dimensions of this boundless matrix of soul are memory fields of the entire experience of life on this planet: our individual suffering and experience are embedded in a deeper collective field holding the suffering and experience of all orders of life over billions of years. Here in these multi-levelled fields are benevolent and malevolent entities as well as hosts of discarnate souls, some of whom may be striving to help us; other who, in their grief, hatred or fear, may cling to this world and affect us in ways that we are, for the most part, unaware of. (imagine the anguish of those millions of souls whose lives have been extinguished prematurely by our barbarism). I noticed last week that the great musician Rostropovitch commented in an interview that he felt in constant communion with friends beyond the veil who were helping him in his charitable work for young musicians. "Sometimes," he said, "I get an intuition to do something that seems madness."
      We generally assume that our thoughts and feelings are personal to us but with the insight derived from transpersonal experience, we can understand that instincts, emotions, ideas and intuitions flow into our consciousness from these deeper layers of experience. By the choices we make, we can affect and are affected by this collective field. There is a machine in Princeton University called a Random Event Generator - connected to some 40 other generators all over the world, which records the fluctuations of what Bache, following Sheldrake, (15) calls the species mind of humanity. The graph rose to a high peak at the funeral of Princess Diana. It started to rise to another peak some three hours before the events of September 11th, (16) reflecting a surge of premonitory anxiety in the collective mind. Increasingly, we are discovering that our thoughts and intentions have great power. Prayers transmit healing energy. Studies have shown that prayer works. Conversely, if we hold the thought of attacking or harming others, if we talk of "an axis of evil," we may set in motion a deadly chain of cause and effect. The desire to eliminate our enemies may return to us in unexpected and unwelcome ways, even inviting the very catastrophe we fear. Ignorance of the tremendous power of the hidden energies which lie beyond the fragile conscious mind, risks our being taken over by them, falling into pathological behaviour and the dissolution of our humanity while believing that our goals and our methods of achieving them are perfectly rational and justifiable.
     Today the paranormal is pressing for recognition and inclusion in our vision of reality. Out of the body experiences, past life regression, UFOS, transpersonal experience, crop circles, unorthodox methods of healing, - all these and many more are attracting many people to them. The fact that they are of such interest suggests that the soul requires something more than the culture offers for the fulfilment of its life. The soul likes and needs diversity. The connection with soul works primarily through the heart rather than the mind. Why not extend the parameters set by the rational mind to include the paranormal as something that will one day be accepted as perfectly normal - as indeed Einstein predicted it would be? We could cultivate a subliminal awareness of the synchronistic connections between things and events and even welcome incredible ideas instead of dismissing them as irrational and absurd.

     In the greatest cultures of the ancient world there was a stairway between the human and the divine. The earth was perceived as a Mother, not inert matter. People felt the divine was immanent in the material world. Nature was ensouled with divine presence. In dreams and waking visions people communicated with gods and goddesses and entered into dialogue with daimons or angels who were seen as emissaries of the divine. Birds like the hoopoe were recognised as messengers from an invisible dimension, very possibly because people dreamt about them in this role. I have a friend who does this today. Oracles were consulted as a way of bringing our everyday consciousness into closer alignment with the divine. Music was used to heighten sensitivity and receptivity to the presence of the dimension that the great Islamic scholar, Henri Corbin named the mundus imaginalis or imaginal world, a world that is as real as the material world we know, that is the unseen ground of this world. (17)
     One cannot really say where we end and this greater dimension begins. The connection with soul works through unconscious instincts and through our deepest feelings and intuitions - above all, through the ability to pay attention to the images, ideas and intuitions that flow to us from this imaginal ground. This painting is an artist's vision of the head of Orpheus (Odilon Redon), one of the earliest known healers and shamans, founder of the Eleusinian and Dionysian Mysteries. The original role of the shaman, the visionary, the seer as well as the artist, poet, musician and also the mathematician - I am thinking here of Pythagoras and Archimedes - was to travel through the veil of our "normal" consciousness to the imaginal world and bring back what was seen and heard to this dimension, rather in the way that Coleridge transformed the fragments of a dream into his poem Kubla Khan.
     In every ancient culture, there were shamanic healers initiated through rites of incubation in caves and temples who brought back teaching from their journeys into the invisible realms. I wish there were time to tell you about the Greek philosopher Parmenides, and his journey through great doors that stretched from earth to heaven into what he called the realm of the Goddess. (18) For thousands of years there have been contemplatives, "as ubiquitous as the birds in the trees," (19) who sought out the solitude of forest and desert and mountain. People went to them for spiritual counsel and healing. The emphasis of this contemplative and shamanic tradition was on a gradual awakening of subtle senses through practices which heightened the ability to see, hear and understand things which are not accessible to our normal range of consciousness. The visionary imagination was nourished in those cultures where these people were held in high esteem because they were messengers of the invisible.
     The religions of the last two and a half thousand years have placed the emphasis of their teaching on transcending the world, transcending the body, controlling and subjugating the instincts. The body and its ways of knowing were superseded by the emphasis on mind and spirit. In his last book, Man and His Symbols, Jung writes:

"As scientific understanding has grown, so our world has become dehumanized. Man feels himself isolated in the cosmos, because he is no longer involved in nature, and has lost his emotional "unconscious identity" with natural phenomena…No voices now speak to man from stones, plants, and animals, nor does he speak to them believing they can hear. His contact with nature has gone, and with it has gone the profound emotional energy that this symbolic connection supplied." (20)

     The following story illustrates how faculties long atrophied used to connect us with the invisible life of nature. Next to the Potala Palace in Lasa there is a temple called the Lukhang or "Temple of the Serpent Spirits" that the Dalai Lama describes as one of the hidden jewels of Tibetan civilization. This temple was the private chamber of the Dalai Lamas - the place where they retired for deep meditation. Miraculously it has not been destroyed by the Chinese invasion of Tibet. The walls of the upper floor are decorated with extraordinary paintings describing the Tantric practices of the Dzogchen path to the direct experience of reality - the path practised by the Dalai Lamas for centuries. Only these murals depict the practices that were otherwise transmitted orally, and poetically referred to as "the whispered lineage." Prior to the Chinese invasion of Tibet on one day each year, the Lukhang was open to pilgrims who crossed the lake to the temple to make offerings to and invoke the blessing of the water spirits believed to reside beneath the lake. This ritual went back to a time when the Potala Palace was being built and a deep pit had been excavated to provide mortar for the palace walls. Legend says that a female water spirit or Naga came to the Fifth Dalai Lama (1617-1682) during his meditations and warned him that the work on the Palace was destroying the Nagas' ancestral home. The Dalai Lama promised that he would build and dedicate a temple to the spirits of the lake which had formed over the desecrated land so that their presence would be recognised and honoured. This female Naga spirit holds in her hand the wish-fulfilling jewel - symbol of the hidden powers of the human mind. (21)
     I have told you this story in order to illustrate how people once recognised and respected the hidden entities believed to be the guardians of the earth's life and to contrast this attitude with our modern desacralized and exploitive approach to the earth's resources. People once knew that the spirit entities they saw in dream and vision manifest and express the deepest wisdom of nature which connected them to the life of the cosmos. These serpent-spirits were respected as the guardians of spiritual knowledge and no man or woman could gain access to the highest wisdom without receiving their help. Today we neglect these entities at our peril.
      Here is a painting from the same Meditation Temple. It shows a man having an out-of-the-body experience, perhaps moving from one life into another.


The Buddha and the Great Serpent, Mucalinda
National Museum, Bangkok

     The Buddha advised us to believe nothing until we judge it to be true through our own experience. In this magnificent sculpture which is in the National Museum in Bangkok, he is shown seated on the coils and beneath the seven outspread hoods of a great serpent (Mucalinda) - signifying that the deepest instincts which come to us from the primal energy of the universe have reached their fullest expansion in the awakened or illumined state. The Buddha and other great spiritual teachers of humanity have offered us the model of how this awakened consciousness acts in our world - how it flows from the cosmic love of the divine ground through the vehicle of the unified body, soul and spirit as active compassion towards all creatures. "My religion is kindness," says the Dalai Lama. "Everything that lives is holy," said Blake. From their perspective inventing demonic weapons and planning to use them to destroy the lives of millions in order to save our own lives would be inconceivable. Believing that the bloody sacrifice of a single life is pleasing to God would be unimaginable.

     Many individuals today are searching not only for the unified field in science but for a unified vision of life - a unified vision of spirit, nature and man. The birthing of this vision requires the sacrifice of many long-established beliefs - ultimately a radical transformation of our understanding of life and of our values. The greatest problem, I believe, is the illusion that there is an inside and an outside of us, a within and a without. Centuries of contemplation as well as shamanic and modern psychedelic experience reveal that our human lives are woven into a cosmic tapestry whose threads connect us not only with each other at the deepest level but with multitudes of beings in different worlds or levels of reality. As Bache says, "Far from living our lives unnoticed in a distant corner of an insentient universe, we are everywhere surrounded by orders of intelligence beyond reckoning." (22).  A vast field of consciousness continually interacts with our consciousness. If scientists could draw closer to mystics, working with Goswami's hypothesis that the universe is conscious, and that we are part of that consciousness, we could make rapid progress towards the realisation of a unified vision.
     Every mystical tradition says that we participate in the divine ground of being. And it teaches that the eye of the heart opens slowly to awareness of this extraordinary realisation. Each one of our paths is unique yet the insight and subjective experience of each one of us, shared with others, can contribute to the healing and enlightenment of all. Someday, the veil of separation will be dissolved and we will know that the three worlds or infinite number of worlds are one. Then, we will know that truth is not a system of belief, but the discovery, the revelation of what we are.

I would like to leave the vision of our potential future to Christopher Bache:

I saw humanity climbing out of a valley and just ahead, on the other side of the mountain peak and beyond our present sight, was a brilliant, sun-drenched world that was about to break over us. The time frame was enormous. After millions of years of struggle and ascent, we were poised on the brink of a sunrise that would forever change the conditions of life on this planet. All current structures would quickly become irrelevant. All truths would quickly be rendered passé. Truly a new epoch was dawning. The lives of everyone living on the edge of this pivotal time in history had been helping to bring about this global shift. (23)

©Anne Baring

Notes
1. Eliphas Levi, quoted in Stephan Beyer, Magic and Ritual in Tibet: The Cult of Tara, p. 88. Motilal Banarsidass Publishers, Delhi, 1988
2. Coleridge, Samuel Taylor, Biographia Literaria, p. 167.
3. see Patrick Harpur, The Philosophers' Secret Fire, Penguin Books, London, 2002
4. quoted in a lecture given by Tarquin Olivier, Vancouver, 2002
5. Martin Ruland, The Lexicon of Alchemy
6. W.B. Yeats, The Second Coming*
7. quoted in The Dalai Lama's Secret Temple, p. 9. Thames & Hudson Ltd., London 2000
8. Bhagavad Gita, 11: 38,45.
9. from the Hymn of Jesus, M.R. James, The Apocryphal New Testament, 1924, Clarendon Press, Oxford. p. 253-4. see also G.R.S. Mead, Fragments of a Faith Forgotten, p. 431. I have altered the words 'thee' and 'thou' to 'you'.
10. Bache, Christopher, Dark Night, Early Dawn, p. 67. Suny Press, New York, 2000
11. Amit Goswami, The Visionary Window, p. 16. Quest Books, Wheaton,Ill. 2001
12. Dark Night, Early Dawn, p. 74
13. Bache, Dark Night, Early Dawn, p. 4
14. Bache, Dark Night, Early Dawn, p. 70
15. Sheldrake, Rupert, A New Science of Life (1981), The Presence of the Past (1988); The Rebirth of Nature (1991)
16. Reported in the Daily Mail, February 16th, 2002
17. Corbin, Henri, Mundus Imaginalis or the Imaginary and the Imaginal, translated by Ruth Horine, Spring, Zurich, 1972
18. see Kingsley, Peter, In the Dark Places of Wisdom, The Golden Sufi Centre, California, 1999
19. Philip Sherrard, The Rape of Man and Nature, Golgonooza Press, Ipswich, Suffolk, 1987
20. C. G. Jung, Man and His Symbols, p. 95, Aldus Books, London, 1964
21. The Dalai Lama's Secret Temple, p. 12-13
22. Dark Night, Early Dawn, p. 4
23. Dark Night, Early Dawn, p. 220

*Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming!
Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

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