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Dust on the Mirror
The narrow road winds through the thick chaos of undergrowth that you often find on the border of truly wild places. The contour-line traced by this overgrown ribbon of asphalt looks out across the sunny expanse of a broad, orchard-laden valley. But towering trees loom over the track, showering it in such heavy leaffalls that only a few scattered patches of bitumen are still visible through the thick, moss-encrusted loam. As it curls tightly around a looming buttress of earth, where the mountain poked one of its stony fingers into the gentler slopes of the valley, half of the road is swallowed entirely in the knobby roots of wisteria vines. The twining growth leaps up the slope, snakes its way into the treetops, and hangs in a distinct curtain between the well-tended gardens of the valley and the cool quiet shade of the mountainous forests beyond.
Emerging from the heavy shade into dappled sunlight and an indigo sky, peppered with cottonball clouds, the road traces the boundary of two overgrown fields. Tall throngs of susuki grass whisper to one another across the gap, while dragonfly squadrons wheel in aerial dogfights, exploiting the open corridor of airspace carved by the asphalt. Further on, the fields fall away towards the many-branched little river, and the more heavily-settled neighborhoods along the bank. But the path switches back and winds uphill, back towards the forest verge. At the top of the grassy rise, a dirt path leads straight onward, into the deep green embrace of the forest - to one side a muddy ravine leading through the first fringe of foothills ... on the other a silent stand of cedars rising up with evergreen fingers, as if to stroke the lowest clouds.
The asphalt leads off towards the north, following the new contour line as it proceeds through peach, plum and apricot orchards, broken occasionally a bright patch of rice paddy. But the deepening woods beckon. . . .
Spinning about, a view of the entire valley opens up to the West. Sunlight oozes through the slowly rising castle walls of cloud, tracing streaks of golden haze in halos across the sky. The waving golden locks of susuki grass catch the golden threads wafting in the warm air, and spin it into early autumn garments. They gaze further down at the still-emerald hue of patchy paddy fields where the valley broadens. Beyond, mountains that may taste snow within the month bask in the still balmy rays of a late harvest season.
Is there anybody Out there?
Is there anybody OUT there???
... mmmm ..... is there any body
Is there anybody in there?
Just nod if you can hear me
Is there anyone home?
The first time you see it, you KNOW what you are looking at. Or should I say, what is looking @ you.
The first time your ThinkingProcess gets stuck, and for whatever reason, shuts up long enough to really "look around" ... you feel as if you are in one of those receding camera shots from a Rossellini movie, -- your "vision" suddenly telescoping back away from the landscape before your eyes, and into the Real You.
That's when you see it.
A Hindu mystic some thousands of years ago offered what I think probably was, and still is, the best analogy for what you see. And his analogy has been adopted by both Hinduism and Buddhism, as well as many Islamic sects. It is most often called "the mirror analogy", and has even been adopted by Western new-age groups as well (not to mention 1800s Transcendentalists). To simplify, the analogy suggests that the individual sense of self -- the Ego -- is "Dust, on the mirror of reality."
Unfortunately, that simplification strips the statement of its full meaning. When my Hindi reading ability was at its peak (some 30 years ago), I spent a long time trying to read and understand the full original Sanskrit version of the analogy, from an "intellectual" perspective. But once you go through the receding-camera-shot experience first-hand, it instantly brings into crystal clear focus what "Dust on the Mirror" really means.
The first feeling is one of expansion, as you realise that everything "Out There" is a part of the same big fabric, projecting a picture of What Is. The scenery... the sounds... the light and shadow. Not only is that outer Reality a part and parcel with any shred of Ego still clinging to the heels of your perception, but you can distinctly identify the real "I AM" part of you, on the OTHER side of some dividing line.
I can only speak from my own experience, and I certainly do not claim to be some sort of "adept" at meditation. Nevertheless, the increasingly common perceptions I encounter while walking in the hills above my house have allowed me to see the analogy for the truth that it is.
- THE I Am -- that thing we have been discussing in past articles as "Holistic Consciousness" -- is a single ocean which contains everything, both consciousness-based and matter-based.
- But the matter-based ocean is somehow generated BY the consciousness-based ocean. This is creation, the first duality.
- Imagine that the ocean we are talking about is an ocean made of light. Both consciousness and matter are, in their most basic foundation, electromagnetic waves of some sort. The thing we call "Holistic Consciousness" is creative. It is the source of the light, projecting onto material reality. And the material world -- that is the reflection created By the light. Look where we are!!! We are back in Plato's cave!
When you begin to see signposts that look familiar, you will know you are on the right path. For me, the next signpost appeared as I began to sustain moments of "Lucid Consciousness," and start to exercise some control over what has been dubbed "The Process." These terms will be familiar to anyone who has read the works of Jiddu Krishnamurti. I confess that the first few paragraphs of this article were a deliberate imitation of his writing style. J.Krishnamurti experienced moments of lucid consciousness from an early age, and most of his major books follow a pattern in which "passages of consciousness"-- word-pictures conveying a scene or landscape -- followed by logical and philosophical analysis, as well as an attempt to apply the principles to daily life (for Krishnamurti's students).
These word-pictures were always an attraction to me, when I first encountered his writing. But it took me years to see what they were. This is what it looks like when you flow back into the ocean; or at any rate, into the little river of Life that fills your own little valley. The camera pulls out, and you start to see what is really there:
God is looking at himself in a mirror. The echo of an Ego can only be heard as distant background noise, not even as compelling as the cicaidas and songbirds way up in the shady valley. The mirror is somehow moving about. Taking it all in, as the images and sounds flicker. This was what Krishnamurti was trying to teach. He was recording the thought-stream that a logical mind . . . clinging to the heels of Perception . . . would jot down if it did its best to keep totally silent, and just let the four-dimensional movie play out.
As you manage to keep ThinkingProcess quiet, and out of the picture for longer and longer periods of time, the picture show becomes clearer. As Plato describes, you begin to get far enough outside the cave to realise where you are. At some point you get a glimpse of that ThinkingProcess-based identity-creature that you used to call "me". At the junction between the "Outside World" and the "Internal World", you suddenly understand, there really IS some sort of a lens or mirror or . . . . . goodness knows what . . . . dividing the physical world (which includes that body-thing that's dangling off of the mirror) from the spiritual* world.
*if you are at all uncertain of what I mean when I use the words "Soul", "Spirit" or "Spiritual", please read through the Ten Permanent Blogposts (particularly the Introduction).
Once, when seated in a grassy field amongst the rolling hills as a silent witness, while eternity gazed upon its own reflection, I began to wonder who "K.M." might be, and scanned both sides of the mirror for any sign of where that talkative little troublemaker might reside . . .
There he is... A tiny glimmer of self-awareness, right on the boundary between Self and Cosmos
... like a secondary-light-source reflection on the glass of a mirror.
So THAT's what they meant by "Dust on the Mirror."
Oh mirror in the sky, what is love
Can the child within my heart rise above
Can I sail through the changin' ocean tides
Can I handle the seasons of my life
I don't know
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