Meditation

Presence is the essence of all sentient life that surrounds you, and is within you at all times and in all places. 

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Your ability to feel Presence begins when you notice openings in the continual stream of thinking. These are doorways into the timeless. The timeless moment opens out like a flower filling you with its essence, without any need for thinking.

To enter the deeper dimension that is present within you, here, now, requires no mind, no thoughts, just an alert, inner awareness.

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The practice of Meditation means To Be receptive to Life (Kabbalah in Hebrew): as you bring your attention fully into the present moment, you become rooted in the timeless. The mind becomes still. In this stillness, you realise your connection with Creative Presence.

The Bible calls this entering the Kingdom of Heaven – a deepening revelation of potent creativity in the present moment. This takes us beyond belief, and all identification with spiritual philosophies and religious creeds, into the formless One.

You realise the formless, timeless essence as the core of who you are; the core of everyone and everything.

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Every moment spent in Presence creates gaps in the thought streams of the mind, that open out into deeper awareness that permeates through you.

Once you are able to observe the egoic mind, even fleetingly, you notice how it seeks to fill inner space with thoughts and emotionally charged forms or identities, which draw you back into unconsciousness. Although it is a real challenge, your ability to become, and then remain, present, so that you can observe this return to the ordinary mind, is the beginning of the end of their power over you.  

It is important not to fight the ego; this simply strengthens it. Your attention in the present moment, without judgement, dissolves all past thought forms that cause division and depression, and all future imaginings that cause compulsive needs and anxiety.

Planet-earth

Practicing meditation by being still before doing or saying anything brings the spiritual dimension into your daily life. In this clear space, subject and object separation is diminished. Realising you are an integral part of the interconnectivity of all life on Earth and in the Cosmos brings Peace: your body loves this connectivity and is invigorated by it, the senses open out, the incredible depth and fullness of life reveals itself to you. And then you know that Heaven and Earth are One.

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The senses fill to overflowing, 

enlivened in your awakening,

wordless inner knowing,

a trusting,

you are supported by the universe,

and everything connected,

flows in and out of you as Conscious Breath.

 

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Entering the Place of Peace – September 2014 Weekend Workshop on Kabbalah

The Abbey Sutton Courtenay

“At your core is your spiritual Being. It is accessible to you now. This is the essence of Kabbalah.” (From Patterns of Creation.)

Weekend workshop Saturday the 27th and Sunday 28th of September 2014 With Stephen Pope, Author of Patterns of Creation Logos and the Tree of Life in the Gospel of John (Axis Mundi Books 2012)

This workshop focuses on finding Inner Peace. In Kabbalah Peace is understood as the core of who we are, synonymous with Presence, and the stillness of Being. From inner Peace we realise our intimate connection to the whole of life, to all that exists in nature and the entire Universe.

Inner Peace, is the end of all of our projections: it equates with true love, which means no enemies and marks the end of all our unconscious destructive behaviour towards the natural world.

During the weekend we will work with meditation, contemplation, conscious breathing and the energy field of the body to reconnect with the Place of Peace within each of us. From this awareness comes true freedom, as we experience these profound spiritual truths for ourselves and move beyond the mind dominated by ego into the stillness and the peace of Presence at the core.

A practicing mystic in the Kabbalistic tradition for over thirty years, Steve Pope has a B.D and MA in Theology and translates Greek and Hebrew Biblical texts.  His book Patterns of Creation – Axis Mundi Books 2012 is a radical exploration of the mystical teachings in the Gospel of John.

“This remarkable and profound work takes the understanding of the gospel to a new level.”

 Scientific and Medical Network review.

“You don’t have to a be a kabbalist to appreciate this really fascinating and enlightening book..it truly brought the teachings to life for me. It really is teaching at its very best.”

Goodreads Review. 

10.00am Saturday -­‐ 4.00pm Sunday, including evening session on Saturday £165. Please book in advance. Price includes accommodation and all meals. You have the option of arriving on Friday for the evening seminar, The Peace of Wild Things. Join us for both with two nights accommodation for £190

Please book in advance. Price includes accommodation and all meals.

To confirm booking please contact:The Abbey Sutton Courtenay, Oxon OX14 4AF 

http://www.theabbey.uk.com 

admin@theabbey.uk.com

Tel: 01235 847401

And for further details about the course please send an email to: stevepope59@hotmail.com

Jacob’s Ladder

“Within every human is Being: total Presence. Absolute consciousness, stillness, silence, and peace can all be used to describe that which Is.” (from the book Patterns of Creation.)

In Biblical Hebrew these teachings are put into story form, where the emerging consciousness is symbolised by the names of people and places.

Jacob's ladder by Albert Huthusen

The “dream” of Jacob, in which the awakening Soul encounters Eternal Presence.  (Jacob’s ladder by Albert Huthusen)

Jacob – Symbol of the Awakening Soul

In the story of Jacob, the awakening Soul leaves Beer-Sheba (In Hebrew, the seven springs) and journeys to Haran (In Hebrew, a meeting of ways, crossroads,  to burn or glow, and to be freeborn).

The Seed of Life

The Seed of Life, called the seven, springs, or seven wells – Beer-Sheba – in Biblical Hebrew.

In Biblical symbolism, to journey is to encounter greater consciousness.

On this journey of inner ascent, Jacob – the awakening Soul – encounters a place of deep stillness. This point within the Soul is described as an upwelling of abiding strength: a place of Brilliance (Light), emanating out of a timeless Presence which the Soul realises as its source and foundation.

The Light of Consciousness.

The Hebrew word shemesh is usually translated as “the Sun”.  A deeper meaning is “Brilliance” meaning; the Light of Consciousness, abundant, timeless Presence.

The Hebrew text says that, Jacob lays down to die in this established place of HaHoa, the breath of life. 

Hoa –  one of the Divine Names – means Breath of Life in Hebrew.

Jacob's Dream – El sueño de Jacob (1639) by José de Ribera, at the Museo del Prado, Madrid

Jacob’s Awakening is mis-translated as sleep. The Hebrew word shakab means to lie down to die. This is the death of the ego, in which the Soul dies to the sense of being a separate entity in the universe.                                                                (Jacob’s Dream –  by José de Ribera, 1639.)

Jacob encounters the Inner Presence of Elohim in the exaltation of conscious Presence.

Presence – I AM consciousness – dissolves the personality until there is just enough to function in the world. The personal self is realised as a dream, and becomes transparent so that Presence shines through. This brings to an end all needless suffering and limitation.

Patmos

The cave of the Revelation or unveiling of Presence, on the Island of Patmos.

To feel the aliveness of the boundless Presence of Life requires no thought.

Breathing deeply with awareness whilst feeling the energy field of the inner body as intensely as you can creates space.

The ego does not like Presence and will complain and try to distract you.

Practicing conscious breathing, is the  beginning of freedom from identity with thought forms; the beginning of the end of the small self of the ego.

This reveals Presence – called Hoa and Elohim in the Hebrew text of Jacob’s Ladder – the source, out of which all life forms continually arise. 

(A fuller translation of the story of Jacob from the Hebrew is available in the book Patterns of Creation.

Kabbalah

What is Kabbalah?

cropped-img_08551.jpgThe Hebrew word Kabbalah means to receive; to be receptive to life as the ongoing revelation of Eternal Presence. There are many Hebrew words in the Bible used to describe this formless Eternal Presence. The three principal ones are Ehieh, I AM; Jahveh, To Be-Being; and Elohim, Absolute life – the formless source of unfolding creation. 

Eternal Presence is in the universe and is the universe, but the universe cannot contain the formless creative essence of life. Therefore every form of life is in  a continual state of flux: a continual outpouring of this One consciousness.

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You are a Tree of Life.
You are connected to everything that exists, both as formless essence and as the

multi-dimentional diversity that makes up the fabric of the universe. Most of Life remains invisible to the everyday mind, yet when you awaken as the Tree of Life your eyes are opened to the depths of Creation.  

To receive is to be open and spacious to possibility; this the universe continually provides in the present moment. You are letting go of outcome and allowing the creativity of the universe to come through you, as it will. This means that we enter a space of not knowing – or unknowing.

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Life always takes on form in the Present Moment. Creation is the continual outpouring of possibility, this is its infinite power.

The mind alone struggles to understand the reception of life because it is striving to know as an objective observer. But the conscious witness is at-one-with all that it beholds.

IMG_1046_1 copyTo know as the witness means letting go of all that we think and accumulate as intellectual knowing – it is to enter a state of Being – Presence – that allows life to flow through us as the universe itself.

The Essence of who you are is at One with the Essence of all Life. In Kabbalah this is expressed as Ehieh Asher Ehieh – I AM that I AM. 

The sound of every in breath and out breath is the mantra of Ehieh. Listen now, with all of your attention to your breathing, as you would listen to the sound of the ocean lapping on the shore. 

Creative Presence

One of our greatest illusions is that we are far removed from the spiritual Universe, the Creative Presence that continually manifests life in all its forms.

The Spiritual Universe is present, here, within you now. It exists as the formless reality out of which all forms of life continually arise, and into which they return. The Spiritual realm is not something to be looked for as if it were an objective place, nor is it something that we need to wait for in some future time.

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In Hebrew the Spiritual Universe is called HaSamaim, “the Heavens”,  the Fire that burns as the Cosmic Breath of life. 

Ha-Shamaim is the animating creative spirit of every form of life, carrying the seeds of every living thing into the fertile womb of space that becomes the full expression of life.

NASA Earth observation website photo

The Earth is seen as a speck of light in the middle right of the picture just below the rings of Saturn, at the outer reaches of the Solar System.

The door to the Spiritual Universe is open to us Now. This has nothing to do with belief –  it requires only our practice of conscious presence. With this comes the dissolving of past thought forms and future imaginings.

Deep Space countless galaxies - Hubble telescope

Inner and outer space are One. The glimmering light of galaxies and the dance of subatomic particles within the cells of your body both exist in deep space. This creative dance is the continual emergence of form, out of the presence of the Unmanifest.

When you breathe consciously you stand on the threshold of the creative universe that exists as a permanent presence deep within you. Take a conscious Breath and feel the energy field that manifests your body. Feel it in your cells, in your bones and in the blood coursing through your veins. The conscious breath acts as a doorway to deep space within you, freeing you from the conditioning of the unconscious mind. 

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You have within you the light of the Cosmos: Take a conscious Breath and feel the spaciousness of Eternal Presence.

From the One Light comes all Life.

The Light of Consciousness.

The Light of Consciousness.

Out of the light of Consciousness, in rhapsody of sound, texture and colour, comes the movement into form of every living thing – a symphony, ever moving, ever changing: light in refraction, always new, the intense presence of creative power continually unfolding out of the still centre.

IMG_1980This magnificent unfolding mystery of creation is always present, here, now. There is never a time when the fullness of life is not totally present – a continual pressure To Be.

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The Presence of Absolute Life.
In Hebrew this is understood through the
letter-number equation Elohim.

Elohim: That, which cannot be contained by existence, continually giving birth to itself as the Tree of Life, whose fruit is living diversity,  flowing breath as form and matter.IMG_1988Every second you spend in Presence, every conscious breath you feel coursing through you, in your blood, in the atoms of your flesh and bones – this intense aliveness brings the presence of Absolute Life into the Universe through you.

hs interacting spiral Gs jpgThe sea of Space is a living ocean – each Star a centre of intense creativity. Each Star a Sun of power, holding the potential of a great spiralling vessel in which life unfolds its unimaginable richness – a hidden treasure revealing itself in the intense pressure of creative life.

Greeting the Dawn on Glastonbury Tor.

Greeting the Dawn on Glastonbury Tor.

The Hebrew words Nephesh – Breath – and Neshemah – to Breathe – are used for the Soul – the life force – of every living thing.

Be Present, Breathe consciously and Be. And in the conscious breath realise that every thing about you and within you is alive and connected: All is One.

Presence

How are we understand the Presence of Absolute life? We can begin by withdrawing energy from the unconscious mind. Breathe consciously and allow yourself to be.

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The presence of Absolute Life is in the form of each flower and tree. You are that same presence in human form.

Every conscious breath that you take brings you into awareness of the Presence of Absolute life.

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The Flower of Life – as depicted in the Alhambra, Granada, Spain. Each form of life is an expression of the one universal lifeforce; each form is a reflection of the one formless source of life. The diversity of life exists as an interconnected whole.

Conscious awareness is the alert watcher that breaths you in and out of the stillness of Presence, and that witnesses thoughts and situations as they arise in your life. Through your ability to be, consciousness realises consciousness as itself. In biblical Hebrew this is expressed as the realization of Jahveh (To Be -Being) – Elohim (Absolute Life).

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Conscious reflection brings you to the face of Absolute Life, the end of all separation. Can you feel this Presence in and around you now as you take a conscious breath?

IMG_1944In conscious presence you are like the Sun: the essence of life flows through you like the waves of a great shimmering sea. The movement of the whole of life is held within the radiance of the One. To be Being, is the realization of this revelation.

Two Day Workshop on Kabbalah

The Abbey Sutton Courtenay

“At your core is your spiritual Being. It is accessible to you now. This is the essence of Kabbalah.”

Weekend workshop Saturday the 2nd and Sunday 3rd of November 2013 With Stephen Pope, Author of Patterns of Creation Logos and the Tree of Life in the Gospel of John (Axis Mundi Books 2012)

This workshop takes you into the depth and beauty of the mystical teachings of Kabbalah, which tell us that we are intimately connected to the whole of life, to all that exists in nature and the vastness of the Cosmos.

“You are a tree of life, connected to all that is unfolding in the natural world, the solar system, and stars. You have within you the light of consciousness that continually gives birth to, and sustains, the created universe.” (From Patterns of Creation)

The workshop will help you to experience these profound spiritual truths for yourself, going beyond the everyday mind, which is dominated by the ego, into the stillness and peace of Presence at your core.

The creative intelligence of life is far greater than the everyday mind can conceive: it is the formless essence out of which all life forms emerge, and into which they dissolve, to be reborn as new life.

During the weekend we will work with meditation, contemplation, conscious breathing and the energy field of the body to reconnect with that creative source of life within each of us. From this awareness comes true freedom, and the realization that we are part of the great community of life on Earth, and intimately connected to the life sustaining the vast Cosmos.

Saturday 10.00am to 4.00pm with an evening session. Sunday 10.00am to 4.00pm.

A practicing mystic in the Kabbalistic tradition for over thirty years, Steve Pope has a B.D and MA in Theology and translates Greek and Hebrew Biblical texts.  His book Patterns of Creation – Axis Mundi Books 2012 is a radical exploration of the mystical teachings in the Gospel of John.

This remarkable and profound work takes the understanding of the gospel to a new level.

 Scientific and Medical Network review.

You don’t have to a be a kabbalist to appreciate this really fascinating and enlightening book..it truly brought the teachings to life for me. It really is teaching at its very best.

Goodreads Review.

 

Cost of the workshop: £165.00

Please book in advance. Price includes accommodation and all meals.

If you wish to arrive at the Abbey and stay on the Friday evening there is a small supplement. Enquire on booking. 

To confirm booking please contact:The Abbey Sutton Courtenay, Oxon OX14 4AF 

http://www.theabbey.uk.com 

admin@theabbey.uk.com

Tel: 01235 847401

And for further details about the course please send an email to: stevepope59@hotmail.com

Agape – Love, the sacred power of consciousness

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Agape – Love, could be described as the activation of the sacred power of consciousness within us,
a deep initiation into the creative power that permeates the visible universe.

The Seed of Life

The Seed of Life

For if I speak with the inspired language of the Human Spirit (Anthropos)

and the voices of Angels (the Patterns of Creation)

but have not Agape (Unconditional/universal Love),

then I become like the roaring echo of an empty vessel,

the clamouring of restless and raging passions. 

And though I have inspired prophecies and insights into the mysteries,

and all gnosis (spiritual knowledge), and such faith that I could remove mountains,

and have not Agape, I am nothing. 

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The Flower of Life

And if I give away all my possessions to the poor,

and give the vitality of my body to burn as a shining light showing the way,

but have not Agape in me, I gain nothing.  

Agape stays constant, is patient and kind;

Agape does not envy or hate – knows no anger; 

Agape does not boast, and has no pride; it is not coarse or rude, does not insist upon its own way.

It is not irritable or easily provoked; it is not resentful, injurious or destructive.

It does not rejoice at finding wrong but rejoices at goodness, beauty and truth.

Agape never gives up, never loses faith, has confidence, and perseveres through every circumstance.  

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The Flower of Life

What we can know is only partial,

our prophetic visions are only ever partial,

but when that which is perfect comes (the peace of completion/Oneness with the continual creative outpouring,)

the imperfect (identification with forms) will pass away.

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The Flower of Life

When I was a child, I spoke without knowledge, I lacked understanding,

I reasoned without knowledge or wisdom;

when I became an adult, I deprived those childish ways of their power and influence over me.

For now we discern as in a darkened mirror, but then in immediate presence (face to face).

Now my Gnosis is partial, but then I will know, as I Am known.   

1 Cor 13:1-12 (My translation)

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The Flower of Life – Roman Tile, Cordoba

The Oneness of completion with the continual creative outpouring, that which is perfect, is not the end of created life, nor the cessation of change in the world, it is the Peace that comes to us as we allow life to flow freely through the centre of consciousness that we find to be at our core within the great unfolding universe. 

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All forms are fleeting and in continual flux.

To let go of attachment to all forms, is to allow the imperfect to pass away. All our holding on to form becomes imperfect because the creative spirit is a constant flux of renewal. Peace comes to us when we stand at the core of our Being, which is simultaneously the point of unknowing that allows the spirit to unfold freely.

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All creatures exist within the formless creative universe and the world of form simultaneously.
What we see is a mere fleeting glimpse of their reflection.
To see their true depths we first need to find our own true depths.

Everything we see, touch and, hear is an impression of the One consciousness interpreted by the mind as a series of objects and events. The source of life is the Eternal Presence: I Am – Being.  From out of Eternal Presence comes the continual outpouring of  creativity – Agape. This is the formless universe of Ideas which flows as the breath in great rhythmic pulses, sustaining the sea of  ever changing forms and ephemeral matter we call the Cosmos.

When you still and silence the mind, you become aware of this continual outpouring as living presence animating everything in existence.

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Every Creature is a revelation of the continual creative outpouring.

Universal Love is not the limited to human beings. Every creature is involved in the great revelation of Agape: each creature at first discerning its being as in a darkened mirror, but then realising the brilliant fullness of its beauty as an intimate expression of the whole universe – both visible and non-visible.

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This image of the Divine feminine is based on the Archetype of Mary – Magdalene. 

We are emerging consciousness in human form. To become Human – Being is our destiny; to look into the dark inner reaches of the cave of unknowing, is to begin to see the brilliance of the fullness of consciousness emerging out of the Great Cosmic womb. 

This is to be continually born anew in Eternal Presence, where we relinquish all identity with form. 

Through becoming consciousness itself you are At-One with that Presence.

You create no more suffering for yourself, for others, or the creatures of the natural world.

This is Agape.

Agape – Universal Love. The call To Be in Immediate Presence.

Blue Whale in San Ignacio, Baja California

Following in the path of a Blue Whale – the largest creature that has ever lived on Earth – as she exhales, and then breathes in for the last time before diving into the depths of the sea to feed. To feel the sound of the breath resonating through me from this beautiful and magnificent creature brought me into Immediate Presence, stilling the mind. In that shared communion I know that all life is sacred – all an expression of the One – Logos.

The whole Cosmos, the whole of existence, is a manifestation of the conscious breath; the continual creative unfolding of Logos.

hs ultra deep field 2012Logos, Conscious Breath and Agape – Universal Love are all ways of expressing the same Knowledge, Wisdom and Understanding of Life – which is beyond the comprehension of intellect and the thinking mind.

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When you breathe consciously you are engaging with the whole of life as a human who is conscious of Being.
And life as a whole responds to your awakening.

This is the initiation into Genesis (Bereshith in Hebrew), the continual creation of life in all its diversity and magnificent abundance. Such awakened moments may only be fleeting at first. Often we find them too much, become fearful and shut down. But the Ruach Elohim, the Creative Spirit of Being – Absolute Life, is a continual pressure, continually seeking to be known within the heart of every human who chooses to awaken to it. Every living thing is an expression of this continual, abundant, creative outpouring.

Sun2 copy copy

When we look at the Sun we are only seeing its core. We have not yet consciously realized that we actually live within the Sun.  The Earth and all the planets of the Solar System are continually being created within the Sun’s great body.

Our spiritual responsibility is to awaken to the whole of life – to meet with all life forms consciously as a human Being. All life is an expression of Being.

This can be understood in 1 Cor 13:11–12, where the metaphor of leaving childhood and becoming an adult is used. In the Greek nepios, the child is the untaught, and unskilled unconscious state, without the inner knowledge and  understanding that requires no words or mental interpreting. This emerges out of deep inner silence when we allow ourselves To Be. The adult, aner,  is a term used to mean psychological maturity, and spiritual comprehension that comes from being Present with all our attention within the continual unfolding of Life. I have written the following translation in such a way to bring out the nuances in the Greek text.

“When I was a child, I spoke without knowledge, I lacked understanding, I reasoned without knowledge or wisdom; when I became an adult, I deprived those childish ways of their power and influence over me. For now we discern as in a darkened mirror, but then in immediate presence (face to face). Now my Gnosis is partial, but then I will know, as I Am known.” 1Cor 13:11–12.

When we are psychologically infantile we see the rest of life as there for me or us to exploit and take regardless of the suicidal destruction and inevitable life negating consequences. This extreme egocentric behaviour, in which our inner emptiness and pollution manifest as greed and outer pollution, is poisoning the air, the rivers and seas, and the very soil and ground rock that gives us life on this Earth. This pollution affects how we structure our financial systems, causing extreme forms of  poverty, and gives us a rapacious consumerism and the perpetual illusion of the need to go to war.

Earth and Moon - Hubble images

When I contemplate the Earth with its Moon, hanging like living jewels in space, I feel the urgency of the call to awaken, given voice through the Shama Yisrael.

“Shama: Listen with your full attention. Awaken the Soul (Israel) now, all you peoples of the Earth. Yahveh, To Be – Being is our Elohim; Yahveh, To Be – Being, the intense stillness of Immediate Presence, the Source of continual creative outpouring into life in all its forms, is One. The One is the peace of Eternal Presence.”  (My translation of the Shama Yisrael.) 

To take up the plough of spiritual awakening is to become an Adult in the spiritual sense: a Human Being. This is to take responsibility; there is no looking back, we keep our hand to the plough through all the pain and difficulties. Then as we take each step as consciously as we can, the Peace of the immediate presence grows stronger in us, dissolving all separation and all the needless pain and suffering we inflict upon each other, our fellow creatures, and the Earth itself. And in our awakening we can begin to take our consciousness deeper into the unfolding life of the Cosmos, deeper into the formless creative Spirit that animates and sustains everything in existence.