Extracts

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Higher worlds and nature


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[1 of 6] Anonymous (3000 BC-current, World): primary subject "Nature, as a reflection of spiritual world" (search under Cosmology/Science)": source "Cosmic Consciousness": detail "From 'Cosmic Consciousness', author is 'C.M.C.'"
What astonished me beyond all else was, as the months went on (from that September), a deepening sense of a Holy Presence. There was a hush on everything, as if nature were holding her breath in adoration. There were times when the feeling came over me with such force as to become oppressive, almost painful. It would not have surprised me if the very rocks and hills had burst forth in one great anthem of praise. At times I felt as if they must, to relieve my feelings.
 "The rent veil," "the holy of holies," "the cherubim with folded wings," "tabernacles" and "temples"—I saw that they were symbols—the attempts of man to give expression to an inward experience. Nature touched me too closely; I sometimes felt oppressed by it, such extreme exaltation exhausted me, and I was glad when I could have a common day. I looked forward with somewhat of dread to the summer, and when it came its light and its profusion of color, although delightful, were almost more than I could bear. We think we see, but we are really blind—if we could see!
 One day, for a moment, my eyes were opened. It was in the morning, I went out in happy, tranquil mood, to look at the flowers, putting my face down into the sweet peas, enjoying their fragrance, observing how vivid and distinct were their form and color. The pleasure I felt deepened into rapture; I was thrilled through and through, and was just beginning to wonder at it, when deep within me a veil, or curtain, suddenly parted, and I became aware that the flowers were alive and conscious! They were in commotion! And I knew they were emitting electric sparks! What a revelation it was! The feeling that came to me with the vision is indescribable—I turned and went into the house, filled with unspeakable awe.
 There was and is still, though not so noticeable as earlier, a very decided and peculiar feeling across the brow above the eyes, as of tension gone, a feeling of more room. That is the physical sensation. The mental is a sense of majesty, of serenity, which is more noticeable when out of doors. Another very decided and peculiar effect followed the phenomena above described — that of being centered, or of being a center. It was as if surrounding and touching me closely on all sides were the softest, downiest pillows. Lean in what direction I might there they were. A pillow or pillows which fitted every tired spot, so that though I was distinctly conscious of that lightest touch there was not the least resistance or obstruction to movement, and yet the support was as permanent and solid as the universe. It was "the everlasting arms". I was anchored at last! But to what? To something outside myself?
 The consciousness of completeness and permanence in myself is one with that of the completeness and permanence of nature. This feeling is quite distinct from any that I had before illumination and has sprung from that. I often ponder on it and wonder what has happened — what change can have taken place in me to so poise and individualize me. My feeling is as if I were as distinct and separate from all other beings and things as is the moon in space and at the same time indissolubly one with all nature.
 Out of this experience was born an unfaltering trust. Deep in the soul, below pain, below all the distraction of life, is a silence vast and grand — an infinite ocean of calm, which nothing can disturb; Nature's own exceeding peace, which "passes understanding."
 That which we seek with passionate longing, here and there, upward and outward, we find at last within ourselves. The kingdom within! The indwelling God! are words whose sublime meaning we never shall fathom.


[2 of 6] Blake, William (1757-1827, England): primary subject "First-hand accounts, Writers/Poets" (search under Inner Life/Experiences)"
I assert for myself that I do not behold the outward creation. ‘What,’ it will be questioned, ‘when the sun rises, do you not see a round disc of fire, something like a guinea:’ Oh! no! no! I see an innumerable company of the heavenly host crying — Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty! I question not my corporeal eye, any more than I would question a window concerning a sight. I look through it and not with it.

[3 of 6] Whitman, Walt (1819-1892, USA): primary subject "Visions, locutions" (search under Beings/Other Beings)": source "Cosmic Consciousness"
 Hast never come to thee an hour,
 A sudden gleam divine, precipitating, bursting all these bubbles, fashions, wealth?
 These eager business aims — books, politics, arts, amours,
 To utter nothingness?

[4 of 6] Jefferies, Richard (1816-1896, England): primary subject "First-hand accounts, Writers/Poets" (search under Inner Life/Experiences)": detail "‘Story of My Heart’"
I looked at the hills, at the dewy grass, and then up through the elm branches to the sky. In a moment all that was behind me — the house, the people, the sounds — seemed to disappear, and to leave me alone. Involuntarily I drew a long breath, then I breathed slowly. My thought, or inner consciousness, went up through the illumined sky, and I was lost in a moment of exaltation. This only lasted a very short time, perhaps only part of a second, and while it lasted there was no formulated wish. I was absorbed; I drank the beauty of the morning; I was exalted. When it ceased I did wish for some increase or enlargement of my existence to correspond with the largeness of feeling I had momentarily enjoyed.

[5 of 6] Boehme, Jacob (1575-1624, Germany): primary subject "First-hand accounts, Protestant" (search under Inner Life/Experiences)": source "Cosmic Consciousness"
About the year 1600, in the twenty-fifth year of his age, he was again surrounded by the divine light and replenished with the heavenly knowledge; insomuch as going abroad in the fields to a green before Neys Gate, at Görlitz, he there sat down and, viewing the herbs and grass of the field in his inward light, he saw into their essences, use and properties, which were discovered to him by their lineaments, figures and signatures. In like manner he beheld the whole creation, and from that foundation of revelation he afterwards wrote his book, "De Signatura Rerum." In the unfolding of those mysteries before his understanding he had a great measure of joy, yet returned home and took care of his family and lived in great peace and silence, scarce intimating to any these wonderful things that had befallen him till in the year 1610, being again taken into this light, lest the mysteries revealed to him should pass through him as a stream, and rather for a memorial than intending any publication, he wrote his first book, called "Aurora, or the Morning Redness."

[6 of 6] Thoreau, Henry (1817-1862, USA): primary subject "First-hand accounts, Western post-1600 " (search under Inner Life/Experiences)": detail "‘Journal’ Jul 16, 1851"
Methinks my present experience is nothing; my past experience is all in all. I think that no experience which I have today comes up to, or is comparable with, the experiences of my boyhood. And not only this is true, but as far back as I can remember I have unconsciously referred to the experiences of a previous state of existence. “For life is a forgetting,” etc. … . Formerly, methought, nature developed as I developed, and grew up with me. My life was ecstasy. In youth, before I lost any of my senses, I can remember that I was all alive, and inhabited my body with inexpressible satisfaction; both its weariness and its refreshment were sweet to me. This earth was the most glorious musical instrument, and I was audience to its strains. To have such sweet impressions made on us, such ecstasies begotten of the breezes! I can remember how I was astonished. I said to myself—I said to others—“There comes into my mind such an indescribable, infinite, all-absorbing, divine, heavenly pleasure, a sense of elevation and expansion, and [I] have had nought to do with it. I perceive that I am dealt with by superior powers. This is a pleasure, a joy, an existence which I have not procured myself. I speak as a witness on the stand, and tell what I have perceived.” The morning and the evening were sweet to me, and I led a life aloof from the society of men. I wondered if a mortal had ever known what I knew. I looked in books for some recognition of a kindred experience, but, strange to say, I found none. Indeed, I was slow to discover that other men had had this experience, for it had been possible to read books and to associate with men on other grounds …. I was daily intoxicated, and yet no man could call me intemperate. With all your science can you tell how it is, and whence it is, that light comes into the soul?