The Essence of Life

2014-10-01 06.49.30This blog post is inspired by a walking meditation in forested mountains on the Mediterranean island of Corsica.

Meditation in the Forest.

Through the conscious breath I felt a deepening connection with the underlying Spirit of Life.

On the surface of things, Life is not meant to be easy, the struggle for life means death is ever present: the continual creative upwelling demands intense awareness from the life forms inhabiting the Earth. 

Alert awakened Presence is the cutting edge of continual renewal, as the essence of Life shapes the manifest World.

In the intense Presence of Life – beneath the appearance of things – everything is known 

to be One.

2014-10-01 06.29.59

In reflecting Conscious Presence, inner and outer dissolve into One: There is no other. That which Is the underlying formless source of external reality, is felt, and known, to be within.

Beneath the different forms of multiple movements lies the great Ocean of formless fluidity, Ha-Main in Hebrew, potent life force, fluid space allowing all things to be in existence, to interact, one with another, to transform from one form into another.

Each life form has its time before it dissolves to be reborn anew.

 הַמַּיִם

Ha Maim – the Waters of Life.

Nothing is separate; the beholding consciousness meets that of the conscious whole. All our mind-made divisions resolve into One breath.

IMG_3390

The 11th century German Mystic Hildegard of Bingen spoke of the intense Greenness of Life as the expression of God’s Presence.

In ancient Hebrew the expression of the intensity of Life is found in the words, Ani El Shaddai. These words point to the reality that is the foundation of the Abundant Life of the natural World. Usually mistranslated as “I am Almighty God”, its meaning is much deeper:- 

אֲנִי־אֵל שַׁדַּי

 Ani – El Saddai

I – the One, the all nourishing essence of Life.

IMG_3325

אֲנִי

Ani – The I of consciousness – Being – The Real,

Still, Presence.

Be Still and breathe with awareness of the life force within you.

The physical Universe continually emerges out of intense alert Presence.

אֵל

El -No-thing, Being, source of the continual flow of Life; the creative dance- every movement emerging out of, and supported by Stillness.

The potency and potential of every emergent life form.

שַׁדַּי

Shaddai; all nourishing abundance, the vivifying fire, the breath of cosmic motion; the feminine breasts – to nourish its progeny into evolving, ever changing, diversifying life.

Goddess3

With Her foot resting upon a skull – She symbolises the still centre, beyond the cycles of life and death.

El-Shaddai: The power of Life that underlies nature, the planetary being, the solar system, the galaxy and the universe, continually breathes life into every form.

2014-10-03 03.43.20

To Breathe with awareness is to begin to engage fully with life – to meet consciousness with consciousness.

  When we breathe with awareness we access the universal creative pattern of life.

 The realisation of non-dualuality, each movement unified by awareness of stillness. 

 Universal Creativity revealed in consciousness beholding itself.

The Kingdom of Heaven

IMG_3261The Kingdom of Heaven is Present within you here, now.

The spiritual teachings contained in the Bible can be summed up by this simple phrase.

When you are Present with all your attention, and all thinking subsides, you begin to glimpse the reality sustaining every form of Life.

IMG_1761

Clarity emerges from No-Mind Consciousness; Alert, Still, Presence.

Where is the Kingdom of Heaven?

You cannot say here it is or there it is.

Once the mind stops looking for something that stands out as if it were a distinct place you have to search for, reach or find, you begin to see, hear and feel the formless creative presence of life, the Essence of the visible universe. At first this awareness is so subtle that it goes almost unnoticed. Yet, it is here as potent reality within you now; that which the mind cannot grasp, own, or contain, the transcendent beauty that brings a deep sense of Peace.

IMG_3062Heaven and Earth – the formless universe and the universe of forms – are intimately intertwined as lovers who behold the One in each other.

To enter the Kingdom of Heaven is to become still, silent – no thought, no mind, just an alert awareness, the realisation that all forms in what appears as the external world are transparent, an empty fullness, an unfathomable beauty, the pressure of creative life seeking to be consciously known within you.

IMG_3186

Allow all thoughts to flow through your attentive awareness, without following the stream – just be the witness seeing that all thoughts are transient, continually arising and dissolving.

Letting go of thoughts and emotions is the beginning of freedom. The ego, the person, becomes transparent, there is nothing you need, to be who you are. This is to enter the place of Peace.

In the language of the Bible this is to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. However as the mind notices the deepening Peace and beauty, it begins to label and conceptualize it as a “spiritual”  experience. The essence underlying all forms of Life appers to vanish, obscured as the mind resumes its chatter. And we think the the Heavenly realm is gone, that we have lost it.

IMG_3054

Practice being consciously present with simple and seemingly small things. Witness Universal Consciousness within the tiniest flower, feel the Abundance of Creative Life.

To regain a sense of Presence: Be Still and alert: breathe with awareness: feel the aliveness in the spinal cord, in the arms and legs, in the heart, and the deep centre of the skull, flowing into and out of every cell in your body: As the awakened Soul, engage with the Spirit of Life flowing into and sustaining all things.

Every creative Idea, every creative act comes from this point of conscious stillness within the heart. All subject – object relating diminishes into the realisation that all is One.

IMG_2024

Dwelling in Peace – gratitude for the aliveness and infinite beauty manifest as the World.

The Kingdom of Heaven is dynamic potential of every living thing.

Continual change, yet underneath never-changing.

The Kingdom of Heaven – Malkut Ha Shamaim in Hebrew – Is Here within you Now, as it is within every form of Life. 

It is not something you need to wait for, or somewhere you will go to if you believe in a story, or follow a set of rules.

Heaven and Earth are a seamless garment of non-duality: the real and the appearance of that eternal reality within the One consciousness.

 

Be Still and Know

IMG_3062Be still, become silent within (no mind), and know, as revelation,

the “I” that is Elohim: The presence of Absolute Life; Total Consciousness.

This “I” is the arising (spiritual awakening) out of all that is unconscious in humanity.  

This “I” is the arising consciousness of every life form.                 

Psalm 46:10 (My translation).

IMG_1944

The “I” that is Elohim means no ego, no identification with any form. To realise the “I” that is Elohim is to be at One with the essence of all life.

Realising the still, quiet centre within reveals the essence of who you are. Begin simply by concentrating on the rhythmic motion of the breath, and bring your attention to the aliveness of the energy field that manifests your body. Every cell is vitally alive, the conscious breath helps you to realise this, by focusing your attention into the present moment.

This “I” is the creative, formless essence out of which all forms continually arise, and into which they continually dissolve.

Feel it now in the blood coursing through your veins, and in the air entering and leaving your lungs.

Through inner still silence, beyond the thinking mind, comes the realisation of the “I” that is pure Consciousness – Consciousness that is aware of itself. 

Alham7

 Be Still and Breathe consciously, following each breath with all of your attention. 

To Know (Yadah in Hebrew) also means unknowing – letting go of all that the mind has accumulated as intellectual knowing, all thoughts and identities.

To Know is to feel the universal aliveness within every cell in your body, to realize with pure clarity the Unity and interconnectedness of all things.   

Be Still, allowing the Breath to arise and fall out of the stillness.

Be at one with the still silence in which everything exists,

Be the “I” that is Elohim,

the revelation of life, which is true knowledge, without subject or object.

Alham41

From deep within, witness, as conscious presence,

the revelation of life as multi-dimensional creative power,

the revelation of the timelesse essence of all life.

dying star - NASA - Hubble image

dying star – NASA – Hubble image

As the ego dissolves, we discover (as revelation) Universal Being, not as one being discovering another, but through the consciousness of Being itself.

 The timeless, formless “I” – Elohim – is Universal Intelligence out of which all life continually emerges. Here within you Now, Present in your every breath. 

Meditation

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

IMG_3134

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.

IMG_3018

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.

IMG_1960

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.

IMG_1098

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.

 

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.

Awakening to Inner Space

Meditation and spiritual practice are not separate from your daily life.

IMG_2915

Arriving at the river each day is to greet the world anew.
No life form remains the same.
Underneath the flow of life is the Peace of Presence, the space that allows each form To Be.

Life, meditation and prayer are realised as One, no thoughts or words are necessary only your lucid attention in the present moment.

Awakening to inner space

The Hebrew for the formless Spirit is Ruwach, which can be translated as “expansive creative space,” and “the movement of the breath or the wind.” It is within you now giving you life. (From the book Patterns of Creation.)

The Human Spirit is intimately connected to the whole of life. To live as Ruwach is to be free of identification with any form whist living fully within the universe of forms. 

IMG_2923

Ruwach, the formless Spirit, can only be known by being fully conscious to Life which means being open to the constant renewal of forms.
Awakening to the Peace of Presence, there is no resistance to the continual flow of new life.

Living Creativity

Creativity continually emerges out of unknowing: formless, non-conceptualized space – no-thing that we can say is anything – allowing every possible possibility to emerge in the play of forms.

Creative inner space emerges out of the Quiet Still Presence within you, and allows the application of all of your learnt skills without interference from the compulsive thinking of the unobserved mind.

IMG_2736

As awareness of creative space grows, identification with the ego diminishes, dissolving the compulsive thought forms that cause fear, anxiety, anger and depression.

Ruwach – Spirit of Life – is fullness of life, animating every form.

 Eternal Life continually creates all things new, and is present within you now.

IMG_1098Creativity continually arrises out of intense Presence.

In Hebrew this is, Bereshith Bara Elohim Et Ha Shamaim Vey Et Ha Eretz.

Bereshith Bara Elohim Et Ha Shamaim Vey Et Ha Eretz.

This can be translated as:

The creation of all life continually emerges out of Elohim; Being – Eternal Presence, in the Here – Now:

As Heaven (formless creative Spirit) and Earth (all the forms of the Cosmos):

Heaven and Earth are intimately intertwined as One Creation. 

(my translation of the opening lines of Genesis)

 

 

The Breath of Life

Spiritual awakening begins as a seed in space deep within you.

The Seed of Life

The Seed of Life

To feel this seed awaken within, take a Conscious Breath and become present with all of your attention. Breathing with awareness of the vitality of the body allows the seed to open into spacious Presence.

You are Creative Life.

Creative Life is the space that allows the seed to grow and blossom into a full expression of consciousness. 

IMG_2031

Through bringing all your attention to the Conscious Breath, the mind becomes still – no thought.  

You are the spaciousness within, the aliveness, the vitality that forms and sustains your Soul and body.

In awakening to Conscious Presence you begin to realise the creative dynamic of the Spiritual body, which is without form and has as its core Stillness – I Am – Being. 

IMG_2830

This Icon of the Black Virgin symbolises Nurturing Space, allowing the Seed of Conscious Presence (the Divine child) to grow and blossom within the Soul and body (the boat.)

The creative Spirit – Ruach in Hebrew – means Universal Breath. All thoughts, every form arises and dissolves out of the movement of  the Universal Breath of Life.

As we increase our awareness of the Breath of Life, we allow all thought forms of fear, grief, pain, loneliness and separation to be held in a space of love and compassion, where they are dissolved into the One Consciousness that pervades all of life.

Be Present in the here-now with all your attention – as much as you can give to your awakening in this moment.

IMG_0859

As you Breathe Consciously realise that you are rooted in Being – timeless Presence.

Right now, you are at one with the breath of Elohim – One Consciousness.

IMG_2024

Realise that you are being breathed.

Space and breath are One.

This is beyond all form, beyond anything that the mind can understand as anything.

The Creative Spirit continually conceives new life, allowing all past and future imaginings to dissolve into Presence.

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.

Triple circles tree 1

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.

DSCF0904

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. 

Birth through the conscious breath.

Star Birth Close-up  copy

You are intimately connected to the continual flow of creative existence. Even to the vast and seemingly remote Birth of  new Stars.

When you emerged from your mother’s womb into this world, you were naked, tiny and helpless. But within such a seemingly helpless body is the same energy that lights an entire galaxy, and more so, the entire Cosmos.

Earth-the-universe-22238243-2560-1600

The Earth and all its life forms are carried on the universal breath.

You are the Breath of Life, you are being breathed every moment of every day. The spark of life within you, at your core, is one with the creator of all life: whole worlds, stars and galaxies. When the mind is stilled we may see beyond all the forms that are continually emerging out of  formless Spirit, and realise their source within us. 

The Light of Consciousness.

The Light of Consciousness gives birth to the Sun. Every Star is the manifest form of the creative unity of life.

In order for the light of creative consciousness to realise itself in you, all thought forms that separate you from the Unity of Life must die, and in dying, be reunited with the totality of life which is the core of your Being.

IMG_0869_1 copy

All that we see in the external world are but fleeting images, appearing and disappearing into and out of formation.
Consciousness is the ever open eye that perceives the continual flux of life without becoming lost in the dream.

The ego wishes to keep us small, and this thought form includes all our fantasies about being special or insignificant, powerful or weak, and part of an exclusive group separate from the rest of life. All such fantasies need to be brought into the light of awareness where they can be redeemed.

When the ego-dominated personality passes away, the space of Creative Spirit pervades your life. This is vaster than the mind can comprehend.

All thought dissolves in the face of Creative Presence which sustains all life in the here – now. 

DSCF0685 copy

Our primary purpose in life is to be consciously present with all our attention in everything that we do and say.

Breathe consciously. focusing all your attention into the Present Moment.

Each conscious breath you take creates space where there is no thought, allowing you to be, allowing others to be, allowing all life forms to be.

In your awakening to Presence, the One consciousness realises itself.