Many years ago I went to a conference titled, “Building the Temple of God Within.” I was very new to the concepts of mysticism and, at the time, I thought that the conference was a total waste. All the “woo woo” spiritual stuff went over my intellectual head and, let’s face it, I thought the people were just plain weird.
After much study and practice, I now admit that maybe the conference leaders might have known a thing or two after all. I have found that much of spiritual literature is poetically based. It is a metaphor for the feelings and sensations that a spiritual student experiences as they progress through the stages of spiritual development. It is this understanding that allowed me to see into the depths of the spiritual texts from the major religions. With few exceptions, I saw that each tradition was describing the exact same model of consciousness.
What came next shocked even me. Instead of comparing and contrasting the different traditions, I combined them. I used the same formula that the Christian faith uses every Christmas. Instead of telling the two different nativity stories that appear in the Book of Luke and the Book of Matthew separately, most churches combine these stories into one story that tells of both the Kings and the Shepherds. When I combined the spiritual traditions from around the world and throughout time, I found a universal principle that all belief systems strive to explain.
The merging of the masculine and feminine principles was a very common theme amongst the traditions. Circles have been used to denote these two different spheres of influence. The intersection of two circles can be described poetically as a fish. The fish is a prominent symbol in Christianity. Jesus, Mary, and the saints are portrayed within an aureole that is shaped like the intersection of two circles. The meaning of this portrayal is that the person pictured inside the aureole has merged the inner masculine and feminine.
In many traditions the tree is honored. The tree, with its roots deeply planted in the ground, while its branches reached to the sky, was considered the connecting point between the earth and the sky. The Viking Yggdrasil and the Celtic lore of trees poetically describe the main energetic channel that is also known as the axis mundi.
The Hindu faith, along with the eastern traditions of Buddhism and Taoism, supplied the chakras. These energy centers provide a step-by-step progression to spiritual development. The chakras also poetically appear in the Christian tradition. They can be seen as the rainbow that Noah sees after the flood and the steps up to heaven in the story of Jacob’s Ladder.
When we look at the spiritual traditions from a poetic viewpoint, we find that each one is describing the same phenomenon in their own unique way.