She was wrapped in sleep — so deep that nothing could disturb her. But then something stirred, ever so faintly, as if the softest veil of sleep were lifting. Still she stayed beneath the veil. Like the darkness that moved upon the face of the waters, something beyond time and space was moving her. And it seemed like she took ages to wake up.
But when she did, she had an inspiration. For an instant she had a vision of a new world and how it would come into being. It was only a shadowy idea in its most ethereal form. Yet this was the matrix for a host of creative energies, and they informed her with what needed to be done. Her idea would need thoughts, vehicles of expression, a whole series of them. Her initial insight would have to be developed, generating new concepts and adding more details, until she understood how it all fit together. And then she would know what to do with it.
This is what she saw with her first inspiration: the essential outlines of all these vehicles of expression. But she was not ready to fill in the details. She only got started, and then she had to let it go. The whole idea withdrew into some dark and silent space in her consciousness. She would have to sleep on it.
When it came to her again, she had another round of creativity. She recalled those ethereal outlines, and they were ensouled with life. They took in waves of vital energy, and they continued to evolve. As all the integrated parts of her idea were filling in with details, it took on a life of its own. It became a world of creation, with kingdoms of conception and feeling and vitality. Every one of her thoughts developed on its own, yet they were all part of a single dynamic whole. And they all evolved together.
But she knew there were worlds of details yet to come. She would have to give the whole idea a lot more thought. So once again she had to let it go and sleep on it. In fact, she had to do this over and over. With each new round of inspiration, her creation came into being and continued to evolve. Becoming more and more detailed, it took on the form of a realistic vision — and then it transformed into something truly remarkable. It not only existed in her mind — she existed within it.
Here she had inside information. All things come into being from the inside out: from the inspiration of a single mind, a universal mind, the Intelligence of the cosmos. Universal Intelligence inspires nature with creative energies. It informs all of existence with life. And life evolves through more and more detailed vehicles of expression, from ethereal forms to physical bodies. Now she understood where her own creation was going. It needed expression in the material world. From the very beginning, her inspired idea had been working toward this end — to actually embody in a physical being. And when it finally did this — we became the vehicles.
This is where we stand today. "Sophia" is the wisdom principle within us, informing us about the essential unity of life. We are the vehicles of this vision. Our bodies, our sensations, our emotions, and our thoughts can all be used to express oneness. But we are not really ready for this. Our faculties are filled with the details of our own special interests, and these create a totally realistic feeling of separateness. This feeling is reinforced almost all of the time — by our physical senses, our desires, and our thoughts.
Yet the wisdom tradition teaches that these faculties do not tell us who we really are, that our true nature is an essential consciousness — an essence we share with every form of life. What keeps us from feeling this oneness? Our sensing, wanting, and thinking are dominated by the "desire-mind." This is the part of the mind that chooses to identify with personal desires. The more we try to satisfy these desires, the stronger our identity as a separate self. It is this self-image that directs most of our actions and reactions — physical, emotional, and mental. When we choose to use these faculties to strengthen our separate self, our bodies lend themselves to gratifying the senses, our desires are largely self-serving, and our minds are greatly influenced by prejudice.
Yet there is another part of the mind that can guide us — the vehicle of Sophia. This is the higher mind informed by spiritual wisdom. With its guidance we can direct our own spiritual development. We can actually choose to be inspired. In this way Sophia's vision will continue to evolve — through every level of our being. Instead of using our faculties to add more details to our separate self, we can use them in ways that lead to spiritual connection. And this will inspire us with new rounds of creativity.
Starting on the physical level, we could let our actions express the spirit of service. There is something very powerful about acting for the benefit of others. Even when we're all wrapped up in our own private world, if we can manage just a single act of kindness, a sense of oneness will stir within us. Be it ever so faint, it is our eternal nature, beyond time and space, and the source of true inspiration.
On the level of desires, we could aspire to have more concern for others, to be more sensitive to their condition and their welfare. Being moved by the plight of others immediately changes our self-centered perspective. One instant of compassion can break the illusion of separateness. When we identify with the suffering of another living being, we are one with the heart of the universe.
When it comes to the faculty of mind, a vision of oneness can transform the most ingrained habits of thought. These habits are concerned with who we think we are. Our identity is formed by a lifetime of holding this image in our minds. But all of this can change in a moment of insight: our true nature is beyond all form. It is the source of wisdom and compassion. It is the Intelligence of the universe. We are all expressions of Universal Mind.
Choose an inspiration. Give it a world of thought. And then get creative.
(From Sunrise magazine, December 2005/January 2006; copyright © 2005 Theosophical University Press)
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Man's main task in life is to give birth to himself. — Erich Fromm