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February 2007
Awakening • Higher Centers • The Beloved • God
copyright Fellowship of Friends, Inc.

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.


Related thoughts

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.
Arabian Nights

Those who are fixed on Truth go upwards.
Bhagavad Gita

The Greek language derives its word for 'man' from the fact that he looks upward.
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.
Ibn Arabi

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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