Because we have eyes and because we are not physically blind, we delude ourselves in thinking that we really SEE anything, as eyes can only grasp vibrations. It is the brain that interprets those vibrations and creates the mental image which, in turn, leads us to the perception that what we see is real and tangible. The brain, then, activates us as efficiently as a switch flicked according to what ‘it’ thinks is an appropriate reaction.
Here is a little story to better explain what I mean: Imagine you are staying in a quaint little hotel somewhere in India that is set in an enchanting garden. Imagine that the manager mentions, oh so casually, that snakes have been known to venture from the garden and into rooms, particularly those on the ground floor – such as yours – but not to be afraid as, after all, snakes are always more afraid of us, humans, than we are of them. Imagine, then, that you wake up in the middle of the night and, on your way to the bathroom, dark in the moonlight, there is something curled up on the carpet near your suitcase, but you can tell it is about to crawl into your backpack.
Your heart beat picks up; you don’t know whether to move or be still until, one baby-step at a time, but ever so courageously, you inch slowly towards the wall, your hand feeling for the light switch. In the dingy light that floods the room, much to your surprise and possibly to your disappointment, what you thought was a cobra, is only your suitcase strap.
Our brain, our false ego-persona, also gets deceived by others who appear adamant and by others who are charismatic when their rhetoric plugs into our hopes or our fears, even as they, themselves, are deluded.
Here is a little New York-styled humour that had me chuckling quietly: A grey haired woman climbed three flights of stairs, opened a carved mahogany door and walked into an exotically furnished reception room. A gong sounded, and out of a cloud of incense, a beautiful Oriental brunette appeared, gliding on the soft carpets. “Do you wish to meet with His Omnipotence, the wise, all-knowing, all-seeing guru, Maharishi Naru?” she asked softly. “Yeah,” said the old woman. “Tell Irving his mama’s here from the Bronx.” 
The most dramatic current example of auto-suggestion and mass delusion is what must have overtaken George W. Bush, some of his staff, some of the world’s leaders and some of us. Thus was the war in Iraq declared, legitimized, accepted, funded, staffed and kept current.
Some five years after the war in Iraq was formally declared, “Serious and complex challenges remain in Iraq,” says the American President. What a graphic example this is of how what we seek to control and manipulate – by letting bogey-men loose in our brain – sticks to us to become a *balagan much greater than would otherwise be. “Let sleeping dogs lie.” However old and quaint this saying might be, I say it is worth preserving, even if it means taking it to the taxidermist. *Balagan – a big mess
“Why is it that people seek always BIG things?” Moriya asks rhetorically. “This is very gross because real beauty is in tiny things. Here is a Hassidic story about a giant Jew who lived in a village,” she wrote one day. “Here is a story for you, CC. There was once a very large giant who lived in a village. One day, a brave person asked him how he had grown so huge. He answered that when he was a child, he used to travel with his father who was a merchant.
One day, while they were near a forest, they were attacked by robbers who, after taking all their money and belongings, tied his father to a tree and set its branches on fire. The bandits watched as the flames overtook the tree and left only after they were sure that the boy’s father had died. The giant added, “I looked at the fire that was my father and only saw a small fire. And I thought: ‘Is this all there is to my father? This little fire? It was then I swore that I’d become big, big, big! So big that when they’ll come to burn me, too, there’ll be such a fire that it’ll be seen all over the country.”
Warm colors are Yang = masculine. They stir us into action. Cold colors are Yin = feminine. They are soothing.
colors are highly symbolic of greater forces that operate beyond our comprehension, and we should understand the symbolism of the ones to which we are most attracted. The colors of flowers are the colors of our chakras, our spiritual garden. The only colors not commonly found in flowers are brown and black. The colors we wear, often without much thought, vary according to the dominant color of our aura – our energy field. Black bile = melancholy/depression. Scientists have discovered that depressive/melancholic people do actually have black/dark bile. Seeing red = seeing nothing because of blind anger triggers a rush of blood. At that moment, like the red cape waved in front of an angry bull, red is the dominant color in our aura. Green with envy = jealousy. Yellow with fear, red-faced, white from shock = all are linked to the dominant color of our emotions as translated in our aura. Even pyrotechnical explosions are symbols of our charkas. Fireworks shoot upwards very quickly and burst violently. We watch them in awe but, too soon, there is nothing left but an acrid smell in the air and a feeling of emptiness – a longing for more – a longing for the real explosion of chakral energy – spiritual balance – the only explosion that is eternally soft and silent.
For reasons beyond the timeless, classic appeal of black, we need to consider that a penchant for black reflects a self-absorption in one’s own problems to the detriment of others nearest to us. Black is the color of coffee. It pulls us in and is addictive. It is not a coincidence that black cloth is a true stain absorber, and that in some countries it is the symbolic color for mourners and religious orthodox. I am going to stick my neck out and add that orthodoxism, an aspect of extremism, is not, in this conversation, regarded as spiritualism, but merely an absorption of the self in a religious practice of the kind that is usually narrow-minded in scope and that relies mostly on ego-centred interpretation of sacred texts.
Either way, these groups are locked up in their emotional/religious mindsets, such as they may be, no differently than the Goths and the *emos* who lock themselves up in their pain and flock together, reinforcing each other’s dark view of the world. Black is also the color of choice for many musicians, from jazz to rock. They, too, are usually immersed in their own intensity.
A natural attraction to white is about an unconscious longing to unite with our higher self and the need to act with open-handed love.
Red is the color associated with the Root Chakra. It triggers a basic fight or flight *survival* response to life. Red represents power, force and energy = life energy, symbol of desire and love, but also aggression and willful destruction. Bad news for me who loves a strong fire-engine shade of red. Mmmpf!
Red can affect the body’s functions. It affects our heartbeats. It gives more power to our breath but it also raises blood pressure. A sustained exposure to red can cause restlessness. People who often wear red proclaim their desire to control their surroundings. On the other hand, those who lack energy can absorb some through this color.
Red is Yang = very active. In Chinese culture, it is the color of luck and belongs to the Fire Element. Red also relates to fame, success and desire and not ironically, to danger – all lower desires are best avoided by the ego-persona. In the home, it is recommended to use red only in discreet touches – maybe on cushions or on a tablecloth or picture frame, but not on an entire wall.
This color is the combination of red and yellow. Orange is the color of sociability or fluid conversation, creativity, imagination, joy and optimism. It is a great color to have in the dining/living rooms. Like red, orange is a *fire* color. Though its energy is considerably softer it, too, should only be used in small doses.
Brown is the color of stability, of being grounded. It offers the framework for security and perseverance, endurance and earthiness. It is a mixture of red, blue and yellow. Brown is a stabilizing color. People who prefer brown are often conventional and orderly. Brown is the color of the earth and is associated with the material side of life. Too much brown can cause the feeling of being stuck, as if rooted and pot-bound. It can also be symbolic of extreme materialism, one-dimensional thinking and a general feeling of frustration.
Diamonds – apparently a girl’s best friend – also a rapper’s best friend – have a totally hypnotic effect on many of us. Forever fever: “Show her you love her – offer her a diamond” is a trite but enduring marketing catch phrase.
“Why are we so hypnotized by diamonds?” once asked a dear friend of mine. Indeed, why would an average person, male or female – one who will never see their *rock* through a jeweller’s magnifying glass – care whether that rock is a $10,000 or a $100,000,000 marvel or a modest $500 zirconia? Isn’t all that is needed, if needed at all, a bling that glints prettily in the sun light?
Challenged as most of us are to expose the real *diamond* that lies within our heart chakra – our soul – we find it a fair substitute to flash shiny stones at each other. I suspect that the greater the monetary value of the bling, the smaller is our spiritual bling. Speaking generally, we are far too hypnotized by the sparkle and the price tag to think of the emptiness beyond the material value of the bauble.
The more we give selflessly, humbly, quietly, out of the limelight, expecting nothing in return – not a public accolade, a knighthood or a street named after us, not even a thank you – the more we are connected to our true self. Anything else only amounts to another form of barter which cheapens the act of kindness.
What do we really do with our diamonds besides insuring them against theft and loss? Isn’t it ironic that the larger the diamond, the more time it spends in a vault? Most of the time, we are so afraid our diamonds will be taken from us – a karmic event intended to show us that what we need to flash is heart-chakra love, not diamond-bling – that, like the famed Crown jewels, we keep them locked up in the dark recesses of our safes and bring out the fakes; which, in turn, is a symbol of how our true self is kept hidden and out of reach by our false ego-persona.
Here is another tale passed on by Moriya. “A lone traveler, aware that his pouch contains a string of priceless pearls, is seriously shaken when the highwayman raises his pistol, shouting: ‘Your money or your life!’ If only the poor fellow realized that the content of his pouch is as useless to him as if it contained a handful of yellow autumn leaves, he could hand it over with a laugh.”
Let’s say that the pouch symbolizes the ego-persona, and that the autumn leaves, in their palette of gold, symbolize the illusory nature of wealth. Our soul, the only true diamond we possess, is intangible, therefore totally thief-proof. It did not begin with us and it will not disappear with us. It cannot be saved or made to multiply. Just as we were born with it, we will die with it but it will live on beyond us. To weep for any sort of material loss is to shed blind tears. Having said that, the reality is that, en masse, we like to think of ourselves as the sum total of our belongings. Our possessions fabricate our ID to the world.
On the whole, we seem happy to be the sum total of the house we own [or not], of the retail value of our car, of the size of our plasma television, and of the type, length, frequency of the holidays with which we can reward ourselves – so many symbols of the material world – the only ones we understand and respond to in kind. I will risk saying that for the more spiritual among us, the trappings we wear, the weight of our crystals, the array of organic teas in the pantry, our vegetarianism, the frequency of our meditations and the string of exotic workshops we attend, act in a similar way within this particular milieu.
As much as I like dressing up, I agree with Moriya when she says that any *spiritual* accoutrement, including robes and habits, only amounts to yet another form of separation. Reality check: whether in a ball gown, a sari, a nun’s habit or a jeans/Tshirt combo – one being, as far as I can see, a lot more practical than the others – our spiritual integrity is only intact when experienced through our soul, not our ego, and within the constraints and pressures of place in which we were born to live, which is never a cave or an isolated community. And this is where I plug the French saying that goes like this: “L’habit ne fait pas le moine.” It is not the cloak that defines the monk.
In Chains Moriya one day asked me what the difference was between the heavy chains that shackle a convict or tie a beast to a post, and the lighter ones that I had around my neck and the bracelets that crawled up my wrists and the heavy rings that circled my fingers. “What do you mean?” was the only thing that I could reply at the time.
Reality check: necklaces and bangles and rings do symbolize the chains and shackles used to keep captives *in chains* and that, as far as our soul is concerned, there is no symbolic difference between the heavy crippling manacles of old and the ones we use as adornment.
Whereas chains kept slaves from running away, just as they still do our prisoners, modern chains symbolize how we are chained to our ego-persona, to our mechanical knee-jerks and our conditioned responses to the world.
Bulls and cows still have rings inserted through their nose. The purpose of such rings is for the farmer to lead his animals *by the nose*. Trendy piercing, as some of us have chosen for ourselves, is a manifestation of how easily we are deluded, lead by the nose, and hypnotized by outer appearances.
Quick check: if I said that both baby harp seals and sharks were endangered species, as they are, and you felt compelled to donate to one fund or the other, to which would you send a check? Why?
When we deck out ourselves with jewelry, make-up, perfume, lipstick or any *special* clothes, we know we do so in order to attract attention, to impress the people whose support we seek within the narrow context of that outing, because we feel we need them in order to succeed in our venture, such as it might be. From a spiritual perspective, our daily “costuming” is no different from the extravagant costumes reserved for themed evenings or fancy-dress parties.
Symbolically any sort of dressing up amounts to an attempt to attract love – spiritual love. Though I do not link any of this to the vow of poverty, which in terms of personal integrity is neither here nor there, clinging to our chains and baubles for fear of appearing drab or – for someone like me for fear of being invisible – means that we are too anxious to let go and show our true colors – our *real* face to the world. Therefore less jewelry is more [than enough]
Awareness IS the start. I am much better with jewelry these days. I have removed from my wrists all of the twelve bangles [picture above] though they had been *me* for many, many years.
A couple of years prior to meeting Moriya, after I had been working with my first healer for a few months, I swapped my gold chains for strings of beads and stones that I used to thread myself. Turquoise, amber, lapis lazuli and rhodonite – as in this picture – were my favorites. I thought my new style of jewelry was not just pretty, but *cosmic* as well. Too little knowledge = steep learning curve for the willing.
These days, the only healing stone I wear daily is a cylindrical piece of lapis brought back from Shanghai which I have had caged in a soft macramé weave. I have threaded the thong through a ring – one of the symbolic gifts received from Moriya – through which I slip my glasses, the only way I know to keep track of them. Interestingly, glasses symbolize *seeing eyes* – and misplacing our glasses symbolizes our blindness to what should be most important in this lifetime.
Having said all that, I know there will be occasions when – intentionally wanting to be *properly visible* – I will slip back on a couple of bracelets and a couple of my *cosmic* bead chains, but I will be doing so like the child who dresses up for a night – a special night – knowingly. The need to do so will simply confirm that my ego-persona is still alive and well – bless her soul.
At least, now, I understand that when I look in the mirror, it is my ego-persona, not my enlightened self, who worries about whether her hair is looking OK or not and which earlobe plug she should wear today. Ah, yes! I do have stretched earlobes and it does seem even more pointless than unattractive to leave them empty, although Moriya would undoubtedly say that a void, an empty space, just like an absence of clutter and a quiet mind, is always preferable to anything else. Ok, but seeing as ears are for listening, the sea pebbles in my ear lobes can be reminders for me to listen for the whisper of my soul. There! Now that I have rationalized my ear plugs, I can keep wearing them without feeling *unspiritual*.
Bottom line: we need to discipline our mind to control our desires and not be slave to them. That is a must, before we can hope to evolve into better human beings than we are: human beings who access all the wisdom and love that we already have built-in. Here is a fresh little anecdote that happened to me yesterday while visiting a friend of ours who lives on acreage. While my darling and M were chatting away on the verandah, I went on a short walk to the creek at the edge of the paddock. I followed a lovely, grassy path to get there, but on the way back, overtaken by the serenity of the place, I found myself walking chest-deep through tall grass. I was enjoying the moment, yes, absolutely, but I had stopped being *in the moment* quite a while back.
As I emerged at the other end of the paddock, I noticed that my sweater and jeans were covered in long, thin little weed seeds known as cobbler’s pegs. There would have been hundreds of them clinging to my clothes!
As I began picking them out, mostly one at a time, I realized these little seeds were timely reminders that the moment we lose track of the moment, we leave ourselves open to *things* that leap and cling to us as readily as ticks to a dog’s ears.
You see, the thing about cobbler’s pegs, beyond the fact that each little seed will spawn many other plants, is that the little barbs at their pointiest end burrow through the fibres of any cloth to prick you within minutes from the inside of the garment. Unpleasant little things they are but so, too, are many of the action/reaction patterns we allow in each time we lose our connection to the moment under our feet.
Copyright by C.C. Saint-Clair, 2008
1. Alan Keightley, Into Every Life A Little Zen Must Fall (1986) p.16
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