Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God
There are two passages in The Gospel of Thomas that intrigue me:
83 Jesus said: The images are revealed to people. The light within them is hidden in the image of the Father’s light. He will be revealed. His image is hidden in his light.
84 Jesus said: You are pleased when you see your own likeness. When you see your images that came into being before you did, immortal and invisible images, how much can you bear?
Images of the Father are revealed to us in the imaginal realm of the heart that is pure. That word, pure, can mean utter, complete and one-hundred-percent; nothing of the world cluttering or distracting. The pure of heart sees the image of the Father, hidden in His light, revealed. This is a powerful teaching.
Cynthia Bourgeault speaks to this “seeing” in her insightful book EYE OF THE HEART:
SO WHERE DO I begin to tell the story? How to introduce you to my neighborhood? It is all too easy when exploring topics as inherently elusive as the imaginal to hide out in mental maneuvers. . . . If there’s one thing I’ve learned from these two-and-a-half decades of imaginal bushwhacking, it’s that the imaginal realm is entered only through the heart. How you get there is where you’ll arrive. And so by whatever route our exploration leads us, it will need to stay close to the heart.
Fortunately, that is not really so difficult with the imaginal realm, for the heart really is its native ground. And when all the intellectual abstractions have been stripped away, and it is allowed to speak in its own native tongue, what it speaks of, with surprising simplicity and directness, is beauty, hope, and a mysteriously deeper order of coherence and aliveness flowing through this earthly terrain connecting it to the infinite wellsprings of cosmic creativity and abundance. Instead of the isolation and anomie [social instability due to lack of purpose or ideals] so often conveyed in our postmodern cosmological roadmaps (where we are simply an insignificant planet in an insignificant galaxy in a random “big bang” among a ceaseless cacophony of big bangs), it speaks of the preciousness of our human particularity and the exigency of our human contribution (tiny though it may be) to that vast, dynamic web of cosmic interbeing, which can be seen, in toto, as the heart of God. It calls us to a renewed sense of dignity, acountability, belongingness, cosmic intimacy, and love. That is why I am writing this book, and for no other reason. Our hearts get this language already. With only a bit of a shove — and perhaps a slightly new roadmap — our heads may be able to get it too. Pray to God, while there is still time.
So perhaps “where to begin” in a more heartful way might be with that striking image furnished by Jesus himself: “In my Father’s house are many mansions.” Picture the imaginal realm as one such mansion, belonging mostly to the Western spiritual tradition and deeply related to the Western experience of the heart of God. It is perhaps not a high mansion and certainly not a universal one (since many spiritual traditions seem to get on perfectly well without it). But within its own domain, i.e., the Western mystical and esoteric tradition, it is a pivotal one. Something important happens here.
The image of God is revealed here . . . our very own divine Being, made in the image and likeness of God. Here is where Man — now being restored to His original state — is revealed as the “image of the Father”. . . foretold by the Incarnate Son of God himself as “the Son of Man coming in the clouds with power and great glory” in the end days. That’s our role as incarnate angelic hosts.
How much can we bear today as we come to know our own images that came into being before we did, immortal and invisible images, coming in the clouds of heaven, where we as angels came into being before we donned these earthen forms. We carry authority as sons of the Father. We have the power and the authority to reprove the world of unrighteousness — for one, to issue the command to those who threaten the world with nuclear war: “Don’t do it! Don’t even think about it! Thus far and no further! This Earth is sacred, as are all beings who dwell in her fullness!”
Join with me in speaking this rebuke into the Consciousness we share with every human being, including Russian President Vladimir Putin. Speak it as an individual. Speak it as a group. Let Love, the fire of fusion, command and defuse those who would destroy the world with the fire of fission. *(See footnote)
Oh that we lived continually in the conscious awareness of the many mansions in our Father’s House! But no, we as “mere humans” choose to live with our noses held to the grindstone, as the saying goes, comfortable in our frail physical forms and temporary habitat . . . or not so comfortable these days. There are many more mansions above this one where disease and death hold no sway, neither does war.
Cynthia broadens and deepens her perspective:
Please don’t think of it as a place. I know it’s nearly impossible for the Western mind not to go there. We did the same thing with heaven and hell, didn’t we? Turned them into miniature planets, complete with fiery furnaces or pearly gates. But a realm is not fundamentally a place; it is more like a set of governing conventions that make possible a certain kind of manifestation.
In our own earth realm we are subject to many such governing conventions (we call them “laws”). Gravity holds our feet to the ground. Time flows in one direction only. We cannot walk through walls, be in two places at once, or wish ourselves ten pounds lighter. There are a lot of laws (forty-eight of them, Gurdjieff postulated), making our earth plane a fairly dense and determinate place. There are other realms that are lighter and a few that are denser. We will meet some of these in due course. For now it’s important to keep reminding ourselves that from a metaphysical perspective, realm has less to do with physical location than with density. In fact, virtually all spiritual teachers in all traditions have insisted that the “higher” (i.e., less dense) realms are not somewhere else but within — already coiled inside us as subtler and yet more intensely alive bandwidths of experience and perception. The reason we do not typically notice them is that the laws governing any realm are generally too coarse to allow the penetration of those finer vibrations emanating from the next realm “up” into its normal sphere of operations. As St. Paul reminds us, we do indeed “see through a glass darkly.”
But why do we call it “imaginal?” I admit that the whole issue is problematic. The term itself has its immediate provenance in Islamic mysticism, where it denotes a subtle and fluid “intermediate” realm suspended midway between form and formlessness. But the idea itself — or archetype, actually — is a mainstay of the Western tradition of sophia perennis, or “perennial wisdom,” with roots going all the way back to Plato.’ Within this wider tradition it is typically understood to be a boundary zone separating the denser causality of our earth plane from the finer causalities that lie “above” us in the angelic and logoic worlds. Put more simply, it sits on the dividing line between the visible and invisible worlds-or, according to the older, pre-Einsteinian metaphysics, between the “spiritual” and “material” worlds.
It is called “imaginal” because, while it is invisible to the physical eye, it is still clearly perceptible through the eye of the heart, which is in fact what the word imagination specifically implies in its original Islamic context: direct perception through the eye of the heart, not through mental reflection or fantasy. Of course, in the modern West we now view the interior landscape through the filter of Wordsworthian romanticism and hear the word imagination as suggesting something personal,
subjective, illusory, or “made up”-which is of course exactly the opposite of what the term is actually intended to convey.
I know this causes a lot of unnecessary confusion, but once you get used to the real metaphysical meaning of the term, it sheds a lot of light not only on the Islamic mystical tradition but on the Christian mystical tradition as well. I am quite certain, for example, that this direct noetic seeing is what St. Paul had in mind by the term faith (as in “faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”). But in our own diminished age even faith has now gone dark and tends to be understood as a “blind” leap into the dark rather than a luminous perception of the invisible golden thread. Small wonder that the imaginal has all but dropped off the contemporary metaphysical roadmap.
I spoke of the imaginal realm a few paragraphs ago as a “boundary realm,” but it is actually more of a confluence, for the word boundary suggests a separation while what is really at stake in this realm is an active flowing together. “Where the two seas meet” is a beautiful Sufi metaphor to convey the essence of what actually goes on here. The imaginal is a meeting ground, a kind of cosmic intertidal zone-and as in all intertidal zones, nourishment and metamorphosis furnish the principal order of business here. In this realm the fruits of our human striving — both conscious and unconscious — are offered up to the whole. From this realm, in turn, we receive blessing, inspiration, guidance, and vivifying force, which are ours to share and bestow here below. Like a Sufi dervish, we receive and bestow, receive and bestow, as we turn and are turned within the greater cosmic dance.EYE OF THE HEART, Chapter One, “Introducing The Imaginal”
As the Christian world dons sack cloth and observe mortification of the flesh during the Lentin season of forty-days leading up to Holy Week, I will leave this series to speak to the preposterous redactions of Sacred Scripture passed down by the Roman Emperor Constantine and the Council of Nicaea in 325 AD as the rationale for the crucifixion of Jesus and his resurrection from “the dead” that form the foundations of Christianity. I welcome any thoughts and insights you may have and wish to share. I will return to this series on the Imaginal Realm after the Easter Season. Until then,
Be love. Be loved.
* Nuclear fusion and nuclear fission are different types of reactions that release energy due to the presence of high-powered atomic bonds between particles found within a nucleus. In fission, an atom is split into two or more smaller, lighter atoms. Fusion, in contrast, occurs when two or more smaller atoms fuse together, creating a larger, heavier atom. (Diffen.com)
Comments on: "The Imaginal Realm of the Heart" (2)
Beautiful as usual. I always look forward to the weekly insite you provide. I have begun to actively open my practice healing with sound. I do however struggle with the marketing/social media part lol. I am trusting the divine timing of things. Here is my not complete website though if you want to take a gander. Much love and blessings Melissa Rose 🌹 http://www.soundtouchtherapy.com
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