The Measure of Oneself
Society has set up many systems to try to regulate or control the behaviour of human beings. The most successful are those which know how to persuade people on the basis of their already-existing beliefs. But even when the would-be persuaders’ policies and intentions are mostly worthy ones, some one else’s ideas about what the right action is at any given time may or may not be right for us as individuals. Ultimately, direction and behaviour must stem from inside a person. The clearer we become about our inner self, the less easy it is to persuade or manipulate us. Equally, our own inner clarity ensures that the actions we take will be creative as opposed to destructive. This is because right action is inherent in the operation of consciousness itself and the deeper level or whole identity. When Adam and Eve, or mind and heart are in agreement, ‘lined up’ with the flow and therefore with one another, they are able to express the quality of the whole in which they participate. Part of what this means is that the ideas formed and actions taken out of their relationship will be sound.
Wholeness is an experience, not an idea. We experience wholeness by joining the worlds. In other words, experiencing the oneness of the transcendent and the manifest dimensions — the flow bringing the world alive, the world clothing the flow. When I was walking through the Cotswolds it felt as if the landscape was an extension of my own consciousness, as if inner and outer were the same thing. The flow moved out through me into that world and returned through me from that world, and this interchange between inner and outer brought renewal and catalyzed new thought.
Every now and again, out of this flow and interchange, something suddenly ‘clicks’ or lights up for us. We have a ‘Eureka’ moment, an ‘I get it’ moment. I had a moment like this on my walk when I downloaded suddenly what Merlin’s fate in the crystal cave meant. These experiences are almost visceral, we can feel them. It is as if mind and heart suddenly find themselves in a new realization — which is also a new relationship — they line up. Alignment means literally a-line-ment. A straight line.
In Pythagorean geometry, a straight line is generated by connecting the center of the circles in the ‘vesica piscis’ shape:
It is out of this straight line that the other angular shapes of geometry are drawn — the square, triangle, pentagon and so on.
Two pebbles dropped simultaneously into a pond create ripples that widen out until they begin to intersect. Nodes or points appear wherever the circles cross. Eventually the circles widen until the circumference of each set of ripples intersects the center points where the ripples were generated from. Immediately a ‘vesica piscis’ symbol is created, and with it a mathematical web formed out of the interference patterns of the intersecting circles:
In his book ‘A Beginner’s Guide to Constructing the Universe’ mathematician and educator Michael Schneider explains that:
“Remarkably, these points establish the precise mathematical distances and relationships required to construct the basic geometric shapes and patterns that recur through the universe.”
Although some of the shapes are created before the centers are intersected, the full ‘network’ does not appear until they do. When the distance between the centers allows the ‘vesica’ to form, and this line to be drawn, then the relationships reveal themselves:
Furthermore: “Because all circles are similar to each other, the geometric relationships remain constant no matter how large the ripples become.” So as we stare at the pond’s vibrating surface we are witnessing the birth of the unit of fundamental measure. Wherever the centers are intersected, the line of basic measure is created:
It is the fundamental measure because it is the first shape in geometry that allows for a straight line to be drawn, whose interrelationship with the arcs and centers of the circles contain the proportions necessary for creating all the other building blocks of dimensional shapes.
The unit of fundamental measure is a geometric and mathematical reality, a constant phenomenon. However, as I hope will have become clear by now, it also gives symbolic expression of a truth about the function of aligned consciousness. If we call those two centers heart and mind, and think of them as radiating energy patterns, when their emanations intersect with each other, they ‘line up’ — we have our ‘I get it’ moment — and a row of ‘seeds’ is created whose shape echoes that of the ‘vesica’ itself, ie, of the creative field:
As these ‘seeds’ form and grow in consciousness, they will eventually become ‘ripe’, that is, ready to manifest. Our idea turns into a detailed design, and we start making a new tool, or building a house or an organization.
So the ‘lining up’ of heart and mind is the visceral experience of creation, of incubating possibilities that have within them the generative shape of wholeness. These are the insights, ideas and intuitions that will allow for healthy growth. They fit. They work. They are accurate. There is nothing wrong with a hedgefund, or any other scheme in and of itself, if it is properly supported by the growth and potential of the larger enterprise. It is possible for banks to prosper without collapsing and taking their investors’ savings along with them. Things that work, that are generative are the fruits of wholeness — they have formed out of the flow of the whole, out of the interaction or relationship between the two worlds.
They are different from the fruits of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. In other words, the ideas and projects that form from intellectual analysis alone (ie, from only one of the ‘worlds’, the manifest), or, worse, from intellectual analysis as an overlay for the cover-up of a sense of lack. This kind of thinking and planning produces fruit that is malformed in some way. Schemes that do not work very well, products that lack inherent value or good design, or that are destructive — umbrellas that are really landfill; hamburgers made from cattle grazed on cleared rainforest.
The fundamental unit of measure is really the fundamental relationship of meaning. Meaning as it applies to everything — from mathematical shapes to inspired ideas to architectural design to relationships themselves. This sense of finding the right measure, the right action, is an interior act. We arrive at it from the sensing within ourselves, not from precedent, or from merely strategically weighing up the pros and cons of a situation. David Bohm contrasted the way the ancient Greeks conceived of measure with the modern mechanical notion of measuring or comparing one thing against another:
“When something went beyond its proper measure, this meant not merely that it was not conforming to some external standard of what was right but, much more, that it was inwardly out of harmony so that it was bound to lose its integrity and break up into fragments.” (‘Wholeness and the Implicate Order’ p. 20)
Do the things we undertake yield deeper meaning, or do they detract and diminish meaning? The practice of ‘leveraged buyouts’, for instance, when a company is taken over, stripped of its assets and sold again, yields money for the investment bankers — but destroys a whole ecology of jobs, skills, communities, further research and development, and ongoing financial generation. More money splashing temporarily around in the system has less meaning in the longterm than a company that is creating not only money but wealth. Is it meaningful to double the interest on student loans so that the ceo of Sallie Mae can afford to build a private golf course when many graduates, loaded with debt, have difficulty finding employment? It has often struck me, since I moved to America, that the super rich have money at the expense of wealth — they live in gated compounds because the wider community is ghettoized to the point of being dangerous. So while they have everything they could possibly need in their own little enclave, the wider context in which they live has no meaningful relationship to them. And this is a kind of poverty — it is why poorer people are sometimes happier, because they often participate in a richer community of neighbours and neighbourhoods.
“This above all, to thine own self be true” is the advice Polonius gives to his son in Shakespeare’s ‘Hamlet’. Don’t be ‘led astray’, don’t be swayed by other people’s opinions, or talked out of your own intimations and desires. Stay ‘true’, stay aligned with your own sense of direction. There is no other signpost. There is only the unit of fundamental measure, of meaning, as it lines up in ourselves:
“.. measure is a form of insight that has to fit the overall reality in which man lives, as demonstrated by the clarity of perception and harmony of action to which it leads.” David Bohm (‘Wholeness and the Implicate Order’ p. 20)
We have this sense that the real measure of a person is their integrity, their ability to be ‘true’ — not rigid, not myopic, not bigoted — but true to the direction of their own unfoldment. Intellectual analysis of circumstances plays a part of course, which includes weighing up the input of others, but the way forward always comes out of the lining up of our own consciousness. This is the pathway of leadership.