Spontaneous Revelations

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Christ / Course Ideas

In A Course of Love, Jesus notes that “the animation of form with spirit is an ongoing aspect of Creation.”  He says this is not a timebound dynamic.  This is every moment.  It was there at the Beginning.  It is there right now.  It will always be there.  It is what is happening…  Spirit is peeking out at us right now from behind and within everything, including the stale self-concepts I jam like boulders into the stream at the heart of my being.  If we’re lucky, our stream-damming concepts are being outflanked on a daily basis, and hopefully it is not too painful.

(If it is, let go of the boulder.)

When I think of this process of spirit animating form I think of Bénard-Raleigh cells.  I think of them as a massively incomplete but insightful representation, in physical form, of exactly what Jesus is talking about.  Don’t ask me why.  I just do.  This is part of what makes me me, and not a so-called normal person.  If you find a normal person by the way, capture him or her immediately.  Rarer even than the fabled yeti, the recovery of a living specimen of Homo Normalis could well be worth the Nobel Prize in Anthropology—if there was one.  We could call it the Normal Prize in Anthropology.  Maybe this would incentivize the Committee to get off of top dead center.

Moving on.  In Bénard-Raleigh cells heat is applied to a shallow pan of water.  As the energy flows upwards through the water, the molecules start shaking and vibrating faster and faster.  Really hot ones at the bottom of the pan become less dense than the cooler ones at the top.  This is like standing on the platform of a subway station in a major city during rush hour– one of the stations that is the intersection point of five different lines, wherein everyone is trying to transfer and get on and off of all the trains at the same time.  The hot molecules want out of the train.  The cool ones want in.  The result is chaos.

The Greeks thought of chaos a little differently, BTW.  They saw it as the formless void state preceding the creation of the universe.  I think we’ll see shortly a convergence between the Green definition and the rush hour example momentarily, through careful study of the Bénard-Raleigh cell.

So, at some point in the process of applying heat to the pan of water, and creating a flow of energy through the water itself, the chaotic mad dash of hot molecules for the top and of the cooler molecules for the bottom suddenly self-organizes into ordered convection patterns.  From chaos, order.  This link is decent if you focus on the pictures.

They call it self-organization, but physically speaking it is a type of resonance, a delicately tuned state in which many opposing forces are exquisitely balanced.  It is a beautiful example of the manner in which nature is capable of birthing pattern and complexity out of disorder and chaos.  I wouldn’t take it to mean that the riddle of creation is solved, or that the existence of the ever mysterious Homo Normalis can be wholly explained without slipping Love into the equation somewhere, but still… it is worth a footnote.

In the metaphor I am painstakingly developing, spirit is the energy source, and the universe of matter is a pan of water.  I would like to add one technical wrinkle to the experiment, and ask you to imagine that each molecule of water in question had a choice about whether or not to receive the heat from the pan below.  Let’s say they had the choice to insulate themselves from the heat, to make themselves invisible to it so that it could just drift past without any real interaction.  Now what.

No Bénard-Raleigh cells.

I invite you to take one more step with me.  Let us imagine that the water molecules themselves were even smaller Bénard-Raleigh cells, self-resonating patterns of energy we would describe as hydrogen and oxygen.  Self-resonating, but not self-existing…  They are fractal Bénard-Raleigh cells “one level down”.  A certain amount of that spirit energy from the bottom of the pan flows through an even finer chaotic medium, engendering the very pattern of choice and consciousness they think is the mark of their own independent existence.

This is, I think, about as far as I can stretch the metaphor.  This is by and large where we stand today.  There are major patterns of creation we haven’t even considered yet, because until we allow the energy of spirit to flow through us unimpeded, there is no way for those global patterns to emerge in the pan.  They remain dormant all around us.  Meanwhile, we try to hide from the heat while using our isolated powers of thought and will to change the nature of what is happening within the pan, to fix it, give it order, to eliminate the hot spots, to create a constant temperature distribution, to spread the wealth equally, etc., etc. and so on and so forth.  Little do we know, these efforts are a form of resistance to the world that is waiting for us.  We fail to comprehend the fact that the world doesn’t need to be transformed…  If we would just let it be what it is…

It’s working perfectly!

The world has all the built-in resonances it needs, as do we.  It simply awaits our acceptance, our willingness to allow the energy of spirit to flow through us, and then…  Voila!  Phase change.  Music.  Light.

One thing to keep in mind…  We get excited about what this means for our individual lives.  We will be freer.  We will be wealthier perhaps.  We will be healthier.  Leaving aside specifics, we will enter the state of authentic abundance, whatever that means to each of us.  I believe that is entirely true, but I think the emergence of a new pattern in Creation will eclipse many of our specific concerns altogether.  They will be rendered moot.  They are the exact type of concerns the molecules in the pan of water are burdened with before their whole world suddenly becomes a dance hall.  It takes real effort to get to the top of the pan by swimming.  It’s far easier when that is where the current takes you.

From the near side of this phase transition, we want to see and predict, perhaps control the patterns that will emerge in the pan.  We want to make sure they don’t leave out the cup holders we want, the house in which we grew up, or our favorite shade of blue.  My guess is, all expectations will be richly exceeded.  And the real humdinger is this: they will simply dawn upon us.  We couldn’t create this pattern as individuals if we tried.  A heated pan of water suddenly shifts into ordered convection cells because the conditions are ripe, and it is wholly natural.  I think it will be the same with us.

Our job, if I may use such a term, is to ripen.  To simply open up, and flower.  To accept the flow of spirit through us.  To accept the nature of the opportunity that is afforded any reality that is backstopped by Love.  The rest will take care of itself.  Our individual accomplishments will be nice, but they are not why we accept this…  Yes, we will heal.  Yes, we will find peace.  Yes we may unleash some long under-utilized creativity.  Our individual unfolding will be wonderful, but it is not the entirety of the point…  From where we sit, in a quiet pan latent with potential, our individual self-realization seems like the desired “outcome”.  This is a misperception I think– a view still largely informed by viewing ourselves as isolated pieces.

Self-realization is not only an end, but also a means—both at once—as accepting who we are causes the entire pan of water to transform.  What it means to be a water molecule will never be the same again…  We cannot really see what this means until we live it…  That is what we are doing…  Individual self-realization is not an outcome at all, but a choice to participate in spontaneous revelations without end, to let the Whole take up residence within us.

In A Course of Love, Jesus says the journey from separation to unity is an individual one, because as separate beings we have no basis for understanding unity, or even conceiving of it.  As we come to know ourselves, however, and to discover who we really are, we find the presence of Love alive within us, and this leads inevitably to the awareness there is no such thing as separation.  Paradoxically, this Self-awareness shatters the concept of an isolated self.  As we do this, one by one, and accept the flow of Creation alive within us, at some point the whole pan of water will spontaneously self-order, and we will swim in holy meaning once again.

18 Comments

  1. “We fail to comprehend the fact that the world doesn’t need to be transformed… If we would just let it be what it is…”

    Thank you Michael.

    In alchemical language, it is said that only that which is first separated can be united.

    It’s accurate for me to say that the healing happens not so much to keep sickness away, or to free us from life’s situations, the bumps and scrapes that come from being a person engaged in the world, but an ongoing ability to accept all of what happens as having a place in your life and in the bigger Whole that we are more and more able to perceive.

    Even the difficulties that arise for us can be accepted and incorporated as gravity is. There are certain parameters and givens to our experience of being alive, and a tension that, if we accept as belonging to life, can guide us, teaching us the art of navigating using love as the oars and sails actively participating in an engaging encounter with the elements, other people and all that we touch and are touched by.

    Peace,
    Debra

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    • Debra,

      What a beautiful and insightful response! I love “the art of navigating using love as the oars and sails actively participating in an engaging encounter with the elements.” Perfect!

      Your response touches on a consideration that is current for me, and it is a question about a world that seems to happen to us vs a world that happens with us. A world that surprises us, induces our awe and gratitude, but a world that is no longer in any way outside of us, and thus happening “to” us.

      I interpret your response to suggest healing teaches us to navigate with grace upon the seas of life, to learn how to accept the rolling seas and the calm seas alike, and to find, increasingly, a greater meaning in both. It is a heart-warming description that you gave. I can’t help wondering about this idea of a world that is no longer outside of us, a world that we recognize as an extension of our own being, a world we speak to, and that speaks to us.

      I’m not suggesting it is a world without tension, but perhaps a world without suffering…? Dare we imagine…?

      Michael

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      • Thank you Michael!

        Perhaps as suffering is transformed with understanding and meaning, it is not suffering as we once knew it, but with an increased capacity to give and receive love, becomes something else?

        So tricky are finding the words. Perhaps as you say, we must dare imagine, and also attend to how our personal suffering transforms.

        I recognize in my own life when very difficult situations present themselves, my response and feeling is different than say, 15 or 20 years ago.

        It’s not that there is no feeling, but more of an awareness of more than just my feeling. I can’t pretend to know what others feel, but extending my sense of self to include other people does expand love and compassion from the center of my being outward to others. I can’t help but feel the boundaries of self expand.

        Does that make any sense to you?

        Debra

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        • Debra,

          That makes sense and sounds like a wonderful practice. I agree wholly with the notion that suffering is transformed as we embrace what is, and learn to navigate the world with wisdom and love. I just have this thought rolling around my inside. I don’t think it is in any way contradictory, more like an extension. It goes something like this: in our ignorance to who we truly are and to what is, we may attract and/or respond to situations in ways that give rise to suffering. As we learn from these situations, we change their meaning, and our interpretations of what they are about, and the suffering is reduced. And then, this thought rolling around… do we ultimately cease to attract such situations?

          Thinking big picture, what I have in mind is: do we ultimately participate in a world where technology is an expression of wholeness, and free of any detrimental side effects? A world in which the option to live pain free is totally viable? A world in which our wisdom doesn’t merely soften the meaning of circumstance, but co-arises with it?

          I can relate to your notion of extending your sense of self to include others. It is a beautiful experience. It is one that I turn to often when I feel a sense of division, and it often leads to a discovery of some way in which we are joined together, or similar, despite all appearance.

          Michael

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          • “Thinking big picture, what I have in mind is: do we ultimately participate in a world where technology is an expression of wholeness, and free of any detrimental side effects? A world in which the option to live pain free is totally viable? A world in which our wisdom doesn’t merely soften the meaning of circumstance, but co-arises with it?”

            Michael,

            These ideas, insights, are very rich.
            Yes, I think you’re hitting upon something very important; technology mirrors psyche, meaning, it is an extension of ourselves, and very much belongs to our human experience, in spite of the temptation to see technology as something fake, unnatural, or separate from animated human experience.

            Wow, yes wisdom, as I do experience it, does co-arise with circumstances, and each experience we have seems to offer opportunity to further compassion as we participate in suffering as it happens. I am thinking specifically of a family situation in which the take away was to hold onto compassion and love in spite of other people who were very caught up in anger and confusion.

            I need to ponder this a bit more….
            Thank you!

            Debra

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            • I need to ponder it a bit more, too… 🙂

              Hope all is well for you as you hold onto compassion and love amidst the waves.

              Michael

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            • Hi Michael,
              Yes, thank you! Life is good, love is all around us, even in the dark, grey Oregon winter 🙂

              Let’s ponder, it may be that our thoughts and ideas need to simmer some more. I am okay with that.
              Thank you,
              Debra

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  2. Michael, this just absolutely takes the cake and punch too (at the dancehall gathering)! The decorations aren’t quite up, and the few early arrivers are milling about, glancing at the freckles on their wrists, then laughing as they remember they ditched time altogether. The idea of the perfection in all of this can sound like stark lunacy – and I catch full washes of this knowing in my body – but I have not been able to articulate or illustrate – what a full-bodied metaphor – such value in this telling! Thank you for this. I see my little hexagonal dance card in a whole new way: http://permaculturetokyo.blogspot.com/2012_08_01_archive.html
    (just an aside, when I was searching this wonderful bit of science I never knew before, I found Pictures of clouds in the funky wave forms they often take to in the sky…is this part of the same temperature dynamic?)

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    • Marga, that picture of Benard Raleigh cells on the link you sent is great. I did a quick search in writing my post but couldn’t find one so clear.

      I think the process of cloud formation is quite a different phenomenon, although in a macro sense it is similar because the flow of energy (sunlight) through the atmosphere gives rise to pattern order (cloud formation). Having said that, it is not a very meaningful idea about cloud formation because we could say the same about all life forms on the surface of the earth, and probably all of the weather, too…

      You quit wearing watches, too? 🙂

      Michael

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  3. Whoops, left the comment in the wrong spot…sorry Debra…

    I like the analogy of the convection patterns. That’s kind of neat.

    “We fail to comprehend the fact that the world doesn’t need to be transformed… If we would just let it be what it is…”

    I think some people do comprehend this. There are many Buddhist teachers who pass along a similar message. Anam Thubten tells us we don’t have to give anything up in No Self, No Problem. I found that most relieving, for some reason. Maybe because I had a lot of people in my life tell me in no uncertain terms how I was never doing the right thing and how I should be doing this or that differently.

    There is an interesting conversation in Eckhart Tolle’s Stillness Speaks:

    “Accept what is.”
    “I truly cannot. I am agitated and angry about this.”
    “Then accept what is.”
    “Accept that I am agitated and angry? Accept that I cannot accept?”
    “Yes. Bring acceptance into your non-acceptance. Bring surrender into your nonsurrender.
    Then see what happens.”

    It’s the nonacceptance that brings suffering. I know what part it played in my own life.

    The world may not need to be transformed, but since we are (supposedly) fully capable of blocking the energy, individuals need to come to this awareness, and how, unless people are realizing that their current ways of perceiving the world aren’t working. Michael Singer, in The Untethered Soul speaks about our heart’s capacity to open and close to this energy. I don’t know why other people have closed themselves off to the energy available, I only know why I have, and why I am interested in exploring how to open to it again. And, also, at the same time, aware that there is a resistance to doing just that. Why is that? I’m not sure. I just know it’s there.

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    • Hi Casey,

      I agree with you, of course. Many others have taught of the necessity of acceptance as part of the inner work we must do to free ourselves of misperception and suffering. When I say ‘we’ I’m thinking of myself and my own tendency to think I know what lever to pull to make things right, alongside of the many people I encounter who honestly believe “the problem” is something “out there”, whether it be fiscal policy, the failure of our educational system, the quantity of meat we consume, the sinking water tables juxtaposed with the increasing world demand for wheat, etc.

      For me acceptance isn’t about accepting what is in a limited sense, it is akin to a transformative acceptance. I think Tolle and others would probably agree. Acceptance opens the door for transformation. Accepting littleness is not the thing. Accepting pain is not the thing. Accepting that whatever presents itself cannot in any way change the reality within us that is infinite, that is something… Accepting what presents itself as a teacher, or gift of the Infinite, is awesome… And then one day, to accept that God’s view of us is perhaps more accurate than our own, and to leave behind suffering altogether in this acceptance… Wowsah’s!!

      I agree with your thoughts on people facing the evidence that a perception isn’t working. When water flows down a hill out of control, turbulence is nature’s way of putting the brakes on. Turbulence in our own lives is clearly laced with deeper meaning, to Debra’s point, and it asks us to take a look at what is going on, what we are believing, what we are stating is true, etc. Life functions ceaselessly and without error in this regard!

      Michael

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  4. Thanks for the Bénard-Raleigh cells, I watched a video on youtube. It’s all happening now, as we speak, the all-encompassing transformation. As you say, a real humdinger. All things that were in opposition morph into one – awareness of the awareness…

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    • Thank you for that. It’s good to know others share in the welcoming of the humdinger. As you say, all of us share in it.

      Michael

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