In her fascinating essay An Absurdist Pantomime, Barbara Shore, Ph.D., examines the non-neutral way in which our thought processes report information that constitutes our perceived reality, including Self and our surroundings:
We have to make room for the possibility that our thought processes do not neutrally report on what is “out there” in an “objective” world. But rather, like the suppositions of theoretical physicist David Bohm, that our thought processes actively participate in forming our perceptions, our sense of meaning, our daily actions. Bohm suggests that “collective thought and knowledge have become so automated that we’re in large part controlled by them, with a subsequent loss of authenticity, freedom and order.” (1994, p. ix) Seen through his hypothesis, thought is not a fresh, direct perception but rather is the past—that which has already been thought—carried forward through memory into the present.” (Shore, 2010, p. 158)
In other words, “we” as a collective are hardwired to live in a repeating loop. One’s present reality is in large part defined by repeating calcified energy patterns that greatly limit what one’s awareness can perceive and bring in. Another strange aspect of human design is that one can only know that which exists within one’s realm of awareness. To complicate things more, one must use this small opening of awareness to scan the vast oceans of knowledge and information to begin the process of becoming aware. I believe that most creation stories relate this very tale—the process of becoming awake or aware, from this same vantage point.
The Tibetan Buddhists call these two aspects the void and nonvoid. The nonvoid is the reality of visible objects. The void, like implicate order, is the birthplace of all things in the universe, which pour out of it in a “boundless flux.” However, only the void is real and all forms in the objective world are illusory, existing merely because of the unceasing flux between the two orders.
In turn, the void is described as “subtle,” “indivisible,” and “free from distinguishing characteristics.” Because it is seamless totality it cannot be described in words. Properly speaking, even the nonvoid cannot be described in words because it, too, is a totality in which consciousness and matter and all other things are indissoluble [incapable of being dissolved, broken, or undone] and whole. Herein lies a paradox, for despite its illusory nature the nonvoid still contains “an infinitely vast complex of universes.” And yet its indivisible aspects are always present. As Tibet scholar John Bloomfield states, “In a universe thus composed, everything interpenetrates, and is interpenetrated by, everything else; as with the void, so with the nonvoid – the part is the whole.”
The Tibetans prefigured some of [theoretical quantum physicist] Pribram’s [theories] as well. According to Milarepa, an eleventh-century Tibetan yogi and the most renowned of the Tibetan Buddhist saints, the reason we are unable to perceive the void directly is because our unconscious mind (or, as Milarepa puts it, our “inner-consciousness”) is far too “conditioned” in its perceptions. This conditioning not only keeps us from seeing what he calls “the border between mind and matter,” or what we would call the frequency domain, but also causes us to form a body for ourselves when we are in the between-life state and no longer have a body. “In the invisible realm of the heavens…the illusory mind is the great culprit,” writes Milarepa, who counseled his disciples to practice “perfect seeing and contemplation” in order to realize this “Ultimate Reality.” (Talbot, 1992, p. 287)
I want to draw special attention to the statement, “the reason we are unable to perceive the void directly is because our unconscious mind (or, as Milarepa puts it, our “inner-consciousness”) is far too “conditioned” in its perceptions.” At this time in our current culture collective, many fields, from Jungian depth psychology to theoretical physics, seem to be arriving at this idea, which sages from many traditions have brought forward through human existence. Not only are most of us unable to view the void, but most are not able to even experience the nonvoid with lucidity.
To break down the calcified patterns that maintain our “conditioned perceptions” (i.e. that which determines how we project our “reality”) plants can act as significant allies! one of my favorites is Massoia Bark essential oil
Sheer will and desire will not accomplish this for most people. Seeking this knowledge is just the first step, and the process requires patience and true dedication. As one works with specific plants (which supplement one’s primary spiritual practice, whatever that may be), one will start to experience epiphanies (fresh insight outside of calcified patterns). This type of truth bubbles up in dreams and “ah ha” moments, offering authentic insight and direction.
Caution: It is critical to perform a skin patch test of massoia bark essential oil before use. In some people, the sesquiterpene lactones in this oil can cause contact dermatitis, often with serious complication, such as inflammation of the skin, possibly over the entire body, and shortness of breath. Though massoia bark does carry some risk, temper your caution with common sense. As chemist and aromatherapist Kurt Schnaubelt, Ph. D., notes, with regard to essential oils with a high potential to cause sensitization, 'to entirely take these oils out of circulation or to advise a user to avoid them completely is equivalent to throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Use at 1 % for topical application (1% Dilution Rate = 5-6 drops of essential oil in 1 fl oz carrier oil), not for use in the bath. You may diffuse or make a mister at any strength you desire.
This being said. Dilute properly in base oil of choice and apply to the third eye, heart, and wrists as you navigate your day, paying special attention to how you perceive your normal life and surrounds. Diffuse during meditation. Make a mister by adding 30 - 60 drops and increase until you get the desired strength / scent, mix in spring water and add 1 tablespoon of alcohol or 2 tablespoons of witch hazel to 2 oz bottle. Mist your sheets before bed to support lucid / teaching dreams and piercing the veil. For a 'quick hit' inhale deeply from your bottle before you write, meditate, read, or study.
Elements: Earth seed of Water seed of Air
Catalyst for: Peeling back the layers of the false self
Chakra Correlation: Muladhara (coccyx, 1st), Svadhishthana (pelvic bowl, 2nd), Anahata (heart, 4th)
Sacred Syllables: Lam, Vam, Yam
Key Vibrations: Gifts: helps one understand symbols and the complex nature and layers of information they contain (this includes but is not limited to what Hindu philosophers refer to as maya, loosely translated as illusion, which addresses projections—collective and individual). Balancing: allows one to interpret the rich symbolism that makes up one’s life, including dream imagery; helps one identify projections around oneself to understand the quality of human togetherness at any particular time and place; helps one determine one’s own individual stage of evolution.
Key Concepts: The combination of earth (body), water (emotions/soul), and air (mind/spirit) gives rise to the energy of Structured Dynamism. This energy can be understood as an open-ended and transformative quest that favors unregulated organization through spontaneous order, understanding that true response can only occur in the moment, when all the latent energy of available aspects comes together, allowing a specific dynamic to occur. This concept does not favor a philosophy of stasis with the intent of maintaining the status quo, but instead promotes response and adaptation to needs and actions authentically rising in the moment.
Earth is the sacred vessel, or container, in which spontaneous order may arise, allowing the air and water elements to express new combinations of personal divinity as the need develops, in a safe and grounded way.
Deity Archetype: Mother of Creation
This is a fascinatingly complex archetype. She is literally the beginning, the beauty in-between, and the end. She is the undivided primal waters, the individual expression of this energy, and the energy that ends and reabsorbs its expression for rebirth. In her wrathful form, she provides the means and the way to slay the ego by Divine Knowledge in order to attain moksha (liberation, release). She is known by the names Kore, Demeter, Persephone, Raja Rajewari, Durga, Kali, Uma, The Venus of Wildenorf, to name a few. Each of these emanations gives rise to a specific set of actions that teach an aspect of feminine growth, be it the innocent child, sexual adult, mother, destroyer, or crone.
Most schools of thought believe that Sanskrit is a language of dynamism (meaning possessing great energy or force), and many Hindu schools believe each of the letters represents a form of energy, or a form of the Mother of Creation. Therefore, she is generally seen as the mother of language in her aspect of Kali or Sarasvati. She is pure consciousness and has no permanent qualities. Rather, she emanates in whatever form of the divine feminine is required to stretch, reform, and teach the devotee to achieve an intended expansion. It is therefore believed that the dualistic concepts and rigid forms do not apply to her—she is pure un-manifested energy. This speaks to the concept of structured dynamism: the exploration of what spontaneous combination of Self needs to arise at any given time.
Incantaion: Mother of Creation, you are the root source of life, the undivided primal waters, and the place from which all potential rises. Please help me understand that a multitude of expressions are required in this life and grant me the ability to spontaneously adapt to each moment. Remind me that this is not a false way of being, but truth, as it is against nature to be immutable. Allow me the flexibility of soul to experience all of creation through my being. (Covington, 2017, p. 91)
1 This is what Dr. Deepak Chopra refers to as non-local conciseness
Shore, B. (2010). An Absurdist Pantomime: The Collision of Violence, Innocence, and Pseudoinnocence. In D. P. Slattery, & L. Corbett (Eds.), Psychology at the Threshold (pp. 142-163). Carpinteria: Pacifica Graduate Institute Publications.
Slattery, D. P., & Corbett, L. (Eds.). (2010). Psychology at the Threshold. Carpinteria: Pacifica Graduate Institute Publications.
Talbot, M. (1992). The Holographic Universe. New York: HarperPerennial.
Covington, C. (2017) Essential Oils in Spiritual Practice: Working with the Chakras, Divine Archetypes, and the Five Great Elements. Healing Arts Press. Rochester, Vermont