Sometimes thanks to our most significant experiences and our deepest intelligence, pearls appear from the depths of an oceanic consciousness and reach the shore of our ordinary mind. These jewels represent an awakening, a truth about ourselves or our existence, a luminous gift that we can observe. These Pearls could be interpreted as a calling to realize in which direction we should go; invitations to initiate a change, or signs to resolve an internal conflict or pain from the past that causes us suffering in the present. For an instant, the necessity to transform an aspect of life appears with unusual clarity.
When this pearl ascends it is fundamental to avoid a regression back into our sleepy state, to face the incertitude of the path in front of us and initiate a plan of action. Each one of us has discovered our own ways to facilitate an inner investigation, we initiate processes of transformation, choose disciplines and or therapies to generate a change. However, beyond our focus there is an underlying factor to achieve our aim. This element is the fire. We can see the pearl, decide mentally to act upon it, but without the activation of our Being, we will only be going halfway.
In diverse cultures, this alchemical process of transformation has had a symbolic tie to the sacred fire.
We all know how “convenient” and comfortable it is to distract ourselves with activities and little by little quieten the jewels that are constantly emerging within. Maybe we do not know exactly how to manage what we see and being uncertain we choose not to see. But is it important to move our consciousness to recognize that each pearl represents a calling from our inner intelligence, that is giving us an opportunity to resolve, grow and liberate ourselves. This is the path of development, elevation and happiness.
In diverse cultures, this alchemical process of transformation has had a symbolic tie to the sacred fire. It had a preponderant role with the Mayans and the Aztecs. For Heraclitus in Greece, the basis of all existence was “an ever living fire”. In ancient Persia they had an eternal flame always burning in their temples. In India, in the Rig Veda, one of their most ancient texts, it was said that the sacred fire could illumine us and had its origin in the same place as the truth.
The visionary thinker Jean Gebser (1905-1973), in his book, The Ever Present Origin, speaks about five structures of consciousness: archaic, magical, mythical, mental and integral. He argues that humanity has been moving through states in the experience of consciousness and explains how the link we have with the sacred reality has manifested through these forms of relationship and interpretation.
While it is true that in a large part of the world we see the veneration of the sacred through a mythical perspective as something related to the ancient cultures, there is in this association of the sacred and its symbolism a key that could be relevant today and contribute to our inner path.
With the possibility of fanning the inner flame of our Luminous Will we see that the manifestation of knowledge that stimulates us on different levels of our Being is tangible.
In the book Hymns to the Mystic Fire, the philosopher and Indian master Sri Aurobindo explains how the figure of the ancient Indian god of fire, Agni can signify a much closer reality for us. He affirms: “ The will in the vedic idea is essentially knowledge taking the form of force. Agni, therefore is purely mental force, necessary to all concentration. Once we perceive this conception, we realize the immense importance of Agni.” This is to say that the sacred fire in us is a luminous will, a force and an intelligence that directs our attention and guides us to our elevation.
With the possibility of fanning the inner flame of our Luminous Will we see that the manifestation of knowledge that stimulates us on different levels of our Being is tangible. It is a force that facilitates transformation. In the body it seeks vitality and impulses us towards health. In the emotions it guides us towards well-being and inspires us to fulfillment. In the mind it stimulates curiosity and the search for wisdom. And in action, it encourages us towards creativity and altruistic acts. It is the Luminous Will that motivates us towards an emerging future.
The Gunas: a metaphor for the states of life.
Although we have good intentions to take a path of transformation, why is it so difficult to maintain and manifest this internal spark and sustain our inner work? When we experience a state of inner equilibrium we can access the luminous fire, but our nature is continually changing. At this point, a metaphor from the Samkhya philosophy, one of the six philosophical schools in India, can serve us here. According to this vision, in everything physical that exists (prakriti) there is a subtle quality of nature called a “Guna”. Within this nature there are three qualities: Tamas, Rajas and Sattva.
Tamas is the force of inertia. Its aspects are incapacity and inaction. Rajas is the force of movement/kinesis. It manifests itself as hyperactivity and effort. Sattva is the force of goodness. Its qualities are harmony and happiness. Following our search for the Luminous Will, the state of Tamas is the absence of fire, Rajas is excess of fire and Sattva represents balance. This state maintains the sacred fire alive and allows us to accessibility to intensify it, in case we seek a transformation.
With Tamas there is an absence of the will: the body feels lazy, the emotions and the mind stagnate and in life we reject activity. The search for the will is the antidote to inertia. The French master Ananda Devi said “one of the most serious diseases of humanity is inertia, which with its silent waters extinguishes the fire of creativity.”
Rajas with its excess of activity and stimulation has the tendency to burn us. With Rajas we live in a constant acceleration: the body moves until it is exhausted; the emotions are volatile and unstable; the mind fills itself up and accelerates, and in action our efforts are scattered in multiple directions. A rajasic life generates an addiction to action and we realize that it is very difficult even to make a pause. Normally, we balance ourselves in between Tamas and Rajas, like a pendulum. We light up when we are active and we are forced to stop when we become exhausted.
On the other hand, in the state of Sattwa we find stability, peace and harmony. When the pearl appears and we are in this state in our consciousness: the body manifests well-being and dynamism; the emotions are balanced and positive; The mind is clear and curious, and in action we move in a one minded direction with inspiration. We perceive the heat of Being and the joy of life, but this fire comforts and does not burn us. It only purifies and illuminates. This state resides in the center of us, in the deepest part of us and this is where the “Inner Being” lives.
Four keys for the activation of the fire
In order to approach this Sattvic fire and thus perceive the Luminous Will, I propose to explore four keys that facilitate the ascent of pearls for our transformation: Vigilance, Firmness, Connection and the Universal Fire.
Vigilance is one of the fundamental aspects in this process. We will gradually seek to identify the moments when we are in Tamas or Rajas, and we will make a pact to make the time to recover the Sattva. Our capacity for attention will begin to direct our action, first it is all about realizing what state we are in (and that will already be an achievement), then we will seek the will to return to Sattva and afterwards we will incorporate our aspirations into our meditative practices.
Firmness is essential to manage the part of us that resists change. Usually, these aspects live our unconscious being. We must be sure to be firm when we realize that our ego hides and justifies itself behind the forms: for example, with Tamas in the form of physical fatigue, the ego can lead us into a state of “poor me” and give way to negative emotions. In this situation, we can invite our will and talk with ourselves. We should look to avoid a downward movement and with kindness activate ourselves in the direction towards Sattwa.
Through meditative and contemplative techniques, we can invite relaxation and begin to calm the different levels of being. When we perceive that we are located in our center, we can begin to activate the sacred fire. It is then that the use of mantras, dynamic breathing and visualizations are recommended, all these techniques can help us to become aware of the Luminous Will that inhabits us.
In the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad it is stated: “As is your will, so is your thought, as is your thought, so is your deed; as is your deed, so is your life.”
The Universal Fire
With the understanding that we are the microcosm of the Totality of existence, we can begin to open ourselves directly to the source of universal Fire. This process requires depth, sincerity and openness. It will be the result of a cultivation of humility, which will open the experience of feeling and integration with the Great flame. This is a very powerful meditative state capable of reinforcing our potential for transformation.
In the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad it is stated: “As is your will, so is your thought, as is your thought, so is your deed; as is your deed, so is your life.” With these four keys we have the possibility to understand, feel and experience the Luminous Will. This is a way to navigate with more orientation in our oceanic existence. When the pearl comes to your mind, treasure it, don’t let go; find your fire; measure your rhythms, and allow the wave of your innate strength to propel you towards transformation and transcendence.
Photo: Ameen Fahmy (Unsplash).