The work of art that the earth demands

Everyone works on his own inner form which is invisible, transparent, and yet decisive for his life

The work of art that the earth demands

Sometimes, when I see people in greater numbers, I get the sensation of a tremendous potential, so great that it could make the Earth a new star, a work of art in space. Of course, the thought does occur that we are doing a great deal of damage to the Earth instead. But couldn’t this be an – albeit bizarre – indication that we can also do something very special in the other direction?

Some researchers suspect that humanity in its development of consciousness has just reached puberty (C.G. Jung, Wolfgang Schad). This is understandable. The crises we cause would then be part of a path to adulthood.

The thinking of a number of philosophers and poets points in this direction. In a dialogue with the earth, Goethe’s Faust says: “You stir the strengthening resolution in me, that strives, forever, towards highest Being.” (Faust II, act 1). It is obvious that we have not yet achieved such a Being. Rilke also has a dialogue with the earth. In his Ninth Duino Elegy he asks:

Earth, is it not this that you want: to rise

invisibly in us? – Is that not your dream,

to be invisible, one day? – Earth! Invisible!

What is your urgent command if not transformation?

Earth, beloved, I will. […]

Namelessly, I have been truly yours, from the first.


What is meant by this invisibility?

Jakob Böhme, the great mystic who lived about 400 years ago, wrote about a development through which the earth and man become transparent:

In our gross material body there is a subtle power and virtue, just as in the earth there is a subtle good virtue, which is like the sun and is one and the same with the sun, which also in the beginning of time did spring and proceed out of the divine power and virtue, from which all the good virtue of the body is also derived. This good virtue of our mortal body – so Böhme continues – shall come again and live fore ever in a kind of transparent, crystalline, material property, in spiritual flesh and blood; as shall also the good virtue of the earth, for the earth likewise shall become crystalline, and the divine light will shine in every thing that has a being, essence and substance.

(taken from: Jakob Böhme, The supersensual life)

The anthropologist Jean Gebser explains in his work The Ever-Present Origin: The Foundations and Manifestations of the Aperspectival World in which he depicts the development of the consciousness of mankind, that something transparent and translucent is emerging. Gebser calls it the diaphainon. It will shine through everything that has “essence character” in the spatio-temporal world. (“Wesens-Charakter”) What is the reason for such a development? Gebser: “It is the presence of the origin that reaches consciousness itself, because one of its carriers, man, has gone through the development of consciousness, has rejoiced through it, but has also suffered through it” (Vol. 2).

The origin of life gives the impulses for the great steps of development. It is incumbent upon us to grasp and understand them and to adjust our lives to them. We must “know about the process that is taking place” (Gebser).

Rilke writes in a letter (Nov. 13, 1925): “… our task is to imprint on our minds this temporary, fragile earth through so much suffering, so deeply, and passionately, that its essence resurrects ‘invisibly’ in us. We are the bees of the invisible. We are incessantly harvesting the honey of the visible so that it is stored in the vast golden beehive of the invisible.” And in the Seventh Duino Elegy, Rilke speaks of the “dreamed temple of the future” that is announced.

When things become transparent

The invisible, the transparent, is the spiritual and ethereal that belongs to every being. It can be renewed through contact with the sources of origin. If this takes place within us, we can participate in invoking it everywhere, in all life in nature. The material forms then become luminous from within, the coarse-material becomes transparent, its soul aspect can be experienced.

As a child I had the feeling that I would not be able to live “like that”, “like that” as I perceived it all around me. But then I followed the normal paths. I got the strength for it through an intensive search. Recently, I came across Hölderlin’s words: “It was a joy to live in loving night from now on and to keep in simple-minded eyes, steadfastly, abysses of wisdom” (in: Patmos). I can experience the “loving night”, the invisible spiritual-soulfulness that carries us, and also the value of “simple-minded eyes”.

Recently I was sitting in the twilight and reading a book. It was a wonderful story, told from the perspective of a child. When it got too dark, I put the book aside and looked up – and the sky was as if “open”. Was it a delusion? I could only bear it for a few moments. Everything was transparent. Everything showed an inner life that “spoke” to me.

We usually only perceive the external aspect of things. But we experience within ourselves that there are inner worlds. Everything that is alive has an inner and an outer aspect. More and more people report that a new relationship with trees is possible for them. Trees can seek a relationship with people. I have experienced and can experience again and again how impulses emanate from nature. I think nature wants to be perceived in a new way.

Everyone works on his own inner form

What potential is it that can awaken in us? It is a new soul form, an inner stature, which is of a different power and depth than the one we have had so far. The living reality forces its way into the present in a new way. When it lights up in our consciousness, we feel the life forms that are around us from within. And we sense a mission.

Everyone works on his own inner form. The tools for this are our thinking, feeling, wanting and acting. They shape the subtle form which is invisible, transparent, and yet decisive for our life. It belongs to the “inner space of the world” (“Weltinnenraum” – Rilke), the world parallel to what we perceive externally. All living things possess an invisible form in the inner space. Outside and inside correspond to each other. 

The highest inner worlds are called divine-spiritual. It is not difficult to imagine that in them lies the origin of life, the presence of the origin of which Gebser speaks. To realize its impulses requires willingness and strength. Spiritual communities can help here – they can concentrate forces and make an intensive exchange of experiences possible. The impulses change in the course of history. They have led us into individualization, a necessary phase of development, for everyone has to realize the inner shape within himself. But in the equality of the mission lies the basis for a new kind of community. We are companions on a common path.

Everything depends on which of the cosmic inner worlds we allow to be reflected in us, to which of their “frequencies” we react.

Our outer life will demonstrate this. The inner form arises from our way of life. The earth demands of us that it becomes a work of art, a pioneering form. Because then we experience the living from within, with our new eyes – we experience the earth anew. Some speak of the sacred spheres of the earth (van Rijckenborgh). On the new spiritual level, by a new way of living together, we will be able to undo the damage we have done. A cooperation with the earth can then take place in an unexpectedly new way.

We dynamise the high forces of the inner world to the extent that we absorb them into our consciousness and carry them out in our thinking, feeling, willing and doing. They build up in us the form appropriate to them. They are the artist. And in the course of our inner transformation, we awaken – and cooperate with them, within ourselves and in everything we do. We experience how the work of art gradually forms everywhere, the invisible inner form. If it gains strength, the outside becomes transparent. This is what the earth seems to be waiting for, this is what it seems to demand.

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Date: May 5, 2020
Author: Gunter Friedrich (Germany)
Photo: Gerd Altmann auf Pixabay CCO

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