September 2013


Fellowship of Friends

Alchemy and Impressions in the Moment

In appreciating the present moment, the recognition of beauty opens us even further. We are lifted up by moments of rare beauty, when they penetrate our day with their trace of higher energies, higher worlds. Other moments contain more dross, and penetrate us much less easily in our typical state.

“The process of internal alchemy opens the mystical gate to spiritual immortality.” Lao Tzu

Medieval alchemists sought to turn base metals into gold, and work in the Fourth Way includes several transformations. We turn observation into understanding, and the energy of negative emotions and real suffering into a state capable of seeing the laws that govern our world.

“This is a rare alchemy, with which most people are not acquainted.” Shah Waliullah of Delhi

In each moment, this very moment, impressions crowd in. Whether visual, emotional, intellectual or visceral, we can consume impressions intentionally when we bring a divided attention to them, splitting our awareness between the one who sees and what we see. In so doing, our superficial personality drops away and a more pure seeing ensues.

“In my essence, I rejoin the one who sees.” Jeanne de Salzmann

Impressions are food. Bringing awareness to incoming impressions further digests the impression, much as food is cooked that cannot be eaten raw. So difficult impressions can be used in our work, and sometimes prove the richer. But we enjoy finer food as it comes, like a ripe fruit from a tree.

We can create beauty in our surroundings with simple acts of refinement: a flower on the desk while we work, a bowl of apples on the table in the kitchen, arranged with awareness, a kind word to a friend, or a harmonizing glance. Our choices in the moment bring beauty to bear. Such efforts reflect our thirst for the perfection that arrives in our highest states of consciousness, our hunger for finer worlds. And can sweeten the moment for those near us.

“Find the alchemy of love and be transformed into gold.” Hafiz

So the reception of beauty distills our awareness, and the simple acts which create beauty link us to a higher order of life.

“Perfection is everywhere if we only choose to recognize it.” Book of Tea, by Kakuzo Okakura

Rowena L.

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