Language and Enlightenment

By Wes Annac, Culture of Awareness

Language fascinates me.

It provides us with a way to express what’s in the mind, heart and soul, and as if the ability to speak weren’t enough, we also have writing – the manipulation of symbols to express long, flowing thoughts that build upon one another like bricks.

I’m interested in expanding the stream of thought, which can be expressed vocally or in the form of writing, and I’m especially interested in the vibration of sound.

I want to crack the code behind language; I want to discover how it relates to the evolution of the spirit, because to me, it’s an important and valuable tool.

Even though I’m a writer, which requires silence and stillness (two things that are good for a spiritual seeker), sound captures my attention as much as the stream of thought and the platform provided by words for self-expression.

I want to crack the code behind language; I want to discover how it relates to the evolution of the spirit, because to me, it’s an important and valuable tool.

As you can imagine, I was delighted to find some words from one of my favorite spiritual writers/teachers, Franklin Merrell-Wolff, about language and its role in spiritual evolution.

Franklin Merrell-Wolff: The Spiritual Explorer

I enjoy Franklin’s writings because they were written from the perspective of someone who was on an adventure.

He was exploring new inner territory while recording what he witnessed so he could help others reach similar states of being, and you could tell through his writings that he was excited to unlock the secrets of the universe.

I appreciate the concept of the spiritual explorer, and I like to think I may have been an explorer in a previous life.

Many of us are exploring higher states for ourselves through meditation and other things meant to bring our awareness to our connection with God, and Franklin’s writings speak to the inner explorer in us all.

Does Thought Prevent Enlightenment?

I was unsurprised to see that Franklin believed words are an impediment to enlightenment and insufficient to describe it, because they prevent you from exploring the silence and tapping into the ‘Current’ of higher vibrations.

I like to think I enter a light meditative state when I write (especially when I write for long periods of time), because I can feel the vibrations moving just beyond my surface awareness.

Writers aren’t just trying to express their thoughts clearly; whether or not they know it, they’re trying to maintain a smooth, flowing connection with the meditative Current on the other side.

I can sense the visions that accompany them, and I get the feeling that a few minutes in silence with my eyes closed would enhance it all.

As I mentioned, writing also requires long amounts of time in silence.

The reason for this is that writers aren’t just trying to express their thoughts clearly; whether or not they know it, they’re trying to maintain a smooth, flowing connection with the meditative Current on the other side.

This is where their creative inspiration and mental clarity come from, and silence is essential to keeping a decent connection.

Creative Writers Are in Tune

Many creative writers are in tune with this higher aspect of their consciousness, and they recognize that they actually spend time in an astral realm of their own mental creation when they write.

Imagination is wonderful, but the masses have no idea just what it is or what it can do.

Avid Facebookers in the writing community may recognize the slogan, “I’m a writer – I dream while awake”, often printed onto advertised T-shirts and hoodies.

In my opinion, the dream realm is the astral realm or fourth dimension (the place we’re believed to go after death) and creative writing involves creating from within this reality in your own mind.

Imagination is wonderful, but the masses have no idea just what it is or what it can do. This, among other reasons, is why I’m fascinated with words.

Words Are Meaningless Without Meditation

Despite my fascination, I recognize that thought can be an impediment to the soul’s evolution and I take time to meditate when I’m not writing.

There are plenty of ways to expand your consciousness temporarily – writing, music, painting, other creative work, exercise – but none of them hold a candle to meditation.

Psychedelic enthusiasts who feel that meditation has nothing to offer can rest assured that it’ll take them to incredible places when combined with the entheogenic experience.

They’re probably correct that meditation by itself is inferior to entheogenic meditation, but plenty of spiritual seekers who abstain from psychedelics would disagree.

My stance is that we should do what works for us and be content with other people’s paths as long as they don’t disrespect ours.

It’d be easier to respect our various paths if we were all aware of enlightenment, but as long as your lifestyle works for you, there’s no real reason to tell others how to live.

One thing’s for sure – language is powerful but it alone won’t enlighten us.

Language Misrepresents Transcendent Consciousness

Franklin explains the futility of attempting to describe enlightenment with words, telling us they’re tied to the earthly ‘subject-object relationship’ and could never be used to describe the unknowable.

“[Fundamental Recognition] is an unequivocal transcendence of the subject-object relationship.

“Herein lies the rationale of the inevitable ineffability of mystical insight. All language is grounded in the subject-object relationship, and so, at best, can only misrepresent transcendent consciousness when an effort is made to express its immediately given value.” (1)

Language, he writes, is the ‘creation and vehicle’ of the ego.

“Language is the creation and vehicle of [egoistic] consciousness. It is imbedded in the subject-object relationship.

“Speech or writing as from the perspective of the SELF involves unavoidable obscurity, analogous to that which would be found in attempting to express abstract thought in the very concrete language of a primitive people, but in the former case the difficulty is very much greater.

“Only in the Silence can the SELF be known as It is, and this is not ‘knowing’ in the subject-object sense.” (2)

Keep in mind that depending on which school of spiritual thought you subscribe to, what we know as the ego and the material world are the creation of the Divine Mother.

The Divine Mother is the creative aspect of God we can know in lower states of consciousness, and the Divine Father is the unknowable aspect expressed through the qualities of the divine masculine (strength, perseverance, presence, centeredness, leadership, tenderness, humility, etc.).

The Father is the great mystery that a million enlightenments would only partially illumine.

We identify with the Mother when we create art in the form of writing, poetry, music, paintings or anything else, because the Mother is the knowable creative force that slowly enlightens us through our own creativity.

A Lifestyle Built on Creative Work and Meditation

Even though it can get out of control if you let it, the ego is the work of the Divine Mother and you can use it to make incredible things while you’re here.

This is why my spirituality is centered on creative work, which utilizes the ego to an extent, and meditation, which quiets the ego and opens one to a higher consciousness.

Many teachers, including those Franklin followed with enthusiasm, taught disconnection from the earthly aspects of one’s consciousness (i.e. the Mother’s creation) in favor of enlightenment or a subtle understanding of the great mystery.

Creative work induces a light meditation and brings me closer with the Mother, and meditation brings me a sliver closer with the unknowable Father.

When Franklin and others allude to the great, unknowable mystery, they’re usually referring to the Father.

Many teachers, including those Franklin followed with enthusiasm, taught disconnection from the earthly aspects of one’s consciousness (i.e. the Mother’s creation) in favor of enlightenment or a subtle understanding of the great mystery.

They didn’t teach disconnection from the qualities associated with the Mother such as love and compassion, but they did teach disconnection from our fascination with the aspects of the Mother’s creation that they felt were distracting.

Focusing solely on unity with the Father is probably the quickest way to reach any kind of enlightenment.

However, if you want to take the journey a little slower so you can stop and see the sights, the Divine Mother offers a more gradual form of spiritual progression that involves creating things while you’re on this planet.

It’s centered on creativity as a means to expand consciousness and uplift others, and if you decide to take it up, I highly recommend setting aside time for meditation.

Even if creativity forms the foundation of your spirituality, why not grow closer with the mystery by making time to explore the silence? If you’re ever at a brick wall with your creative work, you might find that meditation is just what you need.

The Ego and the Rules of Writing

Franklin writes that language can be utilized properly from an egoistic standpoint, but it fails when describing the great mystery.

“Now, from the egoistic or ‘self-conscious’ standpoint language can be used correctly. But in the case the expression is about the event or reality as seen from the outside; it is not the event or reality itself. Expression as from the SELF, which is expression in the Current, IS the Reality.

“Necessarily there is a mystical quality in the latter, but not implying irrationality in the sense of anti-rationality. In fact the SELF is REASON, while all external reasoning is but a reflection of that REASON and, in most cases a very poor reflection indeed.” (3)

Sometimes, the rules of writing will have to be abandoned out of necessity to properly describe the mystery.

“The rules of literary form will have to be sacrificed when they interfere with the main purpose. At times I write in the midst of the Current, yet at other times more or less out of It. The Current carries Authority, and in the face of this literary rules must be discarded when they act as barriers to Meaning.” (4)

Whether it comes to writing or anything else, the Current is more important than fitting in with societal standards.

When revelations flow straight from the Source, they have to be recorded regardless of whether the descriptions concocted by the mind and soul are in line with society’s rules.

You’ll notice in some spiritual writings that rules are broken and barriers crossed for the sake of proper explanation. Even if it seems sloppy, an edited description would fail to describe the experience accurately.

In terms of style or neatness, it would be even worse than the original.

Writing: A Slow but Necessary Process

Franklin writes that in comparison to the speed and clarity with which he could receive flowing thoughts and revelations, writing them down is a slow process.

“I am exploring a new world. There is so much which requires to be thought into clarity that there seems not to be time enough for the writing, setting aside all more external activities. But it is necessary that a record should be kept as far as the inner events and ideas can be captured.

My thought is extraordinarily clear. An increasing amount of it is now within the range of formulation, but my actual thought is in the form of a sort of shorthand which takes much less time than the completed expression on paper or the spoken word. The writing process seems so slow!

“I shall place down what I can in this record as the material comes to the foreground, leaving systematic formulation to the future.” (5)

Despite this, in a later passage he described his growing passion for writing down his experiences and observations.

“There is a growing compulsion to write. At first I did not care to bother with writing or with any other form of expression. Even the world of thought, hitherto always a rich one with me, became inferior to the Consciousness induced by the Recognition wherein I found Myself sustaining the universe.

“But I have accepted duty in the relative world and that duty has become, first, thought, and then as complete an exposition of it as its racing current will permit. At first I made myself write but now there is a growing compulsion that sends me to the typewriter.” (6)

I can relate to the initial struggle to write, which is often followed by the urge to do it because the thoughts and expressions suddenly flow clearly.

Instantaneous Thought and Expression

When Franklin describes his thoughts as ‘a sort of shorthand’ that comes in more quickly than the words to express it, he describes the manner of thought and expression common in higher states of consciousness.

Could you imagine receiving or communicating thousands of books worth of information in a single thought?

This expression is instantaneous, and words aren’t a part of it at all.

In their place are complex images and streams of thought that, despite appearing in an instant as a single thought package, could fill thousands of books.

Could you imagine receiving or communicating thousands of books worth of information in a single thought? This is what awaits us in higher states of consciousness, and as you can probably imagine, words don’t compare.

For now, however, words are useful and they’ll take us far before they’re no longer needed. Then, we can exchange them for an unparalleled method of communication that will far surpass anything we currently know.

Footnotes:

  1. Franklin Merell-Wolff, Philosophy of Consciousness without an Object. Reflections on the Nature of Transcendental Consciousness. New York: Julian Press, 1973, 39.
  2. Franklin Merrell-Wolff, Pathways Through to Space. A Personal Record of Transformation in Consciousness. New York: Julian Press, 1973, 25.
  3. Loc. Cit.
  4. Ibid., 26.
  5. Ibid., 9.
  6. Ibid., 15.
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