Elections for deputies to the Czechoslovak parliament from the Užhorod electoral district (i.e. Subcarpathian Rus' ) were held on March 16, 1924 (to the assembly elected in the Czechoslovak parliamentary election, 1920 ).     Nine members of the Chamber of Deputies and four senators were elected. Contents Background [ edit ]
As borders in Europe shifted at the end of the First World War. the Ruthenian region of north-eastern Hungary was awarded to the new Czechoslovak Republic.  Subcarpathian Rus' (also referred to as Carpathian Ruthenia, Transcarpathian Ruthenia, Transcarpathian Ukraine, etc. today constituting the Zakarpattia Oblast of Ukraine ) hosted about 3.5% of the population of the Czechoslovak Republic.  It was the least economically developed part of the Republic. 
The concepts of national identity of its Slavic population varied, some saw themselves as Russians. some defined themselves as Ukrainians and some argued that they constituted a separate Ruthenian nation.  Some 14% of the population was Jewish. 
Elections for representatives to the Czechoslovak parliament from Subcarpathian Rus' had been delayed for some time, as the area had been placed under a joint military-civilian administration.   Considering chaotic situation in the area with unstable borders, Romanian occupation until mid-1920 of large parts of the area and the lack of a regional assembly, the Czechoslovak government decided to delay voting for parliamentarians from Subcarpathian Rus'.  On September 16, 1923 local elections were held in the area.  Transitioning into civilian governance under the Czechoslovak Republic, Dr. Antonín Beskid was appointed governor of Subcarpathian Rus'.  On February 23, 1924 the Czechoslovak government reported to the League of Nations was about to be held on March 16 and that the Czechoslovaks would report the results to the League of Nations by June 16 the same year. Parties [ edit ]
Thirteen parties participated in the polls. Communist Party of Czechoslovakia [ edit ]
The Communist Party had a strong Jewish following in Subcarpathian Rus'.  In the September 1923 village council elections in Subcarpathian Rus' the Communist Party had received less than 10% of the vote.  For the 1924 by-election Communist Party ran an active campaign in spite of the prevailing repressive climate, with arrests of their agitators and ban on communist meetings.   According to government sources the Communist Party held more mass meetings than any of the other parties in the fray. Indigenous Autonomous Party [ edit ]
On February 19, 1924 opposition sympathizers held a meeting in Berehove. at which the list for the (Hungarian) Ruthenia Indigenous Autonomous Party was set. For the Chamber of Deputies the meeting nominated (in order on the list) Endre Korláth (Užhorod), Ákos Árky (Užhorod), Miklós Jaczik (Užhorod), István Polchy (Berehove), Lajos Szabó (Mukačevo ), Bálint Tóth (Nove Selo), József Eperjessy (Užhorod), Pál Turda (Tekovo), János Földes (Časlovci), Ferenc Nagyidai (Perekresztye) and Zsigmond Boross (Užhorod). For the Senate the candidates nominated were Ferenc Egry (Maloye Geyovtse), Sándor Hatfaludy (Nyizsnyaja Apsa), Gyula Jaross (Perečín ), János Spolarits (Veľká Sevljuš ), Lajos Ács (Tyachovo ) and Mihály Weisz (Verkhniy Koropets). Results [ edit ] Chamber of Deputies [ edit ] Senate [ edit ]
The senators elected were Bodnár Iván, Csehy Endre, Egry Ferenc and Riskó Béla. Aftermath [ edit ]
In the rest of Czechoslovakia the key vote bank of the Communist Party was found amongst industrial labourers, but in this region industrial workers were a smaller part of the electorate than in other areas.  Thus the result reflected wide-spread discontent amongst poor peasants in the area.  It also appeared that the party did well amongst the Hungarian and Jewish minorities.  In his report to the fifth congress of the Communist International Grigory Zinoviev stated that
Hitherto, even in agrarian countries, Communist parties have displayed remarkable inability in the matter of capturing the peasantry. [. ] You know the result of the election in Carpathian-Russia. Many Czech comrades, Tausig, Gati, and others, particularly local comrades worked heroically and exposed themselves to great danger. I have the impression, however, that the Czech party on the whole does not appreciate the importance of the peasants' question in Czecho-Slovakia, and this proves the importance of being able to work among the peasants. [. ] Instead of concerning themselves with "high politics," most of our Communist parties must be intent on carrying on Communist work among masses, forming Communist factory nuclei and adopting a correct attitude towards national and peasant question.
In response to the communist election victory, the Czech right-wing press demanded that the election be declared invalid. 
Neither of the Jewish parties won any seat, as the Jewish vote was split between two parties. References [ edit ]
This volume highlights the specific experiences and challenges of modernity in twentieth-century Eastern and Central Europe. Contributors ask how spatial and temporal conditions shaped the region's transformation from a rural to an urban, industrialized society in this period and investigate the state's role in the mastery of space, particularly in the context of state socialism. The volume also sheds light on the ruralization of cities and mutual perceptions of the rural and urban populations in this region.Dalsze publikacje: Timothy Snyder (2015) Black Earth. The Holocaust as History and Warning Vladimir Tismaneanu, Bogdan C. Iacob (2014) The End and the Beginning. The Revolutions of 1989 and the Resurgence of History Constantin Iordachi, Arnd Bauerkämper (ed.) (2014) The Collectivization of Agriculture in Communist Eastern Europe. Comparison and Entanglements Nasi partnerzy Lista naszych partnerów
This volume highlights the specific experiences and challenges of modernity in twentieth-century Eastern and Central Europe. Contributors ask how spatial and temporal conditions shaped the region's transformation from a rural to an urban, industrialized society in this period and investigate the state's role in the mastery of space, particularly in the context of state socialism. The volume also sheds light on the ruralization of cities and mutual perceptions of the rural and urban populations in this region.Further publications: Timothy Snyder (2015) Black Earth. The Holocaust as History and Warning Vladimir Tismaneanu, Bogdan C. Iacob (2014) The End and the Beginning. The Revolutions of 1989 and the Resurgence of History Constantin Iordachi, Arnd Bauerkämper (ed.) (2014) The Collectivization of Agriculture in Communist Eastern Europe. Comparison and Entanglements Our partners Click here for our list of partners
Mikhail Bulgakov's devastating satire of Soviet life was written during the darkest period of Stalin's regime. Combining two distinct yet interwoven parts—one set in ancient Jerusalem, one in contemporary Moscow—the novel veers from moods of wildMore Mikhail Bulgakov's devastating satire of Soviet life was written during the darkest period of Stalin's regime. Combining two distinct yet interwoven parts—one set in ancient Jerusalem, one in contemporary Moscow—the novel veers from moods of wild theatricality with violent storms, vampire attacks, and a Satanic ball; to such somber scenes as the meeting of Pilate and Yeshua, and the murder of Judas in the moonlit garden of Gethsemane; to the substanceless, circus-like reality of Moscow. Its central characters, Woland (Satan) and his retinue—including the vodka-drinking black cat, Behemoth; the poet, Ivan Homeless; Pontius Pilate; and a writer known only as The Master, and his passionate companion, Margarita—exist in a world that blends fantasy and chilling realism, an artful collage of grotesqueries, dark comedy, and timeless ethical questions.
Though completed in 1940, "The Master and Margarita" wasn't published in Moscow until 1966, when the first part appeared in the magazine "Moskva." It was an immediate and enduring success: audiences responded with great enthusiasm to its expression of artistic and spiritual freedom. LessGet a copy Friends’ Reviews
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Kris rated it it was amazing
almost 3 years ago
This review is dedicated to Mary, the very model of a perfect co-moderator and GR friend.
Unlocking the Meaning of The Master and Margarita
In the decades following the publication of The Master and Margarita. myriad critics have attempted to find a key to u. Read full review
Nataliya rated it it was amazing
almost 3 years ago
EXTRA! EXTRA! This review has now been immortalized in audio format. Authentic Russian accent and Russian quotes are provided free of charge :) http://soundcloud.com/nataliyac/the-m.
I'm staying home from work today, sick to the extreme, and it's onl. Read full review
Jason rated it did not like it
almost 3 years ago
The Chicago Tribune wrote. “The book is by turns hilarious, mysterious, contemplative and poignant, and everywhere full of rich descriptive passages.”
Hilarious and contemplative my ass, CT. This book is an interminable slog.
Look, here’s the deal. I get that this book sati. Read full review
s.penkevich rated it it was amazing
almost 3 years ago
Recommends it for: You, Citizen!
Recommended to s.penkevich by: The Devil knows who!
Manuscripts don’t burn…
Mikhail Bulgakov, who is no stranger to the pale fire of a burning manuscript, has created a masterpiece of fiction that truly cannot be burned. Having been completed, but not fully edited, by the time of Bulgakov’s demise, this novel survived Sovie. Read full review
Ahmad Sharabiani rated it really liked it
The Master and Margarita, Mikhail Bulgakov
عنوان: مرشد و مارگریتا؛ میخائیل بولگاکف؛ مترجم: عباس میلانی؛ تهران، فرهنگ نشر نو؛ چاپ اول 1362 ؛ شابک: 9647443277؛ چاپ ششم 1385؛ هفتم 1386؛ دهم 1389؛
در این اثر واقعیت و خیال، «رئال» و «سورئال» درهم تنیده شده، میتوان گفت: نوعی «رئ. Read full review
William1 rated it it was amazing
almost 2 years ago
This is a romp. While reading it I saw somewhere that Salman Rushdie said it was a major influence for him in the writing of The Satanic Verses. I have an inkling, unconfirmed at this point, that Gabriel García Márquez and Italo Calvino were also influenced by it. Severa. Read full review
Mike Puma rated it it was ok
almost 3 years ago
Recommends it for: masochists
This is not a review. This is my reaction to reading TM&M. Nothing more, and certainly less.
From time to time, and always when I receive a Friend Request, I check other people’s Read list via the Compare Books function—constantly cringing at the five titles that alway.
Steve rated it liked it
almost 3 years ago
There once was a book praised as boff
That caused others to pan it and scoff
So who wrote this thing
Whence sentiments swing?
T’was a Russian they called Bulgakov.
The culture was smothered by Stalin
He purged those he felt failed to fall in.
So how to respond
Sans magical wand?
W. Read full review
B0nnie rated it it was amazing
about 4 years ago
The first time I read The Master and Margarita many years ago I saw it as a diamond in the rough. Rereading it now, I can see how brilliant that diamond really is.
Jubilee edition It's difficult to explain the effect of this book. There is such a wild oscillation in i. Read full review
Afshar rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Afshar by: Mahsa
مزخرف یعنی این: از لحاظ تازگی درجه دو
تازگی تنها یک درجه دارد؛ درجه اول و آخرش یکی است
این کتاب نمایشی است از تقابل راستی و دروغ در جامعه روسیه استالین
جامعه روسیه را دروغ و دزدی و تظاهر فرا گرفته و روشنفکران و منتقدان و نویسندگان هم به این کار دامن می زنند
از آنان بیشتر از. Read full review
(0) THE COMET
A comet is streaking towards the earth at great speed. It has long been waited for as an announcer of great portents to come and a messenger from the cosmos. This is a moment of amazing grace. It is a powerful and fateful time, for things are moving to the tune of a higher music.
We are about to receive a Great Message: something bigger than how we presently know. ourselves is about to pierce through our armour, and will soon manifest itself in our life — and transform it. It will sow seeds in our soul, which in time will sprout and bring forth flowers of love and awareness.
It is not here yet, but we can feel all around us the signs that it is coming; this is a magical time of synchronization and omens, if we only are open to see. It is as if everything is working to bring us the greatest surprise, to hint at what’s coming. We’re hearing a spiritual «call of the wild». The Comet is an invitation by the cosmos to grow and develop into what we are here to become.
(I) THE SON OF MAN
The Son of Man is the promise of our own divinity; He is a challenge, a push to a radical self-discovery.
This is the time for a great new beginning; it is the time to embark upon, or to deepen, our spiritual search. It is the time for initiation: it is the time that we encounter the Master. To be sure, the Master has not just one form, as truly He is everywhere. We may hear Him in a singing bird, or we may be drowned by His silence while we are in meditation; but we may also find Him in the luminous eyes of a living man, of an enlightened woman, of a child. To be sure, the Man of Nazareth is by no means the only Son of Man; neither is He the one and only Master.
As we depart on our adventure, as we prepare for our initiation, we need to gather ourselves and be centred, yet relaxed. It is no easy thing to stay relaxed in the midst of life, but that is where we are.
We have embarked upon this journey now, and have resolved to go all the way. We travel with only our being in our hands, our awareness, our presence. And as we walk our path we know we shall not lose it, but enrich and manifest it ever more.
(II) THE ANGEL
This is a time when guidance is coming from a higher dimension — it will be felt in your dreams, your flashes of intuition, your sudden knowing. Listen with trust, for the Angel is sure to lead you towards liberation.
Yet listening alone is not enough. Angels are not for theologians, they are for those who are child-like, for the innocent and the daring, for those sincere enough that they can simply do as the Angel has told them, unquestioning, unselfishly, trusting his guidance on the path.
At this moment in time we pray not that the Angel may stand by us, for that he will certainly do, but that we may keep open and courageous enough to receive his visit, and to hear his message.
(III) THE MOTHER
We meet Mary, the Mother, in those who truly love, who love beyond themselves, who care, nourish, and surrender. We meet the Mother in us when we unconditionally give.
It will certainly be easier if we have sucked love with our own mother’s milk, if we were loved by our parents. Yet the most beloved of daughters or sons must also eventually come to the point of having to learn love as giving. That is when immature love gives way to love in its ripeness, to mature love, a love which is compassionate and caring.
It may be our child, or someone else’s, who awakens us to this selfless love; it may be a parent requiring our care now, or a stranger; or it may be a friend needing warmth and compassion. No matter the occasion, it is our capacity for mothering that is now put to the test. And as we give love with no concern for self, our heart unfolds and we become aware of a sacred space, a secret cave in its depth where nothing exists but silence and gratitude and bliss.
(IV) THE FATHER
Joseph, the Father, is simple, yet deeply intelligent; he is solid yet unobtrusive; he will lead us, he will never coerce us. We meet the Father in our trusted guide, our faithful friend whom we can always call upon, the adult whom we can really talk to, for he has earned our trust.
He teaches us impeccable action and selfless service. He evokes in us the power to do what needs to be done, to work for work’s sake, beyond reward and punishment, beyond carrot and stick.
For us he embodies maturity, that firm stand in the midst of life’s adventures and trials, that powerful hold on oneself, the inner discipline one needs to stay on the path and walk unwaveringly.
(V) THE TEMPLE
Two soldiers, a priest and a merchant stand before the golden door to the Temple. Moneylenders have made the Temple their domain. Business is run in the name of religion; hypocrisy runs wild.
The Temple is the power of institutions, of society, to coerce and condition. It is the hold of the past over the future, the enforced supremacy of gold over love, of society over the individual. It is the symbol of the imposition of a collective identify with its whole weight of taboos, dogmas, and punishments.
Presently we are confronted by the powers symbolized by the Temple, by everything that resists change, by all those forces that are actively working against our liberation — and they are both social and personal forces. We meet them twice: on the outside, as the powers of institutions — family and business, church and state — over our lives; but also inside us, as the apparent hold over our souls of our conditioning, habits, fixations, and egos.
It is a test of fire, a great moment of truth, for we are going to measure the strength of our attachment to past identities as well as our courage and determination to drop them. It is a moment of confrontation and struggle, and it cannot be side-stepped. If we intend to go on growing, on our journey of self-discovery there are many old skins we must shed.
(VI) THE PROPHET
The Prophet is John, the one who recognizes the Son of man for who He is and baptizes
Him. He stands as a symbol of initiation, recognition and descent of the spirit.
At this time the Prophet may appear in our life as a special friend on whose support we may count; as that unconventional teacher at school whose wisdom and love we respect; as the therapist who can help us throw away some of the dead weight we may unknowingly carry, so that we can walk more freely on our path; as the astrologer who by foreseeing the imminent dawn helps us make it through the night; or even as the dear friend, or the familiar stranger, who placed this deck in your hands. Or it may be a flash of understanding suddenly reaching you from above, or a dream which may later prove «prophetic».
The Prophet always comes at the right time, at the time of our initiation and instruction. Let us listen carefully, for we will learn from him that our life has a much deeper meaning and a much greater dignity than we may have experienced so far.
Magdalen stands for the whole journey from Eros to unconditional Love. She calls for the refining of all passions into the ultimate passion of ecstasy. She inspires our courage to openly be who we are, without masks, without half-truths, without hypocrisies.
Magdalen is the feminine face of the power of rebellion — the masculine face being «The Prophet». But while the Prophet emphasizes a rebellion which is collective and ideological, she embodies the more personal and womanly side of rebellion: she evokes the power to rebel for love’s sake. Beyond all else, she is truthful to herself: she owns all her feelings as they are, without a tinge of hypocrisy; and those feelings she offers the Beloved, those emotions she surrenders to the Divine.
We may have met Magdalen in a friend, in a lover who has finally revealed our heart to ourselves with its heavens and hells, its bliss and agony. Or we may feel ourselves to be a Magdalen: our heart opened by the beloved’s presence thirsts to be filled with love now, yes, for eternity. Is not this that all lovers seek? Now is the time to seek that love that never ends. Magdalen has opened the way. But, like her, this time we shall seek it inside us.
This is the moment of direct confrontation between the Son of Man and Satan. The
moment comes when we are face to face with our ego, and it is the most crucial of moments. Suddenly, ego asserts itself very strongly. Whatever sparked the fire is secondary: it may be an insult or a slap in the face which brings our hidden violence to the surface in a quick reaction. Or it may happen while resisting any temptation, struggling with any habit, or when we are about to be taken over by the dark feelings of anger, of pride, of lust for revenge.
Suddenly ego becomes very visible: if we remain aware, the greatest polarization will occur. On the one hand, the anger, the habit, the fire inside; on the other, us, watching them, separating from them in our awareness, seeing them for what they are: passing waves on the surface of consciousness. On one hand, the ego; on the other, the Self. It is our own confrontation with Satan. If ego wins and has its way, the Self is forgotten, lost as we are in the attachment; if our presence remains, if we keep in the centre and stay there self-aware, «Satan» will subside or gradually disappear, and an experience of illumination will occur.
We have been warned: the thirst for miracles, the egocentric seeking for spiritual experiences, the temptation to use spiritual power for self-aggrandizement and control over others — these are also the work of «Satan». Beware of them. Be on the alert, don’t avoid them or cover them up. Rather, look for them in yourself and confront them, face them, look at them straight in the eye. And see what happens.
(IX) THE DISCIPLES
Now the work has to begin, the teaching has to be manifested — it is time for the disciples to
We are ready for discipleship, for we have been touched by the love of the Master, and His love makes us ready to learn and grow; to see ourselves for what we are, and what we can become; to face our ego and grow larger; to seek the fire that burns up our falsity, and open our eyes to the light.
We are ready to follow the Master wherever He leads, for we are ready for the Work, the great challenge, and the supreme surprise of self-discovery.
But beware; whenever we begin to be touched by the Light, Darkness in us will soon begin to rebel; when ego is exposed it can run really wild. Only the deepest love and devotion can carry us through at such moments. When awareness is blinded by fear, only then can the Master’s love, and our love for Him, give us courage to trust.
(X) THE MIRACLE
Suddenly, a blind man can see: he opens his eyes, and there it is — the magic world of perception, the poetry of colours, the touching beauty of forms.
When our eyes are open, the world really looks like the miracle it is: we see the smile of the One in the Many, and the whole creation is revealed as the immense manifested body of God. It is a miracle that the blind can see — but we see! It is a miracle that the sick are healed, yet we are being healed. Unconditional love also is a miracle, yet we now know it is the only thing that can save us.
And what is a miracle if not the natural expression of a Reality we do not dare to trust yet? What is more real, more natural than health, love, sight? They are our nature, our birthright. To reach to our nature we must confront our ego — that part which loves to hate, to be blind, to sicken, and die.
«Healing is accomplished the instant the sufferer no longer sees any value in pain. Who would choose suffering unless he thought it brought him something, and something of value to him? For sickness is an election; a decision. It is a choice of weakness in the mistaken conviction that it is strength.» (A Course in Miracles, (One-volume edition), Foundation for Inner Peace, Tiburon, Ca. 1985. Manual, p. 16.) The real miracle is when we no longer identify with the guilty imaginations of ego. Then we can manifest health, abundance — life at its fullness.
«He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her». (John, 8)
And the adulteress is forgiven. Forgiving is the very melting of sin before the warmth of love. It returns us to primal innocence, to that Garden of Eden inside we have never left, to the awareness of ourselves as God’s children — and God’s children cannot sin, they only make mistakes.
I forgive because I am also a sinner. It was to cover up my sins, to hide them from myself, that I was condemning the other. With my sins exposed, who am I to condemn another? But the beauty is that, by forgiving another, I myself am forgiven. Condemnation and forgiveness are both double-edged, they travel both ways. My self-condemnation is revealed in my condemnation of others; my forgiveness of others brings about my own deliverance. For, in forgiving, I become greater than sin: and when my very being has turned away from sinfulness, if only for a moment, sin stands revealed for what it is — a product of my guilty obsession. «0nly the self-accused condemn.»(A Course in Miracles. Workbook, p. 606.)
My sin-obsession melted, the heart opens; and in an open heart there’s no room for condemnation, only for love and for gratitude.
(XII) THE WHIP
«And the Jews’ passover was at hand and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. And found in the Temple those who sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting; and… He drove them all out of the Temple… and overthrew the tables.» (John, 2)
This is the time for open rebellion against the rules, the institutions, the powers that hinder and fetter our growth, the utilitarian structures that degrade and insult our Being, the psychological straitjackets that keep us small and afraid to inquire our true identity.
It’s the time for confrontation with a «religion» which has betrayed its Master, manipulated His teaching, and turned His call for the liberation of life into a tool of mass manipulation and a world-wide attack against the beauty and the divinity of creation. It is the time to gather courage and cut the inner chains that still bind our action to the fixed rules of tradition; to withdraw all support from those who, in the name of «God,» in the name of «science, » in the name of «the State,» oppress and punish our sisters, our brothers, our children, ourselves, and destroy all nobility, all loveliness, nay, all life on our beautiful earth.
We ‘II need all our sincerity and honesty in this, for The Whip is nothing short of a declaration of war on insanity, and our action will bear consequences. From now on, we ‘II be walking the Path of the Warrior.
(XIII) THE SUPPER
«And He took the cup and gave thanks and said: Take this and divide it amongst yourselves… And He took bread and gave thanks and gave it unto them, saying: This is my body which is given to you; do this in remembrance
of me.» (Luke, 22)
The Supper is the greatest invitation there is, an invitation to commune with the Master, with God, and to commune with Him in the simplicity of our daily life. He has not chosen the Temple ‘s altar with its flowers and incense for this;
He has chosen our table, and our cup. He has chosen the most material and daily of settings to share Himself; He has chosen our life.
Our life — we are to approach it now it with reverence and holiness, with nobility and tenderness, with true awareness, with presence. For we have been shown the Great Mystery: our very life is a miracle, our very incarnation is divine. Through its joys and pains, its suppers and its days of hunger, its gropings and its celebrations, we feel and experience but Him, Her, It in all dimensions — in Its searching and finding, in Her hiding and self-discovery, in His death and eternal life.
This is the time to bring our total awareness to the simplest acts of our life. When we eat, we drink, we ‘re aware we’re partaking of Him; when we walk, our feet are caressing Her body; when we breath, it is Her breath we are sucking; when we sleep, it is in It that we are resting. This is the time our life achieves meaning and contentment and peace.
(XIV) LOVE ONE ANOTHER
«And supper being ended… (He) laid aside His garments, and took a towel and girded Himself. After that He poureth water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with a towel therewith he was girded». (John, 13).
Inner bliss, contentment, peace — Jesus’ path does not end there. His is the path of Love, and love yearns for manifestation, it seeks expression; it implies relation, respect, care, reverence, affection — and service. It is a play of Duality in the breast of the One. It means giving and receiving, offering and accepting, respecting and accepting respect. For the «other» is but God incarnate.
This is the time to love, and love outwardly, in action; it is the time to serve, and by our service recognize and manifest the profound equality, the oneness, of our brothers, our sisters, and ourselves.
This love is not just a «feeling» that may come and go; it is a commitment to do what has to be done for the welfare and growth of all others, a free response to their needs, and a flexibility in action.
(XV) THE KISS
This is the kiss of Judas. This time everything seems to conspire to bring us to a realisation of the role betrayal plays in our own life, of the many betrayals, both big and small, for which we are responsible. Betrayal of others, for lack of courage, of heart; and betrayal of ourselves, of our deeper knowing and our inner potential. We betray when we look away from our suffering brother, and also when we look away from ourselves.
And we can betray because we ourselves are betrayed — deceived by an ego that claims to be us, fooled by its senseless promises of power, duped by its impossible guarantees of control and independence and safety. Ego is surely the great Master of Treason.
The Master’s work simply exposes our ego, it drives it out of its hole. And ego, of course, simply hates to be seen. Deep down it knows it is an empty lie, a fake power, a purely mental construction — that is the whole trouble. Ego knows that once its bluff is called and it is seen for what it is, its spell on us will be broken. So it has to hide under the garb of the Disciple, of the Friend, of, indeed, The Kiss. To protect its betrayal ego will have to betray.
We are warned. Now our only safety lies in our clear perception of ego as other-than-us, in our disowning Judas, as it were, in our true Self-remembering.
(XVI) THE SCREAM
«My God, my God, why has thou forsaken me»? It is a time of despair, a shattering of our hopes and our illusions. We are forced in a state of complete powerlessness to bear whatever is to come. To all intents and purposes it seems we are facing the end — the end of our dreams of love, of our illusions of permanence, of our hopes for safety. In the language of mystics, this is «the dark night of the soul». For this to be possible. God must really be dead!
It is an ultimate test that we are facing: if we are to keep sane, the «I» that we know must give up, with all its firm beliefs and wonderful expectations and fond memories — all these are being crucified. Now what the next moment will bring is entirely beyond our control, hence the hell that we feel we are currently living in.
Yet, we are not to protect ourselves at this time. We must maintain our awareness, and not lose ourselves in oblivion, if we are to see the new light, the new «I» that will come. Though it seems unbelievable, impossible now, like all nights this one also will be followed by dawn. And as this night is the darkest, the dawn will be the most radiant of all. This is the time we let go of what we have been, for the resurrection we seek is at hand.
(XVII) HERE AND NOW
The wooden cross of Jesus’ «death» — a symbol of mortality and failure — becomes the cross of light of His resurrection — a symbol of hope, immortality and grace.
This is the time to finally unveil the here and now: this is the moment time turns into eternity. Memories and expectations are given up, sequential thought is abandoned; the wooden cross on which we lie turns into a pure shape of light. It is the greatest chance there is.
How we got here does not matter. We may have been thrown into the present by the momentum of fateful events, by an abrupt and unexpected ending, shocked by the sudden appearance of the impossible, the unthinkable, in our life — or may have fallen into the present as if by chance, while relaxing or quietly contemplating on our own. Perhaps we were startled into the now by breathtaking beauty, or by tremendous pain, or were touched by the sheer presence of a Master, of someone who has arrived in the present and lives there… It does not matter now; whatever situation has brought us to this has proved a blessing to us. Whatever has stopped our mind has also stopped time, and in suspended time we get a glimpse of the eternal, of the «Kingdom of God», of ourselves as the soul. It is a blessed, fortunate moment; for this moment our small «I» is transcended.
Time is short now, so short we cannot afford to waste it. Past and future irrelevant, let us dive deep into the present, and stay there. If we can keep to this moment, we have moved into eternity.
The Master has returned, alive! Magdalen has seen him, he has also appeared to Peter, Thomas and others.
This is the time to celebrate our victory over the grip of the past; it is the time to enjoy the present moment as it is, beyond pleasure and pain, indulgence and repression. For when we enjoy our very self, everything outside can but reflect our joy, deepen our delight.
No longer do we seek objects and outer experiences for our satisfaction. In our celebrating we must not waste and consume now, but add to, and enrich, the world. There is no need in our love. We do not seek to hold, continue, repeat —we are simply celebrating what is. And as there is no fear of missing anything, there is no tinge of pain in our joy. We are guiltless now, free of attachment and self-oblivion.
It is time to break the chain of causality that places happiness ever in the hands of the future, of the gratification the world may deliver. Real happiness, joy, is when you have found yourself; when external conditions fluctuate, but you remain the same, untouched and happy in your own self. And out of self-contentment celebration overflows.
(XIX) THE SPIRIT
«And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind… And there appeared to them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all friend with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the spirit gave them utterances (Acts, 2)
This is the time of fulfilment of our spiritual search into an experience of transpersonal oneness. Searching inside for the essential seedof «lam», we have now found its flower in the manifestation: «we are» — we are one, we are all children of the same infinite Mother and Father. Coming close to our Being, we are reaching the Being of all people, all things. It is like Grace descending.
We can rest in this luminous embrace, we can melt into this larger identity, we can feel this amazing protection.
It is the moment for new collective intuitions, new seed-ideas to fertilise our psyche, and new perceptions to materialize in new action. For at this moment we are in tune with all.
The Old Earth is exploding! It is our unconsciousness that is rushing our earth towards destruction. Yet, through its bursting out, we can glimpse a new globe, a luminous earth, a new world made of the stuff we call light.
The situation is such that we have been forced to change. Our identifications, our habits, our private fixations have grown like a crust all around us, and they threaten to choke us and curb our evolution entirely.
Preferring to ignore ourselves, we tried to be Masters of the Nature, Masters of the World…! Now suddenly we find we are its prisoners — prisoners of a petty ego, of a little body, of a dying earth that we have helped to kill. It’s high time we turned and faced ourselves — it is ourselves we must leam first to master. And we are now on the verge of either transformation or explosion. And time is very, very short. In fact, it is now.
The situation is dangerous; it requires sharp discrimination, prompt decision, quick action. The stake is high, the confrontation is final — it is a choice between darkness and light, between a deadly past and a bright future. And it is a choice of the present, of this moment, of now.
(XXI) THE GALAXY
The Galaxy is the symbol of the greater whole that surrounds us, to which, as earthly beings, we belong, the higher «organism» of which our solar system is a part. It is also the symbol of the new consciousness that is manifesting itself on earth at this time; a consciousness which is holistic, synthetic, intuitive, transpersonal and multi-dimensional. It’s time to take of our responsibilities towards our community of friends, of co-workers, towards the community of all spiritual seekers, the community of all people who presently inhabit the Earth, the community, in fact, of all beings in the planetary eco-system — birds and rivers and everything.
It is more than «being at peace with every-thing» — it is bringing peace to everything;
manifesting reverence, intelligence, compassion outwardly, wherever they are needed, in whatever form they are required. It means loving and healing; it means really having a care for your brother, for your sick Mother Earth — and showing it in action.
We are not alone in this, and never have been — though at times it seemed so. Our personal evolution and our spiritual growth were ever supported by, indeed, were part of, a collective, planetary adventure, a cosmic play. This is our chance to redeem, as it were. Whatever we may have achieved, it is time to share all with all.
We need complete readiness now to reach beyond narrow individualism and thepettiness of ego, and to show ourselves as the collective, social and universal beings that we are.
(1) THE LILIES
«Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these… And seek not what ye shall eat, what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind… your father knoweth that ye have need of these things. But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you.» (Luke, 12, 29-31)
We are missing the taste of today’s bread while earning tomorrow’s, but tomorrow’s bread will go equally untasted. We fear the morrow, and so long there is one, we are bound to live in fear.
We are part of the Whole; it is the Whole that brings us into existence and supports us. We are Its children: the Whole is our Father, our Mother. Surely as a part we have our part to do — look at the lilies of the field; they manifest beauty and light and form and fragrance. But it is in the Whole they are rooted, it is the song of the Father, of the Mother they are singing — and They are providing all the lilies need for their music.
Yes, the tomorrow will take care of itself. But not today — today it is we who must care, care about today, to live and love it, and enjoy the gift.
(2) CORN OF WHEAT
«Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone; but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.» (John, 24)
Now we are like a seed: a message sent towards the future, a whole world inside a nutshell, a promise of a great ear, of a great flower to come…
But for the ear to come the seed must die; for the seed is only a phase in a universal process. It is a messenger and a carrier, it heralds the coming birth and rebirth — it points to life eternal. But to fulfil the promise, to deliver the message, the seed must fall into the ground, give itself up, lose the form it knows, and die.
Many a death we have already passed through, each a door into a new state of existence — the death of the foetus that had to learn to breathe, that of the child who thought that Dad was God… The child has died for us to grow up; we will have to die as we presently are to fulfil our promise, to live out our process, to reach our goal. This is no time for brooding over the past; it is time for celebrating the new life that has come.
(3) ALL DRUNK
«I took my stand in the midst of the world, and in flesh I appeared to them. I found them all drunk, and I did not find any of them thirsty. My soul ached for the children of humanity, because they are blind in their hearts and do not see, for they came into the world empty, and they also seek to depart from the world empty.» (Thomas, 28)
We are drunk, unconscious, asleep. It is to avoid our inner conflicts and our inner emptiness that we choose to be drugged by the world, that we constantly search for new ways of forgetfulness. The particular drug does not matter, as almost anything in this world may be taken as a drug. Whatever will help us forget will do — overworking, oversexing, overeating, overworking, are just as much drugs as television, beer, and cannabis.
Of course, it is because we are drunk that we do not clearly perceive our state of oblivion. And when the Master comes to shake us out our slumber, we would rather turn the other way and keep snoring. Paradoxically, this is also part of our freedom. It is we who have got drunk, it is we who must sober up. No one can make us do it; no one can do it for us.
(4) ABSENT PROMISE
«Blessed be the one who leaves his present greed behind for the absent promise he cannot yet see.» (Arab Sayings of Jesus, P.O. XIII, 361,20)
This world is made of the stuff we call greed, it is nothing but a show of greed. It is based on egotism forever trying to devour everything and everyone — objects, knowledge, experiences, people, other egos — ever inflating itself in an attempt to rule any «otherness» out of existence.
Everyone clamours for our attention, everybody wants to be noticed, unsure as everyone is of existing; and everyone wants to exploit our greed for money, for sex, even for Heaven… Politicians and Sunday preachers, opinion leaders and hidden persuaders, pop stars and Buy-Three-for-the-price-of-Two salesmen, Nobel prizewinners, and sex symbols — everyone wants our focus to be outside, because that is where their game is played.
Now we can see: it is a game with no purpose. Images cannot love or be loved, egotism breeds only frustration, greed simply turns into exhaustion. With former games left behind, we are only left with a promise, a vacuum inside us to explore, a longing for self-respect.
(5) THE NARROW GATE
«Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.» (Luke, 13, 24)
We are facing a rare opportunity. We stand before an open door, yet one which will close very soon. It is a special chance we are given; let us avail ourselves of it — this door may never open again. It does not open on command — and not everyone is invited in.
And it is indeed a small door, humble in appearance. There are better doors to either side, more esthetic ones, more alluring; but, for all their promises, try as we may, we will not be able to enter them.
They are the doors of future and past — made of fine memories and hopes for wonderful times to come, but are not real doors, only painted. Behind them there is nothing but a thick wall of bricks.
The Narrow Gate is the gate of the Present, of this moment. Look: it opens to a path of Light and it is opening for you. It is not the time to ask why, but to walk through and move into the Adventure.
(6) THE SINGLE PEARL
«The father’s kingdom is like a merchant who had a supply of merchandise and then found a pearl. That merchant was prudent; he sold the merchandise and bought the single pearl for himself. So also with you, seek the treasure that is unfailing, that is enduring, where no moth comes to devour and no worm destroy s.» (Thomas, 76)
In our quest for outer identity, in our attempt to «be someone » in other people’s eyes, in our search for security, we have collected a lot of outer and inner «merchandise»: both the things we were taught to depend upon for our feelings of safety and comfort, and the ideas, habits, pretences we borrowed along the way and froze into a «personality».
If we are entirely honest, we know that much of it is junk. It definitely does not provide the ease and security it promised; in fact, whatever we have gathered and called our own gets older and more stale by the day. Truly it is being devoured by the moth of time, by the worm of death. This is not it.
If we want the Imperishable, the Real, we must turn to the inside and dive deep into the ocean of our consciousness, reach our depths —for it is there, in our meditation, that we will find the Single Pearl, «the treasure that is unfailing, that is enduring». This is the time to trade in all our perishable rubbish for that Single Pearl of the Imperishable that awaits our discovery.
(7) THE MUSTARD SEED
The followers said to Jesus, «Tell us what heaven’s kingdom is like.» He said to them, «It is like a mustard seed. It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it falls on prepared soil, it produces a large plant and becomes shelter for birds of heaven.» (Thomas, 20)
The mustard seed is a multi-dimensional symbol. It indicates the smallest, the almost invisible, the Spirit, as the source of this enormous visible World. From the smallest seed the biggest tree grows —from the Invisible this whole Creation flowers. Such is the power of the inconceivably little.
This is also true for us, at a personal level. Let us watch for the small, for from the small the large will be born. With our smallest thought, feeling, word, and action, we are sowing each moment the seeds of the life we are going to harvest; let us have a good look at the seeds, and be aware of the seeds we are sewing.
Let us catch thoughts, feelings, reactions, in the bud, in the seed even; let us hold them in the palm of our hands before they grow with the power to hypnotize and enslave us. Let us see our molehills as molehills before they turn into mountains…
(8) NO CLOTHES
His followers said, «When will you appear to us and when shall we see you?» Jesus said, «When you strip without being ashamed and you take your clothes and put them under your feet like little children and trample on them, then you will see the child of the living one and you will not be afraid.» (Thomas, 37)
The clothes with which we hide and adorn our bodies are but the counterparts of the masks and personalities we wear to hide our supposed inner ugliness, to cover up the shame. It is because we are ashamed of what the body reveals — our disharmony, our animal natures, our mortality — that we hide in clothes. And it is because we are afraid to expose our inferiority that we pretend, wear disguises, and slowly build up a constraining mixture of impulses and taboos, that thick wall of needs and revulsions that we call our «personality».
We must get free of them — of clothes and personalities, of masks and pretensions — if we want to see «the child of the living one», what Zen Masters have called our «original face». We do not need them, and there’s no need for shame!
This is the time to be open and vulnerable, to come out of our straitjackets, and show ourselves in all honesty. We have nothing to lose but » self-image» — and we will discover ourselves.
(9) STRAW AND BEAM
«You see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but you do not see the beam that is in your own eye. When you take the beam out of your own eye, then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.» (Thomas, 26)
We are too critical of others, and not self-critical enough. It is always the other who is wrong, evil, crazy; it’s always them. And criticising the other, in fact, projecting on the other all that is ugly and dark inside, is a fundamental tool to keep oneself, one’s «I», separate and moral and clean — we’re not like them! We’re » different»…
The moment has come to realize that egotism is making us blind, and that in our blindness we stumble over others and hurt them. It is as simple as that. When we begin to see the beam in our own eye, we also begin to understand that the straw in the eye of our brother may be simply our own beam’s projection!
Are we not like that? Are not insincerity, egotism, violence, even madness, part of our makeup, our experience of ourselves? And when in turn we see that the other is projecting, and even projecting on us (the world’s greatest sin, to be sure!) — do we not do the same unto them, or unto others, or, did we not do the same thing yesterday?
But — if I am the same, how can I condemn? When all condemnation is gone, compassion and thankfulness arise.
(10) FIRE, SWORD, AND WAR
«Perhaps people think that I have come to impose peace upon the world. They do not know that I have come to impose conflicts upon the earth: fire, sword, and war. For there will be five in a house: There will be three against two and two against three, father against son and son against father, and they will stand alone.» (Thomas, 16)
Let us not avoid our conflicts — rather, let us invite them to come out into the open and watch them. In the end our very watching will throw us to our centre, and it is there that we will discover our peace. We cannot escape struggling, for as life unfolds through conflict, so through struggle we grow. If we watch, our growth will be conscious.
There is yet another dimension to this saying, to this card. It concerns the conflicts that embarking on a spiritual quest will create in our relationships. Whenever you begin to move towards the light, towards honesty and truth, the vested interests of past relationships will try to pull you back to the old ways of hypocrisy, insincerity, falseness. There comes a moment when truth divides, and must do so. This is the time to stand firm and hold your inner ground. Do not deny your heart simply to avoid conflict with those who would stop your quest and freeze you in some comfortable role. Rather, let it be «war» — for it is through war that ultimate peace is achieved.
(11) FATHER AND MOTHER
«Whoever does not hate father and mother cannot be a follower of me, and whoever does not hate brothers and sisters and bear the cross as I do will not be worthy of me.» (Thomas, 55)
Liberation is freedom from conditioning, imagined identities, mistaken responsibilities. It is also the search for true identity and authentic responsibility, for that which is truly individual.
Father and mother and brothers and sisters and boyfriends and girlfriends are but symbols of the huge web of smallness and guilt we have waved around each other. They cover over our true identity. For we are more, much more, than the sum total of the roles we must play: we are an inner presence, and a journey towards freedom.
It is the time for cutting through attachments, refusing to submit to false duties, exposing the hypocrisy of mutual sacrifice. And once we have become free of conditioned response and guilty obedience, we will taste what love is: the communing of two freedoms, the smile between two souls, the blessed recognition of a common deeper identity.
(12) THE CHILDREN
«Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not; for of such is the kingdom of God. Verily I say unto you. Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein.» (Mark, 10, 14-16)
This card is about all children, those we may have mothered or fathered as well as the little children we have inside ourselves. It is about childhood as a state of consciousness.
It is a state of innocence, a not-knowing, a readiness to trust, to give and receive love, a spontaneous feeling of play fulness. Innocence, trust, freedom — they belong to us, though they may be covered up by a lifetime of conditioning. And they belong to our children too, if, in our jealousy, we don’t interfere.
So, forbid not your child, your children; it is so very easy to hurt a child, to destroy, to mar innocence with our borrowed knowledge and our guilt. Let us deeply respect our child, our children — let us take them as our teachers, and our best friends, for they are that. It is for us to be like them, and not the other way.
(13) TWO HORSES
«A person cannot mount two horses or bend two bows. And a servant cannot serve two masters, or the servant will honour the one and offend the other.» (Thomas, 47)
You cannot mount two horses, bend two bows, serve two masters — yet everybody is trying to; we are trying for the impossible.
We cannot lose ourselves in outside experience, and at the same time search for «the Kingdom» inside — to achieve anything we need to be focused and undivided.
Totality here is the name of the game: trying to ride two horses will simply break us apart, and by bending two bows we will not shoot any arrows. It is time to stop trying the impossible.
We must choose now, and will have to keep choosing again and again, for, in fact, every step of our journey will imply a choice, a commitment, an ever-renewing aspiration to follow the path and walk in God.
(14) ONE SINGLE BEING
«When you make the two into one, and when you make the inner like the outer, and the upper like the lower, and when you make male and female into a single one, so that the male will not be male nor the female be female… then you will enter the kingdom.» (Thomas, 22)
We are both man and woman inside. Our mothers and fathers are alive and well inside our psyche… We fall in love when the outer man, the outer woman, fits the inner one. And our fallings-out-of-love seem so miserable because then we feel deprived of our other half.
We must regain the Inner Woman, the Inner Man, reclaim our whole. And for that an outer partner can be of great help. In moments of love and intimacy, when the energy flows like a circle between two lovers, let us close our eyes, let us witness what happens inside. There is a melting of boundaries, an inner circle of energy, of light, a contentment, a grace. It does not come from the outside, it is we in our inner unity, we who «make the inner as the outer, and the outer as the inner» and the male and the female into a single being.
Once we are whole, complete inside, we can enter into any relationship, and enrich and be enriched.
«It is more blessed to give than to receive.»
(Acts, 20, 35)
The time has come to give, to share, to love — and by giving, by sharing, by loving, all our needs will be fulfilled! Though to the needy it looks like a miracle, it is a simple law of life. In the giving is the receiving: one opens oneself at both ends and becomes a recipient, and a channel.
Next time one of our Big Emotional Needs, need to get, need to receive, need to be filled, is about to take over, with its dream of separation, its drama of loneliness, let us center ourselves and not be deceived. Let us watch the need, and turn the energy onto giving! Let us try giving precisely what we think we lack: let us give love, care, and presence. And, if we are sincere, if we are total in the trying, love, care, and presence will come, and will heal both receiver and giver. And we will have learned a great lesson.
(16) LOVE YOUR ENEMY
«Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you. Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.» (Matthew, 5,44)
«Loving your neighbour» is required for our very survival; it is simply social convenience. Loving our friends, gratefully reciprocating someone’s kindly attitude is cosy, but it doesn ‘t go very far. Our friends can become our enemies any minute; it is often enough they withdraw their love for a while, and they are finished. Then?
Truly, unless we learn to «love our enemies,» we will not manage to love a single friend! Unless we learn to love our enemies, we will never know what love is.
But before we can love our enemy we must learn to look at him straight in the eye, to see him as he really is, beyond fears and projections. Then we begin to see: sometimes our enemy is only our darkness projected, and the enmity vanishes when that becomes understood. But, in our clarity, we will also be able to see when the enemy is truly inimical, to us or to himself. Then our love will show us how to correct him; and it will be a kindly lesson, not a hurtful reaction. By loving the enemy, we bring the whole chaotic machinery of enmity to a sudden halt.
(17) LOST SHEEP
«The kingdom is like a shepherd who had a hundred sheep. One of them, the largest, went astray. He left the ninety-nine and sought the one until he found it. After he had gone to this trouble, he said to the sheep, I love you more than the ninety-nine.» (Thomas, 107)
The lost sheep is the largest, the strongest, the most intelligent one, the one who dares to leave the herd behind and find its own way, come what may. The mediocre sheep, those who obediently come back to the stable at night, will never lose their way. Without agony, ecstasy would not be possible. If we didn’t get lost, we would never find the way home.
And however far we think we have gone, we can never really be distant from Him, can never really be too out of the way for the Shepherd to find us, as this whole universe is His.
When truly we are lost with no direction home and the cold night is closing in on us and there’s no hope of ever finding the way, let us not blame or despair, but call to our Shepherd and wait in faith for His coming — and He is sure to come.
«If you knew suffering, you would not have to. Leam how to suffer, and you will suffer no more.» (Acts of John, 96,48)
We simply cannot avoid suffering, and it is good that we can’t. Suffering rings a bell, calls for attention, demands action. It is nature’s way of protecting us, and it is our way to find out what is wrong. It forces us to look at ourselves and understand our mistakes, correct them — and stop suffering!
We have to face pain and sorrow, and not turn our back. We must learn to suffer consciously — then it will have meaning, and the power to transform our lives. When suffering is there, let us direct our attention towards it.
For when the intensity of pain is matched by the intensity of watching, we are thrown to our centre, and there no pain can reach, we are no longer identified with it.
When there is suffering, then, when we are feeling sorrow, let us not dramatize to ourselves, or show our feelings to others. Let us simply observe — and see what happens.
«Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.» (Matthew 4, 17)
It is time to repent. Repentance is no mere recognition by the mind that we’ve «done wrong» on this or that account. Repentance is the expression of an overwhelming feeling, it brings about a catharsis of powerful emotions —shame, remorse, sorrow and the burning need to confess. Repentance brings us into the Heart, if we let it. Repentance involves our total being.
In repentance we feel deeply the wrongs we have done in respect of ourselves as well as of others, the accumulated shame, the ancient guilt that we carry inside, and we offer them to the Divine, to the One that can take it all. It is a surrender of that sense of proud separation from the Whole that alone could make us go astray.
And the beauty is that at the very moment we truly repent, forgiveness comes; it descends like a luminous warmth on us. By emptying ourselves of our darkness we have made room for the light.
(20) COME FOLLOW ME
And a certain ruler asked him, saying. Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? And Jesus said unto him. Why callest thou me good? None is good save one, that is, God.
Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery. Do not kill. Do not steal. Do not bear false witness. Honour thy father and thy mother. And he said. All these I kept from my youth.
Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him: Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute it unto the poor, and thou shall have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me. (Luke, 18, 18-20)
This is the time to risk our securities, and learn to walk with the Master, walk into the Unknown. It is uncharted territory, and we can take nothing with us. «Sell all, and come, follow me…» It is a very special invitation, a most unique chance — do not miss it.
Nobody knows how many rivers we will have to cross, how many peaks we we will have to climb, into how many valleys we will have to descend. We know only we are walking towards the light, that light we can see, and have seen — in the eyes of the Master.
Yes, sell your burden, give your belongings away, get rid of a life of falsity and self-preservation. For something truly unbelievable is at
hand — a jump into vastness, and a dive into the depth of your being.
(21) THE DEAD
«Let the dead bury the dead.» (Matthew, 8,22)
All the social formalities and duties concerning death have but one purpose: to confine death to a ritual, to keep it from touching us too deeply; to allow us to shed a tear, say our prayers, and be done with it. It is always the others who die anyway.
It is time we learned to respond to death with more life; it is time to allow death to make us more deeply aware of the amazing opportunity we are given to be alive and kicking right now — if we only care to use it.
Let formalities and duties be in the hands of those who are dead inside — it is for them to care for each other. As for us, let us use the chance to delve deep into this moment, to experience the life we are given, to reach its depth, so that when death comes we will also be able to face it, as alive beings, not as half-dead. Then the bodies will die, but they won’t die in vain.
(22) NO LAW
«Nor have I given you any law as a ruler, so that you may not feel compelled.» (Gospel of Mary, 9)
No law — there’s nothing written on Old Moses’ Tables, nothing to hold on to, nothing to force and define us. The mind boggles: «Can I really do anything at all that I want to — and not fear the consequences? Is everything and anything allowed? Will 1 get away with doing anything I please?»
Certainly there are laws in each world we inhabit, and there are inner laws of manifestation of our being. The point is that the true Master does not add His law to our many obligations. He leaves us nothing that can dominate or condition us. «I have not given you any law as a ruler.» For He is not our ruler, but our Lover, our Friend. And His teaching is freedom, freedom from license as much as freedom from law.
His way is that of love, and love cannot really be made a law. To love we must learn, must want to love with all our intensity. Then love will come, and it will not be a law, but a gift to receive and to share. Let this be a time of love, not of law.
(23) THE BRIDGE
«The world is a but a bridge. Cross it, therefore, but do not settle upon it.» (Arab Sayings of Jesus, P.O. Xffl, 404, 75)
A bridge is a bridge: it is not meant as a stopping place, but for crossing to the next shore, the next mountain. A bridge offers no shelter, this we have to remember: one can stop for a rest at the least, but then must keep going. There may be magnificent vistas, superb skies, breathtaking abysses of greenery, or it may cross over deserts and cities and hells — it is only a passage, keep going.
And as we cannot make it a home, let us not carry our household along with us when we travel. When we walk on the bridge of the world let not our personalities and possessions get so heavy that the journey becomes arduous. It is not meant to be. Those who carry only the truly indispensable, cross over the bridge with a graceful step, and no fear in their heart.
So, travel light, and — keep walking!
(24) SNAKE AND DOVE
«Behold! I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.» (Matthew, 10, 16)
The world is a dangerous place, yet, that is where the Master has sent us, — into the dangerous forest where man is wolf to man. Surely this jungle is outside us, in the social and political forces that want to hinder our liberation. But it is inside us as well, in our greed, jealousy, anger, possessiveness, ambition. It is by learning how to deal with our own inner wolves that we empower and prepare ourselves for the outside confrontation.
It takes great clarity to see the wolves coming. To see the negative thought, the nasty reaction, before they catch hold of us, we need to be always on the alert, always on guard. Yet, the snake’s caution alone may breed cunning-ness, suspicion, even paranoia, unless it is matched by the dove’s impeccable innocence and trust.
It takes a certain acceptability in us to the negative for the insult to stick to our hurt pride; a certain inner readiness to fall prey, for the wolves to smell fear and attack us. That is why
we must be like doves also, ever ready to fly, free of the negative, unstained.
(25) THE LION
«Fortunate is the lion that the human will eat, so that the lion will become human. And foul is the man that the lion will eat, and the lion will become human.» (Thomas, 7)
Man and lion are looking at each other straight in the eye. It is a confrontation between two parts of ourselves, between our two natures: our unconscious animal ancestry and our human potential. In a moment, the lion will jump, and devour the man, unless… the man moves faster, and eats the lion first!
If the lion in us has its ways, our conscious presence is consumed, and we become the lion. Evolution gives way to involution, to the Hell on earth we are living. But if we hold on and stay centred, the lion will soon feel our mastery and be tamed. Now we have «eaten» the lion: we have taken it inside our conscious awareness. And that will benefit both very greatly.
For we will have become Masters of our nature, and our lion will follow us lovingly instead of attacking us. As for the lion, its fangs and leaps no longer serve blind survival; its aliveness, its spontaneity and vitality, become conscious, become our own. And we become integrated.
(26) THE SWORDSMAN
«The father’s kingdom is like a person who wanted to put someone powerful to death. While at home he drew his sword and thrust it into the wall to find out whether his hand would be strong enough. Then he killed the powerful one.» (Thomas, 98)
Until it is pierced through and nailed down by the sword of impartial awareness, ego is indeed a mighty adversary to overcome. To prepare ourselves for our confrontation with it, we need to be constantly on guard, we need to exercise at catching the ego.
We begin with small things, noticing, for example, the thousand ways we give ourselves a break and give others a hard time; seeing how automatic the mind is in its support of the false «I». We start then separating ourselves from our habitual patterns, from our mechanical and automatic reactions, disidentifying: seeing the pattern, the rationalization, the reaction and dropping them right there and then, because «these things are not me,» they are only patterns, rationalizations, reactions…
This is the time to keep your sword ready to catch ego wherever it shows itself, under whatever disguise it hides itself. Be on guard!
(27) TOTAL FAITH
And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid, and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? (Matthew 14, 29-31)
Faith will let us walk on water; doubt will sink us into the abyss. Faith is pure creative power, it is the very yeast of manifestation, it makes life evolve, plant flowers, and work bring results. Yet doubt comes easily to us: it is an old defensive habit that keeps us chained to our miseries. It offers us a kind of cheap security against the risk of transformation: we are confirmed in our small false identities. Doubt doubts nothing but our very potential; faith is always faith in the new.
Trust lives in the heart, it is there and there only that we must look for it. Once it is found, it lifts us to love, and keeps us there. Doubt brings us into the head, it is the child of fear, of mind trembling before the Unknown.
This is the time to trust and walk on water. But, remember, for that your total faith is needed.
(28) THE WOLVES
«Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.» (Matthew, 7, 15-16)
This world is full of false prophets, of those selling indulgences and mantras; of people pretending to know and be what they know not and are not. They may speak words of humility, of non-violence, of love — «but inwardly they are ravening wolves». Words are cheap, and anyone can learn to recite a holy discourse. It is not by their words that we recognize the false prophets.
The true prophet, the authentic Master, imparts freedom, he has no straightjackets that we must fit. His discipline is that of the Heart, of Intelligence. The true prophet asks for no imitation. Rather He pushes us to self-enquiry
and supports our unique and original unfolding.
Yet false prophets are needed because false people are there — those who hope to get the Thing without paying the Price, who seek short cuts where none are possible. It is on our falsity that the false prophets strive — our absolute honesty with ourselves is our only defense at this time.
(29) THE BLIND
«If a blind person leads a blind person, both of them will fall into a hole.» (Thomas, 34)
If you are following, make sure your guide is gifted with vision; if you are guiding, make sure your eyes are open and you know where you are going. And remember: though it may seem like sight to the blind, half-blindness is no qualification for guiding — all the more so on the spiritual path, where the pitfalls are great and only the sharpest vision and wisdom can avoid them.
Before you guide, check your vision, put yourself through every possible test, for once you begin leading the blind, the whole responsibility for the journey falls on your shoulders, and on your shoulders alone. And before you follow, make sure your «leader» can see.
An ordinary sight will not do; a special vision is needed, clear eyes that do not project or appropriate anything, but simply know how to look; a sight that can perceive correctly, and see the tree in the seed, and the seed in the tree, and the end in the beginning, as it can see in the present the future steps as well.
(30) PEARLS BEFORE SWINE
«Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.» (Matthew, 7, 6)
One cannot share indiscriminately. There is a right measure in sharing, and that is the capacity of the receiver to receive, his level of understanding, his openness to the gift. In fact, indiscriminate sharing hurts everyone: the receiver, the giver, the gift.
The receiver is insulted by the very precious-ness of an offer he cannot appreciate and has no affinity for. The giver is proved a fool, for clearly he does not understand what he has, does not respect the pearls he has found or been given. And the gift is wasted, devalued, misused.
When you are about to make a show of your pearls, consider your own motivation. Do not be impatient to share what you think you have got — this is the time for work, not self-propaganda.
(31) INSIDE YOU
«Peace be with you. Have my peace. Stay alert that nobody should deceive you, saying, Look here, or, Look there. The Son of Man is inside you. Follow him! Whoever looks for Him, finds Him.» (Gospel of Mary, 8)
It is enough to close the eyes for a moment and just relax, and suddenly, for no reason, a moment of peace descends upon us: a glimpse of our true nature, uncaused, unsought for. The constant rush after outer fulfilment comes to a stop — amazed, you discover fulfilment, and feel nothing but peace. Stay alert then — «the Son of Man is inside you»!
There is more inside than passive emptiness: inside dwells the Son of Man Himself, that spark of embodied divinity, the Ever Living, the Inner Master who presently awaits and guides our awakening.
This is the time to contact Him, to respond to His call, and turn our energy inside, to Him and Him alone. Looking inside, redirecting our attention on the self, must become a conscious effort which extends throughout the day, until it turns into an effortless flow, a natural atmosphere which pervades our entire life. Then we will see the inner Master, and the Master will guide us.
(32) THE MOUNTAIN
«If two make peace with each other in a single house, they will say to the mountain, ‘Move over,’ and it shall move.» (Thomas, 48)
Peace is the greatest power; it makes wonders, because it is the greatest miracle. It is first found inside us, in our silent moments of meditation, of truth; but it is then brought outside also, into life, relationships, work.
Our peace must touch our sisters, our brothers, our lovers, our enemies; it must reach the Earth, and transform it from the Hell we have made of it into the Heaven it can be. Peace must be shared, only then is it fulfilled. We must learn to make peace also! And whom do we need to make peace with, if not our mortal enemy? And what would be there to forgive if it did not seem unforgivable?
Yes, making peace moves mountains, removes the stumbling block, dissolves all pain. It opens us up towards the sky. This is the time to make peace, this is your day of forgiveness.
«Take ye heed, watch and pray; for ye know not when the time is. For the Son of Man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch. Watch ye therefore; for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning: Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping. And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.» (Mark, 13, 33-37)
We are like mere doorkeepers in a mansion where the Master of the house is on holiday. Inside us, at present, there is no one in charge. The servants have taken over the house; in their Master’s absence they imagine themselves to be the owners, each ruling his part of the house and fighting all the others for space, for power. It is a state of disintegration and anarchy: conflicting urges, thoughts, desires, clash for expression, each seeking satisfaction at the expense of others.
This is the time to sharpen, intensify our meditation, and make it a daily, not to say, a day and night affair. We must remain awake throughout our mind’s turmoil and silent emptiness, must learn to keep alert during our states of wake, sleep and dream. Then we will greet the Master upon His return — as doorkeepers we will have done our job well. Then the servants will stop quarrelling and return quickly to their chores, and the house will finally be in harmony, and at peace, for it will be run by its Master.
«Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For everyone that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.» (Matthew, 7,7-8)
This is the greatest of promises, yet stated as a simple matter of fact, with no conditions, with no qualifications. We are not asked to work for results, nor to earn merits. There is no question of deserving here, or of being worthy of the opening. All we are to do is: ask, seek, knock — and the door will be opened. How could the Father fail His child?
It all depends on our intensity — on the innocence of our asking, the depth of our seeking, and the power behind our knock. How could the Mother stay insensitive to the cry of Her child? Our nakedness and defenselessness are our very protection.
We will receive, we will find, the door will open for us — it is our birthright as God’s children. Now is the time to ask, and wait, and trust, — for the time of receiving is at hand.
(35) THE WELL
«There are many around the well, but there is no one in the well… Why, when you have come to the end of so long a journey, are you lacking in daring ?» (Thomas, 74 and Origen, A.C. 8.15)
For a long time we searched for the well, for the waters that quench our thirst, for our life source, for our light. Many a desert we crossed, many a pilgrim we questioned along the way, many a mirage deceived us — but now we have arrived.
We stand before the well, walk all around it, take a good look inside it, perhaps touch its cool stone — but we don’t drink its water, we don’t dive into its coolness. We have found the source, and yet remain thirsty. Have we forgotten our thirst?
This is the time to remember our thirst, feel our longing, jump, and drown ourselves in the well. We will come out refreshed, reborn and amazed, for we will see that now an entirely new journey will start.
«Speak much with God, little with men.» And they asked Him, «How will we talk with God?» Jesus answered, «In a secret place, give yourself to contemplation of things divine. In a secret place, pray.» (Arab Sayings of Jesus, P.O. XIX, 568, 158)
This prayer is different: it is no empty ritual, no Sunday lip-service to appease our conscience. It is a very intimate communication with God, in fact, «secret»: no one is to know, no one else can know, what transpires between the «Father», or the «Mother», and the «child» in the secret cave of the Heart.
Speak little with men, then, much with God… First comes silence, solitude, total privacy. Then comes the dialogue, and the asking and the receiving and the gratitude. For prayer begins with I and Thou, but a moment comes when a deeper union is felt. Then the child feels part of his Father, his Mother: that ineffable sensation of absolute protection and perfect belonging one gets when one feels part of the Whole, and therefore, to be the Whole.
It is time for solitude and prayer.
(37) THE LIGHT
His followers said, «Show us the place where you are, for we must seek it.» He said to them, «There is light within a person of light, and it shines on the whole world. If it does not shine, it is dark.» (Thomas, 24)
The original source of all light is inside, not outside us. It is from that creative inner light, from that soul of all beings, that proceed all the suns and the stars, and the glow on the face of a lover, and the sparkle in the eyes of a child. «God is the light in which I see.» (A course in Miracles. Workbook, p. 69. ).
«There is light within a person of light» — it is time to put all at stake and find that light.
Everything else depends upon that, and that alone. And that light is revealed to those who meditate, those who open their heart to the original, pure inner love, to the Inner Lover.
That light and that love are inside us, and that is where we are now resolving to go: into our aloneness, our inner spiritual world, backwards, ever more backwards until we are bathed by light. And when we come forward again, open our eyes and re-contact the world, there will be a new grace in our gestures, and a new glow in our world.
(38) I AM
» Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was I am.» (John, 8, 52-58)
«I am» always lives in the present, in the state prior to identification and thought. Once we are identified, we become, and the being is lost. I am the body, the feelings, the mind, we say, and immediately become them. But, whose body is it? Whose perception, whose thought, is this? To whom do these feelings happen? Who is this one who I am who has body and feelings and thoughts, but it’s not any of them? Who is this ‘I’?
In fact we become anything that attracts our attention. The problem is, in that becoming we are lost. Let us catch ourselves before we disappear into our perceptions!
Conscious watching is the key: while watching anything, we must remain self-aware. Our attention must remain on «I am», on the self, we must distance ourselves from all that conditions and colours us, until we can see: there is anger, joy, thirst, and here I am — watching them. We must go back to «I am», pure «I am», and stay there without becoming anything. We must discover our true being — and that true being is immortal, self-fulfilled for eternity.
(39) VINE AND BRANCHES
«Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches… If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.» (John, 15, 5-7)
The Whole is in the part, as the part is in the Whole: we cannot separate our small selves from That which supports and nourishes us. And when we bear our fruits, are they our fruits really? Or have they come through us from the Great Whole that substantiates and surrounds us?
The branches are in the vine, but the vine is also in the branches. We are in the Master and the Master is in us. That is why we can flower, bear fruits; why we can feel that sense of belonging, that oneness with all; why we can participate in His Work.
This is the time to remember our Master, whoever and wherever He or She may be, to feel our living connection to Him, to Her— but it is a remembrance in action, a connection at work. It is the time to fulfil our role, to play our part, however small it may be, in the Divine Play of Creation. It is the time to draw sap and bear fruits for the sun to nourish and ripen. For the time of the Vintage is coming.
«The harvest is large but the workers are few. So beg the master to send out workers to the harvests (Thomas, 73)
This is harvest time: it is the time of fulfilment, the time that work bears fruits. And the harvest is rich and abundant. It is time to celebrate and rejoice. But it is also time to gather many, and get the harvesting done.
It seems that the work is too much for us. There are few of us and the work is so great it just seems impossible. This is the time to call upon all available labourers, roll up our sleeves, pray to God, and get down to work.
So the time of fulfilment is also a time for new labour. There is no break on this path, no full stop in this process, no final state to attain and that is the end of it. The Divine is ever Self-manifesting; let us not try to place limits, our limits, on Infinite Power.
Whatever we may think we have achieved, let us not take that as His limit. There is no «final step» for the Whole. All the time this Creation is growing, evolving, unfolding; there will always be new harvests coming.
THE HIGH PRIEST
The High Priest is the one who prefers dull conformity and the safety of dogma to the risks of enquiry and the joys of self-discovery; the one who loves to pose as superior; but he is also the one who is ashamed of his own decep-tions and fears punishment from his angry God. The High Priest is sin and guilt dressed in spiritual garb.
He is capable of anything at all to hold on to his power, to the spiritual image he projects and wants everyone to believe. Without it he is naked, exposed; without it, he is nothing. With-out worshippers, believers and followers, he simply fades out of existence.
We can deal with the High Priest by openly exposing his hypocrisy. His game seen through, his fearsome mask falls away, and we can see the man in hiding. He needs forgiving and is thirsty for love.
The Seer is Mary Magdalen in her days of spiritual ripeness, after receiving of the gift of Vision and the Light. The Seer is our companion on the path, a guiding light in the darkness, a teacher of Mysteries, and the womb which protects our ges-tation: the Seer is our spiritual mother. She has travelled along the same path we are treading, and she has arrived. From her realization she now turns towards us and calls us.
Her energy is feminine in essence. While her love and her counsel are shared in a climate of softness, receptivity, acceptance, she will at once raise us to unimaginable peaks and touch our innermost depths.
Look into her eyes, empty and wise as they are, looking at once through and above us: the Seer works like a channel, a flute for the Divine to play. It is our good fortune that such a one has appeared in our life. Through her, nothing can descend but grace and wisdom.
THE MAN OF POWER
The Man of Power is Pontius Pilate standing on a balcony while washing his hands of it all. The Man of Power is the worldly man, the man of success, mature, capable, intelligent, and strong. Painfully conscious of the impermanence of power, of the shortness of life, he thinks he has no other God than his ego, and no goal except that of fostering by all means his status quo.
Yet he is not beyond reach: he may allow for a moment’s compassion, he may have a glimpse of the truth; but one can never count on him to keep his promises. He will never have the courage to let truth interfere with his power.
Together, the Man of Power and the High Priest symbolize the two faces of ego: the blindly dogmatic one, who simply refuses to see, and the cunning one who sees and yet claims not to have seen.
The Wife is the Man of Powers consort, she is Pilate’s wife. The Wife is the woman who outwardly lives through her husband: she plays the social game and lives up to her reputation and her role. In one way, she is perfect: her life embodies beauty and measure, she has an artist’s touch and great skills of diplomacy. Her man supports and respects her: privately he is even a little afraid of her.
But something essential is missing. She feels a thirst that no wealth and outer beauty can quench, a longing for true love that no ordi-nary man can fulfil. Unknowingly, she is called to the path, the path of love and devotion. In spite of her choice for security, she is deeply attracted to the unknown.
She is the one who can love, but prefers to remain at a distance: it’s not for her to give up her safe niche, her security and comforts. Yet a single look, a single word of love, will touch her depths, silence her soul, and warm her heart with a flutter.
The Moralist is shown busy cataloguing our sins, checking on our mistakes. He is the archetype of the judge, the priest, the critic. In our story, he is one of the Scribes.
The Moralist reduces morality to strict adher-ence to society’s standards and automatic sub-mission to the powers that be. He elevates the quoting of scripture to an art; he is the Bible (or Koran or Gita) — basher, the Fundamentalist, the one who calls his intolerance «integrity» and his violence «holy war». He tries to appeal at once to our personal guilt and our ethnic pride…
He is the one who needs to be «right» all the time. He lives only in the head, he feels not his body: he has no vitality, no juice, and his heart
is buried under a stone. He is very logical and rational, but never reasonable, never open, never understanding. He is not capable of dia-logue, but only of discrimination and judge-ment. Yet the Moralist cannot stand on his feet:
he works for the High Priest, or for the Man of Power, whose «law and order» he maintains. He can never be on his own. His smallness needs support, his weakness protection.
We can deal with the Moralist by withdrawing our guilty and unconscious support — but also by simply letting him talk and paying no atten-tion to his words…
The Housekeeper is Martha, who complained to the Master that her sister Mary would sim-ply sit at Jesus’feet and hear his voice, forget-ful of her household duties. «And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful and Mary hath chosen that good part…» (Luke, 10).
While the Moralist oversees public morality, the Housekeeper keeps an eye on the private; her realm is the home, the domestic. And no one, certainly not her husband, is to interfere with her work. Yet she complains nobody ever helps her.
She is a down-to-earth mother, a no-nonsense nurse, a tireless soul. She loves perfection in small things, but perfection is identified with her standards alone. The way she does things is the way things must be done, and more often than not she is right. That is besides the ques-tion: the question is her intolerance, her nag-ging, her complaints.
Her emphasis is entirely on doing. That way her being is easily forgotten, and with it the being of other people. She tends to judge all, herself included, by how they do what, by their work, and by that only. Yet deep down she is a woman of heart: she can be touched by love, can be moved to compassion; and that is when her service becomes truly selfless, and her care supporting and healing.
THE CHIEF DISCIPLE
The Chief Disciple is shown carrying a net, he is a fisherman of souls. In our story he is Peter, the one to whom the Maser said, «The cock shall not crow, till thou hast denied me thrice»… Unlike the High Priest who has no truly spiritual insight, the Chief Disciple walks
the path of the Seeker, has had authentic expe-riences of illumination and feelings of devo-tion, has reached certain spiritual powers. At the same time he has not moved beyond pettiness, egotism, pride.
The Chief Disciple is full of «spiritual pride.» His God is the only true God, his Master the only authentic Master. His chosen dogmas and his cherished ideas are the only orthodoxy, the only «right thinking» there is: they must become the norm, the rule, the law universally. Worshipping any other God than his own, he calls idolatry; and any prayer other than the one he mutters is blasphemy…
His is a male God, a male Church, a male reli-gion. He mistrusts Magdalen, the Seer (above), has no heart for the Feminine, cannot accept the Divine manifesting through a woman. And once his Church is fully estab-lished, the Chief Disciple tends to turn into a High Priest and becomes one with the social and political powers that be.
LADY OF ALMS
The Lady of Alms is very simple, pure and devoted. She doesn’t need any attention, she seeks no recognition. She is a giver of her care, her compassion, never looking for a return. In our story, she doesn ‘t even have a name, she is just «a certain poor widow» who gives two small coins as her alms and is praised by Jesus.
The Lady of Alms is capable of pure giving, prompt service, selfless action. She is one who prefers to remain in the background, yet on her help and support you can always count.
She represents not the ritual of religion, but «religiousness», that deep feeling of sacred-ness that moves to true worship. Unlike the Chief Disciple, she is not attracted by dog-matic dispute: she cares more for her altar, for her worship, for her God, than for anything else in her life. That is why, though she may never know, she is being blessed by the Master.
Her smallness, her humility are her greatness really; her little coins contain mountains of gold. But to see that one needs eyes that can reach to her soul. She is pure generosity, impeccability in action, and works unseen.
The Beloved is at once the archetype of the Lover, the Disciple and the Mystic. The Beloved imbibes the Master’s each word. He
empties himself to merge with Him and be one. He is John, His «beloved». He is Thomas, who came to be known as His «twin», he is all those who will not strive to «imitate» the Master but to imbibe him.
The Beloved is the sincere seeker who has fully committed his life to the Quest and the Master. He has no other aim than to deepen his learn-ing, no desire but for true love and communion. Nothing distracts his attention now, his eyes are unwavering, open; he is always ready to face whatever, whomever may come. He remains present, available, intense. He wants to understand us, to love us, yet doesn’t need to convince us. He is not one to impose his beliefs.
We will recognize the Beloved by his patient listening, his healing presence, his compas-sion. Through him, we can feel the Master’s energy; in him the Mystic Rose has unfolded. It is our good fortune that the Beloved has mani-fested himself in our life.
The Devotee is in spontaneous prayer, in rap-ture. In joining her hands she is filled with immense devotion. She is Mary, the House-keeper’s younger sister (see above), who for got all about her kitchen chores when the Mas-ter came to her house, the one who rushed to His feet and so «chose the good part», as He said, while her older sister complained.
The Devotee symbolizes silent devotion. She is like a small mountain lake, simple yet of great depth. She needs not be an experienced trav-eller on the spiritual path; her devotion is more like a natural state. And when she does come upon the path, she walks wholeheart-edly, she goes all the way.
She is one whose heart is open, without a thought of self-defense; whose love is immacu-late, whose loyalty unbending. She may be considered naive; she’s not, she’s simply inno-cent and trusting.
In that she is special, for she feels the vibration beyond the word, the intention behind the act, the real person behind the mask, yet remains open and trustful. With her only one relation is possible, that of being to being.
Twice Born is the man who died and was brought back to life by the Master. He stands for transformation through grace, for it was by the grace of his command, «Lazarus, come forth!», that fresh life coursed through his body and his eyes began truly to see. Twice born is a symbol of the death of the old per-sonality — the Needy Egoist, the Demanding Miser, the Self-condemning Child— and of the birth of a new self, the true Self: self-content, all-giving, mature.
Twice Born is one who has moved deeply into the nightmares of hopelessness, the shadows of depression, the morbid temptations of dis-ease, one who has entered the tunnel of the dark night of the soul and has come out reborn: deeply trustful, intensely alive and healthy to his very core.
He has lost all that he had to lose, and found what has to be found. It did not happen through his effort, but through his utter helplessness, for it was not bliss he sought but self-annihilation. His awakening was in no way his work, but God’s. Hence he does not see himself as a spe-cial «spiritual» person at all — he simply lives now, and he is ready to share his new life.
LADY OF OINTMENT
The Lady of Ointment with closed eyes is gen-tly holding her Beloved’s feet, so that nothing disturbs this moment of grace. She is the one who took «a pound of ointment of spikenard and annointed the feet of Jesus and wiped His feet with her hair» (John, 12). The Lady of Ointment is love uncontained, emotion unbri-dled, devotion turning into ecstatic expression.
She is entirely of a feeling nature: her words, her movements, her gestures all come unhindered from the depth of her being. She is not merely «emotional», she is true to her heart, to her soul.
She has the courage to let herself be vulnera-ble, to show her deepest affection, to let her love carry her into the unknown. She offers all, her emotions, her heart, her precious ointment — for love is far more precious than any of that. She is not one to go only half way: her love can raise her to the highest peaks — and that is where she feels she belongs.
Barabbas is the archetype of the criminal whom the crowd loves and absolves, of the populist mafioso who breaks the law and gets away with it. He is a symbol of the crowd’s utter senselessness and of its short-lived illu-sion of power.
When a criminal goes free because of the apparent choice of the crowd, the herd enjoys a moment of absolute power: for a moment it feels itself above the law. This is not at all «for-giveness» — it is a revenge of the mass against a law it only pretends to respect and against a Master who would liberate and awaken it.
Barabbas’feeling of power is but an illusion of vital grandeur. For the irony is, just when the crowd dreams to have placed itself beyond the law, to have become the law, right there and then it has been manipulated by the law’s rep-resentatives, by the politicians, the priests. And the Barabbases who seem today to be rid-ing high on the wave of mass support, tomor-row may find themselves thrown into the dust. The crowd is very cruel to its idols: what it worshipped yesterday, it may destroy today.
LADY OF SIN
The Lady of Sin is the archetype of the sensual woman, the erotic Lover, the one who does not respect social customs. The Lady of Sin is the one who does not care for public opinion when it comes to her behaviour, and is stigmatised by public morality as an outlaw and a sinner. The same crowd that would make a hero of any Barabbas, calls her a loose woman, treats her as a prostitute, throws abuse on her.
She disregards respectability, despises hypo-crisy, cares not for pretense. For that she is a favourite target of the the High Priest’s anath-emas, of the Moralist’s scorn, of the House-keeper’s resentment, and even of Barabbas’ abuse.
She represents the revolt of the body and of the vital centre against a «morality» that curbs life and destroys it; she symbolizes the «scan-dalous» state of the feminine outlaw, the pride of independent womanhood that prefers social stigma to a «normality» that would impose a straitjacket on her.
Yet for all her glitter and glamour the Lady of Sin knows she is thirsty, thirsty for true love, beyond greed, beyond gold; for the love that never ends, the love that can heal and forgive and raise her to her heights unknown. It is this love-thirst that brings her close to the Master and the Work. Has He not said Love covers a multitude of sins.
The Neighbour is the Good Samaritan of the Parable, the one who has compassion on a poor fellow whom thieves have left half dead on the road, cleans his wounds and takes care of him, thus proving himself his «true neighbour». The Neighbour is the one who feeds us when we’re in need, loves us when we cannot love ourselves, gives us of his life when our life is withering, of his energy until we get back our own — and doesn’t ask for gratitude; his action seeks no return.
He moves spontaneous and free. He is not a «moral» man like the High Priest or the Moralist: he is not out to fulfil duties nor does he seek recognition. And he is generous towards anybody — he sees humanity beyond the appearances of race, caste and class. Yet he doesn’t preach solidarity or love: know-ingly, unknowingly, he lives them. The Neigh-bour is a natural being.
We recognize the Neighbour by his simplicity, his frankness, his lack of personal motives. And we cannot express whatever gratitude he may arise in our heart in a better way than by becoming «Neighbours» ourselves — brothers and sisters of the hurt whom destiny will place on our path.
LADY OF THE WELL
The Lady of the Well is the one whom the Mas-ter asked for some water. «You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan — how can you ask me for a drink? » The Lady of the Well is quick to fall in love with the Master, yet she misunderstands: she interprets her love the only way she knows how, as erotic attraction. But slowly the Mas-ter brings her to another dimension.
The Lady of the Well is offering water: she is generous, coy, and seductive. She is ready to give of what she has. Yet she herself remains thirsty — thirsty for another water, for another love.
She is the one who shares her desire and by sharing uncovers her true need, her deeper spiritual thirst. By following desire all the way she discovers her burning need for love, beyond seduction and courting, beyond the feminine-masculine game.
Like the Neighbour, she is a very natural, unprejudiced being, free of moralism and ever ready to give. But she is a Seeker also, and a Receiver — open to receiving true love. In this world, it is the rarest of gifts.
Mario Montano, Amerigo Folchi
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