Previously in the Premiseless Imperative Series:
Kimetikos I: Foundations
Kimetikos II: Theory
Kimetikos III: Practice
Anagoge I: If You Want to be Saved, Admit That You’re A Sinner
Anagoge II: Achtung, Babies!
Anagoge III: Shooting For the Existential Buzz
“If you contemplate the world, how long it is before you and also how long it is after you, you will find that your life is one single day and your sufferings, one single hour.”
So, to review: thus far we’ve created our Evil Twin, we’ve begun to learn how to pay attention and we’ve investigated the nature of infinity while shooting for the existential buzz. Although each of these taken individually could potentially inspire the spirit to lofty heights, remember that they’re actually steps in a process.
In the last step, we came to understand that in a very real sense, we each contain infinity, that to God we already exist in all of our infinite manifestations. Using this simple idea, that all manifestations within the world of forms contain a reflection of perfection, a subset of God, we can begin to understand that perfection itself also exists as a subset within the world of forms.
At its core, everything and everyone that exists– *everything* and *everyone*!– contains a reflection of the perfect. Everything contains a reflection of genuine goodness and completeness that we’re not usually able to see. Everything and everyone contains a spark of divinity.
We often like to sentimentalize this spark of divinity in everything on purely aesthetic grounds. We recognize perfection in, say, the laughter of a child or the colors of a flower or the softness of a dog’s ear. This sentimentalization relies on our perception, and also on “accidents” of culture, society, etc. When we focus our search for divinity in these things, we allow our emotion to cloud our percetion, and we can miss the perfect qualities inherent in the mundane.
If we miss the perfect qualities inherent in the mundane, it begins to reflect on the way we present ourselves to the world. We might neglect to clean up after ourselves. We might walk or sit with a slouch. We might not listen completely to the sounds that surround us. We might recoil from the idea of making our surroundings reflect our sense of place and purpose because it seems like drudgery. We might not take the effort to do the dishes.
We live as a reflection of our perception of the world. If we experience the mundanity of our immediate surroundings as worthless, or fail to recognize the reflected divinity in our houseplants and chairs and knickknacks and soap and clothing, then our quest for enlightenment will be futile.
Some religious traditions decorate their holy places with paintings and sculptures designed to elevate the soul into sublimity. This makes sense; if we reflect our surroundings and are surrounded by images of holy things, we might connect with the holy. Unfortunately, in these traditions, we oftentime lose touch with the holiness that exists *outside* of the places of worship. The Church becomes the House of God and we have to visit God at home to experience divinity.
Some choose to exclude decoration from their places of worship so as not to distract one from contemplation of divinity. This makes sense, as well; less external clutter means less internal clutter. In these traditions, however, we often lose the ability to see the divinity reflected in matter.
So, we prefer the middle ground. We prefer to recognize the divinity within our surroundings no matter where we are, in order to transform every space into holy space. The *contents* of a space shouldn’t matter. It’s how these contents speak to us, and what we experience through them, that becomes important. We can never say just where or when a divine inbreaking will occur. So, instead of building spiritual temples or tracing pentacles on the ground or trying to touch God by attending a service of some kind, all of which are worthy paths but are not *this* path, let us prepare the Way by “transforming” our perception of our surroundings. In other words, instead of asking God to visit us, let’s try to live as though we’re the guests in God’s house.
Remember, the world of forms is an imperfect illusion. Underneath and within the illusion, however, we might recognize the infinity which dwells in all things, and allow it to express itself through us.
Exercise: Take an hour– just an hour, no more– and clean up either your kitchen or your bedroom. Be as thorough as possible: vacuum, dust, do dishes, fold laundry, etc. While cleaning, be conscious of each item. If you are folding a shirt, for instance, say to yourself, “shirt,” or “this shirt contains an infinite number of points,” or, “God dwells in this shirt.”
Just do it for an hour; if you aren’t finished after the hour, then that’s fine, leave the rest. Don’t listen to music or talk to anyone while you’re cleaning; exist solidly in the moment. Now, keep this room in the same state of cleanliness for at least a week. This doesn’t mean you should clean it right before you continue the exercise– this means constantly being present and aware when you’re in the room.
After the week, provided your room is in the same state of cleanliness it was when you finished your hour, take another hour and clean another room (or pick up where you left off last time). Wait a week and keep it clean, etc. Eventually, you’ll have gone through your entire house.
If your house is already clean, clean it more deeply. Scrub the tub and the toilet. Dust each book individually. Wash the windows. Alphabetize your spices. Organize your filing cabinet. The point is to be present with each of the mundane things in your life, no matter how small or insignificant, and to recognize that each item, even the toilet brush, contains the infinite.