Astrology should be recognized as a poetry of the cosmos. A moment in time depicted by a horoscope enters the physical world through the portal of the discriminating intellect, and claims to represent reality; but its signs should not deny their transcendental origin. A poem must similarly be a thing, but its words should seduce the mind back into itself, and connect with the poet’s construction upstream of imagery, upstream of thought, where the creature lives. Astrology situates me there, upstream of any word in this chart, and yet pulsating with every one, at daybreak on Sunday, the day of the New Moon:
The whispering of the Circlet of Pisces comes from the lost domain of who I might be if I weren’t so busy being who I am; and who am I, the thinker or the thought, the intention or the affect, the affliction or the addiction? Always both, and neither. Mindfulness, compassion, equanimity and gratitude are the way, but I often take another fork. Whispers give me the clue. They signal the emptiness of who I am. It often seems to me that life could be simpler if we were less focussed on outcomes and identity, and more on the emptiness of the processes of life, the miracle of being alive to the whisper of mortality.
I read an article about the expansion of the universe, in which Paul Sutter asks, “Where’s the edge of the universe?” Everywhere is the centre of expansion, which makes me ask, how does this apply to the human mind? Does my thinking situate me in an expanding human consciousness which might include all people and endure forever, or is the process by which my discriminating mind interprets perception an expanding emptiness in which I am forever unborn? Is there an acceleration to the former? I don’t think so, but perhaps there is an increasing urgency in the battle of ideas. Does that urgency have a common root with my expanding emptiness, the immanence of death? Everyone agrees that everything is connected to everything else, but how is it so, inside out, or outside in? Is the thinking you do the same as the thought you communicate to me? Are how things used to be connected to how they are today if nobody remembers how they were? Thinking and systems of thought are two different things.
The increasingly well-known dichotomy of thinking with the head and thinking with the heart can be addressed by this metaphor of expansion. Thinking with the head engages a person in connecting an experience with categories and systems of thought; thinking with the heart searches for meaning in the opposite direction, towards the empty self. Ideas continuously occur, but if they can’t be put into words that convey them to ideology they go immediately to where all mysteriously disappeared communications go. They cannot cohere; they do not live. Limbo could be the name of that place: an expanding universe of emptiness which exists in each of us. The spirit is emptiness, expanding in the same way as the material universe, but inwards. Is the heart in the right place when it imposes itself? The question, ‘Who am I?’ can and should be rephrased: ‘Where is the far edge of emptiness?’ Is it the horizon? Is it death? Is it cultural or evolutionary selection? Is it otherness? The Word of God?
Idealism is commonly regarded as what underlies an effort or a life dedicated to improving the world, advancing it some way towards an impossible perfection. As a philosophy, it represents the belief that what exists outside the mind can only be known by what is inside it, but the fundamental conviction of idealists is that what is inside their mind is real. Idealists have no doubt: the world is a misunderstanding of what is good for it. Lifelong dedication and the use of any means, ‘tough love’ and even violent confrontation, are justified to change the rules which make the world coherent.
Uncomfortable acquaintances though you might expect them to be, in fact they enjoy prestige. Despite apparent negativity, their undoubted attunement, optimistic moral certitude and assertive attachment-style lend them charisma. It can be difficult to resist their confidence in getting their own way. It can also be difficult to shine a mirror on their inner certainty. If they are ’tilting at windmills’, perhaps they do see something I don’t. The game couldn’t be played without rules, could it, or could there simply be play?
Thought is a great sea wall you see as a youngster and marvel at how humans put such huge boulders in place. But as you become more conscious of the ocean hurling itself against that wall, as you get older and realize that the ocean is inside you, that it is the unspoken and the unborn, you find that it is the wall which is doing the crashing.