Posts Tagged wisdom

Secrets Within Secrets


Some say that the world is a vale of tears.
I say it is a place of soul making
John Keats

I had dream where I was discussing, “the secrets within secrets,” and I awoke feeling as if I had seen through the layers, everything was crystal clear to me, however when I reached out for my notebook and pen, (always next to me when I sleep) suddenly what seemed so clear was not clear anymore, yet I could still feel the understanding of it. Then my eyes fell on a book that I had not looked at for years and by now I know never to ignore sudden attention on something. So I opened it at random, on the following:

“Like Heraclitus, Chunang Tzu speaks of a hidden principle of truth, the Tao. Why does it remain hidden, and yet seem so obvious when we are able to open it? Chuang Tzu suggests that we are misled by partial understanding. We do not think, feel, or look with the whole of ourselves. We tend to base judgements on distinctions which we have not held up to examination.” – Wing-Tsit Chan

So much of life is like this. So often I am hit with a “vow”, only to later, after living with the “vow” of understanding, to realise that there is more to it than I thought. What I thought I understood, I understood with only partial understanding. The fragmented mind is not capable of understanding the whole, yet it is the fragments of understanding that leads us closer, layer by layer to understanding of the whole. As Heraclitus of Ephesus said, “The Lord whose oracle is at Delphi neither speaks nor conceals, but gives signs.” Our understanding of the whole can only be perceived in symbols, it awakens in us a new paradigm of understanding.

“The pursuit of knowledge always takes place within a given paradigm, within a conceptual matrix – a womb that provides an intellectually nourishing structure, that fosters growth and increasing complexity and sophistication – until, gradually that structure is experienced as constricting, a limitation, a prison, producing a tension of irresolvable contradictions, and finally a crisis is reached. Then some inspired Promethean genius comes along and is graced with an inner breakthrough to a new vision that gives the scientific mind a new sense of being cognitively connected – reconnected – to the world: an intellectual revolution occurs, and a new paradigm is born. Here we see why such geniuses regularly experience their intellectual breakthrough as a profound illumination, a revelation of the divine creative principle itself, as with Newton’s exclamation to God, “I think Thy thoughts after Thee!” For the human mind is following the numinous archetypal path that is unfolding within it.

And here we can see why the same paradigm, such as the Aristotelian or Newtonian, is perceived as a liberation at one time and then a constriction, a prison, at another. For the birth of every new paradigm is also the conception in a new conceptual matrix, which begins the process of gestation, growth, crisis, and revolution all over again. Each paradigm is a stage in an unfolding evolutionary sequence, and when that paradigm has fulfilled its purpose, when it has been developed and exploited to its fullest extent, then it loses its numinosity, it ceases to be libidinanlly charged, it becomes felt as oppressive, limiting, opaque, something to be overcome – while the new paradigm that is emerging is felt as a liberating birth into a new, luminously intelligible universe.”

The Passion Of The Western Mind – Richard Tarnas

Within each of us, we progress from paradigm to paradigm in our personal self-evolution. Each stage of this evolution is brought about by a personal crisis, a turning point, a dark night of the soul, a soul encounter. Our personal evolutionary shifts reflects the evolutionary shifts of the greater whole.

The thirteenth century,Persian mystic Aziz Nasafi wrote that the spiritual world, standing like a light behind the bodily world, shines as through a window through every creature that comes into being. According to the type and size of the window, more or less light enters the world. Each one of us is a window on the Universe, the whole of understanding. Physicist Raynor Johnson even suggest that while in ordinary states of awareness we view the world through five slits in the tower, our ordinary senses, there are states of consciousness in which we open the roof to the sky. It is in these moments of consciousness that a new paradigm is born. Suddenly a light is lit in the darkness of our understanding.

The concept of dry intellectual knowledge can only bring you to the first layer of understanding, whereas wisdom is the essence of understanding. There are some that say that true intellect should be defined as an ability to interact with the world around you. The ability to reach out in a gesture of wanting to understand. Wisdom for me is born out of this reaching out and interaction with the world around me, and through this an inner reflection, an inner understanding of the whole is brought about. One could say that out of the bitterness (Mara) of experience, the sweetness of wisdom is born.

In Ancient Egypt the word Ais is for brain intellect, and Sia for intelligence of the heart, in other words intuition. Intuition literally means “knowledge coming in.” Yet neither wisdom nor intellectual knowledge can be gained without love, for to know something there first need to exist a desire, a love for something, for if you feel love for something there is a need to unite with what you love. In uniting with something, or at least a reaching out towards something an understanding is brought about. Knowledge means to unite oneself with the object, concept or idea one requires to understand, hence the term carnal knowledge.

“Consider the prodigious physical and evolutionary studies of Teilhardt de Chardin, which conclude that love is the underlying movement and pattern behind the universe: atoms calling each other in search of union so that they begin to constellate and form molecules; molecules in resonance yearning for the Beloved of the next stage so that they can form more complex systems; these systems yearning to form bodies; bodies attuning until they find their partner and produce more bodies with more complexities. We yearn for the gods and the gods yearn for us, so that as we are becoming enspirited, godded beings, the gods are becoming human. Likewise, earth and nature long for spirit, and spirit longs for nature; out of this longing emerges a deeply physicalized spirituality and a deeply spiritual embodiment …

Consider, too, process philosopher Alfred North Whitehead’s philosophy of God as the loving lure of becoming the Divine Lover calling the world into becoming, as any great and true lover does with any beloved.”

Psychologist Jean Houston

“Mathematical cosmologist Brain Swimme and cultural historian Thomas Berry write of a cosmic allurement that is the bond of all matter and what we humans experience as love. It is this lure between things that drives evolution. Love is what evokes in us the desire to make our own next evolutionary leap as a species. The longing to find and join with the beloved of the soul is the allurement that pulls us toward becoming fully human. “

Bill Plotkin

It is this allurement that entices us out of our cocoons of isolation, and allows us to experience life. In the experience of life we taste and absorb experience as nourishment of the soul. Its sweetness and bitterness both alike enrich our being and creates depth to our insights and brings us wisdom that has grown through the tasting of life.



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Sophia: Wise Folly

The role of Sophia in creation according to Gnostic scriptures is very curious. In the Pistis Sophia, Sophia is deceived by the demiurge and archons who make a false light shine below, and when she descends to embrace the false light they bind her and steal her Light-power. In other Gnostic scriptures she conceives the demiurge without the consent of the Most High or apart from union with her Divine Consort, thus giving birth to the monstrous form of Yaldabaot – the lion-headed serpent. In any case, in one way or another Sophia brings about a shattering of the unity and harmony of the Divine Realm, the Pleroma of Light, and in so doing becomes the cause of the imperfect creation, the Great Matrix or Entirety.

This is called a creation in “deficiency,” “error,” “folly,” or “ignorance” of which Sophia “repents,” setting the Divine Plan for rectification or salvation in motion. Of course, this invokes a question: If the Most High or Barbelo is omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent, and if Sophia exists among the Great Divinities in Sacred Unity, how could she act against the Divine Will of the Most High? In other words, is this “error” an act of Divine Folly ordained by the Most High from the very beginning? Does Sophia play the role of the Fool and Trickster as part of the Divine Plan? After all, apart from her “error” creation would not come into being and sentient beings would not emerge to develop and evolve towards enlightenment – Union with the Divine. The Divine Potential would remain just that – unmanifest potential, with no vehicle of actualization and realization.

The very name Sophia implies knowledge, understanding and wisdom, thus when Gnostic scripture proposes that she acts in ignorance one cannot help but hear this idea as spoken “tongue-in-cheek,” as the saying goes, for the Sophia of the True God is anything but ignorant – rather she plays the enigmatic role of the Divine Fool or Trickster in feminine form. In many Gnostic scriptures this is made perfectly clear, because as the story of creation unfolds she repeatedly tricks the demiurge and archons into drawing more and more of the Divine Light and Divine Spirit into their creation, or she herself, as the Divine Trickster, brings forth the Divine Light and Spirit to their creation. Indeed, from her original “error” something of the Divine is cast into creation – into the Realm of Becoming. As the Fool or Trickster she essentially causes the demiurge and archons to initiate their own demise, playing upon their own imperfection from the very outset.

It is often assumed that all Gnostics in classical Gnosticism held a radical dualistic view, yet given the enigmatic role of Sophia, and her active role as Wisdom Goddess and Savioress along side Christ, this assumption may be in error. In fact, through Sophia, while speaking of the seeming dualism inherent in our experience, Gnostic scriptures often point to an underlying Sacred Unity, or to the non-dual nature of the Pleroma and Entirety. In effect, the appearance of dualism is illusory or is a state of ignorance, which the Gnostic Revealer comes to dispel, being brought forth into the realms, worlds and universes of the Entirety through the agency of Sophia. When understood, it is all a Divine Drama, a Divine Play – the appearance of separation facilitating the joy of conscious unification.

Of course, Sophia is a complex figure, having many different faces, but in terms of Pistis Sophia and Sophia Zoe the archetype of the Divine Feminine as Trickster-Prankster-Fool can lead to deep insights – the mysterious and enigmatic figure that is integral to the Divine Plan and Divine Revelation, who can appear bright or dark, or shine in a rainbow spectrum as the Shape-shifter, but without whom the Divine Drama could not unfold.

Though many speak of Mary Magdalene in very sentimental terms, the reality of Sophia as the Trickster-Prankster-Fool is present in our experience of the Seven Faces of the Holy Bride, especially the Maiden or Light and Mistress of the Night. Invoking her we encounter a playful maiden, omnipresent – she loves us, she hates us; she draws us close, then she cast us away. Indeed, she constantly plays tricks upon us, awakening us and bringing us into the fullness of life, teaching us through direct experience in body, speech and mind – the wisdom of life (Sophia Zoe). It is as though she gambles with our very life, yet all in the most intimate love-play seeking our enlightenment and liberation. Such is the nature of the Shekinah of Messiah, our beloved Sophia.

Greek philosophers may have made Sophia into an intellectual abstraction, but in Gnostic scriptures we encounter the divine fullness of Sophia, with all of her many faces and forms – invoking her we shift from the intellectual approach to the experiential approach, and we discover that spiritual knowledge, understanding and wisdom does not come through words and books, but through symbols and actions: direct experience. Through words and books we may acquire a necessary context into which we may place our Gnostic experience, but it is direct spiritual and mystical experience through which Divine Gnosis is made manifest.

Are we willing to be tricked into our enlightenment; willing to let go to divine passion and let it carry us where it will? Then let us invoke the Holy Bride, Sophia!

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