Saturday, July 31, 2010

THE LIVING TEMPLE: A Global Sacred Place

Each day, billions of people visit sacred places. These settings offer profound peace and inspiration. Yet, they can also be places of intense conflict. With this paradox in mind, I traveled to sacred sites around the globe. Moving from culture to culture, I saw global communication offering a new way of experiencing sacred places. The countless structures that had been separated by geography and belief for thousands of years could now be seen as many doorways to a common storehouse of human experience. Here is a vision of what I encountered in the world treasury of knowledge and wonder.

Something compels us to draw designs. It carries us out of the world we know to a place where darkness contains a pulsating seed of light. The pulsating light breaks into stars. The stars gather into a hub of radiance and a wheel of time. The hub and wheel become a wondrous dwelling place where consciousness and energy stream into the world.

This combination of awareness and forces shape the world in subtle and mysterious ways. I want to understand what these these powers are and how they work. So I search for places that reveal the secrets of energy and matter.

I encountered a stone gateway set against the sky. Through this gateway, I saw consciousness and energy rolling through an ocean of raw forces. They teemed with possibilities and primal power. These elemental forces rose through human beings. They animated our relationships and endeavors. Some people warned that contact with primal power was dangerous. They cautioned that expressing it too opening brought rejection and shame. Yet, battling elemental forces led to struggle and madness.

Another gateway revealed new insights about the primal powers. When they appeared to be destroying, they were providing unseen protection. When they looked as though they were causing chaos, they were organizing wise designs. When primal powers appeared to be separate from us, they were flowing through every cell of our being.

Because they provided knowledge and energy, I called the primal powers Wisdom Currents. Wherever human lived, they built structures to honor and protect the alchemy of these forces. Some honored the Wisdom Currents too tightly. They developed an obsession to posses them and trap the Wisdom Currents' flowing wonder in fixed objects.

Yet, the forces of life used this obsession to control life to take us deeper into life. It moved ancient designers to draw Wisdom Currents into circles. Builders passed these arcs into stone and filled it with life. They widened the arcs, tracing the expansion of Wisdom Currents from seeds of form into multidimensional circuits of regenerating energy. The regenerating cycles morphed into spirals. Spirals whirled into labyrinths. The winding path led deeper into the twist and turns of matter and energy.

When the path straightened, it pierced the physical world and passed through spiritual realms of shadow and light, contraction and expansion and other pairs of opposites. On their way, the Wisdom Currents charged physical spaces with vitality.

The charged passages led to places where the varied qualities of the Wisdom Currents took the forms of plants, animals and humans. The myriad personalities of the Wisdom Currents found sanctuary beneath vast domes of all-encompassing space. Within the all-encompassing spaces, the Wisdom Currents were born as individual being. Each being passed through archetypal stages of gaining identity.

Strangely, individual beings dreamed the Wisdom Currents into a maze of limitations, fear and violence. Caught within this self-created nightmare, they looked for a way out. They sacrificed all they had, imploring Life for release them. With nothing left to offer, they feared decay and death.

Instead, each being found that he or she was not alone, but connected to all beings in the past, present and future. Each personality discovered her or his role in weaving threads of life into the whole. The interweaving pattens they generated rose into magnificent architecture, unfolding possibility after possibility of the play between energy and matter. The beauty and mystery they created moved them to bow in gratitude.

Now the Wisdom Currents shimmer through digital screens. Ancient holy places shine through monitors around the globe. The sacred places, separated by geography and belief for thousands of years, can now be seen as many doorways to one living temple of shared human experience.

The Wisdom Currents that flowed through ancient builders to create the Living Temple also flows through our time. It will flow into the future, reshaping the Living Temple in new and unexpected ways. As it did in the beginning, darkness will contain a seed of pulsating light. The pulsating light will carry us into an unknown world. Something within us, will compel us to draw designs.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Inception: Using Illusion to Dispel Illusion

"I am here to remind you this is a dream." When Leonardo DiCaprio spoke this line of dialogue near the end of the movie, Inception, I knew this was more than another shoot 'em up summer blockbuster. Beyond the chase scenes and explosions, beyond the clever story concept of making the mind the scene of the crime, Inception does something that few movies do. It uses illusion to dispel illusion.

As all magicians know, the illusion of pulling a rabbit out of a hat is easily accomplished by drawing the eyes of the audience to the sexy woman standing next to the hat. Inception performs its magic by keeping us focused on an intricate plot, flashy locations and great acting. But the movie takes an audacious step further. It lifts the veil of illusion to reveal a deeper magic. If we have the eyes to see it, the Inception's elaborate dream reveals the dreamer. It delights the mind by uncovering the awareness behind the mind. This is the greatest magic of all, performed by the wisest and most compassionate artists, spiritual teachers and healers among us.

The first clue in the film that this hat trick is afoot is the character of the architect. Her name is Ariadne, the name of the Greek princess who gave the hero, Theseus, a golden thread to guide him through the labyrinth. Architecture, the most solid of forms, is used to experience the mind's illusions. In the film, architecture folds back on itself, portraying consciousness weaving within itself to create form. Structures unexpectedly morph from one form to another in response to the characters' shifting dreams. Buildings crumble, reflecting their crumbling beliefs.

A subtle hint that the movie uses form to point beyond form is given in the Paris classroom where the Leonardo DiCaprio character seeks out the Michael Caine character. The chalkboard behind the desk is covered with drawings of the Pantheon in Rome. This 2,000 year old building is infamous for the shaft of sunlight streaming through the single circular opening at the apex of its dome. The occulus opens the confining mass of this ancient temple to the vast freedom of the sky and the animating power of the sun. It reminds us that the purpose of the structure is to reveal the vital reality behind the structure.

Like the Pantheon, the movie uses the illusions of story structure, acting and special effects to point beyond the illusions. It entertains in ways the take us beyond entertainment. Inception plants in our minds a rare wisdom: "I am here to remind you this is a dream."

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Taking Your Power Back: A Unified Approach

I'm retrieving my power again. I've done this at significant moments throughout my life. This time it's different. In the past, I imagined myself reeling in my spirit from parents, teachers, bosses and beliefs. I pulled it back from "them" into "me." My diminished self felt stronger, more focused on what I wanted to do. Then I lost power and had to retrieve it again and again.

This time, I'm recovering power from a more unified perspective. Self and Other have become varied currents moving within one field of energy. Taking back my power isn't about getting it from "them." It's seeing through the belief in "self and other" to the power that is already animating and shaping both.

Far from everything melting into one, mindless energy soup. This unified experience of power emboldens me while freeing me from threats of power in others. They don't own it and neither do I. Power is life force flowing through each and every one of us.

My access to power isn't determined by what I hold. It's determined by releasing control and opening to the torrent already rushing from life into itself. Now, my work is lovingly and wisely cooperating with raw life energy as it animates and shapes the features of my individuality. Its appreciating raw power moving and defining the features of other individuals and seeing how our interactions magnify the forms and functions of power.

Encountering abuses of power, I see Mind and Ego desperately attempting to put themselves in the driver's seat of life energy. I see the wisdom in that energy working as it rips their fingers from the steering wheel and liquefies their illusions. Instead of fighting to take my power back, I notice how the life force is directing the scene and enact my role in the unfolding cosmic drama. It's better this way.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

There's a Life Waiting for You

There's a life waiting for you
just across the threshold of your fear,
just beyond what your mind can see.

This life is not about others liking you.
It's not a clever scheme to make you rich.
This life is the one true life
that's killing you not to live.

Of course it's scary to go there.
Your One True Life contains all
the power, wisdom and love
that Life wants to express through you.

You've been running from it,
but it's always out ahead of you.
Your One True Life won't go away.
It's what you are.

Of course the way gets harder
as you get closer.
There's more energy and knowledge at stake.
But, the only way to ready yourself for the task
is by doing the task.

The task is to put it all on the line.
No holding back,
no playing it safe,
no matter what others say.

The task is to live
the One True Life
that's waiting for you.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Life is a Mystery Walk

When I travel to a foreign city, I take mystery walks. I leave the guidebook and map in the hotel room, walk out the door, notice something that draws my attention such as a dome climbing skyward, a curving street lined with shops or a bridge spanning a waterway. I move toward what calls me and let the shapes, colors, textures and sounds flow into my senses. I notice how the design supports the activities of people going about their day. I scan the walls and roof eaves for carvings of human faces, animals, plants and geometric patterns. In the forms, I sense the hopes and fears of those who made them and connect with the consciousness of the past flowing through the present into the future.

I explore the first place that called me until I sense a doorway, stairway or some other feature of the city drawing my attention. I engage that place until the next place calls. Wandering from place to place, the city comes alive. It speaks to me directly without the filters of historic names and dates. I enter a personal relationship with the city, one that can’t be encountered through the screen of a guidebook or tour.

After a while, I sit at a cafĂ©, park bench or stone steps of an old building. I recall the places I’ve just passed through, noticing the images and forms that figure prominently in my awareness. It may be faces or the geometry of circles carved around doorways. I might be signs in shop windows or footsteps on cobblestones. I look for threads connecting these experiences. Weaving back and forth through my awareness, a theme appears. The connecting strand could be threshold crossing, the overlap of nature and architecture, labyrinth-like movement of the path… I see how this theme relates to the questions and concerns I’m currently facing and listen for the insights and guidance it is offering.

I scan at the city before me and perceive the living, speaking consciousness interacting with itself through the people, objects, streets and buildings. I see the walk I just took as a continuation of my journey through this world and appreciate it all as one long mystery walk.