I've decided life is just in a higher gear with older children, teaching, our business, and projects etc. so I'm not going to wait for it to calm down before I write! Hence, here is the first of what I'll call "Little Likenings."
My mornings are devoted to projects, writing and scripture study, but I'm reading three books right now and a few ebooks and they all rotate taking turns coming with me to the gym to be read during those 2 minutes of slower exercise between the 30 second sprints my health coach has assigned. Each day when I ask: okay, who wants to come with me today? One will nudge to the surface of the pile.
Lately, A Beginner's Guide to Constructing the Universe has called to me the most. I'm reading it along with two friends for a MIC series we participate in. It's filling up with wavy lines and notes scribbled while in motion. I have to try hard to remember I'm not alone at home for I burst out often with astonishment, surprise, or excitement at what this book is showing me and how its connecting to what I've been learning in my spiritual journey of the past years.
First, some excerpts that I find fascinating and then the connections I'm starting to see. From the Introduction:
... the simple counting numbers from one to ten and the shapes that represent them, such as a circle, line, triangle, and square express a consistent, comprehensible language. The ten numbers are a complete archetypal sourcebook. They are the original ten patents for designs found all through the universe...Anything anyone can point to in nature is composed of small patterns and is a part of larger ones...Reading the Book of Nature first requires familiarity with its alphabet of geometric glyphs...open secret[s], fully in view but usually unnoticed...studying number properties and intellectually knowing the road map, the symbolism, is not the same as actually taking the journey. We take that journey by finding within ourselves the universal principles these properties represent and by applying the knowledge to our own growth. (Pages xx-xxiii)
Thereafter, each chapter focuses on a single number from 1 to 10. This "Little Likening" will focus on the first chapter:
Called, the "Monad…ancient philosophers conceived that the Monad breathes in the void and creates all subsequent numbers (111111111 x 111111111 = 12345678987654321). [That is the coolest equation by the way, don't miss its symbolism!] Numbers only express different qualities of the Monad. The ancients didn't consider unity to be a 'number' but rather a parent of numbers…Nothing exists without a center around which it revolves, whether the nucleus of an atom, the heart of our body, hearth of the home, capital of a nation, sun in the solar system, or black hole at the core of a galaxy. When the center does not hold, the entire affair collapses. An idea or conversation is considered "pointless" not because it leads nowhere but because it has no center holding it together…dancers and gymnasts gracefully work with the Body's center of gravity to balance during motion…everyone has a psychological center of gravity, the thoughts, emotions, or desires with which we identify and from which we view the world at any given moment…our deeper self, the power that motivates the actions, emotions, thoughts and desires…the universal creating process begins with an expansion from a divine center, like the very first Biblical command, 'Let there be Light.' In Hindu mythology, the dimensionless Brahma speaks aloud the word aham, 'I Am,' a word made of the first, middle, and final letters of the Sanskrit alphabet, which represents the circle's three parts; the center, the radius, and the circumference, and our own spiritual center, psychological reaches, and outer material form." (Pages 2-10)
As I read these excerpts there are ideas in my head that gel together. First, I loved the idea of the number one symbolizing "the parent of numbers." (Wow, I can't wait to share the spiritual symbolism and aha's about the number two!! That will have to be the next "little likening").
Often, in that pursuit of a relationship with my creator, because I believe God to be an actual glorified being with a body, I've pictured him as far away from me. When I prayed or meditated, I focused outwardly, as if reaching for him (like I expressed here in this poem). Through various parts of my journey the last few years as I've yearned to strengthen my connection to and unity with my Heavenly Parents, I keep coming to this feeling that Paul meant something more when he spoke of us being of the "body of Christ." In my faith, we speak of the Light of Christ as being the power of Christ,
"He that ascended up on high, as also he descended below all things, in that he comprehended all things, that he might be in all and through all things, the light of truth; which truth shineth. This is the light of Christ. As also he is in the sun, and the light of the sun, and the power thereof by which it was made… And the light which shineth, which giveth you light, is through him who enlighteneth your eyes, which is the same light that quickeneth your understandings; Which light proceedeth forth from the presence of God to fill the immensity of space—The light which is in all things, which giveth life to all things, which is the law by which all things are governed, even the power of God who sitteth upon his throne, who is in the bosom of eternity, who is in the midst of all things." (D&C 88:6-7, 11-13)
Therefore, we don't believe that God is in us (since we believe him to have a body), but we believe that the power of God is in all things and through all things so in that way, his power and influence is a part of us. We also believe the seeds of Godhood are within us just as everything in nature has the seeds to become what it's parent is. But because we are in a fallen world (wow, more on that with the symbolism of the number two!!) we believe we are fallen from this unity with God, but that Christ is our advocate - he is helping us regain that unity (and the symbolism of the number two shown in this book sure shows a purpose for that fall and for Christ to my mind - okay, yeah, I'm totally inspired by the number two now).
The Light of Christ is the power behind all that Christ does. Importantly: "He…ascended up on high, as also he descended below all things…that he might be in all and through all things, the light of truth; which truth shineth. This is the light of Christ." In other words, Christ's atonement (descending below all things) is a large part of what qualified him to have this power. That's how I understand it, at least.
So that's one piece - the Light of Christ being in all and through all things. As a side reference, an ebook I read a while ago related a woman's near death experience after getting blown up in Iraq and living to tell of it. In the following passage, It almost sounds like she's quoting the scripture reference I've just used to explain what those in my faith call the Light of Christ (what she calls, the All That Is), does it not?:
In fact, my understanding of the various dimensions—or vibrations or worlds or focus levels… is that they are aspects of one encompassing reality. The one reality includes all beingness or consciousness. It is the endlessly unknowable infinity of creativity and an apparent paradox of infinite numbers of unique individuals that are simultaneously one. This encompassing connection is within and of, and creates, is created by, and moves through each unique being, and is part of all while also existing separately from what I’ll call “All That Is." This All That Is can be perceived simultaneously as a force and as an individual consciousness that exists within each consciousness and yet is separate from each consciousness or being. It’s what might be referred to as God, but the ideas of gods that we have [those Religions she has been exposed to, but most of what she describes is what I believe in my faith] are a pale and incomplete shadow of the All That Is that I perceive. Projecting an idea of a god or gods upon that infinite creative consciousness inevitably limits an understanding of the All That Is in ways that reflect the severely limited comprehension that we have of ourselves and the physical universe. (Application of Impossible Things by Natalie Sudman)
The other piece is the Monad and that idea of the number one expressing unity with the parent of the many (all numbers, or all souls?). Right here, I REALLY want to go into the number two's significance, but to keep this a "little likening," my last thought that I ponder and will share is this:
We speak of "centering ourselves" or searching for "inner peace." I've never liked those phrases because it felt like it excluded that most essential part of the Savior's role I depend on and slowly feel I am being recreated by. For some, when they speak of centering in their self, it even excludes God - they become a God unto their self.
But maybe it's the third alternative (as it almost always seems to be). Maybe when praying or meditating, it is not meant to be a reaching outward or upward so much as a centering in that Light of Christ that connects us to everything in unity. That's the plug or outlet that connects us to the Real. And what I see in the symbolism of this Monad is not about losing our individuality into some blending of sameness (1 x any number = that number, not 1). But of being more centered in our true self that is an essential and unique part in the tapestry of the whole just as every part of the body, or of nature is essential and unique. Just as there are infinite points along the circumference of a circle.
"God makes himself known to the world; He fills up the whole circle of the universe, but makes his particular abode in the center, which is the soul of the just." Lucian (c. 240-312).
Maybe the whole debate for thousands of years over whether Christ had a body or not wasn't an A (he does) or B (he doesn't) answer. The answer, I believe, is C. Through the Light of Christ, this quote that speaks of God making his particular abode in the center is true. But also, the principle of the unique individual and unity of the parts with the whole is true. God is an individual being also - the One, the parent of the many; one point centered among infinite points along the circumference of its circle (universe?).
The Monad; Wholly One.
Who says there's no use for math?!?!