Eating God, Draining the Swamp, & Movin’ On Up in the Inwardly Mobile Cosmos
(Also, I may not be able to retrieve my email for a bit.)
Reader Dilys made an excellent point a couple of days ago, noting that, "My working hypothesis is that repeated close encounters with age-ripened liturgies access far-reaching psycho-spiritual genius that drain the subconscious swamp." In other words, by immersing ourselves in certain time-tested vertical modalities, something very real and measurable happens to us. One thing grows. Another thing shrinks, or at least begins to lose its grip on us.
What is spiritual growth? What is it that grows? What does it “feed” on, since a living thing can only maintain itself if it is an open system that takes in energy or information? And what is the medium into which it is expanding? In other words, as a biological object grows, it obviously expands into physical space. Where do we expand spiritually?
Again we must refer back to the concepts of vertical and horizontal. Just as there is a horizontal evolution in the form of increased complexity through time, there is vertical evolution in the form of increased depth, or “degrees of being.” But in both cases, growth only takes place through metabolism. It is a process. Only open systems that are in disequilibrium are susceptible to evolution. For example, as a biological system, you maintain yourself by constant energetic exchanges with the environment in the form of food and oxygen. Being at equilibrium with the environment is also known as being dead. Ordered complexity can only be maintained in a state of dynamic disequilibrium.
It is the same way in the vertical--in the spiritual realm. In order for us to grow vertically, we must first realize that we are in need of nourishment. Then we must identify and eat the proper food. And finally, we must chew, swallow, metabolize, and digest. Not just once, but every day. In so doing, something within us begins to grow and develop, like a seed in the womb of being.
“Give us this day our daily bread.” What does this mean? Outwardly or horizontally it means one thing. But inwardly and vertically it means something else altogether. I should emphasize that this is not a novel idea that I developed on my own. For example, Greek mythology recognized the existence of “ambrosia,” a celestial substance capable of imparting immortality. In the Vedas, it is called “amrita” or “soma.” It is an actual substance, although not in the material sense. It is fluid and energetic, and it is easy to see how it could be symbolized by wine, and by a mystical quest for the cup, chalice, or “holy grail” that might hold the wine.
This is also the symbolism of the Last Supper, of Jesus distributing the bread and wine--his body and blood--to his disciples to eat. What could this curious practice be but theophagy, or the eating of God?
“Blessed are the poor in spirit.” “The meek shall inherit the earth.” “It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter heaven.” What could these mean? In my opinion, they are again referring to the vertical, not the horizontal. There is an exterior man and an interior man. The interior man is the astral fetus lying between our evolved nervous system and the transcendent Other. Spiritual work is oriented on the vertical plane, not the horizontal. To the extent that this fetus or “divine child” is not nourished, it will be spiritually stillborn--a celestial abortion. A tragic waste of a life.
Without a mirror to reflect it, reality disappears, does it not? What would the cosmos be without nervous systems to reflect it back to itself? Hot, cold, large, small, here, there, light, dark--these are all qualities of nervous syetems. Take away the conscious observer and the universe has no qualities at all.
It is the same way with the vertical world. Here again, to say that we are “the image of God” is to say that we are mirrors of the vertical. Without the human mirror, the divine disappears. Clean your mirror and it reappears “out of nowhere.” “I was blind, but now I see.” Or as it says in the little psychotic (or pneumotic) genesis myth at the beginning of my book, "He expectorated a mirrorcle, now you're the spittin' image."
I have no quibble whatsoever with science. It is one of the glories of mankind. But it only maps the horizontal, not the vertical. Spirituality, on the other hand, maps the vertical, the interior of the cosmos. In the horizontal world, things just happen. But in the vertical world they are made or created. And all true creation is a miracle from the standpoint of the horizontal.
In order to have a comprehensive view of the world, one must appreciate the vertical and the horizontal, the interior and the exterior. In fact, reality is a cross ( + ) where the vertical and horizontal energies converge. Each moment--the eternal now--is a sort of “whirlpool” that is created out of these dialectically related streams. Your body is actually the “rosy cross” that blooms around the area of the heart--if given the proper vertamins and heartilizer.
Ours is an inwardly mobile cosmos. Would you like to move on up in it? Then crucify your ego on that invisible cross where the vertical meets the horizontal in the now. Recognize your inner emptiness. Give yourself your daily bread. And don’t forget to chew.