Lifting the Veil of Ignorance: Shadows on Our Mind

 

The Veil of Ignorance

But whenever someone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. [2 Corinthians 3:16-18].

To neglect God purposely and to leave behind the Divine Reality intentionally is to consign ourselves to ignorance. To banish God from our thoughts is to opt for a life of darkness. To fail to thank and praise God is to remain veiled from true wisdom.

As one sees a river pass into the ocean, lose itself in it, its water for a time distinguished from that of the sea, till it gradually becomes transformed into the same sea, and possesses all its qualities; so was my soul lost in God, who communicated to it His qualities, having drawn it out of all that it had of its own. Its life is an inconceivable innocence, not known or comprehended of those who are still shut up in themselves or only live for themselves. [Jeanne Guyon, Ch. 4].

Shadows on Our Mind

We veil ourselves from the Divine reality by limiting our knowledge to physical and intellectual understanding. Our consciousness thus remains blind, seeing only an illusion, a shadow projected onto the walls of our mind.

The more lucidly we think, the more we are cut off: the more deeply we enter into reality, the less we can think. You cannot study Pleasure in the moment of the nuptial embrace, nor repentance while repenting, nor analyze the nature of humour while roaring with laughter. But when else can you really know these things? ‘If only my toothache would stop If only my toothache would stop I could write another chapter about Pain.’ But once it stops, what do I know about pain? [C. S. Lewis, A Mind Awake].

The veil produces spiritual blindness, the condition of forgetting God. It blurs our insight into the purpose of life, and makes the physical world appears as the only reality. This blindness is the daily darkness in which we live, a darkness to which we have grown accustomed.

As people who do not know the country, walk again and again over a gold treasure that has been hidden somewhere in the earth and do not discover it, thus do all these creatures day after day go into the Brahma-world, and yet do not discover it, because they are carried away by untruth. [Chandogya Upanishad 8:3:2].

It is this darkness which repeatedly causes us to knock our heads against walls, fall into open pits, and inadvertently strike friends and loved ones. In our darkness, self-love and craving appetites delight us, as we vainly seek meaning and understanding.

Have they, then, never journeyed about the earth, letting their hearts gain wisdom, and causing their ears to hear? Yet, verily, it is not their eyes that have become blind – but blind have become the hearts that are in their breasts! [Qur’an 22:46].

Human Vision: Veiled Consciousness

God is the Creator of the realities that we perceive and of realities beyond our perception. The transient world, filled with illusions, diversions and temptations, is but a test, a platform from which we can spring to higher levels of consciousness.

By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible. [Hebrews 11:3 (NKJV)].

Our human state has two side, the side in which we start every day, our daily reality into which we are born and of which we are actively consciousness. The other side is the one we seek to understand, the supraconscious, transcended reality. The former is filled with emptiness, void contradictions, dogmatic polarity and sectarian boundaries. The latter offers fulfilment, completion and unity.

When our hearts are tenderly responsive — and it suits His greater plan, then the Lord will lift the thin veil that separates us. And we will be stunned to realize that He has been closer than our own breath all along. [Patsy Clairmont].

The Unseen World

The Divine Reality, which is the ultimate goal of our human consciousness, is revealed to us through the Spirit. Though we cannot comprehend what it is or how it works, we revere that element of reality that connects us to sacred thoughts.

Man becomes aware of the sacred because it manifests itself, shows itself, as something wholly different from the profane . . . In each case we are confronted by the same mysterious act — the manifestation of something of a wholly different order, a reality that does not belong to our world, in objects that are an integral part of our natural “profane” world. [Mircea Eliade].

The unseen worlds remain hidden behind the veil that separates us from the Divine Reality. Yet, God does provide glimpses into this true reality, so distant yet so very near.

 God is closer than we think. He is never farther than a prayer away. He is never farther than a prayer away. All it takes is the barest effort, the lift of a finger. Every moment — this moment right now, as you read these words — is the ‘one timeless moment’ of divine endowment, of life with God. [John Ortberg, Look Through God-Colored Glasses].

At times, we can almost perceive the unseen with our conscious mind, but it quickly vanishes behind the veil, as a dream that we cannot recall moments after awakening.

When we see even a glimpse of the truth behind the illusions of human existence, we long to pierce completely through the veil of ignorance, and to enter the Divine Presence.

 It is really and truly there present, but invisibly present, so that we are always surprised and do not recognise His operation until it has ceased. If we could lift the veil, and if we were attentive and watchful God would continually reveal Himself to us, and we should see His divine action in everything that happened to us, and rejoice in it. At each successive occurrence we should exclaim: “It is the Lord,” and we should accept every fresh circumstance as a gift of God. [Jean-Pierre de Caussade, Abandonment to Divine Providence, Ch. II.Sect. I].

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