"Images" of God
A Personal Matter
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Ardue Site Plan
See also:Why Temple
The Economy of Life
It is probably unfortunate that most temples are associated with a particular religion and that most religions prescribe a set of dogmas to which their adherents are expected to subscribe. It is my hypothesis that it is not necessary to subscribe to any particular religion in order to live a religious life but that it is healthy to make room in one's life for, and give expression to, religious feelings if one becomes aware of them. This is further discussed in Why 'Temple'?.
The temple provides a space and an ambience conducive to contemplation. It assists the meditator to escape temporarily not only from the concrete world but also from the thoughts connected with the humdrum details of daily living. The temple user (or worshipper) sets aside the time to visit the temple and also contributes by trying to achieve the single-pointed concentration needed to gain some measure of understanding of the possible meaning of life and hence determine more clearly the part he wishes to play in the world. If 'all the world's a stage' as Shakespeare suggests, then each actor has a large measure of control over the writing of the script for her part and over the 'business' associated with it in performance.
The Ardue Temple is therefore a purely mental construction. However, just as physical temples have traditionally been constructed as symbolic representations of spiritual truths, so the Ardue Temple is constructed as a symbolic representation or psychological analogue of what I imagine to be the essential Economy of Life.
As with all temples, the design of the Ardue Temple attempts to represent in symbolic form some of the important relationships that seem to me to exist between the individual human being and the greater Cosmos of which s/he is part. It represents my current mental model of the operation of the principal 'laws' which seem to govern the personal aspects of the Cosmos.
Even though this model will probably change and, I trust, improve, with time, it is offered here and now in the hope that it may serve as an elementary introduction for students interested in the study and practice of mysticism and metaphysical philosophy.
Looked at from the side, the Ardue Temple looks like a cone with the apex upwards. At the apex is a light. Lower down the cone, there is a transparent "false ceiling" or filter through which some of the light can penetrate to a reflecting "Ground" floor at the base of the cone. The cleaner this ceiling is kept, the more clearly will its image be reflected in the floor below.
The 'asterisk' in the centre represents the Light which forms the apex of the cone. The essays grouped under 'Light' attempt to explain a little of its significance.
The circle enclosing a 'Star of David' shape is the semi-transparent 'ceiling' intermediate between the apex of the cone and the base. This ceiling is intended to represent the individual's personal experience of life including the external influences arising from Nature (symbolised by the star) and society (symbolised by the shading surrounding the star). The reasons for the design of this ceiling are explained in The Economy of Life. At this point, it is sufficient to note that the degree of transparency of the ceiling determines how much light gets through to the reflective floor which is represented in the logo by the outer circle.
The colours at the points of the star were chosen to set off the white central hexagon mainly because they were readily available in my software and I thought they 'looked nice'. However, they also serve as a code whereby the quotations in the Perpetual Meditation Calendar may be related to one of our seven topics to start off a daily reflection or meditation. Experience suggests that consistent repetition of a weekly round of topics for reflection causes helpful thoughts to become embedded in our sub-conscious minds and thus become part of our 'character'.
This central circle also bears a symbolic resemblance to the eye. The grey shading corresponds to the eyelids, the coloured points of the star to the iris, and the white centre to the pupil. It suggests that if we keep our lids closed (i.e. blink or 'are blinkered') we are content to accept without question whatever thoughts and beliefs prevail in our immediate circle. The coloured points filter the 'light' of experience symbolising the way in which the conclusions we draw from our experience may be 'coloured' by culture and schooling, but also reminding us of the way in which the iris of the eye adapts to the ambient light and enables us to 'take in' perceptions gradually, so preserving us from being overwhelmed by a 'blinding flash'. Our ultimate objective should be to gently enlarge the central pupil so that it may eventually fill the whole eye. We shall then be fully illumined.
The 'motto' surrounding the logo is intended as a reminder that the Holy Spirit of the Architect of the Universe surrounds and pervades this Temple as it surrounds and pervades all other forms and aspects of consciousness. It reminds us that while we human beings have bodies, it is Spirit that animates us; that while our bodies exhibit superficial differences between us, the animating Spirit within each of us is identical; that while our temporal bodily circumstances may differ greatly, our eternal spiritual essence is One and the Same.
Although we may appear to be fragmented, we have the potential to become living examples of Unity in Diversity. To be Holy is to be Healthy. To be Whole is to be Wealthy.
The floor, analogous to the retina of the eye, is intended to represent the human being's capacity for reflecting upon life's experiences, drawing conclusions from them, and acting upon these conclusions. This idea is further expounded in the essay entitled "Reflection". For the present, please note that the clarity of one's reflections depends on the amount of light reaching the reflecting base, i.e. on the individual's ability to 'see through' life's experiences.
Whereas the experience of the great majority of humans, even of those who choose to keep the symbolic eye open, is initially limited to the space between the floor and the false ceiling, there may be a few who aspire to see increasingly clearly through the false ceiling and perhaps utimately extend their consciousness above it.