|Meditation Notes to Poem:
a vision of One Spirit flowing through many trees:
Peter Y. Chou, Mountain View, Epiphany, 1-6-2003
I was invited to a luncheon at the home of a Lebanese hostess in New Hampshire around 1977,
and sat at a table with Swami Chinmayanada and two Catholic Priests. One of them mentioned
to the Swami that "we are such weakenings compared to God, like small branches on a giant tree."
I could still hear the thunderous roar of Chinmayananda even now 25 years later: "NO! You're
not the tiny branch! YOU'RE THE SAP FLOWING THROUGH THE WHOLE TREE!" As soon as Swami said
those words, I realized Plato's vision (Philebus, 16d) at once seeing the
One water flowing in the many waves of the ocean, One electricity flowing through many street lights
& appliances in a city, and One Spirit singing One Song in all the galaxies of this universe.
2 love birds Yin and Yang kissing day into night:
The Chinese symbol of Yin (Dark) & Yang (Light) appear like tear drops or love birds nestling in each other
in the Tao circle. Where they touch and kiss, day meets night as in dawn and dusk. Later, I found this Greek
story: When Apollo (Sun God) & Artemis (Moon Goddess) were about to be born to Leto on the Island of Delos,
"the goddesses of the island sent the messenger Iris (Goddess of the Rainbow) to fetch
the goddess Eileithyia. They promised in reward for her services a golden necklet 9 ells
long. With this promise the one goddess persuaded the other, and they both came flying
to Delos, in the form of two turtle-doves. Just as Eileithyia arrived on the island,
Leto gave birth." [C. Kerényi, The Gods of the Greeks (1951), p. 134].
3 states of mind, 3 frames of time, this 3-D world:
In Vedantic philosophy, reality must satisfy not only the passage of time
past, present, future, but also the three states of consciousness waking,
dreaming, and deep sleep. If this 3-D world of space disappears in the sleep
state, then it is not real, but an illusion (Maya). What is Real is Pure Consciousness
(Brahman = OM), ever present in the Waker, Dreamer, and Sleeper. This is the real gift
of 3 Magi whose gold (solid), myrrh (liquid), and frankincense (vapor), reminds us
that these forms of matter (3-D world = Earth) are but reflections of the Essece or Spirit (Heaven)
in us which is ALLAH, BUDDHA or CHRIST The Awakened One (TAO) in our heart.
4 seasons chanting earth, water, fire, air:
Unlike the 4 calling birds, the 4 seasons chant in silence as one season blends into the next
Spring (birth), Summer (growth), Autumn (decay), Winter (death) and Spring again (rebirth).
They chant to the 4 elements to nourish the flowers and trees in bloom earth to anchor the
plants to the ground, water for the plants to drink, fire or the sun's photosynthesis to activate
the plant's growth, and air in a symbiotic relationship to the animal kingdom (oxygen released by
plants for CO2 released by animals).
5 sheaths & 5 senses our windows to the world:
In the song "The Twelve Days of Christmas", the line "5 golden rings" are given special prominence when sung.
It is the only line in the song devoid of birds or humans. As such it forms a link from earth (people on
the ground) to heaven (birds of the air). The 5 rings also remind us of the 5 fingers on our
hand and the 5 senses our window to the world. However, if we forget Christ's parable of the
5 wise & the 5 foolish virgins
(Matthew 25:1-13), we may be too engrossed in the material world with our 5 outer senses,
that when the Bridegroom cometh, we're unprepared without oil, our candle wicks unlit. Meditation prepares
us for the angelic calling, when we tune into our 5 inner senses "Eye of the eye, Ear of the ear,
Voice of the voice, Mind of the mind, Life of the life"
The Hindu philosophy teaches us that there are 5 body sheaths: Food, Air, Mental, Intellectual, Bliss,
or classified as the Gross Body (Food, Air), Subtle Body (Emotional, Intellectual), and Causal Body (Bliss
or Vasanas). When our attention is focused on the Subtle & Causal Bodies, then our mind and heart
are ready like the 5 wise virgins ready to be enlightened, to experience Cosmic Consciousness.
Once awakened, the sage returns to the market place and shares his visionary gifts with the world
(Tenth Oxherd Painting),
as in the case of William Carlos Williams' poem "The Great Figure".
6 honeycombs, 6 snowflakes, and a 6-pointed star!:
The philosopher Pythagoras discovered that "6" is a perfect number, one whose number is equal to the sum of its divisors.
Thus: 1 + 2 + 3 = 6 = 1 x 2 x 3. Nature found that the closest packing polygons are 6-sided, so bees
utilize this hexagonal figure in their construction of honeycombs. Why are snowflakes 6-cornered? Kepler
addresses this question, in his book to the Emperor. Now we know it's because that's the crystal structure
of ice molecules. The 6-Pointed Star is known as "Magen David" or "Star of David". With two triangles
set opposite each other, it represents the union of opposites and harmonious balance of creative forces.
Also known as Solomon's Seal, the tip of the upper triangle touches heaven while the tip of the lower
triangle touches earth. I like Robert Browning when he said: "A man's reach should exceed his grasp,
or what is a heaven for." But I love Pythagoras when he said: "From earth to heaven, every step along
the way is heaven." May our spiritual journey be full of beauty, full of bliss.
7 swans swimming around Delos where Apollo was born:
The island of Delos (visible) or Ortygia (Quail Island) arose
from the sea by the power of Neptune, who according to legend,
permitted Leto (Latona) to bring forth birth to her twins Apollo
and Diana (Artemis) who were fathered by Zeus. One of the altars
of Apollo, in the island, was reckoned among the 7 wonders of the world
[Lemprière's Classical Dictionary, 3rd Ed. (1984), p. 198].
Artemis was born first, her birthday was celebrated on the 6th day
of the month, Apollo's on the 7th day. While Leto still lay in the
birth-pangs with Apollo, swans circled singing 7 times about the island.
As they circled an 8th time they no longer sang: Apollo sprang forth
and the Delian Nymphs sang the sacred song of Eileithyia. The whole
of Delos was fragrant, the island turned golden and everything
blossomed. A cock was present at Apollo's birth that fowl
of which falls into an ecstasy and dances at moonrise, although
chiefly it is a witness of sunrise. Since that time the cock is
thought to have been Leto's favorite bird. [C. Kerényi,
The Gods of the Greeks (1951), pp. 132-134].
8 immortals milking the galactic cow our Milky Way:
Who are these 8 milkmaids? I felt they were angels but then realized that
there are 8 Taoist Immortals exhibiting many angelic traits. Chung-li K'uan,
the God of Longevity, is shown riding on a stag or flying on a crane with a giant
peach as the Elixir of Life. When I realized that our Milky Way Galaxy is but a
giant galactic cow, and the word galactic has lactic or milk in it!
Now the Hindu pantheon started to make sense Krishna, the
Cowherd, making love to the milk maidens; Vishnu, the Preserver God,
reclining in an ocean of milk, churning this cosmos into existence.
No wonder the cow is sacred in India and to some extent, China.
9 muses dancing with Apollo their feet in the air:
Apollo plays the lyre while the 9 muses dance around him on Mt. Parnassus,
one of the highest mountains of Europe. It is easily seen from the citadel
of Corinth, though at the distance of about 80 miles [Lemprière's
Classical Dictionary, 3rd Edition (1984), p. 447]. Like the Sufis or
Whirling Dervishes, the 9 muses are transported to transcendence by
Apollo's music, hence their feet are no longer on earth.
10 Lights leaping beauty to wisdom, kingdom to crown:
I couldn't imagine the 10 Lords leaping to the "10 Commandments" according
to the traditional interpretation. Then it occurred to me that the 10 Lords
are the 10 Spherical Lights of the Kabbalah's Tree of Life. The spiritual
journey from the 10th Light, Kingdom (Malkuth) to the 1st Light,
Crown (Kether) passing the 6th Light, Beauty (Beauty) to
the 2nd Light, Wisdom (Chokmah) resembles the ascension of the
7 Chakras (Wheels) of the Spine when one experiences enlightenment
at the Crown Chakra of the Thousand-Petals Lotus of Bliss.
a fresh new decade 11 for renewal and rebirth:
Out of the perfect 10, a child is born the number 11,
symbol of renewal & rebirth. When "1" reaches its highest number
in the decade, "10", it starts over again, beginning with 11.
James Joyce in his Finnegans Wake used the number "1132"
frequently to symbolize "The Fall" (32 ft/sec/sec, gravitational constant)
and "Resurection" or "Rebirth" (11, the start of a new decade).
12 constellations drumming The Wise Men are here!:
As the 12 hours bring forth a new day and a new night,
what's my new insight on the 12th day? I see
the three Magi following the Star of Bethlehem to the Christ
Child born in a manger. The 12 constellations of the Zodiac
drum them onward to discover their center an inward journey.
Thus, their gifts of gold (solid), myrrh (perfume or liquid),
and frankincense (incense or vapor) may be a metaphor for the
3 states of H2O: solid (ice), liquid (water),
and vapor (steam). When the 3 Kings realize that their gifts
to Christ are but 3 different forms of the One Essence
(H2O = Christ), they're humbled and toss their
crowns to the ground and prostrate to the Christ Child,
the King of Kings. In a way, the 12th Day of Christmas
prepares us for Epiphany, an Awakening of Magi Consciousness
that brings us to the 1st Day when Christ is born not some
two millennia ago in a far-away place, but right now in our
heart. Now we're awakened (Buddha) and can see as Plato did
"thanking God for the vision in seeing the One in the many,
and the many in the One."