|Meditation in Black||| Print ||
Meditation in Black
LET us begin at the beginning. The King James version of the Holy Bible begins “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form, and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the Spirit of God was moving over the face of the waters. And God said, ‘Let there be light’; and there was light.” (Genesis 1-3).
What is black? Some consider it a color, but a scientist will tell you that black is an absence of color or an absence of light. This, then, makes black a recipient of light. It exists, or doesn’t exist, to be filled with light. Not only the light we see, but the entire spectrum, from below infrared through the visible spectrum to far beyond ultraviolet, x-rays, cosmic radiation.
Let us return to the infinity of space. Since the time of Galileo man has been constructing better lenses, better telescopes, culminating, so far, in the Hubble space telescope. There may come a day when telescopes are linked at opposite points in Earth’s orbit, to improve the parallax and allow us to go even deeper into space. As these explorations go deeper into space, they also travel back in time. The structure of distant stars and galaxies become more primitive. Science feels it is getting very close to actually identifying the “Big Bang.” I wonder if they will ever see beyond it to the “Big Black?”
Space is still an infinity of blackness, filling itself with tiny points of light which are galaxies scattered like the stars in our tiny galaxy we call the Milky Way. In the infinitude of time, stars are born from interstellar dust, they grow and they die. Galaxies are formed and dispersed, to form new galaxies, or decay into dust from which new stars are born. And in the billions of years that this has been going on, our planet, Earth, is just a newcomer. And we, who are pondering these things, have been on Earth for no longer than the flicker of an eyelash in a long lifetime.
Physicists are postulating that the Universe may contain dark matter, invisible to us, but totaling as much, or more, mass than all the visible mass in the Universe; than all the stars and galaxies put together.
When we look at the black infinitude of space, what does it seem to want, to need? Light! More Light! Even the stars and galaxies don’t seem to be enough. As more are created, they are absorbed in the blackness. There is the phenomenon of “Black Holes.” Scientists posit that they are the remains of stellar giants that have collapsed until their mass is so dense, their gravity is so intense, that nothing escapes them, once it has entered their “event horizon.” All light, matter, energy that comes into its sphere of influence is absorbed. There is a possibility that, at the center of each galaxy is a black hole, invisibly eating the galaxy. Where does this matter and energy go? No one knows. Perhaps it is the gathering of energy for the next “big bang,” or perhaps it gets sent to yet another part of the universe through “Worm Holes” in space. These things keep the mathematicians and astrophysicists very busy from one year to the next, and every answer seems to generate even more questions. However, Black Holes are too greedy for the purposes of our discussion, for they keep it all to themselves and give nothing back, which perhaps is a subject for another paper.
There is one aspect of blackness that we don’t think about. Try an experiment. Get a black box or ball and a white one of similar size and density. Set them out in the sun in the patio, or on your car top. Leave them there for a few hours, then go pick them up. The white one will be warm, perhaps a bit warmer than the ambient temperature. The black one will be so hot you can’t carry it without a hot pad. It will radiate that heat for hours. So it not only absorbs, but it gives back.
Look at a lump of coal. Millions of years ago, as part of a forest, it absorbed light and heat, then died and was buried. Over the eons it was compressed and lay there in the darkness. Now we can strike a lump with a hammer and often find fossils of that distant era. We build a fire with that lump of coal in it and it gives back much of that energy stored so many millions of years ago, to keep us warm and comfortable at hearthside.
We humans, at least many of us, resemble that infinite blackness of space. We, too, have an insatiable desire for more light. We absorb what we can and the best of us try to pass it back to our friends and neighbors and colleagues. Again, like a similar process in the Macrocosm, sometimes we in the microcosm accumulate enough light and energy to glow like stars ourselves, to become navigation beacons for our fellow man. Many of these stars we recognize; Albert Pike, one of the last of the Hermetic philosophers; Manly Palmer Hall, an Hermeticist and neo-Platonic scholar; Arnold J. Toynbee, an historian; Stephen Hawking, astrophysicist and author; Joseph Campbell, a student of mythology; Thomas Jefferson; Benjamin Franklin; Voltaire; Isaac Newton; Roger Bacon; back to Hermes Trismegistus, if he existed as an individual; Christ; Buddha; Confucius; Mohammad; Bach; Brahms; Mozart; Beethoven; Di Vinci; the list is endless, and filled with more light.
The vast majority of us never condense enough energy to become a star, but what we can do is try to radiate what light and heat we can to comfort and educate our fellow man. It may be great or little, but as long as we stay true to our quest, we cannot go wrong, and with luck will leave the world at least a little better place than we found it.
As the blackness of space finds more light in the stars and galaxies of the Macrocosm, we seekers of light in the microcosm can find light in the records of the great teachers of humanity, in libraries, and from discussion with our fellows. We can gain light from music, from art, from ritual and, from the minds of those who have gone before.
There is a lot more that I would love to discuss on this subject. However, as always, time is short and there are other things awaiting your attention, so I will leave you with just a couple of thoughts.
Exoterically we wear black in mourning for our Grand Master, Hiram Abif, and for what was lost with his death. Also, we think it looks kind of cool!
Esoterically we wear black to always remind us of our quest for more light, more wisdom, and our duty to cultivate Wisdom, Strength and Beauty, and to pass this on to our fellows in brotherly love, friendship, and charity to all.