conflagration: fire; especially : a large disastrous fire
“The fear… was of being overwhelmed, of disintegrating under a pressure of reality greater than a mind, accustomed to living most of the time in a cozy world of symbols, could possibly bear.”
We awake in the morning and almost immediately begin thinking of things to do in this day. After our particular personal morning routine we begin with various activities that keep us busy until we are tired and then retire for the night. This passage from Aldous Huxley’s “Doors of Perception” describes an”event” as he calls it, which is the perception of the stark Reality of primal energy that makes up manifestation. In this case, the manifestation – as conventionally termed – is a garden chair seen in a certain light. In his state of heightened awareness under the influence of the chemical mescaline, he perceives the ‘energy state’ that our mind/concepts then translate to a finite form which we label with the word “garden chair”. His report then continues to explore the feeling of overwhelm that he experienced: “The event was this succession of azure furnace doors separated by gulfs of unfathomable gentian. It was inexpressibly wonderful, wonderful to the point, almost, of being terrifying.” In the course of this exploration he comes to a description of the kind of intensity that a direct perception of Reality entails, which is why only in the state of “cleansed perception” is one able to bear it.
Below this excerpt from Huxley’s book there is a short statement by Bentinho Massaro, in which he speaks of the quality of a state of being that is required so that one can “look at the light of love, and not flinch, not feel blinded, not feel shocked, but is able to let this light in, to feel it, revel in it, embrace it, and able to recognize it as the abundance of one’s own inner being.” Bentinho brings this state in connection with the term “harvest” from the Law of One The Ra Material.
Here Huxley’s text:
“From the French window I walked out under a kind of pergola covered in part by a climbing rose tree, in part by laths, one inch wide with half an inch of space between them. The sun was shining and the shadows of the laths made a zebra-like pattern on the ground and across the seat and back of a garden chair, which was standing at this end of the pergola. That chair -shall I ever forget it? Where the shadows fell on the canvas upholstery, stripes of a deep but glowing indigo alternated with stripes of an incandescence so intensely bright that it was hard to believe that they could be made of anything but blue fire. For what seemed an immensely long time I gazed without knowing, even without wishing to know, what it was that confronted me. At any other time I would have seen a chair barred with alternate light and shade. Today the percept had swallowed up the concept. I was so completely absorbed in looking, so thunderstruck by what I actually saw, that I could not be aware of anything else. Garden furniture, laths, sunlight, shadow – these were no more than names and notions, mere verbalizations, for utilitarian or scientific purposes, after the event. The event was this succession of azure furnace doors separated by gulfs of unfathomable gentian. It was inexpressibly wonderful, wonderful to the point, almost, of being terrifying.”
Confronted by a chair which looked like the Last Judgment – or, to be more accurate, by a Last Judgment which, after a long time and with considerable difficulty, I recognized as a chair – I found myself all at once on the brink of panic. This, I suddenly felt, was going too far. Too far, even though the going was into intenser beauty, deeper significance. The fear, as I analyze it in retrospect, was of being overwhelmed, of disintegrating under a pressure of reality greater than a mind, accustomed to living most of the time in a cosy world of symbols, could possibly bear. The literature of religious experience abounds in references to the pains and terrors overwhelming those who have come, too suddenly, face to face with some manifestation of the Mysterium tremendum. In theological language, this fear is due to the incompatibility between man’s egotism and the divine purity, between man’s self-aggravated separateness and the infinity of God. Following Boehme and William Law, we may say that, by unregenerate souls, the divine Light at its full blaze can be apprehended only as a burning, purgatorial fire. An almost identical doctrine is to be found in The Tibetan Book of the Dead, where the departed soul is described as shrinking in agony from the Pure Light of the Void, and even from the lesser, tempered Lights, in order to rush headlong into the comforting darkness of selfhood as a reborn human being, or even as a beast, an unhappy ghost, a denizen of hell. Anything rather than the burning brightness of unmitigated Reality – anything!
The schizophrenic is a soul not merely unregenerate, but desperately sick into the bargain. His sickness consists in the inability to take refuge from inner and outer reality (as the sane person habitually does) in the homemade universe of common sense – the strictly human world of useful notions, shared symbols and socially acceptable conventions. The schizophrenic is like a man permanently under the influence of mescaline, and therefore unable to shut off the experience of a reality which he is not holy enough to live with, which he cannot explain away because it is the most stubborn of primary facts, and which, because it never permits him to look at the world with merely human eyes, scares him into interpreting its unremitting strangeness, its burning intensity of significance, as the manifestations of human or even cosmic malevolence, calling for the most desperate countermeasures, from murderous violence at one end of the scale to catatonia, or psychological suicide, at the other. And once embarked upon the downward, the infernal road, one would never be able to stop. That, now, was only too obvious.
“If you started in the wrong way,” I said in answer to the investigator’s questions, “everything that happened would be a proof of the conspiracy against you. It would all be self-validating. You couldn’t draw a breath without knowing it was part of the plot.” “So you think you know where madness lies?”
My answer was a convinced and heartfelt, “Yes.”
“And you couldn’t control it?”
“No I couldn’t control it. If one began with fear and hate as the major premise, one would have to go on to the conclusion.” “Would you be able,” my wife asked, “to fix your attention on what The Tibetan Book of The Dead calls the Clear Light?” I was doubtful.
“Would it keep the evil away, if you could hold it? Or would you not be able to hold it?”
I considered the question for some time. “Perhaps,” I answered at last, “perhaps I could – but only if there were somebody there to tell me about the Clear Light. One couldn’t do it by oneself. That’s the point, I suppose, of the Tibetan ritual – someone sitting there all the time and telling you what’s what.”
After listening to the record of this part of the experiment, I took down my copy of Evans-Wentz’s edition of The Tibetan Book of the Dead, and opened at random. “O nobly born, let not thy mind be distracted.” That was the problem – to remain undistracted. Undistracted by the memory of past sins, by imagined pleasure, by the bitter aftertaste of old wrongs and humiliations, by all the fears and hates and cravings that ordinarily eclipse the Light.
Bentinho Massaro on shifting from 3rd to 4th density, or the ‘harvest’ as it is referred to in Ra material:
“Harvestability,” then, refers to an entity having achieved enough awareness of love, of the heart, of the brightness within and the connectedness of all beings, and has applied him or herself at least to a significant enough degree to the service-to-others, if not in action then at least–or especially–in mind and spirit (vibration), for this entity to be able to look at the light of love, and not flinch, not feel blinded, not feel shocked, but is able to let this light in, to feel it, revel in it, embrace it, and able to recognize it as the abundance of one’s own inner being.