Before the modern age, when people turned their backs on the immortals, who turned their backs on us in turn, gods and men were believed to form a community together.
From Norse mythology to the Vedic texts of India, earthlings and deities were thought to share a common destiny according to the unity between microcosm and macrocosm, which is neatly expressed in the Hermetic saying, “As above, so below.”
Now let’s call you Juna, after Arjuna, hero of the 500 BC text the Bhagavad Gita, and give you his same divine companion, Krishna, who is always happy to call a human his friend. It’s a lovely spring day, and the two of you have taken a chariot driven by white horses to the coast. You walk along the cliffs and pick a spot at the highest peak, in order to be closer to enlightenment. You sit down cross-legged, while Krisha assumes the so-called pose of royal ease.
“Juna, tell me what you see,” the deity says.
“I see blue sky, golden sun and pounding surf, flowers in bloom and birds in flight.”
“And how do you know that this is what you see?” Krishna asks.
“I know,” you say after a pause, “because I know.”
“So there are two faculties within you?” says Krishna. “One that sees, and another that knows it sees? And which would you say is greater, Juna?”
“I know it is I who see,” you respond, “but I cannot for certain say what within me that knows that I see.”
“Then you have learned something today,” Krishna says with a smile. “And according to the Upanishads, it is the greatest thing one can know. ‘Not anything the eye can see, but that by which the eye can see, know that to be Brahman, the Spirit, and not what men here adore.’”
And so the two of you—man and god, human and divine—spend the rest of the afternoon together unraveling the mysteries of creation amid the beauty of sun and sea. Krishna explains that just as wood contains fire hidden inside of it, which can be drawn out by friction, so is there a sacred flame hidden inside of you. The Spirit is the divine spark that animates body and soul; it is the apex of consciousness, a higher, supra-human dimension of being that knows you better than you know yourself.
When you feel trapped in fear and sorrow and unable to escape, the Spirit remembers your greatest victories, for it has been there all along, watching everything from inside you, ever guiding you towards the light.