The Lamp and the Abyss

My nature is light, nothing but light. When the world arises, I alone am shining.
-Ashtavakra Gita 2:8       

I stand transfixed; my mind’s eye takes in everything before my brain has time to confuse it with reasoning. As this subtle untarnished revelation unfolds, I search my coat pockets for a pen and paper and transcribe into words what I’ve witnessed.

A mysterious orb has exploded while still retaining the contour of its original shape. It reminds me of an eye, dark and luminous rotating in its socket. An amalgamation of dark matter in subtle variations of black revolves into itself as hues of white light discharge from the center, such as a flickering candle inside a punctured sphere. As this dark matter moves into itself, it is expanding. I recognize the sphere as the abyss, a land I thought to be inhabited by dragons and devils. But I sense a feeling of warmth, of goodness in the shadows of these phenomena.

The expansion of energy progresses outward in all directions as the expulsion of white light, tethered to its source, sets a course for the earth where it intersects a multicolored veil in the atmosphere and is transformed into every conceivable creation known to humankind; all the myriad creatures, all variety of vegetation, all sentient beings. All these finite and diverse forms permeate the earth with each their opposites. And these gifts while nourishing the earth also provide for humanity: philosophy, the sciences, the arts, all modes of spirituality…all knowledge, and wisdom.

A breeze surge through me as the wind canvases the earth, giving clues to an omniscient presence. I begin to understand the metaphor, the symbolism articulated in this experience. Since black is the absence of color, it’s leave-taking, it, therefore, lacks opposites. White is the presence of all colors and therefore it contains all opposites. Thus the abyss is the home of God and the dark matter issuing from it is creation, and is dispersed upon the earth adorned with the colors of opposites from the kingdom of white personified in the varied forms of the creator. To my astonishment I see these things flow back to the abyss, the oval sphere. It seems that humankind’s realization and perfection of the gifts of creation acts as a mirror, a witness to the Godhead… God sees itself through our acts. Thus we share in creation as everything goes back to the original source, a complete cycle.

The currents of swirling energy seem to be divided into alternating camps of fast and slow movement, the former is all goodness and joy, and the latter slowed down by anchors of fear and doubt. In slower motion it seems that the energy can’t flow and can’t expand; it dies in these pockets of slow movement. But positive intentions, not encumbered by negative thought moves directly and rapidity to and from and sets a direct course into being. Thus our intention weighted down by false pretenses, anxiety and loathing can never make it to fruition. The Creator beckons one and all to summon the intention waiting in the wind, without trepidation. We only need to IMG_2165ask.

You may ask where I beheld this spectacle of mystic proportion that confided to me its secrets with the speed of Hermes, the sacred messenger. Was it a dream, a sudden flash of insight or some ancient text uncovered? No, none of these tools of the infinite confided in me. It was simply a case of serendipity, which held to me in all its mystery, a riddle of coincidence, rich in metaphor for my wanting heart.

It was a winter’s day, the sort of day where one secures activities that require no taxing of the mind or at least as little as possible. As late falling leaves meandered in the air like ghosts, I happened to be wandering through the narrow aisles of an open market on the edge of town. My eyes caught sight of three shoeboxes, side by side, overflowing with old photographs. My mind quickly raced back in time to my grandmother’s great white house where, as a boy, I would sit on her bed poring through what seemed like thousands of images from days gone by. The vendor, who was selling these antiquated photographs, originally purchased the forgotten images at various estate sales. These were the misfits, the unwanted relics of lives as they existed in the realm of ‘once upon a time‘, the final remnants of temporal existence.

My attention was alerted in the direction of a black and white photograph, taken in the winter of 1956. The image is of a lamp attached to the head of a black steel pole protruding from the snow of what could be the front yard of any neighborhood. The photo was taken in the hours after dusk or before dawn, the lamp was aglow, a brilliant circular display of light that could evoke envy to the likes of St. Elmo. Shades of black and white displayed colors in such a subtle manner that they appeared to melt into each other, erasing all boundaries. The luminosity of the lamp seemed to be made even brighter by the uniformity and complexity of the photograph itself. The snow lay on the ground like bales of cotton or bilious clouds with tinges of gray and gold. While the wispy shades of darkness progressed in stages as when dusk begins its final bedtime ride.

It was this simple and yet complex image, which gave to my soul a vision so clear and serene that for a fleeting moment I was captured, taken away, wrapped in bliss to the adobe of creation.

I am suddenly reminded of the Buddha’s words as he lay dying, “be a light unto oneself”. We each must find our own way to the Oneness of existence in space and time. Each light will shine in different hues and tones, a tinge of gray, a streak of blue or red with all colors forging together in the bright light of the universal lamp. All paths lead to one; an all inhabiting all encompassing explication as to the darkness, the light, and its relationship.

For Leon who suffered a heart attack this past week, get well my friend…

12 thoughts on “The Lamp and the Abyss

  1. “I stand transfixed; my mind’s eye takes in everything before my brain has time to confuse it with reasoning”……how right you are . Just take in moments like these, of clarity and beauty.

    You also talk about us shining in our own hues. Yes, we will express our experiences in many different ways, see beauty in something or someone each day. If we but keep our inner self clear and still.

    Thanks again JC for a very mystical, spiritual and encouraging post.
    p.s. I will enjoy the song as soon as I meet a wi-fi signal again.:)
    The images are great.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I am your friend and I support your writing so much this is particular was outstanding – I also absolutely love the title

        Liked by 1 person

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