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The Hierarchy of Heaven and Earth

A View by Richard Lang

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Failing To Become Whole

As I view myself from increasingly distant observation posts, so I discover new levels of my being - from Venus I am Earth, from Sirius I am the Sun, from Andromeda I am the Milky Way. However, no matter how distant my observer, it's impossible to find an observation post out there from where I can be observed as everything, for that observation post itself would not be included in what was being observed. There is no place where I as a part transform into the Whole.

Perhaps my ever more distant observers don't keep seeing more of me. Perhaps I become one of a group of galaxies that shrink to a point of light which then disappears over the cosmic horizon - my observer's horizon. My glorious, angelic body vanishes into endless darkness. Whether my observer keeps seeing more of me, or I disappear, my attempt to gain complete self-knowledge and wholeness by expansion - by seeing myself objectively at ever greater distances through the mind of another - fails.

Returning To The Centre

If however I return back through all my layers to my centre, I discover here the Wholeness I had been searching for there. Where I am no-thing, where there is no division between knower and known, I am not separate from the world. Here I die as Richard say, or as the Earth, or the Milky Way, or as a cell, or a particle, or anything, and am resurrected as all things. Boundless, not one single thing is outside me - I am in everything and everything is in me. And within my field of view, within this edgeless single Eye, none of the things I become exists independently from any other thing. In this Eye the world is one - a living Whole. Thus I reach my goal not by ascending but by descending, not by gaining but by losing - by returning from the periphery to the centre where alone the Whole reveals itself. Here, closer to me than any thing, I find that mysterious place where no-thing explodes into everything - a place that has been here within me from the beginning.

The Mystic's Journey

No longer searching for Wholeness by attempting to become more, or know more, but instead surrendering to being an empty receptacle, corresponds to the final stages of the mystic's journey towards God. Travelling through ever higher realms of spiritual light (each alternating however with just as deep a realm of darkness) the mystic finds at last that the longed-for goal, the Beatific Vision, eludes her. She finds herself in the deepest darkness, without faith, without hope, without joy, apparently deserted by God. What can she do? She is now forced to abandon her effort to expand, to grow into God, to become the Whole (an endeavour that so easily becomes a spiritual ego-trip) and instead drops down into wanting nothing, having nothing, being nothing - she returns to her centre and accepts whatever is given in the emptiness there. Her attempt to know all things, to become perfect, has failed and is replaced by knowing nothing, by humility. Only in this 'dark night', in this 'emptiness' and 'nothingness' is revealed the One who contains and is the source of all things.

Pointing my finger back at my no-face I find here the empty receptacle that is capacity for my unique, many-layered, precious view of the Whole.

"Break that tiny seed."
"It is broken, lord."
"What do you see there?"
"Nothing, lord."
"My son, that subtle Essence which you cannot see there, from that very Essence this great banyan tree springs up. Believe me, my son, that subtle Essence, in it all that exists has its self. It is the True. It is the Self. And you, Svetaketu, are That." Chhandogya Upanishad

Till now we have worked from the outside on what is within; now we tarry in the centre and rule what is external. Hitherto it was a service in aid of the Master; now it is a dissemination of the commands of this Master. The Secret of the Golden Flower

You are like a mirage in the desert, which the thirsty man thinks is water; but when he comes up to it he finds it is nothing. And where he thought it was, there he finds God. Similarly, if you were to examine yourself, you would find it to be nothing, and instead you would find God. That is to say, you would find God instead of yourself, and there would be nothing left of you but a name without a form. Al-Alawi

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