Communing with the Creative Fire of the Universe
by Jean Houston
Our world is going through a time of fundamental change—transforming how we see ourselves, our universe, and the human journey. When we learn to live at home in the universe, and begin to understand the true extent of that universe to the degree that we are able, all manner of capacities become ignited, the creative fire burns deep and true in our souls.
I see this happening on two interwoven tracks: our relationship to the infinite and our relationship to the nature of loving.
Several years ago I helped my friend Duane Elgin in his preparing a book on The Living Universe in which he initially made the case for our stunning insights that come from recent science. These insights are serving as the basis for what I see coming as an emerging new world spirituality.
The first has to do with size. We look at the sky and think how infinitesimal we are. And yet we are giants, existing in the middle range of all things. The largest known distance of the known universe is 10 to the 28 meters. We are at 10 to the 0 meters while the smallest distance in physics is 10-33rd meters.
As Elgin says, Thinking we are small represents profound misperception. Just as we are stunned by the vast immensity of our universe, we should be equally amazed at our own immensity, and how far the universe reaches within us into unimaginably minute realms.
And you know, it is perfect because if we were smaller we would not have sufficient atoms to maintain the complexity of our minds and beings, and if we were significantly larger, our nervous system would be too slow to maintain the communications that keep us alive. So we are perfect!
As giants, however, what we are missing is the subtle, ebullient infusing aliveness that is going on in the smaller ranges. Only meditation and different orders of consciousness can bring us there.
The second big insight is that we are almost totally invisible. Matter as we know it is only a tiny ripple on a vast sea of energy. Dark matter of two kinds comprises 96% of the universe. (23% being dark matter which contains the gravitational field that holds the universe together and 73% being dark energy which allows the universe to expand.)
So the essential question is if we are only 4% visible, how much of ourselves is part of that invisible or transparent domain? Because we are an integral part of the living universe then we are deeply connected to and operating in the invisible realms as well.
Cosmologists are now assuming that there are many dimensions as well, and some of these dimensions are invitations to a larger existence for ourselves. (What has been taken for granted in Buddhist and Sufi writings, among indigenous peoples, and in the west has been the stuff of science fiction is now moving towards science fact.) For example, take parallel universes.
We connect with the Universe through Direct Knowing. We are involved in a subtle ecology in the field of consciousness. Our brain is only a part of our awareness of this infusing presence. In psychic, mystical or high creative states we enter these greater domains.
Combining these four insights we come to the understanding that “We are giants, living in a mostly invisible universe, just getting underway in our evolutionary journey, and can reach with our consciousness into the larger universe.” I would add that we can do so not just with our consciousness but with our bodies and creativity and souls as well. I hope to offer you some suggestions for new ways of doing this in some of our conversations together.
Let me inform you of a few useful facts. You probably know that your body is being regenerated all the time. The inner lining of your intestine is regenerated every five days, and the outer layer of your skin every two weeks. You receive a liver replacement about every two months, and your bones are fully replaced every ten years.
However, the universe itself is being continually regenerated at the speed of light. Given the nature of the simultaneity of time, the entire universe is being regenerated including the nature of space and time. This means that your past, present and future can be regenerated if you would take the innate and extended uses of consciousness to do this. You add your intention into the equation of regeneration. But more of that later.
The point as Elgin says is that:
Given the dynamism of both matter and space, the universe is, in the words of David Bohm, “an undivided wholeness in flowing movement”.
In this view, the entire cosmos is being regenerated at each instant in a single symphony of expression that unfolds from the most microscopic aspects of the subatomic realm to the vast reaches of billions of galactic systems. The whole cosmos all at once is the basic unit of creation. It utterly overwhelms the imagination to consider the size and complexity of our cosmos with its billions of galaxies and trillions of planetary systems, all partaking in the continuous flow of creation. How can it be so vast, so subtle, so precise, and so powerful?
Metaphorically, we inhabit a cosmos whose visible body is billions of light years across, whose organs include billions perhaps by latest estimate a trillion galaxies, whose cells include trillions of suns and planetary systems, and whose molecules include an unutterably vast number and diversity of life-forms. The entirety of this great body of being, including the fabric of space-time itself, is being continuously regenerated each instant.
Please know that our being does not stop at the edge of our skin but extends into and is inseparable from the universe. We are all connected with the deep ecology of the universe and each of us has the ability to extend our consciousness far beyond the range of our physical senses.
We go into these great natural, sacred settings because they give us potent affirmations of this livingness. You enter the larger field of aliveness and even discover as George Washington Carver said, that if you love it enough, anything will talk to you.
Communing with the Creative Fire of the Universe: Part Two
by Jean Houston
As we harvest the wisdom of human experience in the deeper mystical traditions of the world’s great religions we get almost exactly the same picture of a living universe which also lives inside of ourselves. In fact, it is wonderful to discover that Christians, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, Taoists, Confucians, Indigenous peoples, and Western philosophers have all given remarkably similar descriptions of the universe and the Life-force that pervades it.
Christianity declares that God is not separate from this world but continuously creates it anew so that we move and have our being in God. Islam affirms that the entire universe is continually coming into being and that each moment is a new “occasion” for Allah to create the whole universe.Hinduism proclaims that the entire universe is a single body that is being continually danced into creation by a divine Life-force or Brahman. Buddhism asserts that the entire universe arises freshly at every moment in an unceasing flow of co-dependent origination where everything depends upon everything else. Taoism states that the Tao is the “Mother of the Universe” and is the inexhaustible source from which all things rise and fall without ceasing. Confucianism views our universe as a unified and interpenetrating whole that is sustained and nourished by the vitality of the Life-force or chi.Indigenous peoples declare that an animating wind or Life-force blows through all things in the world and there is aliveness and sacred power everywhere. A major stream inWestern thought portrays the universe as a single, living creature that is being continually regenerated and is evolving toward higher levels of complexity and consciousness.
Despite our great diversity, when the world’s wisdom traditions have penetrated into the experiential depths, a common reality is encountered that is utterly stunning: We live within a living universe that arises, moment-by-moment, as a unified whole. The universe is a living entity that is continuously sustained by the flow-through of phenomenal amounts of energy in an unutterably vast and intensely alive process of awesome precision and power. We are beings that the universe inhabits as much as we are beings that inhabit the universe. The unity of existence is not an experience to be created; rather, it is an always-manifesting condition waiting to be appreciated and welcomed into awareness.
We Are a Body of Love
The music of the spheres vibrates in every one of our cells. This is ultimately the music of love. Can you tune into this music that is there for you 24 hours a day on super FM? There is real feeling and rhythm to it if you attend. More, look into all of the great spiritual traditions and you find words to the effect that there is a “physics of love.” Learn from those who experience deep meditation or prayer or even levels of high creativity and you find a common theme, to wit, “The resonance of the universe is not a mechanical hum devoid of feeling but instead a subtle music of joy and love.“ We are created from a life energy whose essential nature is love.
Thus love is at the core, at the heart of all Reality—both finite and infinite. The Encyclopedia of Religion states that “…many great figures have argued that love is the single most potent force in the universe, a cosmic impulse that creates, maintains, directs, informs, and brings to its proper end every living thing.”
My old friend, Mr.Tayer, who turned out to be Teilhard de Chardin, said it most trenchantly:
The day will come when, after harnessing space, the winds, the tides and gravitation, we shall harness for God the energies of love. And on that day, for the second time in the history of the world, we shall have discovered fire.
We Are a Body of Knowing
We only appear to be separate from the Infinite universe. The new physics shows that get beneath this seeming separateness and there is a deeper unity, a non-local connectivity to our universe. We live in a holographic universe where all is connected with all. In fact in my years as a student of spiritual traditions and psychologies, we find in virtually every tradition, especially the mystical forms of each, that when we enter into the deeps of our selves we always find that we are connecting into the flow that sustains the entire universe and therefore have access to the wisdom and knowing and skill and transformative powers that it contains. “The wisdom of creation is directly accessible to us in our ordinary life experience as the hum of knowing-resonance at the core of our being.” When we relax into the center of “ordinary” existence, we penetrate into the depths, and the wisdom and profound intelligence out of which the universe arises as a continuous flow is disclosed as direct experience.
Jesus declared, “The Kingdom of God is within you.”
Just know that you know, you really know almost everything it is good to know. Being mindful makes you knowing. Your marvelous body with all its knowing systems gives you the most complete of gifts, the vastness of all the particulars and marvels of the here and now and the capacities should you choose to enter them to know God. Once grounded in our capacity for double wisdom, we can be self-remembering in these subtle ecologies without fear of forgetting ourselves.
There is no more elevated task than to learn, of our own free will, the skills of living in eternity. In consciously becoming intimate friends with ourselves, we are directly participating in the life-stream of the universe and consciously cultivating the body of knowing that is our vehicle through the deep ecology of the Mother Universe—through eternity. We are both cultivating and being cultivated in the communion of creative fire.