One day, while taking a walk, I saw a paper clip lying on the sidewalk, and I thought to myself, “I don’t need that.” As I walked past it, the voice of my heart said, “Go back and pick it up.” So I did, and walked on wondering what on Earth a paper clip lying of the sidewalk had to do with anything.
My heart said, “This paper clip represents the Path of the mystic, the one you begin to walk in this material world.”
“How?” I asked.
The voice continued, “First of all, the paper clip represents you, as a self-contained, spiritual being in the physical world, wherein you are surrounded by the millennia-old, human belief in the power of materiality—which lies beyond the outer perimeter of the paper clip. Look carefully at the picture of the clip. The world’s belief in materiality is depicted by the seemingly random, confused pattern of the concrete. Secreted within the clip’s outer perimeter is the mystical Path, the entrance to which is the narrow opening near the bottom of the left side.”
Indeed it is! The narrowness of the opening is exceedingly rigid and taut.
“That is precisely why so few even notice the entrance, in the first place, let alone choose to enter this spiritual Path of self-discipline, as it leads ever closer to consciousness that allows you to experience the infinite beauty and spiritual freedom of Creation. At this point of attainment, you begin to transcend the unconsciousness of the material mind.”
“But what,” I asked, “is the purpose of the open area at the top within the clip? What happens there?”
“When you reach that upper space where this new vista begins to open out,” came the answer, “you have reached a critical place of indecision and choice—a juncture that will determine the outcome of the meeting of the socially conditioned, material mind of the ego and the unconditioned, spiritual mind of the heart. In other words, it’s a time of struggle between needing to see in order to believe and believing without needing to see—the ‘dark night of the soul.’ It’s a spiritual ‘tar pit’ in which a person is challenged on all levels and can flounder blindly for years.”
“So, if one chooses to stay on the mystical Path after this heroic, internal brawl, why does the Path once again narrow into yet more constraint and patience?”
“Look at it this way. If the spiritual mind of the heart wins this extreme tussle, the person has had to die daily to himself or herself (meaning letting go of long-cherished worldly beliefs, possessions, and outer identities). Thus has the spiritual mind grown leaner through a singular focus and simplification, becoming receptive to the silent spaciousness of the Eternal. Then the purpose of the winnowing hardships of the journey becomes clear.”
“So, if one stays the course, what is to be found within the center of the clip?”
“Once inside,” comes the answer, “you are surrounded by the light of Grace, and your inner eyes are fully opened to the spiritual beauty and wonder of Planet Earth. You are truly in the world—but not of it.”
Text and Photo © by Chris Maser 2015. All rights reserved.