The Analogy of the Sun
A personal reflection
By Martin Nathanael
It happened when I was meditating some years ago. At that time, I worked in central London and used part of my lunch break to meditate in a nearby church. On this occasion, meditation was very difficult – my mind was unusually heavy with thoughts, and I was unable to focus on the mantra which I used in those days. It was becoming an intense struggle, but I did not give up, feverishly endeavouring to stay with the mantra, my body rocking all over the place. Whilst in the throes of this mental warfare, I was suddenly entranced to hear a voice speaking from deep within me – a sweet voice that had a feminine quality to it. This voice seemed to carry enormous authority and compassion as it enunciated two short sentences containing spiritual truths:
“The Self is indifferent”
These words cut right through all that was going on within me. As I heard these words, and seemingly breathed them in, all the thoughts in my mind disappeared as if they had never been there, the sense of my body also went, awareness of where I was and who I am likewise vanished. There was no longer an “I”, “me” or “mine”. There was no longer any consciousness of the body-mind – only the original non-dual, timeless and unconditional reality.
Then, it was as if light shone all around and began to crystallise as a great blazing orb. At this stage, all that existed was the observation of this incredible manifestation. Looking into this great fiery orb, I could see as if many miles away the figure of a young man sitting in a church. Then “I” found myself being drawn as light into the crystallised light of the orb. I, as pure light, was travelling into this sun-like interior and then beyond, out through the other side, leaving the crystallised light behind. I began to sense something of my previous, separate individuality and was clearly now in the domain of mind. At this stage, I was still without any physical form, but travelling as something like a ray of light towards the figure in the church.
I, this ray, entered the church and drew towards the head of the young man. I, this ray, entered and came to rest behind and between the eyes. Even though the eyelids were shut, I could see all that was before me in the church – the altar, the lectern, the pulpit, the pews, and so on. When I, now embodied, opened my eyes, I carried on seeing what I was already seeing even though the eyes had been closed.
Later, during my study of Indian mystical traditions, I learned about the chakras, and in particular about the chakra behind the eyes, known as the ajna chakra. In the yoga systems, it is sometimes called “the seat of the soul”. This certainly resonated with my experience in the church, the manifestation of my light-body ending precisely at that point. The yoga tradition describes how the energy of the subtle body enters the physical form through the aperture of the Crown centre (not normally regarded as a chakra itself) and then reaches the centre behind the eyes. It then diversifies into three streams of energy which continue downwards forming the next five chakras, at the throat, heart, solar plexus, sacral centre and finally at the base of the spine.
Through this experience in that meditation, I was shown that the light of consciousness is the basis of the entire manifest creation. I came from light and I am the light, yet ever beyond and free. So is everything else. You, me, everyone else, everything else. It is the light that lightens the mind, the light by which everything is seen. So this light is both within and without. Did not someone say, “You are the light of the world”? That is the truth.
You and I also transcend even the light, as that out of which the light itself has arisen.
Martin will be exploring some of these ideas in his one day workshop in Maidenhead on The Path of Oneness. Click here to read more and book your place
During his late teens, Martin Nathanael found himself drawn to the esoteric elements of the world’s spiritual philosophies, particularly focusing on the advaita (non-dual) tradition of India.
Later, a mystical opening to Christ-consciousness led him towards working as a priest.
His varied career has taken him into secondary education where he was Head of Religious Studies in two London schools, teaching world religions to A level.
For the past 35 years, he has been teaching meditation to individuals and groups, leading quiet days and residential retreats, and giving talks or leading courses and workshops on various aspects of inner transformation.
He has also been a tutor and supervisor to students in training as interfaith ministers, as well as developing his own interfaith ministry.
Martin lives in York with his wife Kathleen.