I couldn’t sleep. I’d gone to bed early and spent most of the night in that liminal state between dream and waking when the mind treads strange pathways, watching itself, while the body rests as if in slumber.
It is a strange state where the levels of consciousness seem to separate out and you see each of them clearly. Like liquid in a centrifuge, your immobility in the spinning of the world teases out the dense from the subtle, showing the clear definition between the layers of being, where in the agitated movement of everyday life we are accustomed to seeing them mingled as if shaken together and cannot see what they truly are.
As you lie there you are aware of the components of who you are… the body… heavy, dense, the stuff of earth… the emotions and the mind… other layers less observable as a rule… and you see how they mingle, inter-dependant, the ingredients of the being you call you.
For that brief time, it is a bit like the wonder of watching a rainbow as a child. Seeing all the colours of light refracted and separated in the unreal prism. Light is all around us, always, yet though it illuminates the world we do not see light itself until it interacts and plays upon the physical world, as in a rainbow, captured in water droplets, refracting and reflecting the sun.
When you see a rainbow, it isn’t really there… it is not an object, cannot be touched or approached.. which is why that pot of gold is so elusive. We see them only when the sun is behind us and conditions are precisely right. Sometimes the light reflects twice within the moisture and there is a double arc, the colours reversed in the inner and outer bows. To a child… or a dreamer… there is magic here.
Although the rainbow allows us to see sunlight manifest in beauty, have you ever thought that you cannot look at both the rainbow and the sun at the same time? You may see prisms in the clouds or camera lens… tiny glimpses of colour… yet to see the full beauty of a rainbow the sun must be behind you, and if you look towards the sun, the rainbow is no longer in your line of sight… it is no longer perceivable. To see the rainbow you turn your back towards the sun, to see the source you turn your gaze from the rainbow.
Yet if you stand between them and close your eyes, you know that both are there, even if unseen.
As I observed the separating layers of self in the night I thought about that… and realised that there was, in the spectrum of being I was observing, a rainbow of self, ranging from the density of matter to the most ethereal levels of mind. They too are reflecting and refracting a Source unseen, that stands behind our life, out of our line of sight.
Call it what you will, in the still, small hours it was clear. And something else too. The observer was none of the parts of me that I think of as ‘me’ in daily life… it was other than that… poised between the Source and the rainbow, knowing both and partaking of the nature of each, poised at the mid-point of creation.
As dawn rose on a frosty autumn morning I was out with Ani and saw the sky on fire, pondering the night. In that flare of golden glory I saw the source of light reflected in the windows and rooftops of the sleeping village, gilding the clouds and setting the skeletal trees ablaze. I could not see the sun itself, obscured by the structures in which we live our lives, but its colours changed the world into a magical place as I watched.
For those moments I was aware that the world was held in the reflected light of the sun, a sun still in the heavens even for the dark side of the planet, simply obscured by our own shadow as we the earth turns its back in sleep.
And there are no words for the feeling that followed, knowing that we too are rainbows of being, gilded refractions of the One, and though we may not see both Source and manifestation in the same glance, though It may be obscured by the busyness of our lives, we sometimes catch a glimpse, a prism in the clouds, and we can close our eyes and know that both are there.