The moment expanding into eternity: it’s a process that often unfolds during meditation, although it can easily slip in and establish itself as you gaze contentedly at the passing parade, either in public or nature. I recently posted a status update on Facebook relating an occurrence as I was relaxing in a Starbucks in downtown Toronto. Here’s s retracing of the process as I recall it now, thirty minutes later.
The individual known as Gordon is a seated and comfortable, attending to some recent interpersonal communications, and admiring the various manifestations of human individuality passing by on the street. Reflecting on oh-so-common motivations and their repeatedly unique expressions. Feeling the consciousness expand, rather like a balloon being blown up. Blown up much farther than its expected spherical dimensions. And, as the surfaces of the sphere touch other levels of being beyond the time and space of the geographical moment, the individual consciousnesses of what we term ‘past lives’ become apparent. Their epochs, societies and personal issues are felt, however briefly, registering their imprints on Gordon’s consciousness, reawakening the relationship of familiarity from other meditative contacts.
The Druid in his grove, the Egyptian in his ritual, the bachelor philosopher at his desk and dinner parties, the king pacing the cage of his palace, the accomplished courtesan playing the insecurities of her clients like a musical instrument, the fisherman’s wife in her shawl, awaiting his return, the imported goods trader sailing his small boat towards much needed profit, the freedom fighter berating his tired men, the murdered hooker bleeding in the gutter, the lady of the manor seducing her maid, the neo-platonist teacher illustrating how the many enfold the One, the boy child laughing with his sister in the garden.
All these beings caught in their characters, making their choices, reaping what they have sown in joy and anger: how they feed into Gordon and his elaborate game. How they nourish and poison, separate and join. How their fears and desires are like tributaries to his river, and how that river reaches the sea and disappears by merging. How the sea gets sucked up into clouds and then falls as rain upon what is required below. How the source is divine unbounded intelligence, and how the manifestations are blinkered explorations of uncharted territory, as we, through the mediums of time and space, map the unknown, only to return, scarred and tired, to recharge at the source.
All this, of course, in mere moments, moments rendered familiar by practice. As detailed and complex as it seems, it is but a movie played by the mind, that portion of the Universal one we all assume is ours and ours alone.
That there is advantages to this type of experience is perhaps obvious. But lest there be any doubt, let me enumerate them as I see them. Our lives as individuals seem limited and haunted. Limited by the expectations and rules of others, haunted by our failure to live up to them. Trapped by fears and chased by desires, both of which feel wild and completely untamable. So to expand into the boundless spaces and spheres of spirit, where others both incarnate and discarnate live and have their being, is to know and then be reminded that we are completely unlimited in our potential, that our sense of limitation is a veil which we can sweep aside to reveal our many and varied manifestations on this planet and others, that our personality, though apparent, is inextricably linked to to other personalities, which are actually aspects of a greater individuality, who spawns, more or less at will, extensions of its intelligence, to map the otherwise unknown details and contours of the territory.
Embracing that individuality allows us to rise above the mazes of our apparent incarcerations and understand their construction and boundaries. We can float above our limitations, laugh at them and see what we are learning in our sweaty and insecure attempts at escape. And as that individuality exists in the formless energy realms of boundless divinity, its gift to us blinkered explorers, is, in fact, a gift from us to ourselves.