inner space

The cost of simplicity is not less than everything.” – Anthony Blake, playing with T.S. Eliot’s “The Four Quartets”.  (Chew on that for a little while if you like.  I am.)wowee

That’s what he said last weekend.  I only attended a couple hours of the seminar.  This is one of the snippets that was given, and received.

If you have, like me, exposed your mind into the workings of Anthroposophy, then you understand how thick reading material can be.  It’s not easy reading.  The works are G.I. Gurdjieff are similarly dense literary material.  Similarly rare, somewhat strange, and esoteric.  Similarly profound in possibility.

I only dipped my toes in, last weekend.  It was an interesting dip.  I came away with some thoughts I hadn’t had before.

The esoteric, the inner teachings, workings, wisdom of any and all paths, necessitate a certain amount of internal space.  There were spaces between Anthony Blake’s words.  He could have elaborated on many points, but didn’t.  There was space, quietness, in the music that accompanied the event.  Spaces for the words that aren’t being said.  Spaces for thoughts.  Spaces for experiences that might not express themselves in thought or word.  And more than just the space itself is the invitation to explore it.

Inner space is a constant.  We may not know it, or feel it.  We may ignore it all together.  But even in the thick of the things of life, there is space inside of us, and we have an choice about how to use it.  We have the choice to be conscious.family canada pumpkin 2

Being aware of our inner space opens us up to amazing opportunity.  It may not be an easy opportunity.  It may sometimes, or often, be very difficult.  Staying awake to the fact of our inner space may lead us to see uncomfortable things about ourselves and the world around us.  But it also opens us to experience the miracles of everyday existence.swirl

Life is fast.  It flies by, and it is sometimes easier to not pay attention to the details, not to connect to ourselves and our fellow people as it goes.  Engaging our sense of inner spaciousness gives us more tools for engaging with our world – outer space, if you will, which certainly includes everything from the dust bunnies in our closets to the far reaches of the Universe.  It looks to me like the people who have lived well and pass out of this life in peace and without regrets are people who have integrated their inner and outer spaces.  They live fully, love fully, share freely and enjoy the fleeting waking moments of this precious opportunity to be alive.

All paths of esoteric spiritual thought are concerned with this inner space.  The word esoteric itself is from the Greek eso, meaning within.  But that doesn’t mean you have to join a secret metaphysical society to be aware of your inner space.  So many “secrets” are right out in the open.  A deep slow breath in the open air, under a warm sun.  What does it do to your senses, your mine, your heart?  How secret is that?

NGC 4639 is a beautiful example of a type of galaxy known as a barred spiral. It lies over 70 million light-years away in the constellation of Virgo and is one of about 1500 galaxies that make up the Virgo Cluster. In this image, taken by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, one can clearly see the bar running through the bright, round core of the galaxy. Bars are found in around two thirds of spiral galaxies, and are thought to be a natural phase in their evolution. The galaxy’s spiral arms are sprinkled with bright regions of active star formation. Each of these tiny jewels is actually several hundred light-years across and contains hundreds or thousands of newly formed stars. But NGC 4639 also conceals a dark secret in its core — a massive black hole that is consuming the surrounding gas. This is known as an active galactic nucleus (AGN), and is revealed by characteristic features in the spectrum of light from the galaxy and by X-rays produced close to the black hole as the hot gas plunges towards it. Most galaxies are thought to contain a black hole at the centre. NGC 4639 is in fact a very weak example of an AGN, demonstrating that AGNs exist over a large range of activity, from galaxies like NGC 4639 to distant quasars, where the parent galaxy is almost completely dominated by the emissions from the AGN.

NGC 4639 is a beautiful example of a type of galaxy known as a barred spiral. Thanks Hubble!

There are worlds within you, within each of us.  Galaxies.  Ecosystems.  Fertile garden beds, pastures, and deep forests.   Lightness, and darkness too.  It only takes a moment to turn your attention there.  You may not even have to stop what you are doing.  But turning your attention that way will probably change the way you are doing whatever that is.  Letting yourself live and work in this world, with a living connection to the inner world….

I think we were born to do that.moth to the flame

inspired

Says Ram Dass:  “I remember once lecturing in a hall back in the early 70’s. At that time most of my audiences were very young and they tended to wear white and they tended to smile a lot and wear flowers. At that time I wore beads and had a long beard. I recall that in the front row of my audience there was one woman who was about 70 and she had on a hat with little cherries and strawberries and things like that on it, false ones. And she was wearing black oxfords and a print dress and she had a black patent leather bag and I looked at her and I couldn’t figure out what she was doing in the audience cause she was so dissimilar from all the rest of the audience.

Our audiences were like a gathering of explorers clubs where we would come together and we would just share our experiences. So I started to describe some of my experiences, some of which were pretty far out and I looked at her and she was nodding with understanding, and I couldn’t believe that she could understand what I was talking about. I was describing experiences that I had had after using psychedelic chemicals, experiences that were very precious and far out. So I would try a little further out experience. I’d look over at her and there she was nodding away. I began to think maybe she had a problem with her neck that lead her to nod and maybe it had nothing to do whatsoever with what I was saying. And I kept watching and getting more and more fascinated and getting more and more outrageous in what I was saying and she kept nodding and nodding. At the end of the lecture I couldn’t resist, I just kind of smiled to her so intensely that she just had to come up and speak to me. And she came up and she said “Thank you so much. That makes perfect sense. That’s just the way I understand the universe to be.” And I said, “How do you know? I mean, what have you done in your life that has brought you into those kinds of experiences?” She leaned forward very conspiratorially and she said, “I crochet”. ”

(excerpt from the Ram Dass book “Polishing The Mirror: How to Live From Your Spiritual Heart” – if you like stories like this, please look it up and read more.)crochet

Amen, sister!

 

to make peace

sunsetIt is next to impossible in the middle of the night,

when the sound of my family’s sweet sleeping

fills my heart,

to make peace with

the senseless violence,

the greed, and random tragedy of the world.

These specters haunt my warm bed

and torment my sleepy thoughts into a frenzy.

I cannot protect those most dear to me.

I cannot rest.

 

With the rising sun, I remember. It is

far better to tackle the world’s unrest

with the rhythm of swinging hips,

the movement of muscle,

the pounding of feet on leaf mould, sand, grass,

lightly now, go over this hill, and down the other side.

My fingers, cracking a bulb of garlic,

handling soil, hay, children, sharing life with life.

 

The living world restores my senses.

Birth, growth, decline, and decay entwine

under my shoes, around my fingers, above my head.

The movement of life is evident

in the falling leaves, the mist on my face,

the bird flight and squirrel chatter,

the cool shadow and the warm fire.water sun

(In the dark, on the pavement, on the highway,

I lose my place.

Flailing, I cling to what I love.

Mortality and loss are immanent threats.)

 

Our only protection, the best security,

is that life loves itself.

Pushing the seed into the soil,

I find my place within the continuum.

 

Thankful,

to be reminded, again and again,

the world will not be healed

only by using our heads,

but with the motion of our limbs

and the beating of our hearts.

Whatever peace we can make

in this life

will be made

by the mind that moves

in our whole bodies.zinnia