The Cosmic Apprentice

Posted by William Bloom
3 August, 2011

First, some television for a change. It really encouraged me when Tom Pellereau, with his friendly smile and a warm enthusiasm for life won The Apprentice, against the other contenders who were aggressive, sharp and workaholics. Yay! The good guy won!

If I could wave a magic wand and change just one thing in our society, it would be this: Instead of status being awarded to people with money, glamour and power, esteem would be given to intelligent, warm-hearted and empathic people. That could change everything.

I enjoy television. It is one of my pleasures, an entertaining and informative window on the world. I also love pondering cosmic mysteries. Yes, television and the cosmos. I see and feel no contradiction here. Although I respect that some people judge television to be less than spiritual, in my worldview Spirit is in everything – no exceptions. How can anything be outside the wonder of creation and all existence? How can anything be excluded? Television is part of it all.

Yin and Yang

Often, pondering the great mystery of All That Is and how the cosmos came into being, I contemplate two immensely powerful dynamics. The first is the explosive expansive force which manifested the cosmos. The Big Bang. The Breath of Creation. The awesome primal dynamic. Emergent. Expansive. Explosive.

But this raw expansive energy would never settle down into the beauty of creation – galaxies, stars, suns, planets, people, nature, creatures, flowers – without an equal and balancing force. This second force is the magnetic, attractive power that moulds, settles, holds and contains primal energy into solid form, touchable and stable.

In many spiritual traditions there is a clear understanding of these two forces. It is found most explicitly in the Taoist concepts of Yin and Yang. Yin represents the magnetic, settling and attractive gluing force of containment. Yang represents the expansive dynamism. Many Taoist scriptures explain how Yin and Yang are inextricably entwined, cannot exist without each other and are the primal forces of the cosmos. The well known symbol for this entwinement is the circle, one side black and the other white, with a wavy line dividing the two. On the black side of the circle is a small white dot. On the white side of the circle is a small black dot. Yin is embedded in Yang, just as Yang is embedded in Yin. It is a divine marriage.

We can see this same theme surfacing too in the many traditions where deity is described as both Father and as Mother, the Father representing the emergent and expansive force of creation, the Mother representing the settling and magnetic force of creation. We can see them, too, in spiritual cosmologies that feature a polarity between Earth and Heaven.

a) The explosive, expanding, raw breath. Yang. Father. Heaven
b) The magnetic, settling containment. Yin. Mother. Earth

Now! Here’s the insight – these two cosmic polarities are also inside each of us. We experience them all the time in our psychological, emotional and spiritual lives. We, all of us, experience an instinct to expand and change. We also experience an instinct to stay the same. Transform, emerge! Stay the same! This is a continuous dance inside us.

Ideally, this dance is conducted with grace, and we grow and transform gracefully, like a river flowing to the sea. But – of course – there are times when the dance of change is not graceful. We may find ourselves changing and expanding too fast, over-excited and possibly anxious. At other times we may find ourselves caught in too much magnetism, glue and containment, resisting change and experiencing inertia and depression.

Don’t we all do this? Swing between moods of elation and melancholy? These are not just born of human psychology. They are part of the cosmic dance between emergence and settling.

The love dynamic

These great forces of Yin and Yang, Mother-God and Father-God, are not the only cosmic dynamics. There is also, for example, the dimension of Time – Chronos, Saturn, Aeon, the Great Wheel of Life. We could say that the dance of creation between Yin and Yang is driven by the dimension and rhythms of time. The great god, Chronos, is powerful. Imagine trying to stop Time. The mind boggles.

And there is yet another dynamic that I want to add here – Love. Whilst Yin and Yang are boogying on the cosmic dance floor to the beat of Father Time, the whole space is permeated with a field of energy, with a quality, that we call benevolence or Love. Love permeates all of this.

And then there is the space within which all of this happens. Space – is this thing we call ‘Space’ also a force, an entity or dynamic? Does Space have consciousness? Or is Space a manifestation of Consciousness?

These are all great enquiries of spiritual philosophy and metaphysics. They are meant to bewilder us, tease us and expand our consciousness.

A sacred drama

Look at these fantastic actors on the cosmic stage:

Yang – aka Father-God
Yin – aka Mother-God

I invite you now to imagine a Sacred Drama with wonderful actors dressed in amazing costumes and masks, portraying these celestial deities and their interactions. This is precisely what happened in the great temples and amphitheatres of the ancient world when ‘The Mysteries’ were enacted, sometimes in private ceremony and sometimes in public spectacles.

Sadly, today in the modern world we lack those great pieces of celestial theatre. But it is in that same engaged and magical spirit, knowing that everything is interconnected and potentially meaningful, that I, and many others, watch the spectacle of world events and entertainment on television and celebrate a good guy, symbolic of the archetypal chivalrous hero, winning The Apprentice.

All my love, William

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