The Mirror's Echo

07/02/2012 03:41 pm ET | Updated Sep 01, 2012

After all the elephant words have slipped back into the deep forest and all the whale thoughts have sailed back into the dark abyss, there is just this pair of hands and feet, this pair of eyes and ears, this heart. What am I making with these hands? Where are these feet carrying me? What are these eyes seeing? What are these ears attuned to? What does this heart long for? They say death changes a person.

Thinking gives way to Being somehow. Can this be achieved without the inconvenience of having to pass from one world to another? Or does arriving at Being simply mean we have already passed into that other world already? To light a torch to illuminate the day -- thinking has little impact on Being. I turned 61 yesterday; tomorrow I turn 62. I am ashamed that after so much time I still have anything left to say.

If I say the well of thoughts has nearly gone dry, I wonder what you will think. Will you recognize the echo of your own silence? If I say the shift to Being from Thinking has thrown me outside myself, I wonder where you will stand. Will you wriggle your toes in the lapping waves of your own ecstasy? This is how strange it is. A mirror aware: Everything that has ever passed before its open-eyed gaze floats fully embodied now, landmarks and companions occupying the infinitude here within the forever backward of the other side of the mirror. The secret garden. The fire serpent's hidden tunnel. The nest of the phoenix. The doubling of the double.

There are no metaphors left. It is all wholly literal. No spirit left, only sacred matter. Words become trees, rocks, rivers, mountains, clouds and rain. Where could the inner path have led but back, back into the inner landscape? An open infinitude stretching beyond the horizon of awareness, peopled by images that have become statues of night, summoning pyramids of living stone speaking spells inscribed by the world soul through hands like yours and mine. I am lost in this maze that reaches out beyond memory and imagination: Whose feet picked out this twisted trail? In the midst of such plenitude, why does this heart so ache?

I wandered into the bedroom of the universe by accident. The shadowless undulating of sun and moon in twilight embrace; the great mother and the great father filled the sky, light poured from their union and spilled out into the green below. The path was suddenly affixed to my feet. It could no longer be elsewhere. I was not orphaned, but a blade of grass among this vast field of grass, a medicinal herb among all the medicinal herbs in the world. I was born all at once with this shadow army of peers, the dead, the annointed wardens of the soul. It is all the embryo gestating. If I say it is all an egg incubating in the diamond night, I wonder who you will answer. Will you recognize your own voice calling from within the shell? Some say it is a bonfire throwing off sparks. But that is just meant to obscure the transparent -- the love of esoterics lingers, the fetish of secret knowledge dogs us all the way back to the eternal city. Real persons are upside down.

Sparks do not last forever, nor do they without exception return to the bonfire, no matter how glorious. A mirage is a real thing, it is just not what it appears to be. Tents pitched beside the oasis, clear desert water slaking thrist and dates ripening on the palms, the taste of the real forever dispels illusion. It has no form, but it acts. The mirage can never again be mistaken for the oasis. It churns and it casts out and it pulls back in. Its diameter expands and contracts with how far it casts each generation out. Its center clears and darkens with how much life each generation carries back. Life, of course, is an esoteric word that does not simply spell life -- it evokes the great counter spell to pain, sorrow and loss, for it materializes the oasis itself: Love Of Life.

I wandered into the kitchen of the universe by accident. Rabbits were being prepared for foxes. Krill were being prepared for whales. Caribou were being prepared for wolves. Sunlight was being prepared for plants. Angels were being prepared for arch angels. Trees were being prepared for fire. Rivers were being prepared for the sea. Time was being prepared for the present. Stars were being prepared for black holes. Photons were being prepared for electrons. Flesh was being prepared for worms. Death was being prepared for birth. The aromas, the colors, the tastes, the textures, a moving feast feasting on itself: no chef but a cookbook of alchemical recipes, their every ingredient a transmutation of form into the formless, the spiritualization of matter, the borderless night. There is a body outside the body.

And a mind within the mind. Deep beneath the surface of Thinking: Being. The grotto over which the sacred pyramid was built. The oracular abyss above which the priestess diviner was suspended. The dream body dwelling in the body's shadow. Air was being prepared for breath. Light was being prepared for sight. Peace was being prepared for war. Wilderness was being prepared for domestication. The past was being prepared for the future. Sorrow was being prepared for joy. Clouds were being prepared for mountains. War was being prepared for peace. The universe was being prepared for its twin. Those with souls half-empty call it all hunger. Gold was being prepared for the forge. Those with souls half-full call it all self-sacrifice. The placebo was being prepared for the panacea. I Am was being prepared for We Are I Am.

There is no greater act of magic than being welcomed into the Mind of Heaven.


"The Toltec I Ching," by Martha Ramirez-Oropeza and William Douglas Horden, has been released by Larson Publications. It recasts the I Ching in the symbology of the Native Americans of ancient Mexico and includes original illustrations interpreting each of the hexagrams. Its subtitle, "64 Keys to Inspired Action in the New World," hints at its focus on the ethics of the emerging world culture.

Two companion volumes, "The Five Emanations" and "The Spiritual Basis of Good Fortune," have recently been published, in print and e-book formats, that expand on carrying the practices forward in the modern world.

For more by William Horden, click here.

For more on the spirit, click here.