There is a mysterious realm that is the undercurrent of all life. It is the quantum world of the soul. It is a place where energies become archetypes and understandings can be explained only through metaphor. It is a place where the divine and the concrete merge into a union of marital bliss. In the ancient societies, the function of spiritual knowledge was about creating a better, more humane, being.
From the dawn of time, man has documented the workings of this mysterious inner realm. Rituals were developed to make it possible to touch and feel the divine. Petroglyphs were carved on rock faces as if they were eternal blackboards, forever guiding the generations of mystical students. Myth and parable portrayed the energies as gods and goddesses. Amazing artifacts were created to commemorate the divine.
Traditionally, only a very few were given access into the inner workings of the mystical realm. Masters, yogis, and priests diligently guarded the teachings that opened the door into the divine. They were not elitist. They knew the path of attainment contained many perils. The ancient masters were fully aware that the spiritual energies could heal and that they could kill. They did not allow random people to hear their teachings or initiate anyone who asked. Every student was thoroughly tested to ascertain whether they possessed the qualities necessary to make the arduous journey. The ancient masters knew that trying to charge up a down escalator was not just an exercise in futility, but was also damaging to the psyche of the student. The first requirement of a student was that they must possess a personality type that would harmonize with the teachings of the master.
The true teacher of mystical knowledge is experience. The mystic’s personal experience is used as the basis for their teachings. The parables and practices they developed into the lineages of today are designed in such a way that the student will have the same experience and achieve the same understandings as the master. A mystic is first a person who in relation to the divine is limited. Even the most adept was able to describe only a small part of the whole model. It is like the classic Taoist tale of the blind men and the elephant. One man describes the tail, one describes the ear, another the back, another the trunk, the last one describes a leg. Each is thinking that they have the full body of true knowledge. It is not until the individual descriptions are combined that the true nature or whole elephant is understood.
It became apparent that mystical understanding is a language not unlike the Egyptian or the Mayan glyphs. In order to unravel the mystery, it was important to decode the metaphorical language. Each piece of art, each mythical tale, each complex symbol, and each spiritual ritual is a part of the breadcrumb trail left by those who had attained the highest understandings of their time. These clues could be either a snap shot of a specific element or an entire road map of the spiritual journey of inner transformation.
However, mystical teaching runs much deeper than the difference between two languages. It is also like deciphering an optical illusion. An optical illusion is a masterfully crafted presentation that makes it possible for two separate and complete images to be discerned from the same depiction, if the attention is alert and the mind is able to switch its point of view. One of the most known optical illusions is the depiction of the young girl/old woman. The earliest rendition of this illusion is an anonymously drawn German postcard from 1888. Which do you see? The young girl? or The old woman? Both points of view are valid because they are relative. Each viewpoint is correct, but an individual will see only the depiction that harmonizes with his or her personality type. It will take a mind shift for the contrasting image to come into view. An experienced teacher, who knows the student, knows how shift the viewpoint so that it is possible to see the masked image incorporated in the seemingly single illustration.
What we see is not necessarily the whole truth. Until we can honor the various spiritual viewpoints, our world will continue to be plagued with mistrust, violence, and war.