I AM, the Center and Origin of the Cosmos
"The self -- at least a healthy self -- does not merely spin around an interior axis. Rather, aided by 'the light of Reason' (understood in its integral, not merely rationalistic sense) and by transcendent ideals, this center of subjectivity can undergo increased order and centration, and evolve in the direction of one's highest aspiration, toward the true cosmic center of which we are a distant reflection -- we are the 'center at the periphery,' as Schuon has called it, the true center being the nonlocal, space-pervading spirit of I AM."
This reminds me of another observation of Schuon, that "traditional peoples in general" are "dominated by two key-ideas, the idea of the Center and the idea of the Origin." Center is to space as Origin is to time; thus, "every value is related in some way to a sacred Center, which is the place where Heaven has touched the earth," just as every moment is related to "the quasi-timeless moment when Heaven was near and terrestrial things were still half-celestial."
I would use the present tense, and say that there is a "place" -- here -- and a "time" -- now -- in which O is present, pouring down and into time and space.
Now, most garden-variety intellectuals are more or less "weightless," in part because their ideas are rooted in nothing more solid than their own airy abstractions (and usually abstractions that aren't even their own, just the presuppositions of academia). Genuine human maturity occurs when our minds become anchored in the Real. To approach Truth is to converge upon the Center without which Truth could not be (likewise beauty and virtue).
In fact, since so many modern intellectuals are uncomfortable swimming in the whole nocean of God, this is one of the reasons I employ the abstract symbol O to stand for the ultimate ground of our being, a ground which may (only) be known subjectively (i.e., you'll have to get wet).
Unless one's being abides in O, one cannot ultimately "think straight" about reality, much less be a true leader of men (who will spontaneously follow such a straightman). Thus, one must cleave to O with all one's heart, mind, and strength -- or in sentiment, thought, and will.
One can scarcely imagine Jesus thinking or speaking outside O. In other words, he speaks from the Center because he is the Center (and Origin: In the beginning was the Word or before Abraham was, I AM). His being -- or essence -- precedes his existence. (Leftism is the inverse of this, in that essence is determined by race, or class, or gender, or sexual orientation, etc.)
This is why pseudo-theologians who claim that Jesus was just another teacher are so wildly off base. In everything Jesus says and does, regardless of the specific content, the even deeper message is the "ontological weight" he radiates from the center out.
Indeed, this is the first thing people notice about him, both followers and detractors. Just as in the physical world, gravity is a function of mass, and the mass of Jesus' newclear center -- at once centripetal and centrifugal -- draws people (and trouble) to him like ants to a picnic.
The three wise men of the east are drawn to that Center, just as Herod senses the presence of an alternate center of power, and schemes to literally murder it in the crib before it can grow in influence.
John the Baptist also immediately recognizes the Center -- which stands as a general lesson for all of us. Spiritual development is predicated on being able to re-cognize the Center when in its presence. Although all human beings are born with this native ability, for any number of developmental reasons we can lose contact with it, thus spinning out of orbit -- or, perhaps even worse, spend our lives orbiting a false center.
The Center can only communicate "Center to center," so to the extent that one has lost or failed to develop it, it will be a case of "God's lights are on but nobody's om."
One must cultivate this center in order to sense the "real presence" (or presence of the Real), otherwise one remains exiled in the teenage wasteland of mere ideas -- which is really not all that more solid and enduring than the world of fleeting desires or impulses. The overwhelming majority of ideas does not -- and certainly should not -- survive the birdbrain who hatched them. It would have been better if most ideas had not even been conceived at all. They'll eventually be aborted anyway.
I am reminded of a scene from an animated film I just watched with the Boy, Spirited Away. Long story short, the protagonist finds herself in the spiritual world, where she is beginning to grow "transparent" on the way to vanishing altogether. The hero insists that she must eat something from this world in order to prevent disappearing. He places something in her mouth which very much evokes the idea of communion, which is nothing less than ingesting food from the Source (and this is a Japanese film, so the idea must be universal).
In any event, John the Baptist immediately recognizes the Center (Matt 4:14). Note as well that even God himself is then drawn to this Center (so to Speak), another profound lesson to meditate upon: And suddenly a voice came from heaven saying 'This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased' (Matt 4:17).
But before you get all excited, note that the very next sentence once again indicates that hostile cosmic forces are simultaneously drawn to the scene of the climb (Matt 4:1). Jesus spends the subsequent forty days in the bewilderness, where he is tempted by the devil -- whom you might say is the cosmic periphery, or "dispersal," personified. He attempts to draw Jesus out of the Center and into "the world," but unsuccessfully.
Thus there is always a hostile, countervailing force that attempts to draw the Center outside of itself -- which indeed is the quintessence of all temptation and of all sin, which involves a vain dissipation of our psychic substance. With no center of gravity or groove of centrality, we have no defense, no way to "repel" the worldly forces that perpetually draw us down and out of ourselves. We "fall" when there is nothing there to hold us fast to the Center.
Conversely, if we abide in the Center, temptations eventually fall away of their own accord. Another way of saying this is that our "force" becomes stronger than the world's force.
After Jesus successfully repels the temptations of Ø by abiding in O, behold, angels came and ministered to Him (Matt 4:11). In other words, benign vertical forces are drawn in, which only happens all the timeless.
After that come the first two disciples, who clearly sense the ontological weight of the Center, to such an extent that they immediately drop what they're doing and follow him (Matt 4:20) -- although pulled into him is probably more like it. And then a multitude is drawn in (Matt 4:23). And so on. For the Christian, Jesus represents the trans-cosmic "Center made flesh," so to speak. Today, the center continues to pull history in its Wake. Finnagain!
Jesus eventually draws everyone and everything in, but that's a story for another posterior, a memoir of the future. Suffice it to say that the I AM of the cosmic Center is the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last (Rev 22:13).
The existence of God does not have to be proven to the man who knows this Center, either in himself or in another, any more than the existence of sight needs to be proven to the one who sees. For we have an innate sense of the sacred, which is a direct reflection of the Center within us.
In other worlds, the ultimate reality radiates from the cosmic Center and reaches us in the depths of our center, which is to say, the heart, which represents the higher (third) union of thought and emotion. This is the mystery of God's immanence, "which makes us capable of knowing all that is knowable, and which for that very reason makes us immortal" (Schuon).
But first you must learn how to be an unknow-it-all, for He must increase, but I must decrease (John 3:30), until our center is at the Center (ʘ). With no length or width, it is everywhere and everywhen and everywho and everywhy (i.e., the center is everywhere and the circumference nowhere).