Art And Mysticism
Spiritual vision through the medium of mental forms is truly a form of grace. It is a certain illumination and showering of elevated thought and feeling that is designed by deep Intelligence to guide us onward and inward. Form helps us eventually understand the formless, the quiet I-Witness that is always now. Mystical vision is more than mere knowledge. Through it, knowledge is conveyed but in the most beautiful and meaningful manner. One could never throw such an experience away; each time it is recalled one gets the original message and merges into silent peace and joy.
I think Tarkovsky was the most mystical “image poet” of modern times in that he really could convey deep mystical ideas through cinematic form. When I see the last scenes of “Stalker” or “Solaris” I am deeply moved into an ecstatic reverie and marvel over the experience for hours, amazed that his genius could express something I always considered beyond expression. The girl in this scene from “Stalker” is poor and crippled and lives in a tiny apartment in a gloomy, industrial Russian city. One would assume that she is entirely miserable. However, this scenes reveals the profound depth of her inner life.
That is true poetry. However, even this beauty is really only an interpretation, and therefore limitation, of inner vision, which is always ineffable. Great mystic artists give just a little bit of what they inwardly see. Even Tarvovsky’s art pales in comparison to the truest, sincere vision of even the most humble mind. The I-Witness is deep within and actively seeks prepared minds in its mysterious, inexhaustible variety of manifestations.
The other day I woke up just before dawn, I sat up in bed and even before I began to do a little meditation, I felt a strange vibration on the right side of my head. Inwardly, I looked at it and felt it and saw so very clearly in my mind’s eye a very gentle and friendly human form. I recognized him. I knew that this was all going on in the “Magic Theatre” within so I asked this apparition what he was doing here. No reply, just friendly, loving silence. I reflected and thought “Yes, I know why you are here. Your humanism moved me deeply and awakened something very profound but I have almost forgotten its origins and how it came to me in this life. Your Dr. Rieux in “The Plague” asked if it were possible to be a saint even if there were no god. He sacrificed everything for the well-being of others, yet he didn’t even believe in god.
Camus, I always suspected this of you, that you could never put your compassion under a popular concept of what we call “god.” Those that didn’t grasp your depth called you an “Existentialist.” The actual human experience of compassion was something so much more than confusing, corrupt concepts. You initiated me into silent Buddha compassion before I even became familiar with Buddhist teachings. I suspect that many others were also helped by you, gentle angel who descended into the “absurd,” the 20th century. Is this where you are now, in this ethereal space, stimulating neurons of the incarnated so that we don’t forget love? Do you dwell within the universal spirit, are you just a memory within the collective mind of humanity still bound to this dusty earth, or just an apparition of my idiosyncrasies trying to make sense of themselves?” The apparition remains silent.
The form disappears and I feel that same gentle pulsation that was in the left side of my head move into the right side of the chest, into the Spiritual Heart. Through the Spiritual Heart, mind rises high into a very fine light that surrounds the planet, a subtle, diaphanous spiritual atmosphere, I look down upon my valley from so high in this ethereal space. Unlike being in a plane or balloon and resisting gravity, everything is weightless and the forms are of pure light. The only movements are pulsations of thought and feeling. He came and showed me his perspective, how he sees things, how the “dead” gaze upon us, and then returned into the formless. The rocks of the mountains were just reflections of thought, all is sentient and made of light. Life is inherent in all things. I could vaguely see human faces taking form out of the mountain rocks. They are rough, turgid and unrefined like Neanderthals but an invisible force keeps loving them beyond time and form, purifying and refining them into something greater, beautiful and yet to be completed. An immense love looks down upon the planet and waits for all life forms to manifest and evolve spirit, slowly.
So was Camus a symbol or a bodiless mind that came to me? It doesn’t matter. All phenomenal experiences of the mind, even the most spiritual visions, are at best maps and guides, friendly nudges from the universe to go here or there, or not to. The meaning of the vision is what is important. To feel at one with the earth , as I did in this experience, is something so profound that even though I write the vision of Camus off as an hallucination, the inner meaning of the experience is indelibly pressed upon my mind and I could never deny its beauty and sublimity. The vision inspires great feelings, perhaps something akin to what the bodhisattvas feel. Microvita are sentient intelligences that exist in the finer, mental planes of reality. They have many qualities and manifest through various forms of human nobility, valor, genius, and love. Did Camus express compassion or did Compassion express Camus? For the non-dualist there really is no difference. All souls are just sparks from the eternal fire of Brahma. These bodiless microvita guide the evolution of consciousness in all beings on the planet and even help shape our thoughts and feelings. This physical world really is a reflection of the inner workings of spirit. Imagination is the key to higher realities, and as Tagore noted, that with more imagination, the less imaginary something is.
The Eye of God
Listen to “Amazon Whistel”, Fractal Music with Amazonian whistles.
The infinite being is beyond name and form yet bestows name and form to all things. Nothing exists apart from the causal matrix, the fundamental fractal that divides its very own Self so as to create the universe by infinite self division. Creation is the division and fragmentation of the original Self, as reflected in the fractal cross, that has created the “ten-thousand things.” The fundamental cross is a spiritual concept that is clearly reflected in the causal mind of the Vishuddha with its 16 vortexes or “vrttis”(4x4). This primordial fractal, the 4x4, further multiplies itself into the the 4x4x4. Each time the essential cross divides, it is more “causal,” potentialized and capable of controlling more of its created objects in nature. All of the parts exist within the whole, just as miniature crosses exist on the main arms of the fundamental cross. Nothing is essentially separate from its source. When this fundamental fractal divides itself into the 4x4x4 we get the 64 mayan tzolkien and the 64 hexagrams of the I-ching (4x4x4), which is an even deeper causal level than the human, semi-divine expressions at the Vishuddha chakra. The deeper Macrocosmic patterns of the tzolkein and I-ching impose themselves upon the microcosmic 4x4 patterns of the Vishuddha Vortex. For this reason the Vishuddha reflects the hidden laws of the universe, yet in a human and personalized form.
The “eye of god” is within all created beings. The “eye” is the developed pineal gland which yogis activate to enter into states of super-consciousness. All beings with 2 eyes have this “divine eye” within.
According to yoga and other schools of classical Indian philosophy there are 4 main states of consciousness: wakefulness, dream, sleep, and turiiya- total union with the Atman. Wakefulness is where the sensory-intellectual mind is entertained by perceptions of the physical and social world as well as our abstract thoughts about these realms. The dream state is mostly a recycling of these perceptions and memories; most impressions are discarded through jumbled dream scenarios whereas some dreams may actually be attempting to reveal aspects of one’s inner life beyond the sensory-intellectual mind. The sleeping state of consciousness is where the sensory-intellectual mind and even its activities of dream are suspended. Most people have no awareness of what happens in this state of consciousness, rather it is experienced as a state of unconsciousness. This is because most people have no practical, living awareness of any reality beyond the sensory-intellectual mind with the names and forms of the things we experience in the mundane world. It is only when meditative contemplation is highly developed and one has a notion of an inner I-Witness (Atman) that it is possible to know if there are subtle states of consciousness within deep sleep. This calm state of pure observation continues to witness the apparently dormant mind throughout the night while one is sleeping. And finally there is turiiya, where the mind is in union with the Atman, the I-Witness. Mind is a “relative, functional, ever-changing entity,” while the Atman is immortal, unchanging consciousness. It is due to the reflection of the Atman upon the mind that one is able to witness all states of consciousness related to the mind-body system- wakefulness, dream, and sleep. Turiiya doesn’t depend on any state of mind or body and is not a product of the nervous or endocrine systems. Turiiya is the Supreme Subjectivity of the Atman that gazes down upon the states of objective mental awareness.
The Atman is eternally Self-existent. All things depend on It for their recognition, but Atman depends on no thing. Atman sees and makes things known yet still exists when nothing is “seen.” One doesn’t discern the existence of the Atman in a practical manner in states of wakeful, sensory-intellectual awareness nor in the dream state. How does one know if this I-Witness really exists? It is through the sincere contemplation of these 4 states of awareness that one discerns the Witness that sees them clearly. Meditation makes the mind just as calm as if one were in a state of deep sleep, yet one is “awake” and acutely conscious. Developed meditators have been known to enter in Delta and Theta states of EEG, which peope usually only enter into when asleep. This deep and relaxed “awakeness” may continue all through the day and night. When I go to sleep there is the sound of Om and when I lose consciousness I enter a womb of sound and color and feel a soothing feeling around the pineal gland. When I awaken I recall that there was a Witness all through the night. Even if I awake in hell (which has happened recently), I can’t deny that this blissful entity has accompanied me all through the night. I only forget this when I begin to think too much and believe that the world really is “out there” somewhere instead of a subjective spiritual creation that my every thought, feeling, and action participates with. Such self-created worlds can easily become hells if we lose sight of the base of mental existence in the Witness. The Atman knows not of these problems or worries and if the mind directs itself toward the inner bliss of the Atman then the mind too will begin to let go of its worries and become more like its essence, still and calm. Mind is a certain mental wave-length and frequency. Atman is an infinite wave-length, a vibration without vibration that takes all created vibrations back into Its silence and wholeness. Om is the interplay between the vibration of mind and the silence of infinity. Om is the sound of silence. It is both here and there. It takes one into silence but also fills the noisy, unharmonized mind with its sweet tone that rises upward beyond the created universe.
One begins to see the world as represented through one’s mind as an objective mental creation, a well-designed narrative that interacts with the entire universe. Individual life becomes part of the universal story of humanity. One’s existential feeling is no longer exclusively in the body or even in one’s ideas about oneself. Identity extends into all things, places, and entities. Another entity seems to be living within one; not an outside invader but an inner guide and companion whose only purpose is to make you whole, to see behind the myriad facades of the mind to discern the truth above. It is not to say that one gives up on external life in the world of mind, but one begins to see this show as something a little less lonesome and sorrowful than the life of the separate ego trapped in its own little mental confines while awake, dreaming, and sleeping. The ever graceful and loving presence of the I-Witness gives one true confidence and identity and makes it more difficult to get lost in the labyrinths of mind.
The Atman is “omni-telepathic” consciousness because the Atman is the Supreme Subjectivity behind the entire universe as well as the I-Witness to the human mind. If we look deeply into the origins of our “I” in tranquility, we can see that the individual “I” is essentially the same as the universal “I”, or the Supreme Subjectivity. All souls are one. Only the placid heart and tranquil mind grasps this mysticism. By being aware that you are “seen” by this I-Witness, the entire mind may be gazed upon from this sublime stance.
Yogis are aware of the Atman in all states of not just waking consciousness but also during the states of dream and deep sleep. I can’t say I am always conscious while sleeping, but I am certain that a yogi snoring is really laughing with eternal joy. Sleep is seen so perfectly and clearly, sleep awakes into conscious sleep. Snoring is bliss absorbed and you giggle and laughe, but the laughing is really snoring. Expecting laughter and a snore escapes; and so you laugh even louder, and thus snore louder.
A yogis sleep is an eternal play of snoring and inner, joyful laughter. Om is the eternal hum behind snoring and laughter and all that vibrates with cosmic joy. OM produces all sound and absorbs all silence. Awake and you still hear the eternal hum through the hummingbirds. Good day, Good Night
The Double-Barreled Vajra
“Om Ah Hum Vajra Guru Padme Siddhi Hum.” This is the classic mantra of Padmasambhava, a great yogi from India who brought Tantric Buddhism to Tibet. It is a mantra to purify the mind and environment for meditation. The “guru” awakens the kundalini at the base of the spine (padme) with the force of “Hum.” This elevation of the mind with “hum” gives one the power to overcome the lower tendencies in the human mind. This new power serves as a “vajra,” a protective weapon to keep away immoral forces, both internal and external. In the ancient legends Padmasambhava used this mystical weapon to punish sinister people and restore dharma, or moral order in Tibet. Some people think these ideas are just mythological. I think it is literal, at least the possibility of using spiritual force to move the world. I don’t know much about the historicity of Padmasambhava, but my ideal of him is kind of like Che Guevara with occult powers, but perhaps with a little more forgiveness for those enemies who surrender to his compassion and renounce their evil ways.
The vajra is obtained by the advanced practice of Tantra Yoga, for one who controls Ida and Pingula, the centripetal and centrifugal forces of the mind. Digesting good as well as evil, only those who become completely still inside the shushumna may wield its power.
Each one of these eight words are mantras. While chanted with deep and emotive music the mantras work together to awaken one’s spiritual consciousness via the tantric process of awakening the “kundalini.” Kundalini is nothing more than the divine creative energy, or Shakti, that lies dormant within our minds. Shakti is called kundalini when referring to Her presence within the human soul. Once awakened, the kundalini Shakti makes us evolve emotionally, mentally and spiritually so that we can realize our own infinite Consciousness, or Shiva. I use the Shiva-Shakti words from classical Indian tantra only because I am more familiar with these concepts. However, it is very easy to see the same Shiva-Shakti theme in the history of Padmasambhava and his divine lovers. It is probable that the story of Padmasambhava is historical combined with mythological tantric imagery. Like the Indians, the Tibetans also used romantic imagery of lovers to refer to the transcendent relationship between Consciousness and Energy, Source and Creation, or Shiva and Shakti. </p>
On our first visit to Acteal I met a man who lost his whole family in the massacre of 1997. I had read about this incident years ago and had the opportunity to ask this community leader a few questions about what happened. He confirmed that they were Zapatista supporters. However, there had been peace accords since ‘94. They believe that the federal army supports local paramilitary forces that commited the massacre and continue to terrorize the people of Acteal. How else can these people have high power weapons and go about freely terrorizing people with nearby military bases that could potentially control these criminals? It is obvious they do the dirty work of the military and continue unimpeded in their terror and tyranny. All of the victims were unarmed and included mostly women and children, even unborn children. There still occur smaller massacres in the area and regular ambushes against them.
The first time I went to Acteal was in 1998. It was in a dream and I didn’t know it was Acteal. In the dream I saw what looked like blackened, charred bodies of many people piled together. In the dream I realized I would never read another book again and threw away a volume of Emerson. All that was left for me was to try and adapt to this overwhelming feeling of simultaneous compassion and torment, blessing and curse, heaven and hell. I knew that the heart and infinite compassion was the only path after this dream. Almost 20 years later I visit Acteal and see the famous statue of the 45 martyrs that were killed there. The figures in the statue look like the charred and blackened figures piled together that I saw in my dream. I immediately recall the dream and felt exactly the same feelings as the dream, and felt that everything in this impermanent life can be taken away except these sublime gifts of consciousness and compassion from the infinite. For the first hour I could not get the brooding, hopeless feeling out of my mind. Then came the “Jedi” priests. The were indigenous priests dressed in simple white clothing. They seem like Franciscans but were wearing a 1 piece tunic like Jedis, only without high boots but with sandals. We played music with them while Giitanjali cured the people and became good friends.
Acteal moves forward. They now have their own civil society, “Las Abejas de Acteal,” “The Bees of Acteal.” We visited a part of the community that provides housing for the victims who have lost their lands. My wife uses their clinic to give naturopathic treatments. They are very noble people and it is simply amazing to see that they still have some joy in their lives despite living under constant threat of annihilation. I could see some very fine spiritual qualities in some of the community leaders and could see that these people have really carried the great responsibility of healing and guiding the community forward.
Spiritual liberation is attained through sadhana and seva. Sadhana means “to make a sincere effort” in the endeavor to meditate on and realize the Supreme Consciousness within. Seva is service to all living beings as expressions of the Supreme Consciousness. As we see more of the Supreme Consciousness within, we must connect more with the expressions of the Supreme Consciousness in others, especially those who lack the basic necessities for existence. The end result of meditation and service is the same: the realization of the union of all souls within the Supreme Consciousness. Our social service projects with the indigenous communities of Mexico is a form of seva. We regularly take food and supplies to the shelter in Acteal for people who have lost their land and homes. We also give naturopathic treatments and medicines.
I first made this recording, “Andalouse” by Pessard, with my bamboo quenacho 2 years ago just after I first visited Acteal. I just recorded it again with the new flute. I was learning this piece at the time. Overall, it is an hopeful and inspiring work. The melody is in G major and E-minor, the relative minor tone. However, the grave and serious parts of the melody resolve themselves well with the overall major tonality and its optimism and insight. I was driving past the military bases with this work in my mind. As we approach Acteal, the clouds clear and the sun begins to shine a little. Here is what I wrote and the music is after the essay.
Frogs and Fugues
Desert rains abate. Now crickets join frogs in fugues. We dug our trenches, collecting water for trees, birds, insects, and animals all around. Our home is an island of hope for many now. But now the world and its interests encroach. How can any evil out-live this eternal creation that is always new? May spirit and nature protect us all. Our trenches are now a defense in war against those above who annihilate us, below. Be careful harming those below, for how low does their consciousness go, those who hear frogs and fugues?
I wrote the prose last summer after a rainstorm released a lot of tension from the local environment. I contemplated how the hidden power of nature,including the realm of art, helps keep the mind optimistic in face of grave dangers. It sounded as if the frogs and crickets were playing a fugue and I contemplated how it is not just the ‘high consciousness” that helps us, but also the “low”, that which is from the earth. I was reminded of Bach’s “Gavotte.”
A Marriage of Sense To Soul
This evening my soul poured out and into all things, leaving this empty, lonely vessel, and was filled with an infinite, ever-flowing stream. My soul poured out, reeling and roaring into everything. Ceased of breath, I am; empty of form in a diaphanous blue immensity, in the gentle frolic of the evening wind, in the warm smile of the setting sun, condensed into flowing rivers and streams, settled into earth and stone.
Now a throb in this vessels breast animates and enlivens, pours into and through the vivacious pulses of all beings. A marriage of sense to soul; nothing thought, sought, gained or lost. Darkness falls on fleeting pleasures and world is shattered to bliss.Vishal Quetzal, author profile