In a recent email my friend Issam asked me how I envisioned the divine and I’ve been circling the question ever since. The first response that popped up in my head was the imagery of the natural world as a dynamic manifestation of the underlying Tao, the creative power that structures manifestation. Taoism is the philosophy behind my religious practice so somehow that felt like too easy an answer this time. Our correspondence started with my post about imagery and religion where I suggested the old hierarchical imagery may have worked for its time and culture but didn’t work for the interconnected global culture of today. My hope was that artists could offer some much needed focus to people’s yearning for the sense of connection that comes from the spirit. There are growing numbers of artists creating images of networks, showing the reality of the fields of influence that wrap around the visible world. This has been an animating idea behind most of my drawings, most recently using the illusion of ripples breaking down the absoluteness of barriers, a way of showing ongoing influence that breaks down separateness.
The more we learn the more the vast mystery of intelligence unfolds around us as structure. For my model I would use the nested layers I see everywhere in nature. What we experience as our personal mind is like the outer cortex of the material intelligence which is enfolded in a larger intelligence beyond the scope of our perception. To borrow two terms from Sri Aurobindo, the “Subconscient” influences us from the body and connection to the physical world whereas the “Superconscient” influence us from larger more comprehensive levels of intelligence moving us in ways we’re for the most part unaware. To use an image based on the structure of the brain is enough to extrapolate beyond personal boundaries and consider the individual brain within layers of mind that go beyond it. One of the differences between the brain waves of monks who have practiced meditation for a long time and those with more recent training was that monks were better able to generate feelings of compassion. Evidently it took the development of the areas of the brain associated with those feelings to arouse them voluntarily. This is a power to be reckoned with.
The idea that we can train and develop the divine within may offer the power to stimulate gamma waves associated with intense focus and sudden insight that open a deeper vision of the divine and encompass the notion that the experiencing self is more than the personal story and not just a phenomenon of the physical body any more than the eye is the whole of our seeing. But if we start with an image of the divine as the enfolding layers of mind as represented physically by the brain but continuing beyond it, experiences etched in the akashic field akin to our neural networks blazing trails of our experience for future memory. We have the capacity to give more and in the doing feel more thoroughly the exhilaration of life and realize a greater potential in that more intense participation.