"Lueur d'Espoir" - acrylic on canvas - by Tauno Waidla - San Quentin Death Row
"Glimmer of Hope"
The Light Within Me
“You are the Light of the World”
I have often asked myself if given a chance would I erase the singular episode leading to my death row experience? Perhaps so. But if I could erase my unpleasant and bad experiences, would it not cancel out an essential part of who I am? I believe so. I know life isn’t reduced to a single event, but is an accumulation of events that produce who we are no matter where we are.
The same stream of consciousness that existed twenty thousand years ago still exists today. It is still accessible to the human mind if we tap into it. What happened ten thousand years ago and ten minutes ago occupies the same space in time and consciousness as Albert Einstein has showed us. So we cannot separate the past from the present. In order to understand the past, we must study it. To understand the present, we must study the past, and to understand the future, we must study both the past and present.
There is a level of consciousness that cannot be explained by cultural diffusion where the human psyche intersects and connects at a realm of energy and matter. Where human beings turn inward and are able to transcend their physical entity, in order to see and experience the consciousness that runs through them. By having this experience we learn that our differences shaped by ethnicity, politics, economics and religious factors are superficial constructions that have no real meaning at the level of oneness.
But how do we as human beings reach this central point of the world where all spiritual lines intersect? How do we transform ourselves from human beings to human becomings? Some people strongly believe travelling to a holy place or reading religious scriptures is the key. There might be some truth to that. I believe the central point of the world is right where you are standing. In ancient times, the temples of Luxor in ancient Egypt were the central point and light of the world. For Native American tribes like the Algonquins and Sioux, the central plains were their central point. Many people see Jerusalem and Mecca as the central point of religious and spiritual vitality. The Tibetans see the temples of Tibet as their central point. The central point of the world is where you have a mythical experience and spiritual transformation. Once you know who you are, it does not matter where you are.
The most important pilgrimage that you can make is an inward journey of self-discovery. There is a sphere beyond the reach of our senses, but accessible to the mind, when the mind is one-pointed and free from chaos. Everything drops off, putting the mind at the central peak of consciousness, where everything is beyond names and forms. There is no division between God and man. The sacred union of man and woman is one as it was intended to be. You belong to no clan, tribe or nation. You exist in a world of non-duality, like the biblical and symbolic Adam before his fall, where consciousness is conscious of itself.
We can only be the voice of the earth when our heart is not motivated and driven by fear and hate but is inspired by love and peace; when we understand our conscious life is also informed by an invisible world which constantly demands we evoke our higher nature so that we can be the true guardians of the universe and of each other.
The spiritual world beckons humanity to search and find god within. Religion is supposed to be an apparatus to help guide humanity to its natural role of oneness and connectedness. However, religion has become too bogged down in theology and ideology, conforming to politics and unsuitable to address the evolving conditions of today’s world. Of course, there are many religious teachings that are timeless, but trying to apply two thousand year old myths, or those over fifteen hundred years old, to a world vastly different from the world when those myths were created becomes problematic.
We need new mythmakers and myths which address and speak to the human condition and convey the unvarnished truth that puts us in alignment with our authentic self, and explains how we can successfully relate to an ever changing world. Each generation must create its own soothsayers and listeners of the human heart and soul. We must claim and support them along without shamans, our mystics, and our artists who have knowledge and wisdom about life, who give us insight and glimpses into the invisible world, who remind us that love is a spiritual condition that requires spiritual practice.
The physical planet has been conquered. There are no new lands to explore and no new adventures to pursue. This has stifled and stagnated the imagination of man. Man has looked outward instead of turning inward for answers. He has stopped listening to the impulses of his nature. He believes space exploration will nurture and quench his imagination. He has forgotten the fertile ground of mysteries existing in his own consciousness. He has forgotten his self.
There has been a spiritual crisis in the world from the moment man misdirected the energies of his mind, an internal battle between the higher principle and the lower principle in oneself ensues. Returning to paradise, unity and oneness of mind and spirit is a constant tug of war between light and darkness. We need a ritual to reinforce our bliss and simultaneously put us on track to lean towards the light.
When I meditate, I tap into portals of my consciousness. I experience a psychological transformation that puts me in tune with my divine nature. Within the temporal moment of stillness, I dwell in a sacred world where I am not who I am in this material world. I cast aside the shackles that begird my mind. I am humbled by the beauty of the interdependence and interrelationships of humanity. We are all connected as one people, functioning from different strands of consciousness.
We are the highest expression of creation when living by a spiritual based definition of who we are. I hope one day to perceive the mysteries of the world, hold on to the light within me, and to one day bask in the company of Gods.
San Quentin Death Row