Earth as Teacher of the Radiance of Love
In each post describing intimacy of heart with Earth, the qualities of intimacy differ in relation with respect to what expression of Earth as Nature we are tending. Being in heart-relation with a tree differs from being with a mountain, or a flower, a stream, woods, and so on. Wholeness and multiplicity are not exclusive of each other; exclusiveness only occurs when living logically/mentally. It does not occur when we are living intuitively. And, we get caught in a kind of unconscious self-centeredness when we try to hold on any such experience of Wholeness/particularity as if it were now some kind of a possession. If anything, the possessiveness needs to go in the opposite direction – that is, surrendering to these experiences rather than making them into yet another product to have. Moments of “Earth bliss” tend to immediately turn into a commodity.
The subtly here centers on how difficult it is to stay with the kind of intimate experience that EARTH AS LOVE offers to us. Earth-Love may seem to be an entirely new category of love; we know of sexual, romantic, self-love, spiritual love, but Earth-Love may seem new. It is not; rather we don’t recognize the term nor the experience for what it is because all of humanity has undergone an “adaptive remodeling”, a putting on of a kind of permanent shell of supposed superiority to Nature, and thus to Earth. We remain quite unaware that everything, absolutely everything, without exception, is poured out to us as the Holy Grail of Earth, which we take and use as if She were a compilation of possible bliss experiences. We risk missing the chance, maybe a last chance, to embark on a different way of life, a life of intimacy with divine nature.
Her LOVE is so great, so outpouring without end, that there is no moment that She withholds emanating Love. You may be saying – “oh yes, how about the earthquakes and the tsunamis and the fires and the hurricanes and the tornadoes and the floods – that does not look like love to me.” She does not do that to us. These phenomena are the necessary adjustments needed for her to remain in balance – and we are responsible for the imbalances.
How can we speak of the Divine Love of Earth? Love of this nature is a(r)dor-ation. Earth a(r))dores us! A(r)dor-ation is something way beyond worship; with worship there is an unbridgeable cleft between two lovers. Earth is the Teacher of a(r)dor-ation, that is, Love without separation between the Lover and the beloved – ever! We experience this Love every moment, awake or asleep, but are cold and removed lovers, which does not stop her from trying to teach us to live within the earth atmosphere of Love, spirit-soul-body with spirit-soul-body, seamlessly.
Those small moments when I try to speak of being within Earth rather than on top of Her, those are only small tastes of a(r)dor-ation. Tastes of pure feminine receptive Love. When we experience such moments, they are moments of Her loving us! The task of this turning age is that of opening our hearts with ardor into ardor.
I found someone who says all this in such a beautiful way that I want to offer his words here, knowing that the author is speaking from within a remembrance of people (the Manichaeans) who lived this love-intimacy with Earth – in the 10th-13th century. It is amazing how this imagination is so significant for this time:
"Manichaeans had developed a spiritual natural science with their clairvoyant way of thinking, which could recognize divine nature in visible, concrete existence; in the radiant fire of the long breath of the sun, in the hastily waxing moon, in the expansive deep nature of the human soul, in the many voices among animals, in the embracing cloak of trees and plants and in the various displays of light, fire, air, wind, and water. The halos of glowing stars dying off in the heavenly sea were seen as the openhearted scripts of reverent wakeful angel beings. The entire cosmos was bathing in a refreshing light of the divine spirt and the Manichaeans approach the earth we walk upon cautiously, like Mary Magdalene. (pg 31)
(Reference: Manichaeism as the Christianity of Freedom and Love by Roland van Vliet).
Living in such a manner is not a matter of going back or renewing something from the deep past. The memory helps, for sure. But truly intimate presence with Earth now has a new requirement. This kind of intimate love also has to be enacted between people. This way of being with Spiritual Earth cannot be a private experience nor held that way. The good news of where we are is inherently communal, and as we discover where we are, what we do will change drastically.
Ever-Green and the Tree of Life
Sequoia, this magnificent being who I introduced in the last post with a simple practice that awakens the body to the immortality of wood, now becomes for us, embodied tree-awareness. Such awareness takes many forms, as there are many kinds of trees, which, as a whole, form the image of the Tree of Life. Connection with Sequoia forms awakened bodily connection with the Tree of Life.
This season honors the mighty Ever-Green. Her beautiful canopy-form inspires a particular uniting of Earth-Heaven through bodily feeling the immortality of Earth.
In the great gnostic tradition, Sophia, who together with God, in the beginning before beginnings, feels the fullness of the desire of birth-ing and traverses the universe to complete this desire. She creates Earth-as emanating, expressing her own divinity, AND she creates the humans who have the purpose of helping Earth re-unite Her with the Divine, which does not necessarily mean going back to the spiritual worlds, as if Earth is not of the spiritual worlds. Humans are here as bearing the awareness of Earth as immortal.
The way to hear gnostic, that is, soul stories like this is through the soul rather than an alternate creation story as if it is incompatible with the biblical creation story. Soul knows with immediacy while cognition typically “knows about”; in this sense soul and gnosis go together.
The little practice last time gives an example of being within our destiny as human beings. Earth is not complete without soul-intimacy with humans and humans are not complete without soul- intimacy with Earth. Earth, without the internally felt soul presence of the humans is left vulnerable to destruction.
This season, particularly during the time of the winter solstice, gives the special opportunity of a most important inner intimacy with a particular form of tree, the Ever-Green.
Outside, in a relaxed state, with attention within the heart, notice the form of an Ever-Green tree, with a point at the top, expanding toward the base. If we notice such a being, having stopped our thinking for a few moments so that the body can feel the movement of the forces, a particular sense of the immortality of trees awakens.
The top of the tree becomes like a point – but that motion of the point does not stop where the form of the tree stops – or tree tops. The energetic, subtle, spiraling forces continue – and are home when they come to the center of the Great Central Galaxy, the spiritual place, the home of Sophia, the Soul of the World. Those forces are also returning, coming downward through the tree and into the ground, going through the roots of the tree where a transformation of forces occurs, and Earth forces move up through the tree to the tree-tops and out into the Great Central Galaxy. The fullness of this making and expressing Life is given in the emblem of The Tree of Life in the opening picture of this post.
The bodily experience occurs within the physical body, which is more fine and refined than the material body, but still felt as sensation, inner sensation, registering within the finer nerve connections, a registering within the invisible physical body rather than the visible material body.
I have not read of this pattern of ongoing creating which begins to awaken within us the bodily-felt wonder of the immortality of Earth. This description came through contemplative experience. This experience also gives body and awareness to what is meant by The Tree of Life. This immortality is recognized, for example in the form and movement of the Kabbalah, and also by the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.
The world-wide willful destruction of trees as well as their destruction brought about by climate change and yearly increasing forest fires, reveal how the Tree of Life remains permanent, though has to continually adjust the Whole to do so. The recent and ongoing destruction of the Amazon forest, for example is now releasing some of its kind inhabitants which are likely to reduce the human population considerably, for the Whole must remain Whole. Innumerable viruses are losing their homes with the destruction of the forests – and they are finding the way to the humans.
Throwing more and more money at climate change cannot produce the needed readjustment of the Whole. The endeavor of the technology of ecology, as it is being imagined, is actually destructive. For example, so-called scientists, who are not scientists at all but rather merely the technological workers of pure materialism, have now completed what they call ‘barcoding’ of all of nature – all the plants, all the animals, and all of the sea creatures and creatures of the air. BARCODING, which means the willful alteration of the Whole by making it seem to be just a vast collection of various parts, which can be digitalized and treated accordingly—that is, taking one species at a time and making alterations, completely in the absence of life-as-Whole.
Just imagine, if every human could feel a bodily, soul, spirit connection with a tree – that would immediately restore Wholeness.
Within Earth’s dreamtime, trees are immortal. I came to this phrase “Earth’s Dreamtime” after working with the practice posted last time – going to sleep slowly and waking up slowly. When I do this simple practice, I found I dream every night, but the nature, the place of the dreams is very different than usual dreaming. In these dreams there is “my” presence within the dream, but not the usual kind of ‘dream observer’ within the dream, in Archetypal Psychology, called the dream ego. Tentatively, I feel these nightly dreams are also happening during the day, all the time. Earth’s dreamtime. Attention to the dreams, just noticing them, begins to change our sense of Earth.
This practice that easily becomes a conscious habit, puts us on the return to being in harmony with the rhythms of Earth – in this instance the day-night-day-night rhythm of Earth. Gradually, once this rhythm is reestablished in the body, who is also of the substance of Earth, we can begin awakening to bodily presence with Nature’s expressing Earth.
As a ready example, this astounding immortal tree in the opening photograph. All trees are immortal, and a few, like this mighty sequoia show this to us. The symbol of the Tree of Life is not only an imagination. Its sensory-perceptible presence shows us the living reality of this symbol.
This tree, in numerical time is 3200 years old. She is 247 feet tall and 27 feet across. This tree was 700 years old during the height of ancient Greek civilization, and when Jesus lived, this tree was already 1200 years old.
Notice the size of the man at the base of the tree and the man high up within the tree.
This living instance of a Tree of Life can be called a prototypal presence, indicating that working prototypically within the BECOMING of Earth continues the creating-emanating process rather than assuming creation is all done and over. When we assume that creation is finished, we change Her active sacred service into being a slave in servitude.
Working with the Tree of the Photograph
Enter into the Silence by closing your eyes and being still and notice that regardless of what may be going on – though it is better to stop thinking – there is the presence of a vast infinity of The Stillness and The Silence. They are presences and experiencing them does not have to do with the cessation of sound. Then place your attention at the interior of the heart.
Within this state of presence, gaze with the photo for a few moments, feeling Her presence within the heart. The moment that happens, you find this mighty presence and you are now forever together. All you need to do, at any time, is let your attention go the center of the heart and gesture “Tree” with your lips. Notice what bodily occurs. A breath of awe arises; Sequoia can be felt as present, and it is more like you are within Her rather than She is within you. One cannot help but feel Her-as-You, bridging Earth and Heaven. Your body has changed. The uprightness of being an Elder enters and is present. This, being an Elder, has nothing to do with age, though the inherent Wisdom of Age helps.
You will find that you want to be with Her many times during the day --- and Her resonance within you also extends beyond body, and with just a slight noticing --- something else happens. Wherever there is wood you feel the living being of wood as sacred serving. All the wood in your dwelling, even the wood that forms the basis of your house and is now invisible can now be felt as sacred presence of pure kindness. All dwelling are inherently sacred temples of Earth, waiting for our presence to activate them.
We are never really removed from Earth, even though She seems to be undergoing vast destruction. She is. Her spirit is not, and if we become intimate with Her as Spiritual Earth,
we may have found a path of renewal that will begin to be visible.
From Being Kind to Being Kindness
“For the fact that the earth is the way it is has its basis down to the smallest piece of rock, in that the earth is filled with the earth spirit.
That is how the earth must be regarded as a whole, not a physical whole, but an entity with a body, an entity that belongs to its spirit.”
How the Spiritual World Projects into Physical Existence: The Influence of The Dead” Collected Works, Rudolf Steiner
Let’s continue working with “Being Kind”, now, more from the viewpoint of Earth. Our being kind to others is an aspect of our personality – our persona, the way we, in ego presence, put ourselves into favorable relationship with others.
Personality does not express who we are, because it does not express where we are with any depth. Personality forms through what happened to us from the past and expresses how we live as a mask, which, as we now see with everyone wearing masks, a mask reduces everyone to sameness. The anti-viral mask makes visible what was already our way of meeting others. The virus, a fully earth-creature, perhaps is trying to show us what we become when we neglect where we are, the only place where we are truly human, Earth, of the humus. As this “not being here” becomes more and more prevalent, we meet Earth as a disease; in reality, Earth is showing us we are diseased.
An enormous difference exists between “being kind” and “being kindness”, the difference between living at the surface of who we are and living the essence of who we are as soul-spirit-body-earth beings. Notice your own bodily response to these two phrases. Say the first phrase (being kind) and notice where the words are bodily felt – somewhere from the neck up is where the vibration occurs. The second phrase (being kindness) evokes bodily vibration. How to intensify this second vibration becomes our concern.
(This little noticing requires doing so bodily, experiencing bodily, not experiencing our thoughts of what we are doing.)
Notice the introductory phrase by Rudolf Steiner at the top of this posting. He powerfully expresses that Earth is a being of body, a body with soul and spirit. If we live only through our personality we inevitably live ON Earth, not within Earth.
A first suggestion – beginning to feel the presence of the fullness of Earth. Begin going to sleep and waking up in a different manner. Go to sleep slowly, don’t just fall asleep or work at falling asleep. And wake up slowly, without an alarm clock, which is only the reminding us it is time to step into our personality.
Notice what happens bodily when you gradually go into sleep. Inwardly track the process as it unfolds; and the same with waking up. Feel the way body seems to expand beyond the limits of the material form. Body is not expanding; our body-awareness expands, that is we become aware that body belongs to the world and there is nothing of the world that is not of the Earth. So, becoming more aware of the fullness of body also helps us notice that we are indeed Earth-beings, humus beings; it even feels a bit humor-us, to look around and see how pliable Earth is in letting us think we are Her owners by shaping Her into the house we live in, the floor, ceiling, walls, windows, and everything, everything without exception, is Earth. Earth is humoring us.
Notice the particular quality of bodily feeling the fullness of our foundational reality – it is the quality of being on the way to being Kindness.
Going to sleep is a process of going into Earth. You are very likely to notice that when you slowly go into sleep, dreams are far more prevalent – or remembering them is. Dreaming is the way the body actively senses where it is when in sleep. When in sleep, body experiences the fullness of Earth in images, as images.
Psychology believes its own theories, and in doing so puts Psyche inside of us. Psyche is all around us – it is the soul of Earth. We are always in the dreamtime, and the function of the mask is to forget this, to mask it.
One more little step on the Earth-path. Or, let’s be properly modest and call it on the first step of the Earth-path. Once everything said above begins to be noticed, then it becomes possible to address Earth, simply by gesturing Her name, quietly but very bodily, that is through moving the mouth and lips, taking a deep breath (that is Hers, we just borrow a bit), something that can be felt happening – and returning what is Hers, not by being some kind of alien that uses what is her to survive in this alien place, but by acting like we are where we are.
When, then speaking Her name as if we are indeed her children, the primary feeling of experiencing our earth-livingness is….. being Kindness. Being Kindness is not something that we periodically do, it is our essence as of Earth. When we are not Kindness, we are aliens. When we do experience the “arrival” of aliens, it will be the moment when the way we project ourselves as persona becomes the dreamtime we live. It is guaranteed that the aliens we will meet are the aliens we are, and it will not be a pleasant experience.
A new world arising - Lateral divinity
Let’s begin to inwardly listen with more preciseness now, body-soul-spirit-earth listening – and begin a process of speaking more concerning this ever-spacious moment of world-initiation.
We need to try and do this even as the usual order of things still thrashes about, hoping that we will not recognize that the way of power is on the way out – and the new world, the power of love presents itself. This new way in not inevitable, and the awakening can easily be missed; it will certainly be missed if we do not find the way into the peace of inner Stillness that intimately links with heart-awareness. The practice is easy and needs to be entered daily, and after a while, this inner space can be entered in a flash, not quite the same as permanence, but is the necessary kind of attentiveness needed to be able to respond to what is announcing itself.
Simply be inwardly present with the Silence; then place attention at the center of the heart; then, extend attention to the top of the head and be within the region of the descent of individual divine awareness with the ascent of soul awareness from below.
This shifting of world-attention, to say it more “metaphysically” marks the awakening of the receptive force of Earth-creating now happening rather than everything in us and around us as already formed and here.
What does this initiatory moment concern? An originating moment of an entirely different world – the world of Lateral Divinity. This time is a time of initiation into relationship. A time when we notice, when we are with someone, that this person, any person -- is a divine presence! It could not be easier, though there are some requirements – including silencing one’s personality for a moment; silencing one’s ego for a moment. These two are easy. In order to see/feel the presence of the divine standing beside you, it is also necessary to, first, be aware that we are always projecting – and thus are never truly with the divine person, but with our own past and our own fantasied selves--- I mean the deep past, really deep past, within the still ongoing struggles with our present time of many times of reincarnation. Trying to solve previous difficulties or trying to live previous joys.
It is not necessary to ‘believe’ in reincarnation; rather I am warding off endless psychologizing which has been the handmaiden of the materialistic world. As my dearest friend James Hillman said: “We have had a hundred years of psychology and the world keeps getting worse.”
The term “reincarnation” is loaded, quite consciously by forces of distraction that are continually, inwardly reciting a kind of – let’s call it an “anti-mantra”, one that says you are your own person, you are an individual, you are an ego beset with desires, needs, wants, intentions, and you want to share yourself with others without cleaning the windows. Plus the shadowy windows are, in these days, with the forces of counter-initiation, very hard to even get to because getting to those windows requires being here rather than thinking that somehow we are here in spite of being imbedded in the great world remodeling that occurred centuries ago, when the age of power began and developed its main strategy of assistance, that of rank materialism.
By materialism, I don’t mean just greed, though it certainly inspires reducing ourselves to greed. By materialism I mean seeing/experiencing everything as reduced to the surfaces of the here. What we all inevitably live within and take as reality, and often try to find ways of getting out of this reality rather than finding the way through it, that is, going through it to the point of recognizing that it is all illusion. A contrived illusion that has as its main objective the thwarting of death – until, as if out of nowhere, it appears, when it is too late to learn how to meet it.
Thus, this simplest of all acts – noticing that a divine presence, the presence of another person, is the presence of a divine being, requires a developed acuteness of ourself as being no-thing. Not things. But who we are can be arrived at only through the presence of another, and the other is divine presences standing next to us.
Even noticing this new-world presence for not more than an instant, becomes the instant of total transformation --- into Kindness! The soul of the newly arriving person is not someone who, out of their personality, life experience, formal education, life-learning, has come either to genuinely try to be a kind person or to act like one as a lived strategy. Kindness is something else – an inherent essence not something learned or put on; it something far deeper than that. I mean, if the person standing alongside you is a divine presence, just imagine that as the reality for a moment, then what is evoked as who we are – we cannot say that, oh, that means I too am divine; that would be an erroneous abstract intellectual conclusion.
The newly arising world throws us out of the concretized intellect, and we find ourselves as naked bodies – until we notice the other person as divine radiance.
When this awakening happens, just for a second – oh, it is also not eros for someone or for the other next to us either; it is way, way beyond eros. And, if you do notice something like I am trying to describe here, do not put it into an old category, for it cannot be categorized.
The new world of pure receptivity! The new world of the Feminine presence as the protector and guide of this instant, and through whom, this instant can gradually deepen, and deepen, and deepen until we notice, oh, this is the world we live in now. The very first perception of living in a new world is what we feel radiating from the divine person alongside us – Kindness.