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Painting by Linda Hofheinz

“My feelings of grief had become unbearable, and I attempted to pull off the road. But as suddenly as the wailing began, it ceased, and everything was transformed. Looking at the landscape around me through the window of my parked car, I wondered at first if I might be dreaming. Every rock, every sagebrush, every lofty pine and blazing aspen, as well as the mountain itself, was bathed in a yellowish-gold light connected to luminous threads.

“This is not a vision,” I said to myself. “I am seeing the world as it really is!”

…The mysterious glow surrounding everything seemed to emanate from within all things…more accurately, perhaps, from within the earth, herself. The threads of light were even more extraordinary. Unlike the visible spectrum of light, these felt alive. It seemed that each strand of this “living light” was self-aware and also aware of the whole. I felt that I perceived, on an energetic level, the very essence of the earth — perhaps the nature of Creation itself. I also felt that for a brief, timeless moment, I perceived the “flow” of things, for these luminous threads of light seemed fluid, shimmering, and eternal. These threads of light were connected to all things, thus forming the impression of a vast living web. There were also strands, which extended upward as if connecting this web to some greater whole. Perhaps they reached into Infinity itself. My heart wrenching anguish had been transformed into utter bliss. It was then that I heard an inner voice telling me that one must know the sufferings of the world before bliss is possible…

…For the first time I understood what these ancient people must have known through direct experience.

— Peter Calhoun, Soul on Fire

How many lifetimes must we have before we realize the purpose of life is more than securing a good situation? What must we have before we realize there’s more to existence than securing a “good situation?” A good job, house, car and retirement somehow don’t satisfy the soul. I think we instinctively know there’s more to see and understand, but we accept readymade answers too easily.

Looking at life with open and not easily answered questions at least leaves the mind open to deeper perceptions, if we’re ready for them. Some preliminary work is necessary, though. Seeing the travail and suffering shared by humanity and responding with compassion is basic. Such a realization opens the heart. We can’t really see anything without the eye of the heart.

The question of how to live can’t be adequately answered on the practical level. The mechanics of living in a body on planet earth can be all absorbing but there’s more to this adventure than meets the eye. The meaning of our existence begins and ends in heart and soul.

Our culture has yet to discover the underlying connection of creative joy pulsing through reality. Older, wiser cultures were founded on connection and worked to maintain it, seeing it as sacred. We are somehow blind to all that. We tear at the web of life like careless children. Ancient cultures look on in horror.

Caught up in surface issues as we are is cause for concern. Predictions and prophecies of our demise, by ancient tribes for example, may indeed come to pass. Wiser humanity may be left to pick up the pieces and try to regenerate the living connectivity we disregard. We don’t seem to be able to understand it and preserve it.

But even in our own culture there are individuals sensitive enough to see and report deeper levels of existence. They speak of a luminous paradigm that underlies our material life, completely unsuspected by most of us due to our learned blindness. We have been taught not to see.

We have art, which is a discipline helping us to see what’s there instead of what we think is there, but we need to see more clearly that we don’t see deeper levels of life around us or our inner world.

The world is waiting for us to grow up. It can’t wait much longer.

Written by

I occasionally write fiction and also about creativity, loving, language learning and travel. I’m a longtime painter and reader.

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