The Two Worlds
Sometimes we remember to
be present. Sometimes we are reminded; an inner prompting to
divide attention, to be awake, revealing a higher world within
us. This is the meaning of the esoteric phrase 'As Above, So Below,'
where the chaos of the
many I's below obscures the higher world
above, while once this higher world manifests, the many I's fall
into their place. A human being is a bridge between the lower world
and the divine.
When one realizes that the lower world, the world of the
many I's, occupies us at the cost of consciousness, one
redresses the balance and departs for a higher existence. Yet it
requires preparation to travel between the lower and the higher
worlds of one's cosmos, the journey from chaos to the 'retreat' of
presence. It is conscious work, climbing above the many I's to the
summit of presence.
One climbs towards God, the divinity within. The ascent is
difficult, and one forgets the reason for the effort. Yet breathless
after the exertion, reaching the view that you have attained, you
are reminded of the reason for your climb. The noise of the lower
world is far away. On that inner height, the air is pure, the view
clear in all directions, one is empty of everything except the clear
state of presence, and gratitude that one has made the climb. So the
path, the ascent, the technique of awakening is sacred. From a
Tibetan mountain plateau, Gampopa said, 'It is the greatest miracle
that one ever awakens from sleep.'
This climb to God is obscured by the lower world. All the interests,
desires, aspirations that come so easily, what one wants, what one
likes, what one is interested in, all the I's that flow naturally
into one like water in a channel. Rumi finds the same in himself,
asking, 'What kind of prayer is this, to be sitting in the mosque
with my heart in the bazaar?' The space for this dizzying,
miraculous climb is crowded by the I's of the lower world. Yet when
one establishes the importance of being present, the possibility of
a new life opens up. Not by changing externals, but by adjusting
one's inner life for the journey to the
Higher Self. Detaching from the external world, to dwell in the
internal, ready for the eternal.
Schools build monuments that represent this journey. On the
Indonesian island of Java, the Buddhist temple of Borobudur is
called the 'ineffable mountain of the accumulation of virtue', where
virtue is the accumulation of conscious moments. The temple is a
vast structure, and a 'prayer in stone' as an archeologist describes
it. It is also represents the journey within; a three mile climb
from the base to the summit, through relief carvings of the Buddha's
life called, 'The Unfolding of the Play,' to a stupa on the tenth
level where one stands in presence, as a flame between the brows.
People are going back and forth across the doorsill where the two
worlds touch. The door is round and open. Don't go back to sleep.
The heart has a hundred and one arteries; one of these goes up into
the head. He who climbs through it attains immortality.
Now Allah transports me from the house of the world which is
temporal to the house of the other world which is eternal.
Those who are fixed on Truth go upwards.
The Greek language derives its word for 'man' from the fact that he
Peter of Damaskos
Anyone who aspires to climb to the summit of that mountain-that is,
to the perfection of virtue-will know how hard the climb is, and how
the attempt is doomed to failure without the help of the Word.
Bernard of Clairvaux
Stillness means the shedding of all thoughts, even those which are
divine; otherwise through giving them our attention because they are
good we will lose what is better.
Gregory of Sinai
Why carry a whole load of books on your back climbing this mountain,
when just a few thoughts of God will light the holy fire?
When you get rid of the idea of self, the mountain will topple.
The real miracle is the falling of veils.
Borubudur temple, Java, Indonesia. Borobudur's legendary architect
Gunadharma was said to be one who, "bears the measuring rod, knows
division and thinks himself composed of parts."
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