The Celestial Twin

We are each twins. One part of us, the “Earthly Twin,” lives in the material world. It is occupied with generating a living, forging relationships, achievement, success, and getting the bills paid. It is firmly grounded in the practical strategies and problems of everyday life. It rarely or never raises its head to get a glimpse of Majesty. It is entrapped in material, forms and objects. It interacts only with the surface of Reality, the outer skin of the world. Its consciousness is characterized by Absence of Being. It views Reality as separate objects surrounded by nothingness. With no larger context than itself, it generates feelings of despair, depression, desolation and separateness. It lives in a universe that has no aliveness, save for a few scattered entities such as ourselves. These entities are perceived to exist in a context of inert, dead matter and empty, dead space.

The other part of us is the “Celestial Twin.” It lives in a non-material and wholly spiritual realm beyond time and space. Its arena is the realm of Being and Livingness that lies invisibly beneath the material forms of our world. It is not occupied in the least with earthly concerns, with being noticed and with being successful in society. Its vision is fixed on Sublimity, the Cosmos and the swirling, infinite energies of Being. It is exalted, fully in touch with the magnificence and miracle of life and the Universe. It is in a perpetual state of wonder. It is fully alive to the unseen dynamism and generativity of the Cosmos, and it views human life from a vast perspective of infinity and eternity. It is fully aware of the Journey of the Soul that each human is living out, watching with understanding and compassion as we struggle to learn what we came to learn. It is, in fact, a microcosm of Being Itself, fully in touch with the miraculous nature and manifestation of that mysterious Entity.

We are neither the one twin nor the other. We are both, simultaneously, and we must attend to both simultaneously. We must fully engage with life as the “Earthly Twin,” and do our best to solve the unending series of problems that arise in human life. For the duration of our residence in a human body, we must attend to the earthly realm and its requirements. We simply cannot afford to float away in transcendence and stop paying close attention to our problems and our material life.

However, at the same time we must be constantly aware of the life of the Celestial Twin, with its radiance, belonging, and experience of miraculous merger with Being. All of our experiences of depth, meaning and sacredness are coming from our Celestial Twin. The society and most people around us have forgotten this. Life without constant consciousness of the celestial part of our nature is trivial, pointless, meaningless, and superficial. It is constantly plagued with experiences of despair, dread, desolation and depression. It feels like living with a giant hole in us that is screaming to be filled. That is actually the case. Without an on-going awareness of the Celestial Twin, there is, indeed, a hole where that part of us should be.

We can live on Earth without recognition of the Celestial Twin, but not happily and most often miserably. It will be a life without meaning, self-absorbed, without being connected to anything vast, lovely, awe-inspiring, mysterious, deep and sacred. It will be a life with amnesia of the soul. To paraphrase Thomas Hobbes, it will be a life that is “nasty, short and brutish.”

Almost all of us live our lives in longing. We may not even know what we are longing for, but there is a constant yearning for an indescribable something that is missing. We mistakenly attribute that longing to the material realm, seeking to assuage it with material goods, relationships, success, fame, achievement, and recognition. The genesis of the longing, however, is the life-long yearning for reunion with Being and the Celestial Twin. We can feel at the deepest levels that something is missing. We are incomplete. Money, fame, goods, success, achievement, and a full calendar will not eradicate the longing. Only becoming whole will bring its cessation. Reclaiming Being and the Celestial Twin will bring the wholeness that we long for.

It is our task to reclaim Being and the Celestial Twin. It is the central task of The Return. We must learn to recognize it and give it a permanent place in our consciousness. We can then pull ourselves out of the clutches of the mesmerizing material world, expand our view to include the celestial levels of the Universe and become whole.

The Sufis often talk of angels, and regard the Celestial Twin as one’s personal angel. It is not necessary to take this literally. It can be understood metaphorically. A more modern interpretation is that the Celestial Twin is that part of human consciousness that is capable of moving into and perceiving spiritual realms. This is quite a different capacity from the “Flatland,” everyday ego consciousness of the Earthly Twin. To get through our terrestrial life, we all have to use our Flatland consciousness every day. However, we also all have the ability to take flight, at moments, and move into the vastness, majesty and magnificence of the invisible living Universe, or Being. This ability is the celestial part of us that is the Celestial Twin. It is the faculty in human consciousness that is able to contact Being.

The West, in the last 400 years, has embedded itself profoundly in the terrestrial, material realm. As a result, predictably, we have de-ensouled the world, lost access to the spiritual levels of life and lost the Celestial Twin. In most Western lives, a moment comes when the soul realizes that it is in exile. It finds itself a stranger and alone in the world. It perceives that it is profoundly estranged and alienated from the life around it. This moment of alienation is full of despair. It can lead either to a breakdown or a break-through. If it produces a new and dedicated search for the spiritual realities beneath the material world, it can become “the Turning,” a profound reorientation from seeking meaning in the material realm to seeking meaning in the spiritual realms. This can launch “the Return,” as the soul works its way inexorably back to Being, its home. This crucial shift usually does not occur until a person reaches the fifties or sixties, and has fully exhausted the possibilities of the material realm.

The Turning is a reaching toward the Celestial Twin and Being. It changes perception of life from a world of objects to a world of living, invisible Presence. It has the potential to end the state of exile and alienation of the soul by creating a new awareness of the vast context of rich livingness offered by Being, with all of its sacredness, depth, meaning and wonder. Over time, it can end the experiences of separateness and isolation, and replace them with a sense of belonging to Something vast, magical, mysterious and sublime. As consciousness becomes suffused with the miraculous consciousness and livingness of Being, the world can flower with inner meaning, and a new life can commence.

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