Original Sin

My must suggested the subject, and I made the shot and developed it

Original Sin

In a sunny corner of remote earth
the bite of it all
challenged orthodoxy.
This was in Nature’s plan.
Green-gold it moved.
This conducted harmony
operating on discords –
not a packaged plan,
neither from the stars.
It brought in cities beyond the universe.

We bask in its revelry –
a riot of God
on lone isles of trust.
Wonderful it wore shoes.
Naked impulse did not light its lamp.
A renegade,
it brought all to bear on noontide.
Light held its room.

Yes, we sing in darkness’ lair.
We deliver anthems
without knowing on which we rest.
It came to us unclothed,
and we saw naught but sin.
What distance orthodoxy
from all that abounds in this place.

 

This poem came complete via the inner voice while I was sitting and waiting for a room darshan on Mother’s birthday at the Sri Aurobindo Ashram in 2015. It was originally posted in the old blog of Douglas and I, The Chipmunk Press. It bears mentioning that I went to the Samadhi the next day after writing the poem and inwardly asked where I should put the poem, and I heard my muse answer:

To the question in Sri Aurobindo's room:
are you there?"

Modern Mythos

Skipper and Professor
The Skipper and the Professor of ‘Gilligan’s Island’.

By Douglas McElheny

Recently, after I posted my latest blog, I was thinking about what my next post might be. I had two ideas and started writing a little bit for each one. Then one night as I was lying in bed trying to fall asleep, I heard a voice say loud and clear, “Modern mythos.”

This is a theme I’ve touched on over the years in my writings, how all the different characters we’re exposed to in modern media serve as a modern mythos for our dreams to draw on for symbols. And since there can be a lot of variation in the characters we’re exposed to, because of what part of the world and what generation we grew up in, the modern mythos can be quite customized you might say per individual. When I grew up I was steeped in not just movies and television, but was also an avid comic book collector and know a lot of comic book characters, particularly Marvel comic book characters my dreams can use to show what’s going on with me the same way Greek and Roman gods and heroes would have been used by the dreams of people in those times.

Since the line ‘Modern mythos’ seemed like guidance I decided to write a blog post sharing and exploring a couple of these types of dreams. There was nothing really recent though in my dream journal that I could use, so it seemed possible to me that perhaps the dreams for this new post were yet to come. That proved to be the case, and two nights later I remembered two suitable dreams, both of which I will share as an examples of this type of dream. I’ll start with this one:

I’m with Darth Vader, but he’s actually my ally and we’re going to attack the Emperor. I’ve done something that has gotten the Emperor on the ground face down, and he seems to be unconscious. I want to stab him through the heart and kill him, but I have to leave for a moment to get someone to do something for me. When I come back the Emperor is awake. I stab him in different places with my lightsaber, but I can’t get him in the heart, and my attacks don’t seem to be doing anything. But then the Emperor changes into something like a big piece of plywood, and I’m smashing it with a hammer and telling people to take the pieces and burn them. While this is going on someone is organizing all the comic books that are here in the room in order to store them somewhere. The only one of the comic books I remember seeing was an issue of Daredevil, who’s on the cover dressed in a suit as his alter ego Matt Murdock. He’s with a woman who’s his girlfriend and who has stretching powers like Mister Fantastic.

The main part of this dream I think could be viewed as showing something universal in the sense that it demonstrates the plight of anyone struggling with their nature, shows how the spiritual warrior is dogged by hostile opposition in the process of purifying and converting all the parts of himself. The Emperor would seem to be some kind of hostile or anti-divine force opposing the spiritual endeavor or maybe the vital part or parts of us that are subject to that influence or perhaps all of those things. Darth Vader, in this dream at least1, would stand for a part or parts of one’s being that are in darkness, but are turning toward the light, a part that is being converted. That makes sense because Vader turns back to the light before he dies. Then there’s the character I play, the hero in the sense of the spiritual warrior, fighting the battle against one’s own nature and the forces of darkness that oppose.

Since this first part of the dream does seem to show a universal situation you can see how the three main characters could be swapped out with others. For example someone who was growing up in the first part of this century when Harry Potter was all the rage could have this same dream using Severus Snape in place of Darth Vader, and Lord Voldemort in place of the Emperor. The dreamer might also regard himself as Harry Potter or perhaps just play himself like I did in my dream: I didn’t regard myself as Luke Skywalker. And of course in the Harry Potter scenario the hero would be wielding a magic wand rather than a lightsaber. Here though we’ve reached a point where my dream steps outside the Star Wars mythos and starts using more mundane objects for symbols. My lightsaber, with which I was fighting ineffectively, becomes an ordinary hammer and the Emperor becomes something like plywood. Now what could that mean?

Donny feels that wood in a dream often represents something vital. That certainly fits here and would confirm that the Emperor is showing something in my vital that is under the influence of or has its buttons pushed by hostile forces. I’m not sure what a hammer might represent as opposed to a lightsaber, but a hammer is usually used to do work so maybe it signifies a labor I have to undertake. It’s also a very blunt instrument and certain types of hammers are used to break and destroy things. In this dream I used it to destroy the plywood, and then the pieces are taken to be burned. Donny said this movement suggested to him the idea of destroying something utterly, of burning it down to ashes, and that that could represent thoroughly rejecting whatever the Emperor/plywood represented, of giving it no quarter. Fire might also represent the fire of spiritual aspiration and tapas being used to burn up this particular wrong movement.

It’s interesting that the Emperor was vulnerable and seemingly unconscious at the beginning of my dream. Maybe whatever he represents could have been completely defeated at that time in my life, but the opportunity was missed. I wouldn’t bet on it though. It’s not easy to get rid of these things.

So now let’s examine the last piece of this dream: the comic book cover. Daredevil’s epithet is the ‘The Man Without Fear’, and rightly so since he literally has no fear and can resist fear toxins used by super villains. The other thing that makes Daredevil cool is he’s blind, but has enhanced senses including an additional radar sense he can use to negotiate the world. Given this Daredevil could perhaps represent occult powers or senses that can perceive beyond our normal five senses. I could see how a dream might highlight that feature of the character, but in this dream we find him as his alter ego Matt Murdock whose profession is a trial lawyer. This seems to me to be the key to interpreting the symbol at least as far as this dream goes.

Now a lawyer’s weapon is his mind and not his fists, and Donny also pointed out that a lawyer is an advocate, someone acting on your behalf for your wellbeing. Now at the time of this dream I was having a particularly rough go of it with the chronic pain I’m afflicted with in both my lower back and my knees. One problem I have regarding the chronic pain is the fear about it and the gloom and doom thoughts and feelings that can come up in reference to it, especially during a difficult period. So perhaps the dream is urging me to be ‘The Man Without Fear’ in the sense of being my own advocate and combating the fear, not just by rejecting it, but also by using my mind to reason with the vital and calm it down the same way a lawyer uses reason to present his arguments and win a trial. Or maybe the dream was showing me that some helpful force or entity was acting on my behalf to bring me courage, an intervention that might have been represented in the dream of an ancient Greek as the goddess Athena or perhaps by a hero like Perseus. I don’t think though that these two ideas are mutually exclusive, if you’re being guided to do something that would indicate the power or capacity would be there to help you do it.

So with that idea in mind we can take a look at the character of the girlfriend with the same elastic stretching powers as Mister Fantastic. This could simply be showing the capacity of being flexible, and since this character was a woman maybe it’s in the vital that I need more flexibility. What that might mean though in terms of some kind of action or effort on my part I’m not really sure. Maybe it has something to do with not resisting the fact that there’s chronic pain since resistance is something inflexible and unyielding that just creates more misery. That’s admittedly just a guess though, but not one that seems totally ludicrous. I’d add that fear and resistance do go hand in hand a lot of the time.

*****

The second modern mythos dream I had that night features the iconic American television show Gilligan’s Island. This was a show that was getting a lot of airtime in reruns when I was a kid in the 70’s and 80’s and one I would watch frequently. Here is the dream.

I’m with the Skipper and we’re on Gilligan’s Island. We’ve managed to get a hold of a working radio and have called for help and are talking to someone. Just as we’re about the give our coordinates, we lose the connection, and we figure we’ll have to try again later. The radio has changed into a book now, and we want to put it in the Professor’s hut for safekeeping because we know there’s one castaway that’s a bit crazy and doesn’t want to leave the island and who will try to sabotage our efforts. I’m trying to put the book in between some other books under the Professor’s desk. The Professor doesn’t seem too concerned about this crazy castaway, but I am.

This dream also seems to me to depict something universal about the human condition, and that is that we’re all basically marooned consciousness-wise in a small, cramped, miserable type of existence. And while we may have the aspiration to get out of it, there are still parts of us that don’t want to change and are sabotaging our aspiration at every step.

So from this outlook the radio suggests to me the idea of one’s call or aspiration to the divine as well as one’s receptivity to the divine power and influence, but it’s not easy to keep that call and that receptivity going all the time. The crazy castaway seems to be illustrating the fact that we’ve all got parts of us that sabotage our efforts whether consciously or unconsciously. The Professor would seem to represent the mind or something mental and perhaps is showing in the dream how we can be unconscious of these things that are sabotaging us. I’m not sure what the Skipper might represent, but he’s to some extent the de facto leader of the group as well as a good-hearted mama bear who takes the care and safety of the other castaways very seriously. Given this, could he represent the higher vital, or as Donny suggested, due to the fact that he’s the leader, the ego? It’s hard to say.

The fact that the radio turns into a book is interesting. Perhaps as Donny suggested it simply has to do with my daily reading of spiritual literature, which for the most part is the works of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, and the effect that has on the consciousness. At the time of the dream I was noting how reading Aurobindo’s The Life Divine would sometimes noticeably raise my consciousness and elevate my thinking for short periods of time.

One question I have, since I had both these dreams in the same night, is do Darth Vader and the crazy castaway represent the same thing or part of me? If that’s the case that would show how this part is still pretty mixed up, still stuck in a middle ground between conversion and following its lower bent. I often see swings in my dreams regarding Darth Vader where sometimes he’s my enemy and sometimes my ally. In fact while writing this article I had a dream where Anakin Skywalker was fighting with Yoda and other jedi masters. So because of this and also because I had these two dreams on the same night it seems logical to me the two symbols could be connected. And I think together these two dreams compliment each other in terms of painting a complete picture of where I was at and what I was facing at the time.

Before I wrap up here I’d like to point out that like with my Star Wars dream you can see the potential with this Gilligan’s Island dream to swap the main characters with different ones from other tv shows or movies and the dream would still carry the same message. For example, if you were a fan of the show Lost, that aired in the first part of the century and which also featured a group of people marooned on an island, your dreams could use those characters. The same essential scenario could also be shown using the storyline and appropriate characters from shows like Lost in Space or Star Trek: Voyager since the characters in those two shows are lost and trying to find their way home.

Now in closing I’ll admit there isn’t really anything earth shattering or unusually revelatory in these dreams, but they are good examples of modern mythos dreams and show how our dreams can take these cultural figures and use them to communicate with us. I hope to have more to say on this fascinating subject in the future.

Notes and References

  1. I think it’s possible Darth Vader might just represent a hostile influence in some cases, such as the dream I shared on my post ‘The Emperor Has A Scheme’.

Mahakali On The Wall

By Douglas McElheny

Recently here at Harm’s End we were able to finally do something we’ve wanted to do for a while which is upgrade our satsung room with some dark blue carpet and a fresh coat of white paint on the walls. We also got some nice meditation cushions, and the final touch was some nice pictures of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo to hang on the walls.

To get the pictures Donny and I went to a place in town called Harpagon Workshop, which is a department of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, and which has a very large photo gallery with thousands of pictures of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother of all different sizes. In addition to shopping for the satsung room, I was also on the lookout for one more picture for my room, one that would be directly across from me as I’m sitting in my chair. Shortly after we arrived at the gallery one picture really popped out at me of the Mother standing at the top of a staircase. I was drawn strongly to the picture, and thought it would be good one for my room.

Later on, as Donny and I were admiring the picture newly hung on my wall, he told me that this particular photo was the first image he ever saw of the Mother. It had been on the cover of a book called The Sunlit Path, which is a compilation of the Mother’s writings. I was also already familiar with the photo as well as that book, but Donny told me something I didn’t know about it, and that was that it was taken on the Kali Puja day when the Mother came down the stairs, and then gave blessings to all the ashramites. I found that very interesting since I had drawn the card that represents Mahakali1 that day from The Eternity Game, and I took it as confirmation that this indeed was the photo that was needed for my room. I also thought this could herald more involvement from that particular aspect of the Divine Shakti in my sadhana which is good news since the name of that card in The Eternity Game is ‘Power’ and its aspects are ‘Transformation’, ‘Rapidity’ and ‘Height.’ In the description of the card Medhananda states that:

Her way is a rapid transformation by the sudden and immediately effective removal of all obstacles opposing her divine will.2

For that to happen though:

she insists that we take our seat on the highest heights of our consciousness; only then can she shatter our limitations and smallness. Only when our aspiration mounts like a flame will she remove the enemies from our path.3

So getting Mahakali’s help isn’t easy, but maybe I’m nearing the point where that sort of decisive and irrevocable help is possible. I hope so. I did have one experience of Mahakali’s help a year or so ago on a day when I was caught up in a strong movement of anxiety. I had drawn the Mahakali card for that day and remembering that prompted me to call on her for help. It wasn’t instantaneous, but shortly after that the anxiety quickly lifted leaving me feeling peaceful. That wasn’t the end of my trouble with anxiety, but it showed me the possibility of Mahakali’s intervention.

It bears mentioning as an endnote to this post that after these events occurred I saw they would make a good article showing synchronicity, and had been planning to write it over the coming weekend. On Saturday I also drew the Mahakali card, which prompted me to follow through on writing the article, and I also took it as a sign that writing it was timely and fit with my process.

Notes and References

  1. Mahakali is one of the four aspects of the Divine Mother referred to by both Sri Aurobindo and the Mother in their writings and talks.
  2. Medhananda, The Eternity Game, pg 53
  3. Ibid

 

A Film Camera For Mugu

By Douglas McElheny

About nine months ago or so I was still living in the USA and corresponding via email with Donny about one of our young people at Harm’s End, Mugu, who is 17. The issue was Mugu had dropped out of the class he was taking to prepare him for what in India is known as the 10th Standard examination. It’s the equivalent of a high school diploma in the USA, and is a difficult exam requiring a long preparation, and Mugu didn’t have either the initiative or the discipline for it.

So we were wondering what to do with Mugu, and I brought up as I had in the past that Mugu seemed to have a thing for photography. Rather than putting him in some kind of class, Donny put forth the idea of getting him a film camera and teaching him film photography. My response was that nobody uses film cameras anymore, and that they’re a major expense compared to a digital camera, which, after the initial investment in the equipment itself, can take thousands and thousands of pictures. So I basically vetoed the idea, and as I would find out later Donny was actually okay with that. He thought a nice digital camera would be fine as well.

Then nothing happened for a while after that. I didn’t bring it up again because even though I was okay with a digital camera, I’m a cheapskate, and it would be a big chunk of change for a good digital camera with multiple lenses. I also know how irresponsible Mugu is, and was worried about the camera being lost or stolen. Then Donny brought up the film camera again, and again I argued against it. So he sent me a formation he had gotten from his muse on that matter, one that he felt had come from our teacher, the Mother, which said:

A digital camera
not the appliance he needs.
A professional camera
with lenses
develops his creativity.

Don’t mix tobacco in it.
A digital camera,
there’s a
camera
ain’t a camera
his art would say,
his art,
not mine, yours
or ours —
his camera.

 A boy and his needs.
He needs a camera
just to help him
become a good man.
Become a good man,
that’s our field.
Creativity lost his show
there’s no camera.
Digital not included.1

Now as clear as that was I still wasn’t ready to give up my position on the matter, mainly I think at this point because I didn’t want to be wrong, nor to be overruled by someone’s else’s guidance. My vital also has some problems with jealousy over the fact that I can’t get a formation like that from my muse, can only get some lines here and there or small groups of lines, and that also made the whole thing hard to swallow. So I continued to argue, pointing out that what might be spent on film alone over the course of a year would buy a very nice digital camera with multiple lenses. So Donny sent me another formation that had come a while before but that he hadn’t shared with me. This one said:

Professionality
a camera,
a camera
professionality.
Digital camera
is the wrong lens.
Now get it
Like you’re supposed to
a lens camera.
Douglas don’t want to buy the camera,
Don’t want to
Because it doesn’t make sense
to his practical
intelligence.

 Creativity deserves a chance.
You’re not thinking how involved he’ll be
with a professional camera.
A great occupation
color
photography.
Develop sway talent.

Would you listen?
Douglas has his own opinion.
How are we doing today?
Develop his own opinion.
That’s roll call,
Orange wares. 

Grand market
shopping
must be in town.
Oh it is.
Professional camera
with lens,
telephoto one,
wide angle,
and the one you use mostly. 

A lot of creativity
has room to play.
Amsterdam
doesn’t take him home.
Creativity rules.
What do we do for money?
Trust sweetheart,
just trust
and work.
There’s sadhana.2

Well after reading that I gave in, though the vital didn’t like it at all. By that point I was planning to come to India, but I wasn’t sure when, so Donny and I started looking online for a used film camera in India rather than waiting for me to buy one in the USA and bring it when I came. The search proved much more difficult than either of us were expecting and when we finally ordered a camera we didn’t read the fine print in the listing on ebay.in, and got one that was sold “as is”, and was basically broken. At this point I thought I could ask my mom if I could have my grandfather’s Canon AE-1, which had been sitting in my dad’s closet unused for years, to give to Mugu, and she said I could. So when I came to India back in December I brought that camera with me.

Then we ran into more obstacles. Both Donny and I had assumed that in a country as large as India there would be websites where you could easily buy the chemicals and darkroom equipment, but that didn’t turn out to be the case. You could find things scattered around on amazon.in and ebay.in but a lot of it seemed to be coming from the USA. So we went to a website in the USA, and could find everything we needed, but the shipping was almost as much as the cost of the chemicals and equipment. We had decided to just eat the cost, but then it occurred to me to call Auroville and try to find out if anyone there had a dark room, and knew how to order the supplies in India. From Auroville I got the name of an American man, John, who has lived in Pondicherry for many years, and was formerly an inmate of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram. I gave John a call and he invited Donny and I over to his house where we had a long talk, and he also gave us the name of man in Mumbai who could supply us with everything we needed. The way it all wonderfully worked out was just more confirmation for us that we were indeed doing the right thing with the film photography.

So we got all the chemicals and equipment to start Mugu with black and white photography. All that remained was a dark room, which is almost completed. Once it is John has offered to come over and give us some pointers from his long experience with film photography. There’s every reason to hope this will be a very positive thing for Mugu, and give him a much needed focus and creative outlet, one that will help him, if Donny’s muse is correct, to be a better man.

Notes

  1. Copyright Donny Duke
  2. Ibid.

Experience on the Summer Solstice

 

By Douglas McElheny

I feel there’s a reason why ancient cultures gave such importance to astrological events like equinoxes, solstices, full moons and such things as planetary alignments. Basically they’re days of power, a day you can get a boost for your sadhana or your dream life if you’re receptive. Usually for me, if there’s any effect at all during these times (and a lot of times there isn’t), it’s on the level of dreams. I’ll have a powerful dream or a lucid dream. However during the last summer solstice, which was paired with a full moon, I had a little spiritual uplift that I think was shown in a dream I’d had the night before. The part I’m going to share however is just the end of a much longer dream since it’s only the end that’s really relevant as far as the spiritual uplift that day was concerned.

I put my backpack on and walk down the street and eventually find myself in some woods.  There’s a stream there and in the water I can see these birds, about twenty of them, that have the heads of peacocks but bodies more like an ostrich’s. They’re about as tall as a man and in the dream I regard them as peacocks.  One of them comes up and peers at me curiously though a gap in the trees.  I can see that we’re at a delta where this stream meets the ocean.  I go down into the water which is only about a foot deep and a very beautiful bluish green.  The whole scene is very beautiful as well. The peacock/ostrich birds are moving out into the ocean, and I’m walking with them.  Though the birds are big they don’t seem aggressive nor do they seem to be bothered by me.  If I remember correctly their ostrich-like bodies are black or greyish black.  It’s getting close to sunset and I want to watch the sunset with the peacock/ostrich birds.

One thing I’ve started to notice recently and have shown in a couple of recent blog posts is how a beautiful natural scene in a dream seems to be showing a nice ‘scene’ trying to manifest inside you in your waking life that day or a day or so afterwards. I believe that was the case here. So let me tell you what happened. On the day of the solstice, in the late morning, I went for a ride in my kayak. While I was out, I encountered one of my favorite water birds around here, a roseate spoonbill, roosting in a mangrove tree. I don’t often see them when I’m kayaking so I just sat there for a while admiring the bird and its beautiful pink plumage. When I returned home I noticed I felt cleared out as I often do after a spin in the kayak, since I can get fully immersed in nature. I noticed also that my thinking was elevated, and I found myself naturally pondering some things I’d recently read by Medhananda and Nolini Kanta Gupta and was looking at the world through the lens of those ideas. It didn’t require any hard mental effort or tapasya though. It was just happening naturally and spontaneously. For the most part I can’t remember exactly what I was reading at the time, but I do recall one little aphorism by Medhananda that was on my mind:

Spirit is tremendously solid.
It is like diamond.
In comparison
matter is only a cloud
of probabilities.1  

A little later I took our dog Rosie for a walk. As we walked I was really feeling the stillness in the plants, and while that’s not a common experience for me it wasn’t the first time that’s happened, and I’m sure a lot of people have felt the stillness in plants. This time though, I could also feel the joy that was in the plants, and I caught it a bit by contagion and was feeling joy inside me as well as I walked. I was also appreciating how beautiful and unique the plants were, seeing them the way you might when tripping on psychedelics but to a much much lesser extent. There was one group of plants I encountered that were nothing but huge leaves on stalks which had been planted to hide a fire hydrant. When I looked at those plants, there was something so delightful about those big leaves that I couldn’t resist the urge to go over and touch one, giving a little laugh as I did so and feeling delight similar to what I think a small child does when they do something like that. That delight continued on the walk, and the uplift continued after that. It might have still been there a little bit when I went to bed. I honestly don’t remember now. It wasn’t there the next day when I woke up though.

So what I think happened here was I was able to open to the amplified energy that was available that day and benefit from it in this altered state of consciousness, which was foreshadowed by the beautiful sunset scene in my dream. This idea that a beautiful dream scene is symbolic of a beautiful uplift in waking life is still a working hypothesis for me, but one I’m getting more and more evidence to support. Recently, I had another dream where I was looking at a beautiful blue lake ringed by breathtaking mountains on the far side, and two days later there was a definite shift in consciousness in the evening, a state of peace and quiet. It wasn’t as strong as other experiences like that I’ve had, but it was definitely there.

One thing that I feel is important to point out is the beauty of these dream scenes is beyond the greatest beauty you can see in the physical world or even in normal dreams. I can’t really explain it any better than that, but if you start to have dreams like this I think you’ll see what I mean, see that it’s a certain class of dream or has a certain type of dream substance that can embody that beauty. It might be a glimpse of what Sri Aurobindo calls the subtle physical, but I can’t say for sure.

Regarding the peacock/ostrich birds in the dream I should point out that Sri Aurobindo has said that a peacock is a symbol of spiritual victory and that fits with the fact that I had a little spiritual opening. The fact that the rest of the body was like an ostrich is interesting since the thing that most quickly comes to mind when I think of the symbolic meaning of an ostrich is sticking your head in the ground. If I’m remembering correctly that the color was black that would indicate a hostile force. So I’d guess the element of spiritual victory is still marred by an element of sticking my head in the ground and maybe also a hostile influence. I think the birds in the dream were also connected to the encounter I had with the roseate spoonbill even though the dream birds were completely different. I always enjoy the sight of a roseate spoonbill because pink is the color that symbolizes the psychic being or soul in the integral yoga.

So in closing I think it’s important to try and keep yourself clear every day and not just on days like full moons and solstices. Knowing, however, that you can get a little boost on days like that is a good motivator for keeping yourself clear especially on those occasions.

References

  1. On the threshold of a new age with Medhananda, pg 165 by Medhananda

I Want Struggles To Be Light

By Douglas McElheny

A few days ago this line from the muse came to me in the morning.

I want struggles to be light.

You can definitely play around with multiple interpretations of a line like this because of the different meanings for the word ‘light’. One interpretation jumps out right away if you take ‘light’ in the sense of something being not heavy or not dark in color. Read this way the line is saying that I want a lighter load of struggles.  There’s no doubt I feel that way often, and I’m sure most people reading this can relate to that sentiment. Another idea though along these lines has to do with my belief that what really makes struggles and pain so dark and heavy is this consciousness we live in which is a state of identification with this mind and body. But as many spiritual teachers have said throughout the ages, if you can enter into a consciousness where you’re identified with the divine, or oneness or whatever you want to call it then you realize that this mind and body isn’t you, is more like a shirt you’ve put on, and you don’t take what happens to them so seriously anymore. Then, even though life’s challenges are still there, they’ve lost their heaviness, and you no longer suffer from them. You deal with them from a state of Light or Knowledge and not a state of Ignorance.  Hand in hand with that idea is a complementary take on the line where ‘light’ means spiritual illumination. This gives the sense to me of struggles being spiritually illumined and transmuted.

Another interpretation that occurred to me takes ‘light’ in the sense of a ‘means of igniting something’ as in “Hey buddy, you got a light?”. It’s a less obvious reading of the line and one that probably wouldn’t have occurred to me if I hadn’t been thinking a lot about something I’d read in the Mother’s Questions and Answers a few days before. I’ll share the quote first before I get into the interpretation.

Quite naturally we ask ourselves what this secret is, towards which pain leads us. For a superficial and imperfect understanding, one could believe that it is pain which the soul is seeking. Nothing of the kind. The very nature of the soul is divine Delight, constant, unvarying, unconditioned, ecstatic; but it is true that if one can face suffering with courage, endurance, an unshakable faith in the divine Grace, if one can, instead of shunning suffering when it comes, enter into it with this will, this aspiration to go through it and find the luminous truth, the unvarying delight which is at the core of all things, the door of pain is often more direct, more immediate than that of satisfaction or contentment.1

So like the Mother says here I think the line could be interpreted in the sense of changing my attitude so that struggles and pain become more a means of advancing on the spiritual path, more a means of igniting my aspiration to go through them in order to reach that ‘unvarying delight’ than something that holds me back when I have  resistance to the pain or depression about the pain. Backing up this idea, I feel, is an experience I had with Medhanada’s Eternity Game two nights before I received this line and a few hours after I’d read the above quote from the Mother. That quote is part of a longer passage where she says a number of things one of which is “When pain comes, it comes to teach us something.”2 As I’ve mentioned in other blog posts, probably my biggest difficulty is contending with the constant chronic pain in my back and knees. So that night after reading the Mother’s words I asked the Eternity Game, “What’s the purpose of this pain?” The card I drew was ‘Dwarf’.

Europe 1997.3 25

In the Eternity Game this card represents the mental being, and as you can see its aspects are ‘Quest’, ‘Next Step’ and ‘Intelligence’. Medhananda gives detailed commentary on all the cards in the game, but he also gives short one sentence descriptions.  The short one he gives for the ‘Dwarf’ card is ‘advance, take the next step.’3 I took this as confirmation that I have to try and take the mental attitude the Mother recommends towards the pain so it becomes more a means of progress. I should point out that for me the fact that my reading of the  Mother’s words was followed by synchronicities with both the Eternity Game and my own inner guidance in just a matter of a few days stresses the need for this change in attitude. It’s not easy to do, and to truly surrender this pain is something I’ve been aspiring for for a while. Hopefully this will help me to take the ‘next step’ with that.

So that’s my take on things. Please feel free to share other ideas in the comments!

References

  1. Questions and Answers 1957-1958  by the Mother pg 41
  2. Ibid pg 42
  3. The Eternity Game by Medhananda pg 133