Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Blessing The Tiger

     From the tireless labyrinth of dreams I returned as if to my home, to the harsh prison. I blessed its dampness, I blessed its tiger, I blessed the crevice of light, I blessed my old, suffering body, I blessed the darkness and stone. There then occurred what I cannot forget nor communicate. There occurred the union with the divinity, with the universe.

                               -- Jorge Luis Borges

      What does it mean to bless the tiger? It means to hold in precarious but impeccable balance my eternity and my mortality; my soul's transcendent Light and my blood's elemental Shadow, and to integrate these polarities into yet a greater, more empowered and enduring synthesis.

       Jesus said: "Be wise as a serpent and innocent as a dove." That "and" is the crux of revelatory paradox. Through many years of trial and error, I've had to learn that neither an ecstatic mysticism, nor a nuts-and-bolts pragmatism, is sufficient unto itself. I need to fuse both intuition and instinct to become healed and whole. 

      Another way to view this: a key global challenge for the 21st Century must be for us to integrate the genius of Eastern religion with the genius of Western science. Each has its indispensable wisdom to offer; neither is complete or fulfilled without the other. To achieve the next transcending synthesis,  let Einstein dance with The Buddha, and Lao-Tzu cavort with Jung!

               THE GOLDEN MEAN

We can't breathe for long the stratosphere
of angels. It makes us giddy with height.
Feet floating too far above solid ground,
we lose our marbles. Fierce facts close in,
drag us down by our extravagant wings.

We can't survive for long the netherworld
of phantoms. Souls shrivel without light.
Heads buried too far beneath open sky,
we abdicate eternity. Despair stalks near,
eats us alive, sick dream by dying dream.

I have heard, though, about a third place
fit for humans--not all black, not all white.
Scintillating colors dance and play instead,
quickened at the hearth of a glorious sun!
There love laughs, blossoming like the rose.


     There is a third place, a Golden Mean Pivot Point between the purely spiritual or totally animal sides of us. It is solar, adult, balanced, responsible, empowered, expressive, dynamic and loving. Some would call this the Inner Christ. It faces both inward toward the soul, and outward toward the world. The unique, focused, inspiring nature of this Divine Energy in our time manifests as a profound Call to Vocation. By recognizing and answering that Call, I accomplish the essential spiritual work I was born for, while simultaneously contributing the maximum possible loving service to the world.

     Here's a drawing I did a few years ago titled "The Sentinel." Truly this is an elemental warrior spirit with a Call to Vocation! What he guards is nothing less than a supernatural gateway, a threshold to the eternal country of the soul. The gateway itself is not only an ancient dolmen, but also the symbol for Pi--the formula for the radius of a circle, and thus for the axis of the Earth as well. Here both the eternal and the temporal are integrated, yet this synthesis is achieved by the creative power of a third place within me--that Golden Mean Pivot Point  of creative energy through which I express my Divinely inspired Call to Vocation.


I have been traveling down it for all
my life--this strange, twisting tunnel
that draws me beyond, groping toward...

what? Something I can never grasp,
mysterious, pulsating like a seed
buried in the ripening fruit of death.

Now I think I am caught by a maze,
labyrinthine, coiling and looping
upon itself--a great, restless snake

carrying me headlong in its mouth;
and my one chance is to balance here,
poised precariously between worlds,

neither swallowed up nor tossed aside,
but finding my grace, dancing purely
within these famished jaws, burned

and blessed by the journey, terrified
yet perfectly at peace, my whole being
cleansed in the white fires of praise!

We must learn anew to love danger;
to laugh serenely on the razor's edge,
transmuting all our anguish into joy...


Here's a way Dante expressed it in the last lines of his Divine Comedy:

...already I could feel my being turned--
instinct and intellect balanced equally

as on a wheel whose motion nothing jars--
by the Love that moves the sun
                                    and the other stars.





  1. Thanks Bob! That's a beautiful quest to have. Impossibly difficult at times, but never dull. This is the second thing by/about Borges I came across this evening in my internet meanderings. Fate? I need to read more of him...probably we all do.

  2. Thank you, Chris! Great to know you and many others are reading my blog.