There are many ways to describe the barrier that stands between us and holiness. We can regard it as slumber, for to emerge from it is awakening and to stay awake is enlightenment. We can regard it as ego or lower mind, for it is formed of the rebellious desire for dominion that we have incorporated and worshipped in place of the eternal. We can regard it as worldliness, for it is in the world that we usually encounter it – although if we wander into the desert, it will yet still come to us. I prefer to call it the “veil”, for it is distortions and caked dust on the mirrors we see all around us as our expectations and fears.
There are also many ways to describe the awakening. The practice of the wakeful state we call mindfulness, the resistance of the desire for dominion we call compassion, and the pursuit of the eternal instead of false idols we call spirituality. I myself prefer to call it “piercing of the veil”, for in the current moment we find it at its thinnest – while the further we look into the future or past the more thick and obfuscating the mist becomes.
Now, we each are at least occasionally successful in our pursuit of the eternal in whatever way we choose to pursue it. If there were no pinpricks of the veil where light poured through, we would abandon our paths and seek others. Even hedonism and material greed, malformed as they are in terms of their identifications, disabling as they are in terms of their building of mental walls, have their moments wherein the self feels transcendent. But, in nature and religion, there are wider and more permanent piercings of the veil. In the desert or the temple, we find wide swaths of sky wherein the clouds have all been chased away.
Mindfulness, meditation, and prayer are broad pathways whereby the dark idols are recognized as only shadow, then dispersed. Awareness is the sword for the piercing of the veil. We are well-armed to fight ourselves, should we choose to consider this a battle against darkness we have made. That provision of arms is, by itself, cause for abundant gratitude.
“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.”
– Matthew 7:7
There’s more. That living mind that is wholeness and holiness, peace and compassion, blessings and grace works at the veil also. In that working, the veil is repurposed and transformed into a classroom, an invitation and hand-held navigation through a labyrinth, and a soil in which the holy energy of love can bloom. The spiritual masters represent places and times when immense tearing of the veil occurred. But even if we do not approach the masters in our hearts, surely words cannot express the gratitude we must have that we are not alone in our journey home.
“Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.”
– Revelation 3:20