Mystery in the Rose

The mystical rose is a symbol of the unfolding blossom of love and joy in our heart.

This exquisite rose was photographed by Will, right outside our front door. A rose bush was planted on either side of the porch when we moved in last year. I asked two of my daughters to gift me two identical rose bushes for my birthday/Mother’s Day celebrations which happened just after our moving in date.  We enjoyed blooms during the first summer, and now they are blossoming again!

Like the lotus in Eastern mysticism, the rose is an ancient symbol of spiritual development in Western mysticism. In Sufi thought, the rosebud represents unity with God, the rose in bloom represents abundance and wealth, the outer expression of love in the heart. When we love without condition, then everything we need arises in our life, with ease and grace.

In ancient times, the rose was the symbol for the goddess of the planet Venus, who creates a five petalled flower pattern as she dances in the sky.

Later it became an icon for the Virgin Mary, pure and untouched by physical love.

This development shifted the symbolic emphasis from the erotic to the sacred. In Western mysticism the love expressed in the rose is a sacred mystery, not a physical pleasure.  But, whatever attempts have been made, to distinguish the love called ‘eros’ (physical), from the love called ‘agape’ (charity, or spiritual love), there is no denying that the spiritual ilumination can be described as a ‘cosmic orgasm’. This experience is a rush of intense, unearthly light that surges through the body as well as the Soul, leaving the seeker in a complete surrender to the Divine.

With this spiritual love, which is experienced as soft and delicate, as well as being intense and fiery,  great joy and delight arise. The energetic shift is paradoxically both comforting and challenging, reassuring and awesome, forgiving and demanding, personal and impersonal. All our energy centres are open, and Divine energy flows through all levels of our system: from spirit, through mind, through heart, into the physical. This is how deep healing can take place, surprising us with revised configurations. Cancers miraculously disappear. The blind can see. The lame can walk. ‘New lungs are no problem’ – as an angel said to a dying man, who promised to return to life and heal his family story.

How do we support the blossoming of our inner rose of love, delight and joy? By meditating. Whatever method you choose, you need fast, easy, regular access to the Divine Source. Obviously, I recommend Zera Meditation, as it is natural, simple and effective. But there are other routes to the same inner space of  deep Power, deep Love, deep Wisdom.

Divine Source loves you. Divine Source offers you all the wisdom you need to make your way in the world as a truly realised being. In the deep, peaceful, powerful silence of Divine Source you will receive all the good nutrients you need, to bring your exquisite, unique and remarkable flower bud into the world. where you will blossom, over and over again.

 

 

 

 

No Human Being is an Island

A human being… experiences himself… as something separated from the rest… a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness… Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature — Albert Einstein

I found this lovely banner on the website of IMERE, the Insitute for Mystical Experience Research and Education (www.imere.org). This is the US equivalent of the British RERC, Religious Experience Research Centre founded by Sir Alister Hardy, an Oxford Professor of Marine Biology. (www.studyspiritualexperiences.org). I’ve been involved with RERC for more than thirty years and studied for the Master’s degree that was established by the Centre at the University of Wales. RERC have digitised their enormous archive of spirtual experiences, available online at www.uwtsd.ac.uk/library/alister-hardy-religious-experience-research-centre/online-archive.

If you have had a profound spiritual experience, IMERE invites you to contribute to research by submitting a questionnaire. There are some beautiful examples of mystical experience on their website. I recommend reports from astronaut Edgar Mitchell and Jane Goodall, famous for research into chimpanzees – both scientists, it should be noted!

I discovered the IMERE banner when I was hunting for information about brain states, but I got distracted because the image, and especially Einstein’s remarks, prompted me to write this blog.

A human being… experiences himself… as something separated from the rest… a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness… Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature – Albert Einstein

The mission of all meditation teachers is to encourage everyone to experience a sense of connection – with the whole human family, with the whole planet, with the whole cosmos! As Einstein says, this is a collective task, to free ourselves from the mind manacles that keep us feeling separate from one another. He describes this feeling as an ‘optical delusion’.

Many people know the famous poem by John Donne that begins: no man is an island. Donne describes how we are part of the same landscape:

Every man is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.

He points out that the death of any other person diminishes us all, and closes with another famous line:

never send to know for whom the bell tolls – it tolls for thee.

Less well known is a bleak poem by Matthew Arnold, To Marguerite, in which the poet describes how we have lost our mystical connection. Arnold uses the identical image as Donne, of being an island –  with echoing straits between us thrown. He complains that we million mortals live alone. When we experience the beauty of the world, such as starry nights, springtime, the sound of the nightingales, we long for something we have lost – because surely, once we were parts of a single continent. He wonders why we should have this longing, but still be separated? Arnold’s poem ends on a bitter note: he complains that it must have been a god who made the rule that we should be separate beings, living as islands kept apart by the unplumb’d, salt, estranging sea.

I was especially taken by Arnold’s description of the sea between the islands as unplumbed – so deep we cannot hope to fathom its depth. This mysterious sea makes us strangers to each other. But I don’t believe in a ‘god’ who wants to keep us separate. We can choose. Our consciousness is like a deep ocean, and we can explore its depths. We don’t have to be estranged.  We can experience different levels of our own inner landscape and discover the underlying contintent.

We do have a sense of being separate, individual people, with timelines from birth to death, and identities based on name, gender, familial relationships, tribe, nationhood, and so on. That separate ‘island’ of our being is what we mostly spend time living in. But, much deeper, if we take time to plumb the ocean of consciousness, we will get a sense of being part of a single continent. That continent is often experienced as a land of light, where we feeled loved, protected and reassured. I call this Divine Source.

Meditation is your gateway to the Land of Light, which is your birthright.

Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature.