If Nothin' Ain't Broken, Can't Nobody be Fixed
The ascending and descending energies are parts of a single movement. In fact -- in a manner of speaking, of course -- you could even say that we are the answer to God's prayers, in that our inspiration is his expiration -- certainly on the plane of creativity.
"The prayers of humanity rise towards God and, after having been divinely 'oxidized,' are transformed into benedictions which descend from above." In prayer, something departs from us, but returns somehow transformed.
The point is, as Schuon once put it, "prayer fashions man." In a way, man is nothing but a prayer placed in the middle of nowhere, a prayer which ascends to the heavens and links the above and below. Man's very verticality -- however conceptualized -- is a prayer, don't you see? And if there were nothing at the other end of our verticality, man as such truly would be a hopeless prayer, just a long bomb hurled by inconscient matter into the cosmic dead end zone.
Even -- or especially! -- the cries of the helpless infant are hope-filled prayers to the Divine Mother. The intersubjective relationship between mother and baby forms a reciprocity dance of mutual projection. When those innocent prayers are systematically unanswered, the infant is ushered into hell -- into some version of autism, narcissism, or depression. An open, intersubjective system with others is not formed, so love cannot enter or escape. While they may later bond with others, it's really a form of external adhesion, not intersubjective relation.
Transferred to the psychospiritual plane, scientism is a kind of autistic bond to the surface of reality. It is also a state of spiritual asphyxia: like expiration with no inspiration. It is the creation of an uncannily lifeless pneumascape by dead and tenured souls.
As UF writes, "Spiritual asphyxia menaces he who does not practice some form of prayer; he who practices it receives vivifying benedictions in some form." There is a reason why the blue states are blue: no spiritual oxygen. When someone has a dead relationship with the Creator, one must always inquire into what it is that the person is projecting into him, i.e., the actual source of the deadness. Suffice it to say that it is within the undead themselves, certainly not within the very source of Life.
Again, there is horizontal respiration, which is between the outside and inside; and vertical respiration, which is between the above and below. UF even suggests that death represents "the abrupt passage from horizontal to vertical respiration," which is why the spiritual life has often been characterized as a rehearsal for death. Apparently, with enough practice, we may convert what is otherwise a sharp right angle into the more gentle arc of spiritual liftoff.
This arc is ultimately a circle that returns us to our(true)selves, the circle being the perfect symbol of eternity. One might say that prayer is thinking within the curved space of spiritual reality, in such a manner that the circle gradually expands.
UF points out that true intellectual or creative work is a prayer. It is fueled by the faith and hope that one's efforts are guided by an end that can only be dimly intuited at the start, never "seen." Blessed are those who do not see and yet believe! Blessed are those who tolerate the ambiguity of facts, that they may penultimately reveal principles, and principles that they may ultimately reveal their Origin. When the world of facts embraces the world of principles, that is a prayer come true. And when God shines through the principles, that is the end (goal) of prayer.
Prayer takes place at night and in darkness. Again, it is a complement to the wideawake & cutandry thought of the day. In fact, it is why we sleep, or more precisely, dream, for to dream is to metabolize the day and weave it into our psychic substance, just as to think and act during the day is to externalize the soul's implicate dreams and visions.
What is human culture but one big soul-dream and/or nightmare? And what is the materialist but a sleepwanker, a man deprived of the vivifying dream of reality, and therefore reduced to mental masturbation?
UF then goes into the critically important theme of the wound, and how it is only through the wound that the cosmos is entangled with itself. The senses are wounds through which we are penetrated by the world on various planes and in various modes.
Until the appearance of life, there was only an exterior cosmos. But with the appearance of life, there was suddenly this new category, an interior. But in order for there to be an interior, there had to be an exterior with which to exchange matter, energy or information, and this can only take place through a wound.
This implies that there actually was no exterior to the cosmos prior to the emergence of life, being that exterior and interior co-arise. Therefore, there was just.... what? You figure it out.
UF reiterates that our senses are wounds, and painful ones at that. Without them, the world cannot penetrate us, but sometimes the penetration can damage us. We feel, but as a result, we are aware of pleasure and pain. We see, but that gives rise to both beauty and ugliness. And if you cannot suffer pain, you cannot suffer pleasure.
It is through the wound that an otherwise closed system becomes an open one. In order to know the objective world, one's mind must be wounded by it, by the "nails of objectivity." Likewise, to know God, one's heart must be wounded, which is to say, a vertically open system.
When we wonder, we are exploring our psychic wound, our intrinsic incompleteness and need for the Other. When we think, we are trying to heal it. How did the wound get here? Animals don't have that particular wound.
And when we pray, we are exploring our spiritual wound. How did it get there? Why this wounded heart?
I suppose so we can know we have one, so that it may be healed in love. God save the man without a broken heart! By breaking it.
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