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Introduction to the Tapestry of Being Mandala

Making Sense of the Pathless Path

“The Tapestry of Being” is the name I use now for a pretty straightforward way of presenting what I understand to be spiritual living in the twenty first century, when spiritual people tend not to pick one exclusive religion or belief system that they stick with their whole lives.

Many people today, even people who have experienced one or another form of what they would consider a spiritual awakening sometimes feel confused about how to make progress in their spiritual lives. They find themselves in such a confusing array of multiple views that it’s become increasingly difficult to know how to move forward or where forward even is. We are no longer living in a time when it’s easy to choose a spiritual or life path without seeing how incredibly arbitrary it all is and wondering if you chose the right one.

The way of approaching things that I’m presenting here makes sense for me of how my life fits together, and I’ve come to find in it a conceptual framework that does not get in the way of my non-conceptual resting in being. At the same time it makes conceptual sense of the many ways in which I engage in life without devaluing any part of it.

The Tapestry is a handy way for me to understand how the various parts of my life fit together to contribute to, and blend into, all of the other parts that have evolved in me over time. It gives my mind a nice frame to relax into and the frame dissolves when it is used, so it’s biodegradable. It orients me but doesn’t get in my way.

I’ve called this way of looking at things by a number of names over the years: The Spectrum of Being, The Color Disc, The Color Sphere, and The Clock. I could see it in my mind’s eye and understood it intuitively far longer than I had good words for it. The language about it emerged over time. I still feel like I don’t have good words for it, but these will do for now.

Whatever I have called it, I found there were people who quickly sensed that they now had a tool with which they could see (in a new way) how and why the practices they were naturally drawn to were serving their overall spiritual life. It became a validation of their own unique spiritual unfolding and a means to understand what they could do to deepen their own experience and confidence in their process.

The Tapestry Mandala

The Tapestry Mandala is a visual representation of the spiritual life.

Each “node” on the Tapestry is a mode of life experience that is a path in itself yet also contributes to our capacity in, and prepares us for, the other nodes. The tapestry uses the color spectrum to convey the sense of continuity and flowing-ness between its nodes.

The Tapestry Mandala conveys the sense of an analogue life rather than a digital one. In the spectrum there are gradual shades of one color flowing into and becoming the next. It is not like a digital clock, where it’s exactly 1:00 and then suddenly it’s exactly 1:01. It’s more like an analogue clock where we can see there is a gradual movement from one minute to the next.

This mandala is meant to show where one dimension of the spiritual life is in relation to another and how they flow into each other. No part of the awakened life is entirely separate from any other part and there are real ways in which one dimension blends or fuses into another. So there are shades of each color that bring you closer to the next color on the spectrum.

For instance, if we mark out Transcendental Divine Identity as red and embodied human Identity as blue, then there are different shades of the red having to do with Radiance and bliss that move more into violet…. And as different shades of the blue Embodied Human Identity moves to include its energetic dimension it becomes purple.

So there’s a way that things move into each other gradually. There are different traditions or fields of study that focus on each of these shades.

We will not pretend to make anything like an exhaustive listing of all of these here, but rather will give the gist of each of the 6 stations on the clock or colors on the spectrum.

There are 6 nodes on the edges of a disc.

1) 12:00 Transcendental Divine Identity

2) 2:00 Energetic Presence Identity

3) 4:00 Embodied Human Identity

4) 6:00 Embodied Human Relationship

5) 8:00 Energetic Presence Relationship

6) 10:00 Transcendental Divine Relationship

12 o’clock / Red
Transcendental Divine Identity
You Are Freedom Itself: The Ground Of Being

Explore an ever deepening recognition and claiming of your nature as Consciousness Itself.

At 12:00 on the clock the top node of the disc, there is that aspect of the spiritual life that is the experience of our Timeless nature.

This aspect of our being has been given many names.

Names like:

  • The Self

  • Consciousness Itself

  • Spacious Awareness

  • The Ground of Being

  • Buddha Nature

  • Christ Consciousness

  • The Conscious Principle

  • Nature of Mind

  • The Mind

  • Intrinsic Awareness

  • Unconditioned Awareness

Pure red is the node of spiritual awakening into our nature as the Principle of Consciousness itself, our Transcendental Divine Identity.

Consciousness itself is never an object of consciousness, but rather the underlying background and awareness of everything that arises within it.

It never changes and is without apparent attributes. It is simply the Consciousness which is aware of change and objects.

Just as there are many shades of red, so there are shades of teaching having to do with this node of life. All the teachings of non-duality are in this red area. The purest of red is the teachings of pure awareness in the non-dual traditions.

There are teachings that are related on ether side of the spectral clock. Some teachings are non-dual in terms of relationship, having to do with non-dual devotion. Those would be shades of red moving into the orange side like vermilion.

Other teachings are non-dual in terms of identity and include teachings on the radiance of Being, Shakti, and Presence. Those would be purple.

2 o’clock / Purple
Energetic Presence Identity
You Are a Multidimensional Field of Radiant Energy

Explore the current of feeling that flows through (and ultimately is) you and all that you experience.

At 2:00 on the clock the second node of the disc, there is that aspect of the spiritual life that is the experience of our Radiant nature.

This is our Energetic Presence Identity, where you are radiance. In the purple position we are exploring the field of pure feeling that is you and all that you experience.

As we move into purple it is the Radiance of Consciousness rather than consciousness itself that we are speaking about. This is slightly different than Consciousness itself, although it is also a kind of awakening. Consciousness itself is never an actual object of awareness, but there is this field of radiant energy that comes into manifestation and is the substance of all that is experienced. It is consciousness as reflection rather than light.

This is awakening to our nature as Bliss, Presence or Shakti. These are actually perceptible and are the power that radiates from unconditioned Awareness or Consciousness itself. This energy and peace are inseparable from un-manifest Consciousness itself but are perceptible and can be experienced and felt. This field of homogenous energy would be pure purple. It is still a kind of non-duality, in that it is felt as one’s self even as it is something experienced.

As these energies are felt to contract into particular flows and channels and auras they are still part of us but are moving in shades closer to blue such as indigo, because you are moving into embodying energies.

4 o’clock / Blue
Embodied Human Identity
Discover the Dignity of Your Divinely Human Nature

We are unique spiritual beings of flesh and blood. Embracing our humanity we meet the vulnerability at the heart of our life, and we contact the finiteness of our own mortality.

In the blue node we discover the dignity of our divinely human nature. This includes our personality, individual soul nature as well our particular flesh and blood body/mind. It is living in the world of subject/object as the individual center of our own life.

Here we establish boundaries, acknowledge needs and desires and

own the limited nature of our lives. This is the node of the traits, tastes, body type, ethnicity and sex that is our own.

This node also includes delight in the senses, the arts, and the earth itself.

Those aspects of our own humanity that are only possible in relationship to others begin to move us into the turquoise zone as we approach the green node of relationship itself.

6 o’clock / Green
Embodied Human Relationship
The Catalytic Magic of Awakened Relationships

Interacting with others in mutual listening we recognize both unity and uniqueness which creates a safe circumstance for natural transformation.

Green is the dimension of awakened relating (6:00) where the multiplicity of the absolute otherness of every human (and every embodied being) is honored and respected. In relationships appropriate ways of expression and letting in the truth of others is a continual challenge. Interacting with others in mutuality as we recognize both our unity and our uniqueness creates a safe container for transformation.

As we begin to become aware of the field of energy and connectedness between ourselves and others as well as their own unique energetic natures, even as we are aware of our boundaries and differences we move into the zones that are chartreuse, and approach the yellow node.

8 O’clock / Yellow
Energetic Presence Relationship
Unseen Help: Becoming Sensitive To Numinous Presences

Uncover and develop your capacity to know that you are never alone. Reclaim your heritage as a resident of a spiritual universe.

This yellow dimension is the node of our awareness of, and our relationship with, the energetic presences of both disincarnate and incarnate beings: angels, saints, masters, guides, buddhas, bodhisattvas, gods, goddesses, nature spirits, departed loved ones, as well as the spiritual or energetic presences of people who are alive now but are not in your physical proximity. This is the node where we uncover and develop our capacity to know that we are never alone. Here we reclaim our heritage as a resident of a spiritual universe and contact unseen help, becoming sensitive to the numinous. As we begin to notice the way that all forms of presence are aspects of One Being or one Presence we are in the amber zones of devotion and approaching the orange node.

10 O’clock / Orange
Transcendental Divine Relationship
Devotion: Your Unique Relationship with Your Unique Divine

Trace your own steps and open to the source of guidance and life that is personal to you and always here.

The orange node is your experience of God (or Goddess) as you understand and experience that One in your life. This is the realm of devotion to the Divine Person as they reveal themselves to you. All forms of prayer and acknowledgement of synchronicities are here to the point that it becomes apparent that there is simply one Beloved with whom you are in a private dance. Here we trace our own steps and open to the source of guidance and life that is personal to us and always here.

Relationship to and communion with Divine Radiant Presence outshines and absorbs everything else: As we move into a spiritual communion beyond words there is devotion in which there is non-dual dissolving of the separate sense of self. At this point it is the coral zone, approaching the red node of Transcendental Divine Identity.

An Individualized Orientation : What It Is and Isn’t

Although none of the ideas or material taught here are original, the order and sequence in which they are presented and the way that they are all put together is original.

Not every piece of this is for everybody, so personalize the way you use it. Feel free to use whatever parts work for you and put aside the rest to look at later.

The Tapestry of Being does not solve the mysteries of life and does not take care of every loose end.

It will not cure all your ills or take care of all your problems. It will not give you answers that provide a safe haven from the discomforts of life. And it is not a complete picture of reality.

Progress, in this view, is not about having something you don’t already have now, but about developing and cultivating what you do have. It’s not about how you are not being good enough now. Its about moving into where you are now more deeply in such a way that you notice continual shifts in the way you relate to life and in what you experience yourself to be.

Orienting

The Tapestry of Being is an orientation, a perspective or a number of perspectives that can orient you to life in such a way that what appears to be aimless and arbitrary can begin feel worthwhile and even profoundly meaningful. It is intensely person and individual.

I’ve found that it gives me a way of seeing how I can make use of the many different tools, perspectives and practices that are out there in the world in such a way that they deepen my own unfolding process rather than distracting me from it.

At the same time it will not trap you into a sense of certainty about life such that you will not be able to allow yourself to open into new things and ways of thinking when you are ready. It just helps you keep your balance when you want that.

It’s not entirely clear if this idea of having a spiritual paradigm simply as means of orientation is novel or ancient. In either case, it seems to me that the idea that one can treat any one system of thought or way of life as the total answer is not a terribly useful one. The idea that it is possible to have the instructions to life that remove the mystery (and danger) from it is hardly believable anymore, if it ever was, nor does it seem even desirable to me.

Orienting takes on a new significance today as many people consider themselves outside of any particular tradition. This seems to be what it means nowadays when people say that they are “spiritual but not religious”. They don’t identify with being under the authority or control of any organized group with claims to have “the” truth.

Spiritual life as a means of orientation to mysteries rather than answers to mysteries may be old. What is new is using this it as an orientation for individuals who can function on their own or in groups that they choose and as they like. In a sense I’m laying out an almost generic orientation for spiritual living. It’s generic in its description but is always a unique and living brand as it is lived by each individual.

This is a radically subjective orientation and not a claim for absolute truth in either a spiritual or scientific sense.

As an orientation, it faces you toward your life in such a way that you have a sense of your life moving forward and making spiritual progress. Yet it is also just as much about sinking more deeply into each moment now, and savoring the quality of Being itself in way that you can see beyond the concept of time.

This lands you both exactly where you are now and yet paradoxically opens you to move into a relationship to life such that you naturally find yourself moving into the next “level”.

Life becomes a kind of natural spiral path where you find yourself going through the same spaces as you had before, but differently. So it’s not a strictly linear process. At the same time you do not feel you are just going around in circles but are aware of how you’ve changed.

In this case the next “level” is the form your life naturally takes when you lean into your life experiencing it as an increasing wholeness. You don’t avoid one state to cling to another; you embrace whatever state you find yourself in, in such a way that it naturally moves you into the next.

One cannot really know much about another’s progress. Our next level can be a deeper version of the one we just left behind, though no one else may see that. This journey “around the clock,” or through the Tapestry, uncovers your union with everything through the various nodes of experience.

As we move along our unique journey through the nodes of experience it is all founded in a Consciousness that is both imbedded in and also beyond all possible experiences. Our life is an ornament and manifestation in and of That which never changes.

Our appreciation for all we live (both highs and lows) can become a natural form of worship. We embrace whatever comes in front of us, and live our lives with a deepening recognition of how everything that we experience accents and points to That which is beyond experience.


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