Crossing the transition zone

Parables are basically coded stories about the soul and its function. -- Deepak Chopra

God has managed the amazing feat of being worshipped and invisible at the same time. -- Deepak Chopra

I want to know how God thinks, everything else is detail. -- Albert Einstein

If you don't make yourself equal to God, you can't perceive God. -- third century Christian heretic

... for all things are possible with God. -- Mark 10:27

Who or what is God?

If God is omniscient, all powerful, ever present, how is it we do not see God, can not see Him or touch Him?

God leaves no footprints in the sand.

Paulo Coelho says religion absolves us of our own personal responsibility for our spiritual quest. He talks of the Soul of the World, a collective consciousness which we can all be in contact with.

Jesus told us that his father's house has many mansions.

Fritjof Capra and Gary Zukov discussed the meeting of the spiritual and the physical in the undefined quantum state, a state of duality.

Niels Bohr, A Danish physicist, stated that that not only is quantum physics stranger than we think, it is stranger than we can think.

In the Gospel of Thomas we learn to become immortal.

According to the Gospel of Thomas the Kingdom of Heaven is here and now, and has been since time began.

And he said: Whoever finds the correct interpretation of these sayings will never die.

Jesus said: The seeker should not stop until he finds. When he does find, he will be disturbed. After having been disturbed, he will be astonished. Then he will reign over everything.

Jesus said: If your leaders say to you “Look! The Kingdom is in the sky!” Then the birds will be there before you are. If they say that the Kingdom is in the sea, then the fish will be there before you are. Rather, the Kingdom is within you and it is outside of you.

When you understand yourselves you will be understood. And you will realize that you are Sons of the living Father. If you do not know yourselves then you exist in poverty and you are that poverty.

Jesus said: One who knows everything else but who does not know himself knows nothing.

They asked him: When is the Kingdom coming? He replied: It is not coming in an easily observable manner. People will not be saying, “Look it's over here” or “Look, it's over there.” Rather, the Kingdom of the Father is already spread out on the earth, and people aren't aware of it.

The Gospel of Thomas contains the saying of Jesus, parables, riddles, paradoxes. Through understanding these sayings, 'seek and ye shall find', we enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

The Kingdom of Heaven is not up there or down there, not a promised land we enter in the distant future, it is here and now, has been since the beginning of time, it is within us and without us.

Deepak Chopra talks of crossing the transition zone. [see How to Know God]

The transition zone is where we humans and God meet, or where Paulo Coelho would find the Soul of the World. It is where miracles take place, visions are seen, where we meet angels, where the voice of God is heard. A place where the rules of our Cartesian Universe no longer apply.

We personify God in many ways, an old man with a beard, but that is only because we cannot hope to know the unknowable, the infinite. All we can hope to do is describe with our limited language, the small part of God that penetrates crosses the transition zone into our world.

What is this unknowable infinite that all humans seem to need?

An old man is walking home, he can barely see, one eye was lost in the trenches, the other severely damaged by mustard gas, the sun is in his eyes, around the corner come two lads on bicycles, just at the inevitable point of collision, an angel appears, lifts the bicycle out of the way and sets it down with occupant at the side of the road. The old man walks on down the road as though nothing has happened and refuses to answer any questions.

Later, when he was dying, Pere Lamy Pascal, a priest, admitted to an angel coming to his rescue. Angels and divine intervention were an everyday part of his life.

Why is that some, like Pere Lamy Pascal, seem to be able to cross the transition zone with ease?

Is crossing the transition zone, at least crossing with ease, restricted to seers, prophets and holy men?

When Paulo Coelho walked the Road to Santiago, a medieval pilgrim's route, he learnt anyone could, not only the wise and the learned. [see The Pilgrimage]

Strange things happen across the transition zone, and it is not just visits by angels, visions and miracles.

Deepak Chopra (in How to Know God) provides a lovely example of synchronicity involving a friend.

A friend of mine once knew John Lennon very well and continued over the years to grieve his passing. She is a gifted singer, and one night recently she had a dream in which he came to her and showed her an image from the past when they were together. Waking up, she decided to write a new, very intimate song based on her dream, yet in the cold light of day she began to have doubts. I came to London for a visit, and she told me about her indecision.

“After all, it's only a dream, isn't it?” she said. “Maybe I'm foolish to make too much of it.”

At that moment her three-year-old ran into the room and plopped himself onto a chair in the corner. He happened to land on the remote control for the television, which came on suddenly. On the screen, amazingly, we saw a nostalgia program showing John Lennon and my friend smiling at the camera, caught in the exact moment she had witnessed in her dream. She burst into tears and got her answer: She would write the song for him.

What Paulo Coelho would call omens, messages sent across the transition zone.

We have to learn how to recognise omens and know how to interpret them correctly.

Omens are what Paulo Coelho calls the alphabet of the Soul of the World. It is through omens that we communicate with the Soul of the World.

In conversation with Juan Arias, Paulo Coelho gives a lovely example of synchronicity. He was in a Miami bookshop giving a lecture on By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept. He explained that he was Pilar as Gustave Flaubert was Madame Bovary. He then read an extract from By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept. Part way through the reading, there was a loud noise as though something had fallen, but he carried on reading. When he had finished, it was learnt a book had fallen off the shelves. The book was Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert! [see Paulo Coelho: Confessions of a Pilgrim]

We cannot deny that miracles, angels, examples of synchronicity occur, to deny is to not be rational, and yet where do they occur other than in the transition zone as they defy our laws of rationality, therein lies the paradox?

Attempts to cross the transition zone seem to rely on paradox.

What is the sound of one hand clapping?

Saints, holy men and prophets, Masters of the Tradition, seem to be able to cross the transition zone with ease, they are able to turn water into wine, walk on water, feed the multitudes.

Does paradox jolt us out of our reality, project us across the transition zone?

Different religions, different faiths. Deepak Chopra talks of crossing the transition zone, Paulo Coelho of communicating with the soul of the world. A Zen Buddhist would speak of enlightenment.

As Jesus said, his father's house has many mansions.


Further reading

Robert Aitken, A Zen Wave, Weatherhill, 1978

Juan Arias, Paulo Coelho: Confessions of a Pilgrim, Harper, 2001

Beliefnet (ed), The Big Book of Angels, Hinkler Books, 2003

Fritjof Capra, The Tao of Physics

Deepak Chopra, How to Know God, Rider, 2000

Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist, HarperCollins, 1995

Paulo Coelho, The Pilgrimage, Harper Collins, 1997

Paulo Coelho, Manual of the Warrior of Light, HarperCollins, 2002

Paulo Coelho, The Valkyries, HarperCollins, 1995

Paulo Coelho, The Witch of Portobello

Rabbi David A Cooper, God is a Verb: Kabbalah and the Practice of Mystical Judaism, Riverhead Books, 1997

Stevan Davies, The Gospel of Thomas and Christian Wisdom, Seabury Press, 1983

Stevan Davies (ed), The Gospel of Thomas, Darton, Longman and Todd, 2003

Sabina Flanagan, Hildergard of Bingen: A Visionary Life, Routledge, 1989

Marvin Meyer, The Gospel of Thomas, HarperSanFransisco, 1992

Gary Zukav, The Dancing Wu Li Masters, Rider, 1979

Religion and Symbolism
(c) Keith Parkins 2008-2010 -- June 2010 rev 2