“We all move on the fringes of eternity and are sometimes granted vistas through the fabric of illusion.” Ansel Adams
“The veil that renders life opaque is infinitesimally thin and can be removed with the mere breath of imagination.” Thomas Moore
Last night I looked down, and there at my feet lay another colorful veil. This veil was made of fine material, soft, dense, richly hued, with intricate and compelling design.
I realized that I have had that veil for as long as I can remember. Memory of its origin has surely faded. Was it crafted during my childhood? Or was it my mother’s? My grandmother’s? Grandmother’s mother’s mother? Did it come all the way from the old country? Or did my father bring it from his travels? I don’t even know.
Alone in the dark of the evening I stood at my window gazing at the waning moon. Standing in this silvery illumination, feeling insignificant in the grand scheme of the cosmos, something special happened within me. It was as though through the Light love entered my room, and entered me. I felt different: empty, and spacious, warm and inviting. A subtle merging…And then, effortlessly, and gently, the old veil began to slip from my shoulders. I just let it go.
It dropped so slowly, inching down my body. I could feel its soft texture, dropping, dropping, fluttering down over my curves. In slow motion, it gathered at my feet, and I had a sensuous exhilarating feeling, standing there, naked and exposed.
Seeing the veil lying there at my feet, and feeling the warmth of love seep into me, I realize what this old veil has been shielding me from – from reality, from the truth, from light that is oh so bright. The veil constricts love to be received and offered. This veil has obscured my truer self with coarse energies of thinking, of desire, of shame, of cultural expectation. This veil has provided a resting place for me – a place where I slept rather than where I enjoyed true wakefulness.
The thinnest of veils cover our non-dimensional, essential self, and thus keeps true light and love partially hidden from us. We are blind to it, as an ancient master said, because of the sheer vapor of a “cloud of unknowing.” Preoccupation with the ‘real world’ continues an illusion that that the veil is necessary, that staying asleep is comfortable, that being separate from divinity is natural. The veil I have always worn blinded me, shielded me, preoccupied me, and distorted my truer nature. A way to wake up to spiritual aliveness is first to find holes in the illusory literalism of every day life. Just as Ansel Adams used a camera to see through the film that covers over the world’s lively personality, we, too, can pierce this illusion.
We can imagine slipping off our veils ... actually letting them go we expose ourselves to love, and allow love to seep in. Open and allowing, we can generously pour love out.