I use the word sublime a lot. I love the way it sounds and beautifully captures the essence of a greater hidden depth in something, a stirring of energy beneath the surface of the senses. Something of a sublime nature is interactive, expansive and beautiful. Perhaps what I like the most about the sublime, is that it points us to the hidden depths within the ordinary; felt depths that vibrate and permeate the surface. The sublime is subtle and potent. It is not held tightly in the intellect. It is felt, deep under our own surface. The sublime engages the heart and brings us into stillness and presence; it changes our state and raises our resonance. It makes us lighter.
My son is a sublime unit of gorgeousness. I mean just look at him! Ever since he was little his observations and questions about life, how it works and who he is within it all, have held such hidden depths that they can only be described as, well, sublime. One day, at about the age this photo was taken, we were rushing out the door, late for an appointment. It was a windy, wild day in Sydney Australia and I was frazzled. My mind was dissipated into the rest of the day and the annoyance of being late for everything as I busily clipped his little sister’s baby capsule into the back seat harness and then turned to him, stuffing little arms through child restraint seat belts to get on the move. My son however was deeply present. His eyes were wide and blonde curls whipped about his face in the wind. His head was slightly cocked and all his senses were engaged. And in his sweet little voice he simply asked, “Mummy, who blows the wind?”
Hidden within this beautiful question was innocence, genuine human enquiry and a poetry that exploded open my heart and snapped me right back into presence and that moment. His entire childhood has been punctuated with these kind of sublime questions, many of which have required a quick hit of coffee and Google search to answer.
Not surprisingly, now in secondary school, he loves scientific enquiry. Only recently, when I was working on the idea for this article, he brought my mind and heart back into presence. As I was tidying up the house and pondering the sublime, he started telling me about his science lesson that day. The class had been working on matter and its changing states and he told me that the word used to describe the process when dense matter changes into lighter states, is, wait for it, sublimation. This divine interplay of language, changing states, timing, and pondering this article was simply, well, sublime! It affirmed for me that this is the nature of consciousness and the informational and energetic field that we call life.
Everything, every aspect of our ordinary reality, be it a three year old’s questions, a petal, a cloud, our bodies, a conversation, dream or meditation, holds within it worlds of information and depth. Everything. There is no such thing as ‘the mundane’ if we open our perception and inner senses to the interplay of information and energy that is constantly taking place within us.
I recently attended a violin recital to raise funds for a women’s hospital in Cambodia. The recital was held in a magnificent private home here in Singapore and we were very privileged to hear Indonesia’s most acclaimed violinist play. During the night I heard her music repeatedly described by others, as ‘sublime’. This dazzling artist was able to take the hearts of an entire audience on a journey of love, loss, joy, melancholy, bliss and beyond. She was able to open us to sublimation through the energy and information she wove into the audible vibrations of her violin.
So how do we plumb the depths of our ordinary reality? We need to seek it. With a slight tilt in how we perceive ourselves and ‘reality’ and a present awareness nurtured through meditation we can access the sublime and in doing so change our state, our resonance. Meditation creates the space within and enables the present awareness to access the sublime. It connects us to the sublime interplay of life as it moves around and through us. All meditation practice does this and there are many beautiful meditation practices that specifically plunge us into hidden depths within the ordinary.
The Buddhist practice of Raisin Contemplation is one of them for example. The practice involves entering a deep state of meditation and then placing a raisin on the tongue. With the senses opened and awareness attuned, the simple quite mundane object of the raisin releases worlds within worlds of energy and information into our system. All students who experience this in my courses emerge wide-eyed and reporting their connection with the sunshine, rains and earth held within the raisin. Others tap into the stories of the hands that harvested the fruit, their families, the distances travelled and pathways taken for the fruit to end up inside them, in that moment in meditation. All students acknowledge that they experience far more than a simple mundane raisin on the tongue. It’s a two-way motion. The sublime plunges us into the deep mysterious moment, and the deep mysterious moment opens us to deeper levels of the sublime and it changes our state of being. It’s just, well, sublime!
The invitation which is open all the time, is to plumb these hidden depths, within the people we encounter, the foods we ingest, the wilderness, sounds, colours, scents and sensations. When we are present, aware and open we can sense the beauty and the hidden worlds of energy and information that are held within all and change our state into lightness. Seek the sublime and life becomes a miracle.
As Einstein so beautifully put it:
Originally published at themeditationteacher.net