What do the following plot devices (or spiritual practices) have in common?
- Alice stepping through the Looking Glass
- Dorothy transported over the Rainbow, from B&W to the colorful Land of OZ
- Star Wars rebels or the Star Trek Enterprise popping through Hyperspace
- Robert Conway rounding a Himalayan mountain pass, to descend into the verdant Shangri-La
- Rumi spinning as a whirling dervish to explore the heavens of his departed Teacher, Shams
- Near Death and general Out of Body Experiences
- Magic Eye art that transforms 2-D images into 3-D hidden objects
- Transitioning from waking consciousness into your Dream world awareness
There is a common thread running through these devices listed above, which I will call traversing “through the eye of the Needle.” The commonality of this theme occurring in fiction as well as in accounts and techniques of spiritual exploration speaks to the naturalness of the underlying phenomenon of seeking and achieving higher consciousness awareness.
I call attention to this phenomenon of traversing through the Eye of the Needle because it is a central aim of most human experience to transcend the mundane, to elevate one’s experience of life to its highest potentials and to discover and explore what lies Beyond. Meditation, centering prayer, contemplation, and even daydreaming—all of which rely on cultivating our imagination—allow us individually to transcend any life experience, to gain higher understanding and wisdom.
When I first began to study spiritual topics and to practice contemplative techniques some 48 years ago, my goal was to eventually be able to shift between states of consciousness “at will.” I now realize how this is a natural human capacity, but we do benefit from developing this capacity with conscious awareness. For example, we gain much more from our dreams by focussing on utilizing our dreams to help understand daily life as well as to plomb the depths of spiritual understanding (e.g. see The Art of Spiritual Dreaming, by Harold Klemp, about which I am currently in a discussion group).
But the real reason this topic is important to me right now is because I have recently rediscovered—for me anyway—a wonderful “transport” device, at the local gym! When I ride a rowing machine, I am able to close my eyes and enter into a contemplation activity that absolutely allows me to approach and traverse through ‘the eye of the needle’, to explore consciousness states at will! I think this is similar to the whirling dervish activity of Rumi and the Sufis, who likewise use the spinning and internal prayer to transcend the physical body to higher states of spiritual awareness and exploration. Something about the regular physical activity as with the rocking of the back and forth motion of the rowing machine, I find frees my imagination to soar!
images are from pixabay.com
The benefits of traversing through the Eye of the Needle, howsoever you choose to do this, are limitless. Being more mindful and aware of whatever we choose to focus our attention on allows us to consider our options and choose, or repair if need be, our course of action.
Better Endings to All!
Swimming laps does it for me.