“The greatest achievement was, at first and for a time, a dream. The oak sleeps in the acorn; the bird waits in the egg. And in the highest vision of a soul, a waking angel stirs. Dreams are the seedlings of realities.” – James Allen, “Visions and Ideals, 1902
“A man becomes calm in the measure that he understands himself as a thought evolved being, for such knowledge necessitates the understanding of others as the result of thought, and as he develops a right understanding, and sees more and more clearly the internal relations of things by the action of cause and effect he ceases to fuss and fume and worry and grieve, and remains poised, steadfast, serene.” – James Allen, “Serenity” 1902
I have seen how the power of thought can work in the world, and I have been moved many times in my life by the power of my own thoughts, even in my youth, when I was not so fully aware of how these thoughts came to exist within me. Our persistent focus on a particular idea can give it life, and often, through such efforts, we can achieve a great deal, in spite of daunting obstacles. Sustaining the power of our thoughts takes genuine effort, and as James Allen suggests, “The strength of the effort is the measure of the result.” He goes on to remind us that we become who we are as a result of “the vision that you glorify in your mind….the ideal that you enthrone in your heart.”
I captured the image above when the scene caught my eye this afternoon, and as I sat out on the back porch as daylight faded into twilight and then into evening, I found myself contemplating memories of my childhood, the emotional landscape within me, as well as the temporal landscape above me in the evening sky. Submitting myself to the power of my own thoughts, a mixture of the temporal and ineffable began to arise within me, and brought me to the writing desk to work on a poem that’s been in limbo these past few months. It seemed natural to share it here this evening.
Image: AFP/Getty Images (Composite image assembled over 22 days by the new NASA Suomi NPP satellite) posted on Eyewitness:Photographs from the Guardian
The evening sky hums with darkness,
As the wind rustles the sorrowful leaves;
Tilted back in my chair,
Sinking slowly inward under
The purple panorama,
Sifting through twilight thoughts,
My eyes land upon an ancient star.
Delight descends upon the moment now,
As it once did to see
The tiny spots of light,
Reflecting in the shiny globes
Above your cheeks.
The universe is alive.
It breathes and sighs, barely thrives,
Holding on just beyond endurance;
The boat gets rocked over,
But the light abides.
My heart rises gently to greet
The radiant waves;
Helpless to avoid the relentless
Barrage of photons,
I brace myself against the
Uncertainty of what will be.
Childhood memories of journeys
Far beyond the stars,
Illuminate life behind the walls.
Between the layers of leaves,
Little green fingers of hope,
Suspend my longings for the
Great pastures of life.
Reluctantly embracing growth
In this foreign land,
Recovery and rediscovery follow,
Across the immeasurable distances
© December 2012 by JJHIII
It occurred to me, as I frequently search the night sky, that one of the most unifying experiences for all cognitive beings surely must be this very practice of reflecting while casting our eyes upward at the tiny points of light from all the distant suns available to be seen in the darkness, as our own sun flees behind the earth each night. Regardless of the degree of consciousness enjoyed by our ancient ancestors, the sensory experience of looking up at the stars must have been similar. Even though our understanding may be greater now as to what it is we are seeing, how we interpret what we see isn’t as important as how it feels to experience those pinpoints of light.
One of the compelling reasons for my interest in ancient cultures, aside from the fascination they hold due to how little we know about their lives in a directly experiential way, is how much different their understanding of the universe must have been. Thanks to modern technology and advanced satellites, we have the privilege of viewing the earth from outer space in the 21st century, but the sense of wonder and curiosity provoked by the night sky may very well be very nearly the same for us, as the experience of such moments would have been for the ancient peoples, since the events in the night sky are, in large part, the same exact events that we are witnessing. The consistency of that experience, based on the repeated patterns throughout the seasons at each point around the globe, assures us that what they saw was, within predictable patterns, the same as what we see, whether it occurred last week or only a week after consciousness arose to fullness in ancient times.