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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Cogito ergo sum – CREDO XXII

I have only had one dream in Latin but it was so unusual, I woke my dear husband, who kindly wrote it down. I heard one sentence: Cogito ergo sum, which, of course, is Rene Descartes’ proof of his own existence – I think therefore I am. But the voice continued: Cogito ergo sum ergo scio Deus est! I think therefore I am, therefore I [can] know God exists.

The emphasis is on the difference between thinking and knowing. I have pondered on this dream for several years. It makes sense in terms of Jung’s differentiation between the ego (I), the center of consciousness, and the mystery of the Self (Divine Guest). It seems to hint that the ultimate purpose is for us to make conscious the existence of Spirit in a logical and undeniable way.

This brings me back to the simple analogy of a candle. The candle is the separate ego; the wick is the individual Self, and when lit holds the flame (Divine Guest!), which is the same collective fire all over the world and is the only element of the symbolic four to give us Light, Life, and Love. So far so good?

In The Beejum Book, the child Teak goes into a lantern factory of the elves and finds every different lamp imaginable, some lovely, some tacky, some dirty and ugly, hardly giving out any light at all. She is asked to select her favorite and the one she dislikes most. Left alone, she chooses two. Then Gumblegurk, the head elf, asks her to look inside and notice that it is the same flame in each. The difference, symbolically, is the lantern, the outer persona of the individual.

When I was teaching ninth grade at Portledge, I brought in a glass box with a top. It was made for me as a gift by a friend. I put a small candle in it and lit it. Then I placed in succession a series of religious symbols: cross, Star of David, Crescent and Star, etc., and the same Light shone through each. The kids could draw birds, people, animals on tissue paper with the same result. I also put a square of black paper with just a few pin pricks in front of it. Now they all got talking – about becoming “en-lightened,” “illuminated,” and the ubiquitous references to Light in the darkness. The most breathtaking moment came when one teenaged girl remarked with awe, “That means that whatever we do to others, we are really doing to ourselves!”

So that ninth grade agreed on a new interpretation of an old commandment:
Love thy neighbor, he is thyself!

Well, we have 2,000 years of the Age of Aquarius ahead of us to figure this out – this is our collective task. Mother Teresa put it in a nutshell: “I believe in person-to-person and that God is in everyone.” The trap must be the person-to-person! Ah so!


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