It gives me great joy to introduce this very special guest post.
Margaret Phanes is a dear friend, whom I have never met in person but feel a deep friendship with because of our shared love for the Mother and Sri Aurobindo. I have known her for many years now. She and I regularly interacted via emails as colleagues to discuss matters concerning curriculum design, online learning, learners’ concerns. But the interactions that had to do with her beautiful meditative art work were most enlightening and enriching. We continue to stay in touch, and it is always a delight to ‘experience’ the deeply meditative nature of her artwork that she shares via social media.
Margaret currently lives in California and is a contemplative visual artist and a counselor. Her wide experience includes: many years of work as a Marriage and Family therapist; offering transpersonal counseling and meditation to adults and children; teaching concentration meditation in education and health services; digital artist and software trainer; and online educator facilitating courses in Sri Aurobindo’s Integral Yoga Psychology. Her digital meditations have appeared in numerous publications.
Margaret describes her practice of contemplative visual art in these words:
“My background includes a practice of Agni Yoga, a Light-Fire Energy meditation. As a follower of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother’s Yoga, my artwork reflects meditations on the Mother’s Shakti. Although my artwork has explored meditation for many years, in the last decade I have created digital images which can also be viewed as slide animations. My artwork is inspired by the inner purification, transformation, and creativity of meditation.”
For this special post for this special day, a day referred to as the Golden Day by the devotees of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo, I requested Margaret to share some of her contemplative digital artwork. And she kindly agreed.
But first, a brief background of the Golden Day.
On the evening of 29 February 1956, during a collective meditation in the Ashram playground, a stupendous event happened opening the gateway for the next future of the earth-consciousness. The manifestation of the Supramental in the earth consciousness was achieved. The Mother described this realisation in these words:
This evening the Divine Presence, concrete and material, was there present amongst you. I had a form of living gold, bigger than the universe, and I was facing a huge and massive golden door which separated the world from the Divine.
As I looked at the door, I knew and willed, in a single movement of consciousness, that “the time has come”, and lifting with both hands a mighty golden hammer I struck one blow, one single blow on the door and the door was shattered to pieces.
Then the supramental Light and Force and Consciousness rushed down upon earth in an uninterrupted flow. (29 February 1956, CWM, Vol. 13, pp. 51-52)
The Mother described the significance of this great spiritual event as the beginning of a new world:
Up to now, all that has manifested of this divinity is the world as we know it; but the manifestation is boundless, and after this mental world as we know it, of which the apex and prototype is man, another reality will manifest, which Sri Aurobindo calls the Supermind, for it is in fact the next step after the mind; so, seen from the world as it is, it will naturally be “supramental”, that is, something above the mind. And he also says that it will truly be the changing of one world into another, for so far the whole creation belonged to what he calls “the lower hemisphere” as we know it, which is governed by Ignorance and based upon the Inconscient, whereas the other one will be a complete reversal, the sudden appearance of something which will belong to quite a different world, and which instead of being based on Ignorance will be based upon Truth. That is why it will truly be a new world.
But if the essence, the principle of this world were not included in the world as we knew it, there would be no hope of the one being transformed into the other; they would be two worlds so totally different and opposed that there would be no contact between them and that necessarily, as soon as one came out of this world and emerged into the world of Truth, Light and Knowledge, one would become, so to speak, imperceptible, non existent for a world belonging exclusively to the Ignorance and the Inconscience.
How is it that even when this change has taken place, there will be a connection and this new world will be able to act upon the old one? It is that in its essence and principle the new is already enclosed, involved in the old world. So, in fact, it is there, inside, in its very depths, hidden, invisible, imperceptible, unexpressed, but it is there, in its essence. Still, unless from the supreme heights the supramental consciousness and force and light manifest directly in the world, as it happened a year and a half ago, this Supermind which in principle is at the very bedrock of the material world as it is, would never have any possibility of manifesting itself. (24th July, 1957, CWM, Vol. 9, pp. 157-158)
How can we collaborate in this new universal adventure of manifesting an entirely new supramental world? By starting to become more conscious, by consciously aspiring for an inner self-realisation, by growing within. Margaret’s work serves as a great reminder that this inner work can express itself in many forms.
The Mother’s and Sri Aurobindo’s words accompanying the images below are selected by Margaret. For a few of the images she has also given brief additional description.
Let these images lead you to a quietness within.
The image invokes the inner experience of the soul-force helping each part of us aspire to its truth supported by unconditional love.
There is but one remedy: that signpost must always be there, a (psychic) mirror well placed in one’s feelings, impulses, all one’s sensations. One sees them in this mirror. There are some which are not very beautiful or pleasant to look at; there are others which are beautiful, pleasant and must be kept. This one does a hundred times a day if necessary. And it is very interesting… If there is something that is not all right, it casts a sort of grey shadow upon the mirror: this element must be shifted, organized. It must be spoken to, made to understand, one must come out of that darkness.
~ The Mother, CWM, Vol. 5, p. 10
The inner landscape of the soul is a place of peace, beauty, and love. The individual’s mind, life, and body are experienced as different forms of vibration. The soul reflects the truth and beauty of these many different parts of our nature. The soul force provides the power and radiance to transform and grow toward union with the Divine.
These images explore the inner fire experienced as our soul-force connects us to our deeper, truer self.
It is the Agni fire that you feel. Agni is at once a fire of aspiration, a fire of purification, a fire of Tapasya, a fire of transformation. Agni in the form of an aspiration full of concentrated calm and surrender is certainly the first thing to be lighted in the heart. (pp. 371-372)
It is the Mother’s* Force that works in the Agni. (p. 373)
The central fire is in the psychic being**, but it can be lit in all the parts of the being. (p. 369)
~ Sri Aurobindo, CWSA, Vol. 30
The soul-force works on many levels to purify ignorance and obscurity throughout our nature. Purification is particularly important on the physical level. Healing our bodies allows our potential for growth and peace to manifest in our lives.
This is a visual concentration meditation. It can be used as a practice of trātak, which is concentrating on a luminous object to experience Oneness.
- Mother (the Divine Mother): the consciousness and force of the Divine; the Divine in its consciousness-force. The Mother is the divine conscious Force that dominates all existence, upholding us and the universe.
- Psychic being: the evolving soul of the individual, the divine portion in him which evolves from life to life, growing by its experiences until it becomes a fully conscious being. From its place behind the heart-centre, the psychic being supports the mind, life and body, aiding their growth and development. The term “soul” is often used as a synonym for “psychic being”, but strictly speaking there is a distinction: the soul is the psychic essence, the psychic being is the soul-personality put forward and developed by the psychic essence to represent it in the evolution.
- Supermind: the Supramental, the Truth-Consciousness, the Divine Gnosis, the highest divine consciousness and force operative in the universe. A principle of consciousness superior to mentality, it exists, acts and proceeds in the fundamental truth and unity of things and not like the mind in their appearances and phenomenal divisions. Its fundamental character is knowledge by identity, by which the Self is known, the Divine Sachchidananda is known, but also the truth of manifestation is known because this too is that.