What a wonderful entity is a thinker!
What possibilities of flight, of certain freedom, it suggests.
What enjoyment of the power of this ideal locomotion!
What open space! Is it empty?
Not by any means. The space is filled with light. Its skies are blue with endless hope.
Have they any sun? They have; — the sun of heart. A moon? — the mirror of the lamp of day? They have it too: — it is the reflective power of the mind itself.
It wanes, it grows. Sometimes, full-orbed and clear, it contemplates the glory of the Heart-Sun; sometimes it is lost in dark eclipse, in umbras and penumbras of the earth of senses.
It has its sunset-colored mists, the clouds of passion, the reflected fire of the earthly vapor. It has its world of air, and its ever-flowing ocean with bright fairy creatures, and the caves of stone, and the dark wells of gloom. It has its burning climes and frigid poles, one at its feet, — indifferent to all; another at its head — the coolness of the selfless peace wrapped in auroral glory.
It has seven planes — there ideas are things, but how different are they!
Let us look at the lowest plane, the hardened, the sense-bewitched dream. How it recalls to mind the sleeping city in a fable! Every object here is a cold fact, and a hard fact, — and beware to make a step with slippery foot! And jump not high, for harder will you fall. No sound is heard here, no word exchanged, the breeze is dead. It seems as though no spectres would e'er come here to watch the marble sleep. Yet spectres come, with cameras, note-books and recording pencils. And the result of their investigation is materialistic science.
How curious are their note-books. They see one apple falling; they call it an apple. They see two, three, a hundred apples fall. They write instead a symbol — Gravitation. And then they forget that it means simply a hundred-apples, and talk mysteriously, — even so mysteriously that all hope is lost of ever seeing beyond.
One stone for them is a stone, but many stones are matter. And when they roll from mountain top, then they are force. Another vapory word for scientists, as long as they are not hit by that which it represents. But being so vapory on the mental plane themselves, they are not hit, except by cold, hard facts. And then the circle begins over again. Thus dance the dwellers of the rocky bottom.
But some there are who do not care to write down symbols of symbols. This is too complicated. They begin to see that the facts, no matter how cold and hard, are themselves symbols, signs, expressions on the waves of space, of something more real and more vital. But as they cannot control their movements in true co-ordination, they stop a moment. Then they find that their own life can be made a clear and beautiful symbol, in co-ordination with their own inner light of soul. It is then that their symbols take on a halo.
It is then that the symbols of all nature begin to thrill with life. And it is then that the symbols left by the great Teachers of the human-kind in countless ages past begin to shine and hum with sound.
But, what a wonder! When the night came for the world of forms, when sorrow, disappointment took our sight away from those appearances, and for a moment gave us rest in darkness of material eclipse; (1) when even symbols disappeared, and temples, books and priests — the light and sound of symbols still remains. For being of the soul, how then can it be separated from the soul?
Lo! it looms in darkness of the introspecting soul, that soul which tries to find rest in her own depth.
Lo! it sings a song in the heart, that loves so well. It is the soul of symbol and a part of our own, and it is the soul of a temple, book or priest, and a part of our own. And it opens the second world of mind.
There is a veil of dark clouds between this world and that left below.
The dweller of this higher sphere is no more a physicist. He is a metaphysician now. He deals now not with facts, but with the soul of facts. That soul of facts he takes from his own soul. That is why he is called a dreamer by his friend below, and his thoughts are called shadowy, thin, void of hardness and solidity.
And so let it be. If gravitation is the shadow of a hundred apples on a note-book, why cannot those hundred apples give another shadow, this time on the soul itself? Why cannot they touch the soul on the common spot of their existence?
Is not the soul itself gravitating to its own luminous centre where all is love and harmony and peace? At least the infinite sensitiveness of gravitation of both in their own spheres are here attested. How then should the small lives of an apple be devoid of joy in the performance of their duty, and of their loyalty to the centre of the planet, which they ever wish to approach; — if all nature for the perception of the soul is one grand song of gladness?
As the chrysalis of flesh set free its winged guest, Psyche, so do the facts of nature break their stony shells of the senses and liberate simply another world for Psyche, wherein she may move, and live, and build. Thus Psyche, who gave her own sympathy and light to things of nature, receives as a truly royal present, the soul of things for her own kingdom.
Then having now conquered this second sphere of mind, Psyche lifts her eyes in utter gladness to the great Heart-Sun shining overhead upon herself, and from, herself upon all her treasures. She rears an altar of her sacrifice to her lover and her Lord. She discovers that his light, and his only, is reflected in the soul of symbols. Even be it through herself, as bright transmitter, yet it is so. It is his light, his love, his harmony, his joy, as wide as the universe is wide. Now she dreams only of him, the only one, the bright Eros.
What refreshing rain! The symbol-stars are merging into dawn. Many meanings and many lights are pierced with auroral shafts of the one Love divine. The stars disappear, all seems to vanish, Psyche faints and sleeps sweetly as a child in the divine embrace.
What wonderful awakening! What thrill of life! Psyche opens her eyes in this third world, and all that was dear to her is now with her. Or rather not only now, but always with her! Or, indeed, always was, and is, and will be with her. For it is a part of the light of her Lord, and a part of his love; her own love is a part of his love.
Her smallest thought thrills and scintillates and lives. Her thought takes glorious forms, as true as love is true; as bright as the life of the heart is bright; as real as the fulfilment of our best hopes is real. At last her ideas are alive.
She gave her life itself to the Lord of Love; the Lord of Love returned that life to all the Universe of hers. Now this Universe is truly hers. It sends her a thousand kisses in the wind; it smiles in shining wave; it fans her cradle-sleep of childhood with the hands of hosts of fairies; it sprinkles cooling dew in her heat of labor of the middle day; it opens portals on her dying bed. But, what is best and sweetest, it greets her through the hearts of men. She knows now that the hearts of men are forever hers. She can feel and see through the thickest cloud. She basks in the glorious realization of Brotherhood. She gave her life itself to the Lord of Love, and her life now returns to her.
If she be a poet or an artist, she is not afraid now that her dreams will vanish. For she knows now that her dreams are not hers, but of her Lord, of him who dreams this Universe to be. Love links her dreams and the Universe together, as daylight links the beholder and the scene, and all the objects which were separate at night. For her to think and to exist is now the same.
Though her thought takes many forms, yet she feels that the source of their sun-lit glory is only one. She lives now in the fringe of her immortal Lord, of her Higher Ego, of him who gives her mind to embrace the Universe. And all the Universe trembles with life in that embrace.
The skies are smiling because of her embrace and of her love; the day is warm, the flowers are bright, the water is playful; — yea, she sees farther, — the summer lightning flashes back her thought, even the small lives reflect in gravitation her own loyal nature. In the whole Universe there is no place for a single idea which is devoid of life. In that infinity of life her finite part faints in joy and ecstasy to pass beyond to the higher world.
There she enters into her due inheritance of power. All this Universe is hers and she will rule it. The Lord puts the sceptre in her hand over all Nature. But as to man, so dear, and so unruly, so high, and so illusioned, — what will she do with him in sweet compassion? She even bends to his mistaken and familiar ways, that she may obtain a conscious hearing, in a manner nearest to his understanding.
Ah! that understanding! will it ever bind heaven and earth together? Sweet is it to rule the earth, but sweeter still to have of her a dear and self-conscious comrade! Where is that thought which will appeal to the hidden God in man so he awakes and claims his own? She speaks to men as if to Gods.
This breaks another barrier, for that divine understanding seems to emerge from everywhere. Men and their shadow-nature become God-transparent. The wonder of it lifts her into the region the fifth, — of that of God-ideas.
And above that the glory of the Universal Heart, where Christs and Buddhas dwell, which leads to THE ONE — THE HIGHER SELF OF ALL.
1. Eclipse for matter, on which soul-rays cease to fall for a time. (return to text)