Tuesday, January 5, 2010
The heart is the perceiver of qualities. What we mean by qualities are the modifiers of the things. If we say for instance that a certain book has a particular number of pages on a certain subject by a particular author, we have described its distinguishing outer characteristics. If we say, however, that the book is inspiring, depressing, boring, fascinating, profound, trivial, or humorous, we are describing qualities. Although qualities seem to be subjective and have their reality in an invisible world, they are more essential, more valuable, because they determine our relationship to a thing. Qualities modify things. But where do qualities originate if not in an inner world? And is that inner world completely subjective, contained within the individual brain? Or are qualities, somehow, the objective features of another "world," another state of being?
The answer of the tradition is that Absolute Reality--which cannot be described or compared to anything--possesses qualities, or attributes. All of material existence manifests these qualities, but the qualities are prior to their manifestation in forms. Forms manifest the qualities of an inner world. A cosmic creativity is overflowing with its qualities which eventually result in the world of material existence.
The human being is an instrument of that cosmic creativity. The human heart is the mirror in which divine qualities and significances may appear. And the world is the mirror in which these qualities are reflected and known more clearly. The cosmic creativity manifests itself in and through the human heart which has the capacity for interpreting the forms and events of material existence.
From the point of view of the human being, qualities are projected on things, recognized in the outer world. Things lose or gain importance for us as they are qualified by qualities whose immediate source is the human heart, but whose ultimate source is the divine treasury. A cheap, mass-produced teddy-bear becomes an object of love because it has been qualified by the affection of a child's heart.
This subject may seem elusive because we are so conditioned to project qualities onto the things and events of the world that we overlook that everything of true significance is happening within us. Furthermore, the qualities that we experience in relation to the outer, material world also have a reality beyond both ourselves and the things of outer world. That which becomes the object of our affection, for instance, is receiving a projection of the capacity for affection contained within the individual heart. Affection, itself, is a quality that exists in Reality itself and transcends both the heart and the object of affection. Another way of saying it is that we live in an affectionate universe and we know this through the relationship between the individual heart and the object of its affection.
A mature enlightenment is seeing all these projections for what they are: the heart, because of its nearness to the divine treasury, is primary; the world is the shadow. We need not then withdraw these qualities into ourselves, because the mirror of the world receiving the projection of the heart has received the qualities of the divine source. This divine source, the heart, and outer existence together form a unified Whole.