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#2329 - Thursday, December 1, 2005 - Editor: Jerry Katz

This issue features another typed-out excerpt from Coming Home: The Experience of Enlightenment in Sacred Traditions, by Lex Hixon. Foreward by Ken Wilber. The book is out of print, but several used copies are available for about three bucks each through    

Coming Home: The Experience of Enlightenment in Sacred Traditions, by Lex Hixon.    


Imagine you are wandering through a vast cathedral. Countless stained-glass windows, radiant in the darkness, represent the modes of worship and ways of understanding that humanity has evolved throughout its history. Some windows picture Divine Presence through personal forms of attributes, and seekers worship before these windows with devotion. Other seekers, preferring the way of wisdom, contemplate stained-glass windows that present nothing personal, simply esoteric patterns evoking primal harmony and unity. Devotion and wisdom are alternate ways to Enlightenment. Some sacred traditions interweave both ways.   What occurs as we contemplate these cathedral windows? We are really experiencing Light, diffused through complicated contexts that have been created, individually and communally, by visionary artisans. And we cannot step outside this cathedral, which is human thinking, because we must depend on some personal and cultural medium. We cannot articulate any experience, even to ourselves, without some process of thinking. This is not imprisonment but simply the nature of the Light or Reality, which expresses itself as experience only through some particular medium.  

We may feel disappointed. Can we never encounter directly whatever is out there, beyond the opaque windows of personal and cultural interpretation? Can we experience Reality only indirectly? What and where is the Source of this Light? Such inquiry leads us deeper into contemplative thinking, and as our contemplation intensifies, a surprising reversal of  perspective occurs. This is the experience of Enlightenment through which we cease to imagine ourselves simply within this cathedral of the human mind. We become aware that the essence of the Light that illuminates the countless windows. We realize Consciousness to be the Light which constitutes all phenomena. We are always shining outside the cathedral, but there is nothing out there to see, only to be. Our True Nature alone is there: Divine Radiance, or Ultimate Consciousness. Particular experiences can occur only through particular windows, but we are the Clear Light that the human mind, which has created this vast cathedral, refracts through all its languages and images.  

Each window of devotion or wisdom translates the same radiance of Ultimate Consciousness by means of personal figures or symbolic patterns unique to itself. Through dedicated contemplation of even a single window, we can attune to Light, or Reality, and eventually realize that our intrinsic nature is this Light. Once realizing the universal cathedral to be flooded with the conscious Light of our True Nature, once Enlightenment has dawned, we are at home everywhere. We have been freed from the competition between worldviews, by understanding the essential equality of all windows of contemplation and the harmony between the ways of wisdom and of devotion. Everywhere in this vast cathedral, through all possible languages and images, we now recognize the Light, or Consciousness, which we are, which all Beings are, which Being is.  

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