Sunday, January 25, 2015

The Children of the Light

Music fills the infinite between two souls. 
~ Rabindranath Tagore

There is a universal language which expresses itself in music, symbols and images. This cosmic muse does not in the first instance address herself to the mind, but mainly to the awakening human soul. She is like a messenger who brings beauty into the world - an urge that in someone awakens the urge to create something which touches the heart of the other. With this language the Light expresses itself in the material, and then the person creates something that was not there before - not yet present in the material world.

The French author and philosopher Victor Hugo stated: "Music expresses what cannot be said in words - and about which can hardly be kept silent." In the same spirit Rudolph Steiner describes this universal language of the soul when he says: "What the soul sets foot on her initiation path one cannot ‘experience’ - but one can sing it or compose it.”

This language of the soul may be used by those who wish to reconnect us with the Great Light from which we originate, from which we ourselves well forth. The creative ones amongst us articulate this language already as poetry, as music. A primary function of music is that of intermediary: time and again this cosmic muse activates longing - and the existence of longing.

It has been said that the children of the Light, in the end of days, will play a perfect piece of music before their Creator. When this time is upon us they will perform all themes in perfect harmony, for they will have understood the meaning of the Light, and each will know the function of the other wholeheartedly, as they themselves will be known by others. But even before that time music can be a portal for the happiness and peace within us to shine through.

Painting Angel by Edward Burne-Jones

Saturday, January 17, 2015

The Mystery of the Cathedrals

The architects of the great medieval cathedrals and their builders are unknown to us. Their achievements remain, and have become a part of our cultural heritage – and these buildings still fulfill their original functions. Their airy soaring spaces continue to provide a haven of peace and contemplation, whatever the beliefs or non-beliefs of those who visit them.

The builders of Russian Orthodox churches refined their interiors still further. During the building process rows of earthenware pots were cemented into the walls high up near the roof, with the exposed necks of the pots still visible. This feature, unique to these churches, is what provides the enhanced echo when an orthodox choir sings, giving the voices an ethereal resonance entirely appropriate to the music itself. We feel swept aloft by this music, with the entire building becoming itself a vast musical instrument of – literally – architectural proportions.

Such cathedrals would once have dominated the skyline, even in the centre of a city. With some exceptions such as the cathedral of Chartres standing in the open French countryside, and with its magnificent labyrinth set into the floor, such city cathedrals, as we well know, are now overshadowed by the towering commercial buildings that now surround them: a telling-enough statement of the way in which economic concerns have come to dominate spiritual matters in our present day and age.

And what of the churches of today? Why, with their determinedly modern designs, do they not seem to offer the same spiritual experience as the cathedrals of past centuries? The personality of the individual respective architects is what seems to impose itself upon us, rather than the anonymity of the medieval architects who placed themselves and their creativity in the service of a higher ideal. But there is more to it than this, of course – a lot more.

A whole body of knowledge which involved knowledge of sacred proportions went into the building of such medieval masterpieces in stone. This knowledge was itself inherited from the ancients. The builders of Greek temples, and even the unknown builders of the Egyptian pyramids, used this same knowledge and these same proportions when building their own structures. These proportions have an astonishing universality, and also can be found in nature, from the human body to sea shells and the seed patterns in sunflower heads.

The cathedrals, perhaps unconsciously, connect us to this sacred knowledge. When we are in such a space we feel the ‘rightness’ of its presence, even though we might not be openly aware that it is there, and present all around us. For these unknown architects, it provided an attempt to create the ‘holy city’ – the perfect architecture of the heavens – here on Earth. Even though this way of thinking has been lost to (or perhaps ignored by) today’s architects, we all of us still have the chance to attempt to build such a cathedral within ourselves, to create such an inner sacred space, and so allow ourselves to connect with the beautiful mysteries and call heaven down to Earth within us.

Wells Cathedral by Albert Goodwin

Friday, January 9, 2015

Many Pockets of Light

Our chaotic world is full of unpredictability, rife with strife and man's inhumanity. And yet there are many pockets of light, of compassion, of many beings who are conscious enough that the inner light within is able to shine through and touch others around them. They are the ones who are creating our new world that is based upon compassion, gentleness, and the sacredness of life. Even in the darkest heart there burns an eternal light that is filled with goodness. The transformation of humanity, of consciousness, is not only for the light bearers but for all, including those that perpetrate the darkness. 

When we show courage in face of fear we spread our light to others. When we express our belief or faith that we are eternal and we cannot be overcome by what the world does to us, that we are much more than the limited and transitory physical form we inhabit, much more than death or annihilation, we radiate our light to others. There is an unconscious acknowledgment that resonates in people around us when we "show our soul" that we are magnificent, powerful and eternal. 

We let our soul light shine and radiate out not by trying to be "good" and acting out those ideals we think are positive but by allowing the intrinsic nature of our inner being to be, unfettered by judgment or opinions. As the world is going through change and transformation we are also undergoing transformation on a individual scale. Our individual transformation becomes a light to those around us, and in turn to those around them, and the power of this ripple effect expands outward and transforms the greater world.