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.