When we reflect on the living network of magnetic and soul force between ourselves and every aspect of the cosmic organism we call our universe, we sense something of the magnitude of our responsibility. If we could view all that occurs in our personal circumstances, in our social and communal relationships, from this perspective, from the eye of our immortal self, we would transform every aspect of human living. -- Grace F. Knoche, To Light a Thousand Lamps
What determines the events in our lives? How does a seemingly chance meeting, a wrong turn, or an arbitrary flip through the pages of a book result in meaning? Is it because in a random universe the habit of our mind makes connections, like the face of the man in the moon? Or are there really order and consciousness in the universe, where an all-pervading oneness resolves into significance before our gaze?
It is a truism that people are more than they appear. But how much more? We exist at any given moment of our waking and sleeping life simultaneously in the future, the present, and the past; and the present moment is as vast as the kosmos itself. We stream forth from, and are part of, our pre-incarnation, current incarnation, and post-incarnation states, all the time retaining a wealth of experiences and images. What others see in us and we in them is but a glimpse of what they (and we) are, like seeing a mighty river from afar through the small space between two boulders as we travel a wilderness path. Like a mighty river, we are composed of many currents not immediately recognizable. There is a stream of divine consciousness, one that is spiritual, others that are mental, emotional, vital, astral, and physical. Flowing through us, each tendency has a form and history of its own while helping compose the unique individual that we are. The same complexity applies to animals, plants, minerals, planets, suns, galaxies, atomic and subatomic particles, as well as to kingdoms unknown and unnamed outside the spectrum of life we acknowledge. Not only are we evolving; we are formed of countless beings on their own evolutionary journeys, while ourselves composing the fabric of a greater being, the effects of whose consciousness upon us we term the laws of nature. Thus every being, thing, and event is more immense and profound than it appears and contributes in many ways to all others, forming a fundamental Oneness.
Everything in the kosmos, then, whether in the range of our perceptions or not, is a streaming forth of one consciousness -- mind manifesting as forms. The play between the resulting appearances creates both the illusion of separateness and an endless series of opportunities for the awakening of Self. In this context, we are drawn back into incarnation by the experiences of previous lives. Past thoughts and habits become sympathetic currents that attract us to a certain portion of the globe, to a nation, parents, body, and temperament. After physical birth, currents of psychomagnetic force continue to stream through our life experience. Each field on all planes of being interacts with every other field according to attraction and repulsion. Not a bird overhead or the teaming minutiae of lives underfoot, passersby, fleeting conversations at the market, or relationships with close friends and family occur apart from these self-generated forces that bring everything back into existence again and again.
Like our dreams, where impressions and images are created from the reservoir of our daily thought and experiences, so we create our waking life, set in a sea of innumerable possibilities, by attracting and repelling events and experiences along an entire range of inner and outer necessities. We live a life of dreams in the sense that from our thoughts comes our world. They magnetize our being and the streams of life-atoms that pour through us. These atomic lives, which are on their own evolutionary journeys, compose not only our various organs and principles but also the other beings in our world, each a stream of consciousness like ourselves.
Consequently every event can serve to awaken our soul. Our trials and failures, our loves and joys -- in short, all the content of our lives -- ultimately fulfill the harmonious working of the kosmos. We may not recognize this at first with happenings that bring us pain and suffering because we are then dealing with our unresolved or even unnoticed limitations. But as similar events repeat over and over we begin to awaken to the realization that it is not a hostile god or devil or universe "out to get us," but just the opposite: that love and sweet harmony are acting in direct accord with our actions and our temporary incapacity to perceive our true nature.
But is this so? The pain and suffering of the world are so overwhelming and horrible when examined by themselves. For the lack of a vaccine that costs pennies, poor children die. In the name of profit millions of children are enslaved. AIDS, Alzheimer's, cancer, and other diseases ravage families. To say that this is due to universal "love and sweet harmony" may sound incredible, cold-hearted, and even evil. In response we must ask, "Why did the kosmos come into being?" An answer often given is, "To know Itself." At the heart of all manifestation is an unknowable divine source. But if this kosmic source is indeed infinite, as logic would suggest, why would it leave the true harmony of its state of "beness" to become "being"? We answer, from compassion. That all beings are aspects of this One, and that they can reach a greater state than currently occupied, must in some way re-originate manifestation so that every being has the opportunity to attain its full potential. This is the driving force behind the events around us. On some level beyond our comprehension, at the source of all streams of awareness, there is knowing and compassion.
Every creation, it has been said, contains in it all that its creator knows, consciously or unconsciously. If this is so, the infinite source is reflected in all events and beings. If not for this universal and infinite divine essence at our core, we would randomly spiral from one event to another on an endless loop of experiences. But each event carries the essential nature of divinity within it. Through daily life we begin to intuit the vast reality of existence, slowly, consciously awakening to the fact that something exists beyond the material world. This realization of something greater, which is both beyond and part of ourselves, has occurred to many people today. Yet self-directed illusion exists just as does self-directed evolution. Overwhelmed by the play of cascading events called forth by ourself, we create the illusion of separateness, forgetting the divine Oneness that is our true nature. These illusions, however, are not unreal or without meaning, they are simply not what we think they are. The universe does have laws that work toward the illumining of soul nature -- the knowing of one's Self. At any given moment any event may lead us to an evolutionary experience, an awakening. For the real power of consciousness is that fundamentally all is One.
(From Sunrise magazine, April/May 2002; copyright © 2001 Theosophical University Press)
Or the exquisite delicate thin curve of the new moon in spring;
Why, who makes much of a miracle?
As to me I know nothing else but miracles,
Whether I walk the streets of Manhattan,
Or dart my sight over the roofs of houses toward the sky,
Or wade with naked feet along the beach just in the edge of the water,
Or stand under the trees in the woods,
Or sit at table at dinner with the rest,
Or look at strangers opposite me riding in the car,
Or watch honey-bees busy around the hive of a summer forenoon,
Or birds, or the wonderfulness of insects in the air,
Or the wonderfulness of the sundown, or of stars shining so quiet and bright,
Or the exquisite delicate thin curve of the new moon in spring;
These with the rest, one and all, are to me miracles,
The whole referring, yet each distinct and in its place. -- Walt Whitman