The Door Between the Worlds
If the doors of perception were cleansed, every thing would appear as it is, infinite.
— William Blake
There is a door between ordinary reality and glazed reality. It is more than likely that you yourself have come to such a door.
It’s a choice we make.
Here’s what a handful of people who have passed through it have said:
- It’s the door Mark Bittner (The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill) passes through one early morning in the parking lot at Coit Tower above Telegraph Hill.
“The sky was deeper than I’d ever seen it and my vision was astonishingly acute. As I stood there, I felt a great turning, and the entire material plane seemed on the verge of dissolving”
- It’s the door that opens when William Butler Yeats drops a berry in a stream and catches a silver trout that becomes a shimmering girl. (“The Song of Wandering Aengus”)
“One has a vision; one would like another.”
- It opens one afternoon for Sidney Field watching a hawk circling high above the Hollywood hills
“All at once the wondrous joy seized my heart. It had returned! I was ecstatic.” ( The Reluctant Messiah)
- It opens for William Blake, who lives in eternity’s sunrise.
- He who binds to himself a joy
Doth the winged life destroy.
He who kisses the joy as it flies,
Lives in eternity’s sunrise.
- He who binds to himself a joy
- Walt Whitman passes through it and sings the body electric and knows of nothing but miracles.
- It opens and Jane Goodall gets blown away by organ music, a Bach fugue (Toccata and Fugue in D Minor), reverberating in the soaring vaults of Notre Dame Cathedral.
“That moment, a suddenly captured moment of eternity, was perhaps the closest I have ever come to experiencing ecstasy, the ecstasy of the mystic.”
- Here is how Ansel Adams describes the moment when he passes through it while climbing one crystal morning in 1923 along a ridge in Yosemite and becomes God’s stenographer.
I was climbing the long ridge west of Mount Clark. It was one of those mornings where the sunlight is burnished with a keen wind and long feathers of cloud move in a lofty sky. The silver light turned every blade of grass and every particle of sand into a luminous metallic splendor; there was nothing, however small, that did not clash in the bright wind, that did not send arrows of light through the glassy air. I was suddenly arrested in the long crunching path up the ridge by an exceedingly pointed awareness of the light. The moment I paused the full impact of the mood was upon me; I saw more clearly than I have ever seen before or since the minute detail of the grasses … the small flotsam of the forest, the motion of the high clouds streaming above the peaks. … I dreamed that for a moment time stood quietly, and the vision became but the shadow of an infinitely greater world – and I had within the grasp of consciousness a transcendental experience. — (Ansel Adams – in His Own Words, quoted in Ansel Adams, A Documentary, American Experience, PBS, 2002)
- That’s the door through which Jacob Boehme passes and sees all heaven in sunlight reflected off a pewter bowl.
Eugene O’Neill encounters and passes through it sailing on a tramp steamer to Argentina, when he has “a single moment of complete clarity – without a sense of past or future. “
The feel of the facts:
The Poem of Creation
“If I read a book and it makes my whole body so cold no fire can warm me I know that is poetry. If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry. These are the only way I know it. Is there any other way?”
— Emily Dickinson
Perhaps God wasn’t trying
but was simply showing
Nice collection of quotes!
The only problem I have with the door metaphor is that it implies that there is a boundary between your “world” and this world of enlightenment and that you can see both at the same time, if only fleetingly. But the only real boundary is between YOU (well, not you specifically) and reality, and this enlightenment might be more akin to a fog lifting than a door opening.
One way to envision this “fog” that we’re all caught within is to recall how you felt when sometime you had a cold or flu, then how suddenly one morning you felt “well.” Nothing has changed in the outside world, only your perception of it.
I suspect that this process occurs in many different circumstances, from an Einsteinian or Newtonian insight, to Ansel Adams’ “awareness of the light” to the formerly mute Indian from “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” realizing his sanity.
But then again, I could still be in the “fog” as I compose this, so all this is just gibberish!
Your fog and flu metaphors are fine descriptions of how we recover from reality! The door or window metaphor is another view, but I think fog, flu, and door reinforce each other. After all words point to that-which-is and are never the thing itself. Right? We always have to fiddle with the words till they crack open like a pinata. That’s the whole idea of thinking about this sort of thing at all. Thanks for your excellent feedback. Clark