From a series of notes to myself written during May 2018.
The highest vision of the sacred is The Perfection; but there are many intermediary degrees of perception that lead to The Perfection.
Each one of them represents a state of Grace, as if one were on a pilgrimage. Every outer pilgrimage which is taken from one church or holy site to another is an outward representation of this inner pilgrimage, which can take place along the pathways of the sacred within our body of Being.
We travel along the pathways within the body of Being in order to visit our sacred sites; they are already there, and we simply act as witnesses submitting ourselves, in the most abject humility which we can muster, to their sacred force.
Each sacred station of healing unveils another aspect of The Perfection, which is part of what Ibn Arabi calls The Reality. If one has a sufficient level of development in the organic feeling of Being — and this is a dicey thing, because we cannot be architects or developers, only custodians – then one begins to see life in a quite different way. And when we speak about three separate centers, and so on, or even just speak about the development of the emotional center itself, what we are really talking about is developing this precise, intimate, intelligent—and above all respectful—development of organic feeling.
I see life differently. I can see, if my perception is functioning accurately, how every single object, event, circumstance, and condition is part of a sacred gift that’s been given to me. Every single instant of life is a part of that sacred gift – but it also encompasses all things, since every instant is a fraction of the Truth that exists everywhere, but manifest only Now.
There is no separation from everything and this one thing.
As I see the way that life is sacred, I see every interaction with every meeting I encounter as sacred.
I don't do this theoretically, by thinking about how sacred they are; my feeling center has an awakened quality that brings me to the moment of relationship with a question that keeps it alive: how to honor this relationship in this moment.
In the end, everything is about the relationship; and if the relationship in life in this moment is not honorable, I have soiled both my life and the nature of God in several ways.
First of all, I have not honored the life that is given to me.
I haven’t appreciated how extraordinarily valuable, beautiful, impossible, and miraculous this very ordinary moment is.
I haven't seen, with the parts that were given to me to see with, how incredible each instant is, and how even the simplest object for the simplest action is lived in, by, and through the divine influence of the holy.
Secondly, I have soiled God, because having been given this impossible gift of life, this magnificent thing which I experience flowing through all of my Being at every instant — the only thing I am here for — I have forgotten about God. I’ve even forgotten that everything is miraculous and sacred. I'm looking out there—somewhere else—for will be miraculous and sacred — later.
I forget that the sacred is here now. I think it is in a magical concert; or a book I'll read later; or some meeting with really important spiritual people I will see next weekend. I don't see that the tail lights on the car in front of me or the leaves on the trees or its bark—all of which seem kind of stupid and inanimate to my ordinary degrees of sensitivity—are a direct manifestation of the sacred.
This appreciation of life, which becomes much deeper and much more sensitive and much more intelligent, is what the real aim of inner work is about. It’s about developing that; and about having an emotional respect of a new kind—a different kind—for the life I’m in, and the capacities I have with which to live it.
Lee van Laer is a Senior Editor at Parabola Magazine.