Chapter 11

Opening The Celestial Eye

The divine exists everywhere, in all places and holds all forms at once.
But regular human consciousness is unable to recognize this.
Our minds work by the principle of duality.
We see things, inherently, as a division of opposites.

Our senses, left as they are, serve the mind in this.
You will experience a sensory perception, seeing or hearing or touching, and this perception will then be sent to your mind.
The mind will interpret this perception through the structure of duality.
You see an apple, and the mind will divide the perception into criteria.
Criteria means 'classification'; you would classify the apple as 'not an orange', or on a deeper level as 'fruit', which you'd define as 'not a vegetable', or 'not an animal'.
This is duality; it is a process of 'nots', so that in reality your definitions or anything at all are only negative, your mind can only understand something as being 'not something else'.

This is entirely normal, and in mysticism at first you will have to classify things spiritually in the same way.
All metaphysics are actually systems of classification.
The Tarot, the Kabbalah, Astrology, religious metaphysics of heavens and hells, good and bad, are all systems of creating criteria.
Problems arise in this area when people do not comprehend this, and instead mistake metaphysics for being real truths.
People who literally believe in astrology, or in Kabbalah, or heaven and hells of a specific religious system, will miss the point entirely.
The useful purpose of any metaphysic, as taught in a mystery school, is to give you a new set of criteria, to re-wire your mind and your senses in preparation of a jump, a jump into something totally new.
Remember, metaphysics themselves are not new, they are not different from how your mind worked before.
It is still criteria, still a filing system.
Before you filed things one way in your mind, now you file them a different way.
But it is inherently no better; there is nothing inherently superior in classifying an apple as some kind of Kabbalistic symbol rather than as 'not an orange'.
If that is where you stop, you will have in fact gained nothing.
In fact, you may be worse off then before, because now you will believe that you are experiencing wisdom or the spiritual.
You'll have gained a spiritual ego instead of a normal one.
And a spiritual ego is much worse, because it can be much harder to get over.

Metaphysics prepare you for the deeper experience of non-dual perception.
This is what mystics have sometimes called 'spiritual vision', or the 'celestial eye'.
You cannot go straight to this form of perception without first developing a metaphysic; sometimes it will happen by accident, but this is very dangerous.

Someone who directly experiences the divine without going through preparatory stages will be unprepared for the experience.
Often, they will seem to go mad.
It is an ego-shattering experience, it can separate you completely from being able to operate in the regular world.
For people who have reached this accidentally, the result can be terrifying.
If you go straight from the regular set of criteria to dropping criteria completely, it will shatter the ego.
At best, it may force you backwards, out of fear, into a total denial of the experience.
Otherwise, if that cannot be achieved, it can leave you incapable of operating in the world.
There are many people in mental asylums who have had this experience of true perception.
Sometimes you can become catatonic, unable to communicate at all in any normal way.
Or you will be so divorced from dualism that what you say will be meaningless to a 'normal' person.

So the process has to be gradual.
Even then, early experiences of this perception, of the celestial eye, will be awe-inspiring and sometimes terrifying.
A master will gradually prepare his students to handle these experiences.
A system of metaphysics serves to slowly open your perceptions, to allow you to understand that there are ways to understand reality outside of dualism.

When you perceive though the celestial eye, it allows you to see the inherent reality of any individual object.
To understand that there is a positive definition for things, that there is an essential reality to all things that are all their own, not only by comparison to other phenomena.
An apple is an apple.
You cannot 'know' this experience, it is beyond the mind.
You can never know what an apple is, only what it isn't.
But you can see what an apple is, when you open the senses that go beyond the mind.

At the same time, with this perception you will also 'see' how this thing you once called 'apple' is not separate from the whole of existence.
Duality, your normal perceptions, creates an illusion of separateness.
Metaphysics, the perception you are trained with in a mystery school, creates an illusion of unity.
In metaphysics you are taught to see that everything is connected.
This is no different from dualism, it is not real, but it is a new way of perception in the sense that you are encouraged to think of the apparently invisible connection between all phenomena.
That an 'apple' is not just an apple, but also a symbol that connects to all other symbols in some form, and all these connections ultimately become a single united symbol, often described as God.

But when you develop the celestial vision, you will see that this is not true either.
That an apple or any other phenomenon (including your 'self') is both inherently its own uniqueness and also a wholeness.
That is why the closest way to describe reality is not as 'dualism', nor as 'oneness', nor as 'nothingness', but as 'not-twoness'.
In Sanskrit there is a word for this, Advaita.
It means literally 'not two'.
Individual and at the same time not divided.

This is a concept that cannot in fact be understood by the mind.
The celestial eye is not your normal eye, your celestial vision is not normal seeing.
It is a whole other sense.
We only call it an eye, we only call it seeing, because there is no other way to describe it in language.
It can only be experienced.

Fear of the Non-Dual

Most forms of mysticism emphasize this point: that the first encounter with the non-dual perception, the celestial eye, creates a sense of terror in the beholder.
That terror is the sound of your ego cracking apart.

The ego is a structure completely dependent upon duality, on dividing into two.
If the ego doesn't have an 'other' to define itself in comparison to, it cannot exist.
It is revealed for an illusion.

God cannot be defined as anything but the non-dual.
God is love, the mystics have said. And love is union.
When you unite opposites and, step by step, eliminate dualities, you approach closer and closer to the divine.

It is said that God seeks you out.
This is true.
God is nature.
Duality is not a natural state, it is an illusory state.
Ultimately, the natural will triumph over the illusory.
This is what Buddha means when he says that ultimately all beings will reach enlightenment.
It is also what Krishna means when he says "I am Time, the destroyer of worlds".

God can be very aptly described as time.
As the inevitable, as a force that brings death.
Anyone who cannot achieve non-duality in life, will certainly see their dualities dissolve in death.
This is why the Sufis say you must 'die before you die'.

Thus there is a twofold reason for the fear that will sometimes strike meditators when they reach a level of non-duality.
First, because the closest thing their mind can relate the experience to is death.
Second, because in fact it is death, as far as the ego is concerned.

But God is also love.
If you accept that non-dual experience, if you welcome it rather than struggle, you will find union.

Know that the fear is your ego.
Know that it is not you.
Accept your experience.
Be very open,

The Longing for God

The other side of awe from the experience of the divine is the longing for union.
Just as we fear the non-dual experience, all human beings also desire it.
In fact, it is the only true desire.
It is the only true satisfaction.
Lusts for power, sex, possessions, knowledge and even love are only reflections of this true desire, to be united.

This is what mystics call longing.
It is a knowledge deep within you that there is a hole, an emptiness that must be filled.
And some of the most powerful meditation can come from this.

In reality, you cannot express the non-dual state through austerities, techniques, knowledge or any other form.
Only through devotion, which is how we express this longing.
The great mystical poets write of this longing for God, also as a longing for the Beloved.
It is also the longing of the Beloved for you.
Life wants to unite with you, God wants you to unite with him.

Allow yourself to experience your longing, your devotion to God, the Guru, and life.
Let it be a positive expression, and it has the power to transform you.