The Golden Sufi Center

A Prayer for the World

Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee

Whenever dharma declines and the purpose
of life is forgotten,
I manifest myself on earth.
— KRISHNA(1)


Spiritual teachings have long told us that changes happen first in the inner planes and then gradually become manifest in the outer world of our daily life. Today we see signs of a world spinning out of balance in the destruction of our ecosystem, in our global economic volatility. If one wants to explore and understand what these changes might mean, one needs to go within, to where the forces that define our surface life constellate. My own journey has drawn me into the chambers of the heart, into the love and emptiness that are the home of the mystic. But this journey has also had a global dimension. I have been taken into the worlds that underlie creation, where I have been shown how the energies in these inner worlds are shifting, and how at this time a new energy is constellating, new patterns are evolving.

This exploration of the forces underlying creation began over thirty years ago with a series of journeys in the archetypal world(2), a reality long known to the shaman. Carl Jung describes these archetypal forces as the great determining factors within humanity, their patterns the “river beds” through which the waters of life flow. And as I journeyed in this ancient world I experienced how certain archetypal patterns were changing, certain new forces were awakening. When these forces begin to shift in the depths, one knows that something in the core of humanity is changing.

During these journeys the archetypes taught me much about the patterns behind existence, and how their own power worked within this ancient order. For example one figure, the Ancient of Days, showed me the meaning of time and how the growth of plants, the cycles of our body, the tides of our seas, are all reflected in the movement of the stars and the galaxies—the traditional understanding of “as above so below,” and how we have lost this flow and its purpose in our hectic lives. Instead we fight with time, trying to cram as much as we can into our hours and days, rather than revering its deeper meaning(3). And so we have wounded the archetype of time, even tried to imprison it within our schedules.(4) In turn it has turned bitter, giving a bleakness to the passage of our days.

Another figure, whose body was made of plants and fruits and all growing things, showed me the endless bounty of the earth, the generosity of creation. And yet because we have not revered its sacred nature we have lost the joy that is essential to life, the joy that is so evident in the moment a flower opens, or a fish’s scales are caught in the sunlight as it swims through the water. As a result we work so hard for so little, and have denied our self and our children the music and colors of creation, life’s essential giving and generosity. As much as I was shown their magic and knowledge, I also saw how these ancient archetypes, the forces that used to be revered as gods and that have underlain our existence for long, were rearranging themselves, making way for a new figure. This new energy would change the patterns of existence in ways beyond even their vast understanding. They knew that their time of power was coming to an end and they welcomed it. They all had been wounded by the way our rational culture had disregarded their existence, how our surface life had lost its conscious connection with the depths. They understood that unless this new energy could come into existence, something essential within the world would die, and even with all their power and wisdom they would not be able to stop this death.

As these forces began to shift, old patterns of power began to fall away and a new archetype emerged. This archetype appeared to me in the image of the cosmic child with stars in its eyes. And this child described itself as a space rather than a form, a sacred space in which we can be our true selves and experience the joy that belongs to life itself. This space includes everything, each according to its true nature, “all can be themselves as they are, as they were in the beginning.” This child also brings together the inner and the outer, spirit and matter, uniting the opposites in oneness.

This child is not born of the past, not even of the ancient order of the archetypes, but has come from a totally different dimension within our self and within the cosmos. It carries a possibility that is free of many of the patterns of the past, and it also has a magic that enables things to happen in a way they have never happened before. It is alive in a completely new way, belonging to the moment that is outside of time and yet fully present. It has similarities to the Christ child, born in the simplicity of the manger, amidst the ordinariness of life, and carrying a new possibility of love. But this archetype that is appearing has a cosmic dimension that is rarely present in Christian symbolism. This cosmic child is an unexpected promise and gift, and comes with a laughter and joy as well as a messenger from far distant galaxies.

Through the eyes of the child I began to become aware of how much we have restricted ourselves, imprisoned our human potential in the forms of our rational conditioning. And now coming alive within the depths of humanity is a new way to be, a way that returns us to the sacred core of our being and its magical potential. If we have access to this archetypal energy many of the toys of triviality that we use to distract and entertain us will no longer be needed. Once again we can be nourished directly by life and its inherent joy. And in this reconnection are many possibilities of healing both ourselves and our planet. We would again be given access to the magic within creation.

At the beginning of the year 2000 I began to see this new archetype as a spark of consciousness waiting to be given to humanity both individually and as a whole. This consciousness of oneness is well known to the mystic, because it belongs to the consciousness of our Higher Self, or atman, which exists in a plane of love and oneness, in which everything is included and known according to its true nature. It is symbolized by the mandala in which all the different parts form an image of beauty and wholeness. But this new consciousness is not just a spiritual ideal, reached through years of meditation, but a tangible reality already visible in our global communication. It is present in the Internet and cell-phone networks that form an interconnected whole, a dynamic oneness to which more and more of the world has access, from the cyber cafes in Uzbekistan to the cell phones of Somalia. And yet claiming this consciousness also requires that we make a step away from our present ego-centered focus and take responsibility for the whole, as our ecological crisis is demanding. But sadly we seem reluctant to leave behind our ego-driven images of fulfillment and self-gratification.

After journeying into the depths I began to see the darkness that surrounds us now, and how it does not want something so precious as this new consciousness to be given so freely. I saw how we are controlled by the forces that manipulate us into greed, that create the web of desire that holds us in the grip of this consumer society that is poisoning our souls and the planet. These forces keep us focused on our self, our own wants and needs, and also busy on the surface, away from the inner energy that might free us. They can be seen at work within the multinational companies that control so much of the buying and selling we call life, and yet they come from a deeper place within creation, a place that does not want any change, that does not want the light. These forces are also ancient and powerful; they know cunning and deceit and how to make us sell our souls for a few pieces of silver. They offer us the image of progress even while they deny us the sacred light that alone can nourish our souls and our daily life. And they are feeding off the life-blood of the planet.

Not only do they draw us into this web of wanting, but they also make sure that we remain unfulfilled, addicted to the products that promise so much and give so little. And these forces are even more dangerous because they are covering the world in forgetfulness, the forgetfulness of our divine nature. How can we reconnect with our soul when we have forgotten we have a soul? How can we reclaim our divine nature when we have forgotten we are divine? The forces of forgetfulness are very powerful and we are so easily seduced by the false sweetness we are offered. We become indentured servants selling their products, not even knowing the light we have left behind.

And then I was taken into the very core of creation, and saw that the shift that is being offered to humanity and to the whole world comes only every thousands of years. This is not just the shift into a new age, but into a way of being that has not been offered for many millennia. And the world is included in a way that it has not been since the beginning, since the early days when consciousness was first present within humanity and everything was sacred. This time is just a distant memory in our collective consciousness, a time “before the fall” which we retain as an image called paradise when in the imagery of the Bible we walked in the garden of Eden together with God. This was a time before time, when humanity was not separate from the sacred, when the simplicity and directness of our divine nature were present in every breath, in every step. Sometimes, even today, one can encounter children who still live for a few years in this magical world, before the coldness of our competitive culture freezes them out of its warmth. But I was shown that humanity has the possibility to claim this connection once again, to no longer live in separation, to no longer live in exile.

And then I was reminded that there was a time when the heart of the world was awake and sang the song of creation. And I heard this ancient song that brought tears to my own heart, and I knew that if the heart of the world started to sing all of creation would come alive in a new way, that it would be like spring at the end of thousands of years of winter. And I saw how the sacred colors would return, and birds of remembrance would sing, and how we could reconnect with all the different creatures of the earth and know their language and their ways and once again live in harmony with all of creation. And the doors between the worlds would open and all levels of existence could commune and nourish each other. Even the presence of angels and devas would no longer be a supposition but part of the lives of all the inhabitants of this world, as it was in the long distant past.

On the most practical level the nature spirits can teach us how to live in harmony with the forces of nature, how to grow crops that are sustainable and nourishing. There are also great devas that can help in purifying the pollution in the air and the water, as well as teaching us once again the healing properties of plants and the magic of stones. It is time for us to acknowledge our kinship with creation, and with the forces within creation, to learn how to communicate with the elemental inhabitants of the planet, to respect their ways as well as gain from their knowledge. We are all part of one living whole, each part contributing. The devas and other spirits will also gain from communion with humanity, for they too have suffered from this isolation, often withdrawing deep into the inner worlds as we have denied their existence, polluted their sacred streams, cut down their groves.

In the West we have forgotten much about the inner worlds, though in recent years there has been some increased interest in nature spirits and how to work with them, and we have kept an awareness of angels. But it is so long since the heart of the world has sung that we have even forgotten it’s existence in our mythological memory. There are traces of it in the Australian aboriginal song lines through which the aboriginal people find their way through the bush. However, we do not even know that the world has a heart, let alone that it can sing. But there is the possibility for this song to return, for the world to awaken again. When I felt the promise of this primal music it stirred something deep within me that belongs to the magic of the very beginning, when everything in creation was given its sacred name and purpose.(5) When we feel this song we will know what it really means to be alive and to be a part of the many dimensions that are present in existence.

And I saw the new knowledge that was waiting to be given to the world, the technologies of the future as revolutionary as the Internet has been in the last few short years. I knew that the understanding of the power of light would be primary, because sunlight is free and can be used in a way that does not cause pollution. It is also symbolically time for us to connect with the power source at the center of our solar system, and to bring that power down into our daily life. The same power that ripens our grains and fruits can meet our energy needs. Also our understanding of the spiritual light of a human being will evolve and become accessible in ways that are hidden from us at present(6). We will be given back more of our spiritual heritage, the divine that is waiting within us to be lived.

The ways of the future will be simple rather than complex, and they will be given to humanity as a whole, because wholeness is the stamp of the coming era. The time of the warring brothers is past and oneness is beginning, and the ways of oneness will always be simple. Yes, there will be a dark side to this coming era, a misuse of its magic and powers. On this plane of existence there has to remain the duality of light and dark, and human beings will be tested as they have always been tested. But no one will want to return to the grey world of our present era, with its many divisions and deprivations.

So much was shown to me in the inner worlds, the light and the darkness. And I saw the places of power that belong to the future, waiting to be awakened, waiting for their energy to be activated. The power of places like Stonehenge lies in eras of the distant past, but there are new places waiting whose energy belongs to the next step in our human evolution, places that will bring together the energies heaven and earth in a new way, and use the sacred power that belongs to both. And there are ways to activate these places, no longer with buildings, pyramids or stone circles that mark the rising of the sun, but with small groups of initiates who know the words to be spoken, the prayers to be said, who hold in their hearts the key to these places and will be given the wisdom of how to use their power for the benefit of humanity.

In many ways it is small groups who will become the centers of power of the new age, forming a network of light. Small groups of mystics and seekers are already holding a new light for humanity, forming a web of light around the world. They have no structure or organization, do not even know how they are linked together. But they are part of the organic structure of the light body of the planet, helping in its evolution, very different from the hierarchical, organized forces of darkness that are so visible. And I saw how a thread of divine remembrance was being woven into the light body of the planet, and how this could help in its healing. And how the darkness was always trying to divert our attention, to take us back to the ego and the curse of consumerism.

And so the drama of our world continued to be played out through the weeks and months and years; and the world was dying, and the soul of the world was crying for help. And some souls were responding to this call and others were caught in forgetfulness. And the heart of the world was waiting.

On the world stage there were wars and the fears of terrorists, a stock market bubble and a real estate and banking collapse. And all the time within creation a light was trying to be born, and some souls were drawn to act as midwives, to help it to be born. I saw in my prayers and meditations that there was a new note in the love at the core of creation, and that this note of love had not been played before. This new note of love is like a key that opens a new level of perception within us, awakens centers of power within the world and within humanity.(7)

And I saw how the darkness was gathering its forces to make sure that nothing new could be born. As always the destiny of humanity in this world is played out between the forces of light and darkness, but at this time of transition this contest of forces is emphasized. While the light and the love struggle to give us our divine heritage, our freedom and joy, the darkness finds new ways to distract us and to deny the light its power. And I saw more and more clearly that alone humanity could not make this transition. It has been too long since it knew about the workings of the inner worlds. Its shamans and seers have almost all gone. We have forgotten the places of power and the sacred words. Instead we are left with a few new-age teachings, which may bring us some light but have little understanding of the forces in creation.

And so we are left waiting in the gathering darkness. Slowly the light of the last age is going out. Slowly the meaning of life is being lost, until, as in Shakespeare’s Macbeth,

Life’s but a walking shadow…
….…It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.(8)

The light of the sacred is something fundamental to human existence: only the sacred gives real meaning to our everyday lives. And yet our rational culture has rejected it, dismissed its symbols as superstition, so that we no longer even know what we have lost. And not content with polluting the outer world, we have taken our greed into the inner world, using its symbols to sell products we do not need. Even worse, we have learnt how to use (or misuse) the magical potential of images and the imagination for materialistic gain—to attract the outer life we want, even the car we may desire. This selling of a “secret” for personal gain is a form of prostitution: the prostitution of our own soul that is polluting the inner world just as we have polluted our outer world.

Like Macbeth we have killed our king, our sacred self, for the values of the ego, for personal power and gain, not really knowing what this means until the light goes out, and we are left with only the wasteland of the inner and outer worlds.

Just as a light is waiting to born within the world, the light as we know it is dying, is fading away. This life without light, without meaning or purpose, is what we have created or been drawn into. And there is a moment in cosmic time when the soul of the world can no longer bear the absence of light and will forget its own divine purpose, will become lost. When the light of an individual soul is lost it cannot find its way. It becomes a lost soul, wandering in the darkness of forgetfulness without purpose: “And to whomsoever God assigns no light, no light has he.”(9) And it is said that what happens to an individual could happen to the would soul, to the light within the world. Then the light in the world could not be reborn, but would remain extinguished, and the dark ages will come upon us.

The time when one light fades before another light is born is always the most dangerous. It is a time of transition when the fate of the world hangs in balance. Will we be the midwives of a new consciousness, give birth to an era of oneness? Or will the darkness come upon us, denying us any purpose, making it impossible for us to find our way? And sadly we seem ignorant of this moment, as if our patterns of denial are so strong we are unable to take responsibility for our fate or the fate of the world. The signs of the need for change are all around us. There is even a deep anxiety that is beginning to surface within our collective Western consciousness that life as we know it cannot continue. Forces are building up in the inner and outer worlds. Those who listen to their dreams and the dreams of others have seen the tsunami coming, the dark clouds gathering on the horizon, as well as seeing images of a new future, a return to the sacred and the simple joy of life. And yet collectively we have been conditioned to think that our problems are only in the physical world around us, and our politicians are more concerned about short term economic goals than the ecological crisis we can no longer deny.

There is an ancient prophecy that at a time of real crisis, not just a physical disaster but a crisis on the level of the soul, divine intercession is possible.(10) Many people have experienced this within their own life, how a time of despair and darkness becomes a moment of grace. But we have forgotten that what happens to an individual could also happen to the whole world. We have mythic memories of the flood when an angry God sought to destroy the darkness, but we do not know what it might mean for the power of divine light to intercede. We have forgotten about the power of God. It is not even present in our prophecies.

We have done so much damage to ourselves and to the world, and the forces of darkness have hidden us from the light. We are caught more deeply in the darkness than we know, but this is one of powers of darkness—it does not let us see the danger. From my own inner experience I know that only the Divine can effect real transformation, and that Divine Presence is needed to heal the world. As a mystic I know what it means for a fragment of Divine Power to come into my heart and into my life: how it can change everything in a moment. I know the absolute reality of This Presence and how the forces of darkness cannot withstand It.

On our own we cannot make the shift that we need to make, and we can no longer afford to wait. Soon all the light will be gone and the possibilities for the future will be covered over. From the hearts of those who belong to God a prayer for the world is born, an impassioned cry that echoes the cry of the world soul to call the Divine back into this world, to open the door of our hearts and the whole world for our Creator and Beloved. There will be a price to pay for our forgetfulness, as we finally take responsibility for our ego-centered culture that has ravaged the world. Maybe this is one of the reasons why we hide from the light. But “His mercy is greater than His justice,” and how can the world be reborn without the presence of divine Light?

May the Beloved return and take this world in both hands, and with tears and tenderness wash away the debris, with power and light pierce through the darkness and awaken the light that is at the core of creation. This meeting of light and light will spin the world on its new axis of love, its new place in the unfolding wonder of the cosmos. Without the return of Divine Light our world will drift without meaning, lost in the backwaters of existence. We need Divine Presence more than we know, more than we dare to acknowledge. We have failed in our guardianship of the planet, forgetting its sacred substance and purpose, using it merely for our own gain. We have forgotten to read the signs of God. And now we are living in a moment in its history which will determine its future for many millennia. The world knows that it is dying, and although we cannot bring it back to life, we can turn our attention to the One Being whose power and beauty can.

We are the prayer of the world, our cry is its cry. We carry within us, within each of us, the knowing of our divine origin and our hearts each have their own connection with God. We need this connection of love to be the messenger to our Beloved, to remind God of our weakness and need, of our failing and forgetfulness. Each in our own way we make our prayer, we turn towards God. And this turning of our hearts is our deepest offering, the thing that is most real in this world. We pray that our Beloved hears this cry in our hearts and the heart of the world. And we know that all is according to Thy will.

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FOOTNOTES

(1) Bhagavad-Gita, (Book 4, verse 7).
(2) This series of archetypal journeys has been published online: http://archetypaljourneys.wordpress.com/
(3) The deeper meaning of time is captured most beautifully in the passage from Ecclesiastes (3:1-8) that begins, “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.”
(4) This archetypal energy is often imaged as Chronos or Saturn, the lord of time.
(5) The significance of the naming of creation is present in the Qur’an, “And He taught Adam the names of all things.” (Sura 2:31).
(6) I have written a number of books, including Light of Oneness and Alchemy of Light that contain some of the teachings about spiritual light that belong to the future.
(7) See Vaughan-Lee, Awakening the World, pp. 115-124.
(8) Macbeth, Act 5, scene 5, 24-28.
(9) Qur’an 24:40.
(10) This is similar to Krishna’s prophecy in the Bhagavad-Gita, see quote above.