the unnameable is the eternally real

This piece was drafted a year ago as a second post-script to a post called why you don’t really want to awaken. The first post-script was called your original luminous brilliance. There, I attempted to clarify what I meant by “whose only beacon is this unlit light”.

This post revisits the preceding lines: … whose only muse is this nameless name.  Here’s an extract from the original post, the poem, and a few quotes from different traditions about this “nameless name”.

Who’d have thought that the estrangement and agony, the confusion and the sheer vertigo of dropping out of every version of a self would eventually be known as a blessing, a grace beyond words?  But words are all she has, so the song goes like this:

the blessing

emelle says

homeless
I found the unassailable
rock of refuge

penniless
I found the treasure
that can’t be bought or sold

exhausted and ill
I found healing
in that which is ever whole

purposeless
I found delight
in every uninvited chore

outcast
I found my tribe:
the wild wideawake
wanderlings
whose only muse
is this nameless name
and whose only beacon
is this unlit light

 ~

Tibetan 'Double Dorje' energetic diagram

The “nameless name” is sometimes referred to as “the Word” (“In the beginning was the Word …”) and “the unstruck sound” of  Vedic scriptures. Poets and mystics throughout the ages have coined their own terms for this enigmatic primordial sound, while acknowledging that it can never be named.

Contemporary science now demonstrates what ancient teachings have claimed for millenia – that all living things – including you and me, in fact all things in existence, are made up at the most essential level of vibrating, pulsing energy.

Mystics and meditators are familiar with this energy. I was introduced to its vibration when practicing yoga kriyas – it was referred to as The Holy Name. It manifested in my auditory awareness as a roar similar to the thrum of huge dynamos at a power plant. Eventually it was perceived as a humming vibration around and within all phenomena. And further along, it was realized that my perception of it could not be set out, separated, from it.

In other words, like the Unlit Light of Awareness, the primordial Nameless Name is the essence of what one actually IS. They go together like up and down.

I’m sure many readers are familiar with this “roar on the other side of silence”. (See below.) What seems more elusive, however, is the closing of the gap of separation between the subject (me) and the sound (conceived as an object). The roar and its perception are One. One vibration that has neither cause, beginning or end.

In the Sanskrit tradition, this sound is called “Anahata Nada,” the “Unstruck Sound.” Literally, this means “the sound that is not made by two things striking together.” Its familiar symbol is the OM or AUM Sanskrit seed syllable.

Sanskrit energetic diagram: OM

Lao Tzu:

The Tao that can be spoken of
is not the enduring and unchanging Tao.
The name that can be named
is not the enduring and unchanging name.

The nameless is the beginning of heaven and earth.
The named is the mother of ten thousand things.

He who would rest in perfect peace
must know the nameless name
whence all things rise, and bloom and cease
returning whence they came.

The unnameable is the eternally real.

~ Lao Tzu (a selection of verses from The Tao Te Ching)

Kabir:

If you want the truth,
I’ll tell you the truth:
Listen to the secret sound,
the real sound,
which is inside you.

~ Kabir

Rumi:

I’ve been looking for a long, long time,
for this thing called love,
I’ve ridden comets across the sky,
and I’ve looked below and above.
Then one day I looked inside myself,
and this is what I found,
A golden sun residing there,
beaming forth God’s light and sound.

and

Seek the Sound that never ceases,
seek the sun that never sets.

~ Rumi

Shamas-i-Tabriz:

The universe was manifested out of the Divine Sound;
From It came into being the Light.

~ Shamas-i-Tabriz

Guru Nanak:

The Sound is inside us.
It is invisible.
Wherever I look I find it.

and

High above in the Lord’s mansion
ringeth the transcendental music.
But, alas, the unlucky hear Him not;
They are in deep slumber.

~ Guru Nanak

Ravi Shankar:

Our tradition teaches us that sound is God – Nada Brahma. That is, musical sound and the musical experience are steps to the realization of the self. We view music as a kind of spiritual discipline that raises one’s inner being to divine peacefulness and bliss. We are taught that one of the fundamental goals a Hindu works toward in his lifetime is a knowledge of the true meaning of the universe – its unchanging, eternal essence – and this is realized first by a complete knowledge of one’s self and one’s own nature. The highest aim of our music is to reveal the essence of the universe it reflects, and the ragas are among the means by which this essence can be apprehended. Thus, through music, one can reach God.

~ Ravi Shankar

George Eliot:

If we had a keen vision and feeling of all ordinary human life, it would be like hearing the grass grow and the squirrel’s heartbeat, and we should die of that roar which lies on the other side of silence.

~ George Eliot, Middlemarch

(My emphasis in all quotes)


OM/AUM image credit: that buzz – an article about “the sound of silence” well worth reading at Sharanam Katherine Rand’s beautiful blog on the precipice.

I am the life of life

I am not a Christian, I am not a Jew, I am not a Zoroastrian

and I am not even a Muslim.

I do not belong to the land, or to any known or unknown sea.

Nature cannot own or claim me, nor can heaven;

nor can India, China, Bulgaria.

My birthplace is placeless, my sign to have and to give no sign.

You say you see my mouth, ears, eyes, nose – they are not mine.

.

I am the life of life.

I am that cat, this stone, no one.

I have thrown duality away like an old dishrag,

I see and know all times and worlds as one,

one, always one.

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So what do I have to do to get you to admit who is speaking?

Admit it and change everything!

This is your own voice echoing off the walls of God.

~ Rumi

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without thought the body simply disappears

At the same time that there is the life and experience of being Vonna (this particular body); at the same time there is no Vonna to be found.  There is no boundary between inside and outside. Sounds, even sites, are “in here” as much as thoughts and feelings are “in here.”  In direct experience, without ideas superimposed of inside and outside, in direct experience, there are no walls on which to be on either side of; it’s all a seamless whole, all of it…

I don’t think big explanations and descriptions help toward the experience of absolute intimacy and knowing directly the inseparability of awareness and phenomena.

To either seek an out of body experience or to revel in one seems pointless at best, and imaginary only, just as an in the body experience is imaginary.  The body is a concept only, it’s made of thought.

Without thought telling us where and what and who the body is or “belongs to” there is no body at all!  Without the benefit of memory (thought) you couldn’t know anything about “your body.”  How old is it?  What size is it?  What is its gender? Without thought the body is only random sensations without an actual outline.  Without thought to hold it together the body simply disappears.

~ Vonna Smith

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Extract from a post to The Way of Light group

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the living light of the mystic is eternal and whole

Flowing along from the last post – which had me wondering, as usual – Life washed me up on the shores of the fantastic Poetry Chaikana website. There I found more wisdom than a gal could ever need about the marriage of heart and mind, thanks to Ivan Granger – and Hildegard von Bingen. This poem – O virga mediatrix / Alleluia-verse for the Virgin consists of just nine lines, yet says volumes about the unlit light of the mystic, creation, heart (soul) and mind (intellect), the birthing of divine love, and the bridging of dualism. Gratitude to Ivan for his insightful commentary.

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Alleluia!

Light
burst from your untouched
womb like a flower
on the farther side
of death.

The world-tree
is blossoming.  Two
realms become one.

~ Hildegard von Bingen

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English version by Barbara Newman

Commentary by Ivan Granger:

One way to understand the figure of Mary is that she represents the heart or the soul. Joseph represents the intellect. From this perspective, the gospel story of the virgin birth takes on ever deeper dimensions.

In the mystical tradition, the soul must first stop attempting to take false lovers in every outer experience (represented in the Christian tradition by the figure of Mary Magdalene), and yearn so deeply for the true Beloved within that she (the soul) becomes restored to her natural “untouched” state (represented by Mary’s virginity). That is, the soul must become purified, inward focused, unattached, “untouched” by the experiences of the outer world. Mary’s virginity is a virginity of awareness, what the Buddhist tradition might call “original mind”.

When this happens deeply enough, the divine touch comes, and a new life is formed within you (the Christ child in Christian tradition). You experience an overwhelming sense of joy that is felt as a new presence in the body. And your heart is warmed; it opens with an immense love.

But the father of this new life is not Joseph. The heart does not conceive by the intellect, but by direct communion with the Eternal. At this stage, the intellect has a choice: Retreat into cold denial, proclaiming, ‘I do not know that child’ and reject the heart and the life it carries; or it can recognize that something deeply sacred is taking place, something not of its own making, and then take responsibility and provide for the growth and maturation of that inner illumination.

In this way, the Christian gospel drama is played out in you and me and in all devout mystics.

Carrying our esoteric understanding of Mother Mary to a broader level, Mary’s womb is the primal womb, the womb of creation. The womb is the empty space in which life takes form. It is emptiness, formlessness, night, void, nirvana. Mary is all these things in Christian symbolism, just as are all world images of the Divine Feminine. Mary represents the formless void, which burst forth in “light” and form and manifestation.

For genuine mystics, this light is not a mere concept; it is directly experienced. This sense of light is more than a brightness one might experience on a sunny afternoon. This light is perceived as being a living radiance that permeates everything, everywhere, always.

Christian mystics often identify this foundational light with Christ. This is the light Hildegard says has burst from the Virgin’s “untouched womb.”

The light is seen to be ever expanding, radiating out from a central point, “like a flower.” It is immediately understood to be the true source of all things, the foundation on which the physicality of the material world is built. This is why the Gospel of John declares that “all things were made through him and without him was not anything made.”

This light of the mystic is eternal and whole. Its sum is always complete with no loss and no end. And, when the mystic truly bathes in the outpouring of this light, the sense of death itself seems to be washed away. There seems to be no small sense of self apart from that light, there is nothing left that is vulnerable to death. The light is “on the farther side / of death.”

And this living light is the medium that bridges the heavenly and the earthly levels of reality, “Two / realms become one.” Speaking as this bridge, Christ in the Gospels states simply, “I am the way.” — a statement sadly misconstrued by literalist Christians for millennia as an assertion that Christianity is the one and only way to reach God. This light is a reality for deep mystics of all world traditions. Christians name it Christ. Hindus may name it Shiva or Ishwara or another face of the Divine. A Muslim may recognize it as the smile of the Beloved, a glimmering angel that leads one nearer to Allah. Or why name it at all? Better to witness it, be carried in its current to a place beyond names, a place where the world-tree (primal maternal nature and earthly manifestation) is blossoming …

~ Ivan Granger

Poetry Chaikana website

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no act of kindness is too small

A few months ago I asked my cyber-mates to join me in an embrace of those affected by a mining disaster on the West Coast of New Zealand.  The responses reminded me again of how much generosity of spirit resides in the human heart and how deep our shared humanity runs.

Today I reach out to you again.  The beautiful city of Christchurch – rocked by a massive earthquake just five months ago without casualty – has been hit again.  This time, as you will all know by now from your own local news footage, the damage has been horrific and lives have been lost.

Christchurch is close to my heart; countless happy times have been spent there, including a period of residence in one of those glorious old homes now reduced to rubble.  I am relieved to know my family members are safe, although their houses are uninhabitable.

Please join me again in embracing all those affected by this disaster, including the emergency rescue workers and medicos, everyone.  I thank you, I bow deeply.

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Right now, we can help by rallying around those who are grieving, supporting those whose livelihoods are in peril.

My message to all Kiwis who want to help is – act on that desire.

No act of kindness is too small.

Right now, you can help by offering support to friends and family who are hurting. Offer them a bed or a roof over their head if that is what they need. Make your donations to help those who have been hit hardest.

As infrastructure recovers, your visits to Christchurch will be welcome.

Above all, throughout this journey, offer those affected your love.

Know that your humanity is more powerful than any act of nature. 

~ From this morning’s speech given by Prime Minister John Keys, who has declared a National State of Emergency.

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The entire transcript of John Key’s speech can be read here:
http://www.3news.co.nz/Prime-Minister-John-Keys-full-speech/tabid/423/articleID/199462/Default.aspx

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here is what I am

 

tree ferns, open armed
shrouded in thick mistiness rolling in
from the South Pacific

bejeweled spider-web mandala
(bemused spider sheltering under
dripping eaves)

breadcrumbs scattered on glistening deck;
shy thrushes dropping in for breakfast

gleaming flax proudly pointing their ebony flower-laden bracts
skyward; fat Tuis feasting

explosions of agapanthus blue, and white,
on long strong stalks

panels of pieces-in-progress strewn
around the polished Rimu floor

tongues of fire dancing in the little wood stove
keeping the air moisture-free
so paintings can dry

crackle and creak of chimney stack
slow staccato on roof-tile
melting diamonds on window-pane
oboe breathing forth from
magic music box …

what else can I say?
there is nothing that I is not
yet I is nothing and nowhere to be found

 

– miriam louisa


it’s totally beyond me…

Sitting this morning at summer’s window
wondering
what quirk of destiny’s unfolding
led
to the conviction of separation in
a human mind

How is it possible to so thoroughly
believe
in something (a solid independent ‘me’)
that has never been able to be proven
to exist?

How is it possible to turn this
phantom
into a seeker who desperately
desires
to be free of itself and its stories? (huh?)

How is it possible to
avoid
the in-your-face obvious and
inescapable
truth
that the present presents with
every nano-second of aliveness?

How could anything so
simple
available
uncomplicated
and unavoidable
turn into a mystery, a concept
that would fuel galaxies of
religious and philosophical
thought-worlds?

It’s totally beyond me…

(literally and figuratively)

But it’s bloody marvelous all the same.

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~ miriam louisa

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