Has a new kind of uplifting perception or intuition ever come to you? Perhaps a sense of wholeness or timelessness, or an encounter with a side to reality that goes beyond the world as we usually know it. A short moment when you sensed that something new has been revealed – something usually hidden? Communication of such illumination can be problematic.
Trying to remember this sort of deep experience can be difficult because ordinary language seems unable to capture the essence of the thing. Perhaps you would love to convey something of the positive nature of what you have gone through to your partner or close friend. But how do you do this? How does one communicate something which seems to be different from common life?
You may talk about and show your feelings using tone of voice and facial expression. But this is only a communication about how you have reacted to the experience rather than saying anything about the experience itself. You may try to use the language of religion or mysticism to describe it but often the words used by these are off-putting, ambiguous or carry connotations that are not what you are trying to get at.
In communicating your experience one approach you might try is to write a poem. This isn’t quite as daft as it seems. A lot of the world’s mystical writing is couched in verse using poetic licence to convey impressions and ideas. You don’t even have to use poetry. Prose can also employ imagery to communicate something of a deeper side to existence.
In choosing imagery you might try using simile or metaphor as follows:
Using image of mountains for communication
For example perhaps your extraordinary consciousness showed you a higher and wider perspective on things, in which case you might refer to it as a ‘mountain-top’ experience e.g. glimpsing a higher aspiration in life for yourself which might become the summit of your achievement and worth all your effort to climb to the peak. We speak of ‘faith being able to move mountains’; and so if you believe in what you are doing, you can overcome any obstacle.
Using image of olive oil for communication
Alternatively, your moment of higher awareness may have been a sense of kindness and harmony. This perception might be conveyed in terms of olive oil. Don’t we speak of ‘pouring oil on troubled waters’. This image reflects a concern for resolving discord and conflict so that calm and agreement is restored. A small act of kindness can ‘oil the wheels’ of social interaction and make things run more smoothly.
Using image of lions for communication
Your special illumination may have been catching sight of that intangible thing we call courage – perhaps having a foretaste of the kind of confidence needed to turn round and face one’s personal difficulties. Using an image of the lion may express this positive feeling, for we speak of being ‘brave as a lion’ – a creature which has every reason to be a confident being, as it is, the top predator in its natural habitat. To ‘beard the lion’ would indeed be to confront danger using divine power within.
Using image of pearls for communication
Or perhaps you have had a deep experience of inner safety and stillness. The pearl comes to mind. The pearl is valued for its lustre. We speak of an important piece of advice as a pearl of wisdom. Protected by its oyster shell, it had laid quiet and still on the sea bed. You may come to value the perception about divine protection you gained in the quietness and stillness of your meditating mind.
Using image of the sun for communication
One of the most inspiring of all inner experiences is to feel in the presence of the source of all life – the love and light without which nothing that is good could exist. This is a consciousness of cosmic energy originating and sustaining not only our physical life but also our spiritual one. The light and warmth can go out of our life when we lose a loved one. We also feel in the dark and cold when we lose a sense of the spiritual light and heat which is the source of our soul. The sun with its heat and light is a wonderful emblem of this power house for all our creativity and growth.
Swedenborg on correspondence
The well known maxim ‘As above, so below‘ means that the elements of our higher consciousness correspond to the things of nature. In his exploration of this esoteric idea, the spiritual philosopher Emanuel Swedenborg shows in a lot of detail how our higher thoughts can be communicated in terms of the natural things of the world.
Furthermore he maintains that because natural things – such as in the mineral, plant and animal kingdoms – are created by God, they can reflect what is good that comes from God.
“The whole natural order is a theatre representative of the Lord’s kingdom.” (Emanuel Swedenborg)
However, one needs to bear in mind what he also says about some parts of nature which can represent a corruption of what comes from the Divine Source – hence the existence of what is noxious, poisonous, or otherwise harmful as well as that which is nourishing, delightful, and protective.
Communication of images from animal kingdom
Alive and moving, animals in a good sense such as the lion he says can represent human desires including higher feelings.
Communication of images from vegetable kingdom
Swedenborg maintains that plants, which have growth but not movement, like the olive tree, can represent what needs inwardly nourishing and enlivening in human beings and thus potential stages of their spiritual growth.
Communication of images from mineral kingdom
There are non-living natural things such as mountains and the sun which neither move nor grow. He says these can represent spiritual resources for human nurturing and growth and thus both the ends and beginning of human endeavour.
In other words images of natural things can convey to others our higher awareness of spiritual reality.
Copyright 2015 Stephen Russell-Lacy
Author Heart, Head & Hands