CLOSE TO THE EDGE
A Commentary on Yes’ 1972 Masterpiece
All lyrics by Anderson / Howe, (c) 1972 Atlantic Recording Corporation.
Reproduced without permission, but also without any malice.
"What does it mean?"
This question is posed to me regularly, by several people. Not daily, but often enough to become a recurring theme in my life.
This is remarkable to me for many reasons:
1) The lyrics in question are all 28 years old, plus or minus. Not exactly current on the top 40 list. The fact that poetical musings by a British rock group, decades after their release, are a concern to anyone is startling.
2) Even after 20 years’ listening, reading and studying, people STILL have no idea what these words mean! At times VERY obscure, they have in fact actually been studied by taking the lyric sheet and analyzing them phrase by phrase, still without a clue as to their intent.
3) Nevertheless, it is felt that they must mean SOMETHING, and that something is important to the inquirer. Not simply garbled gibberish, these dramatic and colorful lyrics are pregnant with meaning and ripe with poignant symbolism. Exactly what these might be, however, is another question.
4) And finally, the question is always asked of ME, with a glimmer of hope in the eye. They think I might actually know, and might be able to help shed some light on the mysteries.
This, then, is my response. I, too, still care very much about these lyrics. I am one of the faithful who have lived with and studied these songs, and have found immeasurable inspiration for my life contained within them. And I am flattered to be asked, and honored to be able to give my response.
This music is still very important to me. At this point in my life I feel comfortable saying that it always will be. People can catch glimpses of great glory through these songs, and I hope to be able to share the grandeur.
I wish to make it clear, however, that I do NOT claim to know the original intent of the author. What Jon Anderson meant by a particular line, he hasn’t told me. I do not claim here to explain what he intended. (For the record, I have spoken with him, and he does have a copy of this document. He has never commented one way or the other). I only hope to be able to explain as clearly as possible what the lyrics mean to ME. They may mean something very different to you.
So now onward.
I present the annotated Close to the Edge.
OVERVIEWClose to the Edge means Coming Closer to Terms with God.
On the fringe of our normal, profane existence/consciousness, always present and ever near, is the real of the divine/sacred. The song deals with our return to awareness of this sacred order, both from a personal and universal (global) perspective. It is cyclical, ending where it begins, beginning where it ends. Put it on the CD player using the repeat function, and let it go for a couple of hours. You’ll see what I mean.
This cyclical structure is a condensed version of Tales From Topographic Oceans, beginning with the dawn of creation and ending with the consummation of the ages. In the course of the journey we have celebrations, wars, and revelations, all designed to teach and fulfill.
The piece is in 4 sections, relating to the 4 seasons. It takes us through the ages of man.
There is no other 18 minute journey like it to be found ANYWHERE else within the history of human musical expression.
1. A seasoned witch could call you from the depths of your disgrace 19. My eyes convinced, eclipsed with the younger moon attained with love 36. In her white lace she could clearly see 52. The time between the notes relates the color to the scenes
We begin in summer. The opening instrumental section, teaming with life, signifies the initial appearance of life on the planet. Chaotic. Unstructured. Let it be, if you will, the first instant after the fall of man from grace in the garden of Eden.
Whatever the case, the guitar goes through a very frenetic solo, leading to a powerful break when the Close to the Edge THEME is heard. This symbolizes, to me, civilization and the dimensions of human achievement. It may, of course, just be music.
In any event, when the singing starts, things are not entirely well with humanity. He needs some help.We start with Mankind in disgrace. He has been dis-grace-d.
AKA the fall. This is, frankly, the state we find ourselves in much of the time. Full of hate, depression, sorrow, ignorance, etc. What is rightfully noble and glorious has fallen into a pit.
Grace is a gift. Grace is God. Grace is the power through which everything exists, through which it was created. Our dis-grace therefore constitutes a renunciation of our roots as well. We live without God, without a sense of purpose, of history or destiny.
To call us from our disgrace will be to return us to the true path of our source/destiny, to rediscover God and our purpose.
The “you” here can equally apply to the human whole and each of us individually. Religion has been called the private actions of a man’s heart, that he performs in company with his fellow man.
This is one of the powerful mysteries/revelations: the reflective nature of the universe. As happens in the whole happens in each individual part, and vice-versa. Man and Humanity. Earth and Galaxy. Creation and Creator.
In short, the story of humanity found here in Close to the Edge is, in fact, YOUR story as well.
Something is seasoned if it has been around for a while. And though witches have been getting some very bad press the last few hundred years, classically speaking a witch is a person who has been able to harness the natural elements of the earth to perform certain works outside the realm of normal experience.
This is NOT necessarily evil, though it certainly can be.
Witchcraft is VERY different from Satanism, though few there are who understand this. Satanism espouses that EVIL is their GOOD. Witchcraft espouses that there is great NATURAL power in the earth that we can tap into and use for either good or evil.
SO, someone with great experience in the ways of nature and the world could call man from the depths of his disgrace. Not move him, but call him. No one can change us but we ourselves. There is great joy, peace, bliss to be found in this world, but no one can or will force us to make them a part of our lives.
Change almost always begins with a call, a word, a proclamation. Faith comes by hearing, and that by the Word of God.
The seasoned witch is going to call us away from the depths of our disgrace. But what to?Wow. We’ve only barely begun, but there is such extreme power in these simple lines.
The liver is the organ that removes impurities from the blood.
But there are greater impurities than those of the body.
There are impurities in the soul. These are the true pollutants that we had best spend our energies removing. It is they that constitute out disgrace, the symptoms of our disease.
Though most people think of physical matter (i.e. the body) as the most tangible reality, it is not. The realm of the MIND is much more solid and stable than anything physical. IDEAS of love, hope, peace, hatred, space, time, these are much more permanent than any physical body. The physical body will die. Fall apart. But the mind WILL continue.
Think of the tyrants of history. The civilizations. They are all dead. Gone. But the IDEAS still live! The might and power of Rome is gone. But what God said to Moses is still ALIVE and affecting people’s lives daily.
Solid mental grace, then, is the realm of the soul. It is SOLID. Like a rock...the sure rock to build one’s life/destiny upon.
Grace. The opposite of the dis-grace in verse 1. A gift from God, undeniably. To cleanse our soul brings true fulfillment, limitlessly beyond any sort of temporal gratification that can be derived from material/physical pleasures. This removes us from dis-grace, and returns us to the state of grace.
We therefore begin to cleanse our thoughts, focusing on the eternal realm of the spirit.I take music to be a symbol for divine revelation, in as much as it 1) comes quickly (when we ask & need) 2) from afar, meaning not of this world.
It is only the divine revelation that can 1) call us from the depths of disgrace and 2) purify us to a greater way of living.
This music, this proclamation from God, is sufficient for all our spiritual needs, thus the words achieve it all.
It is also interesting that the word is came, past tense.
The proclamation of love, the higher path of life available to us, was made ages ago, and is clearly available to all who might seek it. We don’t need anything new to happen in order for us to return to the proper path.What is the fruit of man? I maintain that it is the same as the fruit of the Holy Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, and self control. That is our destiny, our purpose, our fruition. Our TRUE fruit; what we were created for; our real destiny.
This has been recorded. In the Bible. In the Scriptures of the world. In the hearts of those who know we have been called to a better way.
But it is for the most part lost, my friends. And it is being lost even more every day. Losing all against the hour. We build military machines, kill, hate, cheat, lie, steal.....My God. The indwelling infinite spirit we sacrifice on the altar of ego, selfishness and greed. We are, in fact, losing ALL. If a man seeks to save his life, he shall lose it...
For you real YES scholars, you will see a parallel to the verse in AWAKEN from the GOING FOR THE ONE album, where Jon sings:
Workings of man set to ply out historical life / Re-regaining the flower of the fruit of his tree / All awakening, all restoring you.
Without the grace of God, without the music from afar, we will never taste the true fruit, we will live in disgrace, and our lost condition will continue to lose even more every single hour.
But there is hope. Great and immeasurable hope.Points to nowhere. That is life in general, as we usually know it. Normal, mortal consciousness. Fractured, analytical, pulling us constantly ONWARD yet never going anywhere. The never-ending spiral of increasing desire/examination.
You want an example? There are too many to mention. The entire realm of human consciousness is an expression of this verse.
Let’s think about baseball. Games won. Games lost. Games won at home vs. on the road. Percentage of night games won on the road verses right hand pitchers. Batting averages. Batting averages for second at bats with 2 men on base facing right handed pitchers....
Statistics. Comparisons. On and on and on and on and......
Endlessly. Leading EVERY single one. Every idea, every single number and new statistic, invites comparison and cross-referencing with each and every single item before it. Left handed batters, during their second at bats with 2 men on base facing right handed pitchers during night games have a 1 in 5 chance of getting an RBI IF there is only 1 out, but only a 1 out of 9..........
Statistics. Math. Clock collecting. Baseball. These are all leading. Every single one of them. ANY idea will lead you to a MILLION other ideas, if you only will follow them.
BUT, they lead ABSOLUTELY NOWHERE! In and of themselves, they are meaningless. Who cares? What does that have to do with the meaning or purpose of life? NOTHING! !
To analyze is to pick apart. This pulls us farther and farther away from the unitive experience of the UNIVERSE. The ONENESS that is all and all.
HOWEVER, the fact that they go nowhere, and that every single one will lead us to a dozen just like it, that doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong!CAN exalt us, if we can properly ASSESS (verse 5) it.
A simple dewdrop. Water. Can’t even cover a whole leaf. Appearing only at night, it is as transitory as can be, gone by the time the sun rises.
Yet, if only that dewdrop could talk! Where has it been? What processes of life and condensation created it? Where has the water been throughout the centuries? And what of the atoms that make up the water? From whence did they come? How long have they been here?
To assess is to establish the VALUE of something.
If we can properly assess this dewdrop, it will yield great treasure. Instead of USING it or manipulating it, comparing or analyzing it, what if we pause from our buzzing schedule and see it for what it REALLY is?
The baseball example again. Statistics etc are examinations of the RESULTS of our actions. But if we are able to properly assess our actions, realizing the MIRACLES of the bodies that can move, the minds that can conceive, the people who can co-operate and band together to form a team, the fact that, though this ENTIRE UNIVERSE could have forever been NOTHING but a BIG EMPTY HOLE OF NOTHINGNESS, BASEBALL EXISTS, then we shall be exalted as though we are hearing the very music of the sun.
How to assess? What is true worth? Though anything will LEAD us onward in our quest for comparisons, it has INTRINSIC worth in and of itself. Beauty. Grace. Purity. A manifestation / creation of the infinite consciousness that rules above.
Its INTRINSIC worth, as opposed to ASCRIBED / UTILITARIAN worth.
If we could really see, if our way of thinking could be purified (verse 2) so as to enable us to experience the limitless, glorious miracle of that single dewdrop, we would be exalted, lifted up, infused with a glimpse of the BEYOND....
The MUSIC OF THE SUN.
WOAH! What is this? The music of the sun.
All we need know is 1) What is music? and 2) What is the sun?
Simple. Let your spirit soar and you will know the answers long before you could ever read these words.
How would / do you define music? Go ahead. Try. It’s important because, if you can’t define it then you don’t really know what it is. And if you don’t know what it is, then it is pointless to try to talk about it. Music of the sun is VERY, VERY important.
How do you define it?
Let’s give the professionals a crack. Here’s Random House:
Music - The art of combining and regulating sounds of varying pitch to produce compositions of various ideas and emotions.
Excellent! Way to go Random House! As a working definition of music I can offer no better.
Now, what is the sun?
Billions of tons of matter. Very bright. Fusion. Energy.
Power. Hydrogen. Helium. The SOURCE of ALL LIFE. Tales from Topographic Oceans, side 4: Nous Sommes Du Soleil. We are of the Sun.
Without the sun there could be no life at all on this earth.
Period. End of story.
Photosynthesis. Evaporation. Warmth. It is the source and sustainer of all physical life on the earth.
Fine. Now we are equipped to answer the primary question immediately before us: What is `The Music of the Sun?’
Compositions of various ideas and emotions from the source of all life. Ideas = MIND. Emotions = DESIRE. ALL we think, ALL we feel, ALL we want! This is the ENTIRE HUMAN EXPERIENCE, individually (MY life) and collectively (as a race of people).
The sun, as the sustainer of all physical life, is inseparably linked to the source of all spiritual life: God. In the beginning, God said, `Let there be light! ’
The sun, therefore, is the purest symbol of God, the source and fount of all life. As I said before, the reflective nature of life is of profoundest meaning. As above, so below.
God. Life. Light. Eternity manifest within time and space.
That, my friends, is the music of the sun. The song it sings is countless millennia old. It contains all events of the solar system: the history of all the planets and all living organisms, wherever they may be.
AND IT IS CONTAINED IN THAT DEWDROP! ! ! If the dewdrop could speak, and tell its entire story completely, its story would be the music of the sun. YEAHHHHHHH! ! ! ! ! !
All aspects of creation, contain, come from and refer to the creator, whether human or divine. Every key I type in this writing is an expression of ME, and if you could fully see through (assess) every letter, seeing it as a manifestation of my mind (music), then you would be able to gain a glimpse into my soul.
From the beginning of the world, what has been seen and made points us clearly and directly to God. That’s from the Book of Romans in the Bible.
One.This verse explains the results of properly assessing life.
The process of meditating or assessing re-focuses our consciousness from everyday reality to deeper/higher truths. A plane is a 2-dimensional geometrical idea. While it is infinite (leading every single one) it is LIMITED, its infinitude being in only 2 dimensions. We know of at least 4 dimensions in our physical universe (height, width, length, and time), and there may be many more.
A plane, therefore, while providing plenty of space to move around in, is nevertheless a LIMITED VIEW. Within 3-dimensional space there are an INFINITE number of planes. The EXALTING from verse 6 REMOVES these limits. That’s the first idea here.
But there is another. It is not enough for the limits to be removed, for not limit whatsoever is meaningless without some form of GUIDANCE/SHAPING/DIRECTION. A pathway through infinity, if you please. That is precisely the case, for when we gain a higher consciousness we also gain the ability to CHOOSE OUR OWN PATHWAY!
This cannot be emphasized enough. We spend most of our lives being ruled and governed by forces on the earth-plane around us: language, parental conditioning, peer pressure, fashion, laws (rules for acceptable behavior), et cetera. We are told what to do, how to act, what to think, what to believe, and so forth. The higher consciousness, the SOLID MENTAL GRACE, enables US to choose our own path.
And where are we going? What do we seek? What is the essence of our path through this exalted bliss?
That is precisely the subject of the rest of the piece.
8. down at the edge, round by the corner / Not right away / Not right away / Close to the edge, down by a river / Not right away / Not right awayThe course we choose to run is down at the edge, round by the corner, Close to the Edge, down by a river. The edge of the universe is God. Close to the Edge means Close to God. The Song is about the process whereby we become closer to God. The corner is where this manifest reality meets/touches/encounters the Godhead. The river is the flowing life proceeding from the Godhead which unfolds/begets the universe.
That’s where we are headed.
But not right away. Oh, no. This process of realization / enlightenment / salvation takes a v-e-r-y l-o-n-g time, individually and collectively.This first section of Close to the Edge represents summer, as we see here. Summer has the longest days, the most direct sunlight. The line represents the first steps taken toward the edge (being a line). The commencement of the spiritual journey begins here. One of the very first things God did in the Bible was to pass all the creatures by Adam so that Adam could give them names. As consciousness evolves it begins to abstract, and NAMES and WORDS are crucial to this process. This stanza focuses on THE NAME.
The sky has always been blue. It is a very significant step, however, to give the color of the sky a name, to call it.
There is, in fact, so much to be said here, that hundreds of volumes have been written of the relationship of man to language, and how that affects his perceptions.
For our purposes here, I will summarize:
1) Birth: objects with no names unconscious unity)
2) Education: objects have names attached unconscious disunity)
3) The Fall: objects are only names conscious disunity)
4) Enlightenment: names are transcended, gaining direct perception of the object conscious unity)
Individually, this is the cycle of learning. Communally, this is the Breath of God.This is a time compression: now and eternity. The moment is only here and now. Instantaneous. Each moment unfolds its own eternal revelation, properly assessed, as we’ve seen. Yet simultaneously the earth spins, days flow into each other so quickly we can often no longer distinguish them.
The earth is contained in a galaxy of 200,000,000,000 stars like our own Sun. We call it the Milky Way. The Milky Way is 100,000 X 6,000,000,000,000 miles in diameter. Every 200,000,000 years it makes one complete revolution about its center.
There are realms of perception where this galaxy is spinning like a pinwheel fireworks, spraying stars throughout the universe as it goes.
That, to me, is what this verse says.
Every moment is an eternity.
And Eternity is but a moment.When we realize the truth, the eternal nature of all that exists and our relationship to it, we realize that all anxiety/worry/fret/depression is simply a waste of time and energy. This simple truth is one of the most powerful for transforming every-day lives. That means that the changes are here, now! They are, in fact, not even remotely (far from) behind us, but here and ahead!
What changes? The changes in perception/focus/consciousness that we’ve been talking about.This has proven to be, in my life, the single most important verse in the song, simply because the Master’s Name is the most important revelation available to human beings.
As we call the color of the sky, we can discover God’s Name.
We have ascribed many names to God. But He/She has ACTUALLY written/revealed His/Her own Name. And it is known to ALL people, literate or otherwise, in ALL cultures and ALL places, throughout ALL time. The recognition of this Name is the essence of all truth.
Taking us OVER the Edge.
There is so much to say at this point. I will refer you to my other writing, God is Not God’s Name, for more information. You will find most of the answers there.I only want to point out here the juxtaposition of discovering the Master’s Name and becoming Close to the Edge, et al. The profundity of this and the next verse is simply breathtaking. The seasons exist. They cannot be stopped. But, once you are Close to the Edge, they WILL PASS YOU BY! You will find the point of constancy, that which remains in the midst of all changes. We are then able to retain our focus on the eternal, and not suffer through the game of chance that plays. There is NO aspect of life, and by that I mean ABSOLUTELY NONE, that is not reflected in these 6 words.
Wake/sleep. Birth/death. Breathe in/out. Tides rise/fall.
Sunrise/sunset. Air pressure goes up/down, creating sound.
I could go on forever. And Ever. And ever.Notice the fruition of the soul. We are, at this point, quite transformed. The plane of profane consciousness has been removed. We know the Master’s Name. All tension is released. Worry is gone.
We are whole. It would appear that it’s all over and done.
But it’s ONLY ANOTHER PHASE IN THE CYCLE. To say “I found it”, implying there is no more to learn, indicates we have found very little.
19. My eyes convinced, eclipsed with the younger moon attained with love As so often happens in life, every victory is but a prelude unto failure. Every sadness is but a prelude unto joy.
Gautama Buddha taught that life is suffering. By this he meant that no matter what your apparent triumphs, no matter what your seeming pleasures, they will always be followed by pain and suffering. Knowing that right around the corner from your current ecstasies is more agony, makes it impossible for you to experience any pleasure what so ever. And I think we have all had the experience where we find ourselves in a great and glorious situation full of delight and pleasure, almost bliss. And yet we cannot truly fully enjoy it because we know that this blessing is just a transitory puff of wind.
So Gautama Buddha says, Recognize that this is the essence of life, either you are suffering now or you will suffer in the future. And that suffering is due to your selfish clinging to desire.
Well, the proclamation here in verse 19 is similar, yet slightly different. Through summer, the solid time of change, which we have just come through, we have seen great glories. The simplest dew drop has begun to vibrate with the music of the Sun. And yet, this is not the end of the story, there is much more to be learned. Our eyes have become convinced, we have seen truth. And we may personally individually recognize the truth of God. We may have individually, personally relieved the tension and found out the Master’s Name. Via that Name we may, in fact, have come to know all truth.
Yet, this is not enough. This is why this verse is so essential. My eyes convinced, eclipsed. An eclipse is the darkening of the light of the Sun with the presence of the Moon. The Moon is dead, the Moon is dust. All the Moon can do is, at best, reflect the light of the Sun. And at the worst it completely blocks it. The Moon has therefore become a symbol for human achievement, human power, human intervention and ultimately the totality of human ego.
Well, what does this verse tell us? My eyes are convinced of what? The Master’s Name. But now that we have found our wholeness our eyes have become eclipsed with the younger Moon, attained with love.
The Moon is younger. You see, the proclamation of the Sun, the music of the Sun is ancient. It is beyond all measurable time. And that Sun, that light of God is the only reality.
The Moon is much, much younger. If you turn to the study of astronomy, it does not matter if you are talking about the Biblical perspective or the atheistic, materialistic, scientific perspective, the Moon is much younger then the Sun.
According to the Biblical record the Moon doesn’t appear until the second day. According to the scientific accounting the Moon doesn’t appear until approximately the second day. The Sun, secular scientists will say is approximately 5 billion years old, the Earth is approximately 3 billion years old and the Moon is approximately a billion years old.
So the Moon is, in fact, younger. But as a symbol of God’s presence through the language of the primordial archetypes, the Moon, being the symbol of our individual ego, must be much, much younger then the light of the infinite Godhood.
God created the heavens and the Earth, and created Adam and Eve. And only later did the Moon of Adam’s eclipsing ego block out the light of the perfect grace and bliss which Eden was, is and will be.
So what does it mean, then, to say this was attained with love? Well, love exists in many formats. In it’s purest sense love is simply a union. I can love a hot dog, I can love my children and I can love God. The essence of love is union.
This Moon we attain with love. We strive with all of our being to retain our egos. We love the fact that we stand in opposition to all other human beings, that we stand apart from each individual soul on this earth.
This Moon is attained with love, but it is misbegotten love. It is love of the self, it is love of the individual, it is love of the local consciousness. And what we see here in the Total Mass Retain is the struggle between the individual and the group. Because my eyes, the first two words of this verse, refer to the individual. But, this is not enough.
One of the greatest burdens we have comes toward the end of the religious pathway. It is an honor and blessing to have this curse, but it is never the less a curse.
As you personally and individually achieve knowledge, consciousness and attainment you will recognize ever clearer the ignorance, stupidity and filth of the darkened souls around you.
Each individual human being has had that experience, and it is completely in tune with religious revelations. Gautama Buddha worked to somehow communicate his enlightenment to his disciples. Jesus wept at the ignorance of Jerusalem and was constantly frustrated that his disciples, even after years of relationship could not begin to understand the teeniest, tiniest thing he was saying.
So, we enter here a period of great frustration and great darkness. Though our eyes are convinced they become eclipsed with the social consciousness of ego and darkness, which the world seeks to hold on to so desperately.
One of the greatest frustrations that a human being can have is to walk on this earth as an enlightened soul. It is, on the one hand, a blessing to be sought. It is simultaneously a curse to be avoided at all costs.
Imagine a very, very bright 9th grader being forced to sit in a 5th grade class. First, you will find almost immeasurable boredom, because there is nothing to be learned here that you haven’t experienced and absorbed and internalized years ago. But much more than that, with your grand and glorious attainment you will be endlessly and daily frustrated by the ignorance and stupidity of those around you. The only way out of this frustration is to become a teacher with love and empathy.
This is the Moon, the eclipse, the darkness which the social consciousness has attained with love.
The pain, the suffering, the misery. The gang wars, the nuclear proliferation and murder which we see all about us, the social consciousness loves and adores and holds on to at great and almost immeasurable pain and expense.The true mystery in this verse is what the word “It” refers to. Through linguistic analysis you can discover that the it is the Moon.
The focus of the previous verse is the word Moon. It changed. How did it change? “As almost strained amidst clear manna from above.”
What is manna? Manna is, despite what any scoffers might wish to say, a reference to a Biblical idea. The Hebrew people, held in bondage to slavery in Egypt, were through the Passover freed from their bondage and enabled to return to their promised land. While they wandered in the wilderness they came to a point where they had no food, no water, no visible means of sustenance. God sent to them this miracle food and it floated, as it were, straight down from Heaven.
The manna has become a symbol for God’s provision, God’s food. You see, the seeker is still in tune with the knowledge of the Sun. The seeker still is one with the Holy Name. We will forever be that way. Whether we currently acknowledge it or not, we are and forever will be one with the Master’s Name.
The seeker during the Total Mass Retain has achieved a certain level of awareness of this. And the heavens are opening up and, without any self effort, the manna is flowing all around. It is the manna of God, given graciously, limitlessly from above. And yet this Moon is changing. It is straining, the encompassing of ego is becoming ever more intense. And this Moon begins to take upon itself unbelievable ugliness.This is something that occurs fairly regularly in the discography of Yes, that you must go to great lengths to find anywhere else. Here the singer Jon Anderson is speaking first and foremost as the individual, the person. The human being. And yet these words merge perfectly well with an inversion of the first person. By that I mean that the word “I” can equally apply to the human being seeking for God and for God seeking for the human being. This is something which occurs toward the very end of the spiritual pathway.
There is a story that is told of a man who truly, desperately, wanted to know what God’s will was. So he went to talk to his local priest and he said, Father, what is God’s will? His will be done. And the priest said, Well, we had best pray, Father thy will be done. As the man became frustrated the priest said, Well, we had best take this to a higher authority.
So the man was given an audience with the local cardinal and he joined in prayer with the cardinal, Father thy will be done. When the man still persisted the cardinal got him an audience with one of the highest, holiest bishops who helped to supervise the church world wide. And the man knelt in front of the holy alter and prayed with the bishop, Father thy will be done.
Well, the bishop eventually led the man into the Pope’s innermost private chambers, so convinced was the bishop of this man’s immense, devout Christian heart. The Pope took the man down into the holy Vatican, knelt in front of the alter and said, Oh Father thy will be done.
All of a sudden the man was transported into heaven. And he saw in front of him the holy Archangel, Michael. And he said, Michael, what is the will of the Father? Pray for me St. Michael. Father, Thy will be done. St. Michael took the man up to see Gabriel, the holy angel who blows the trumpet of God upon the final resurrection.
Oh! Gabriel! Show me what is the Father’s will. Thy will be done. Gabriel finally takes this seeker into Heaven, and takes him to the highest holiest place, to the eternal Virgin Mary. The man falls upon his knees in utter and complete devotion and humility, Oh Mother of Mary full of grace, pray for me, I seek only the Father’s will. Father, Thy will be done. The Holy Virgin Mary recognizing the blessed nature of this man’s devotion grants him the ultimate gift that any human being can be given.
She takes him past all the cherubim and seraphim, past the apostles and takes him to her holy son, Jesus Christ himself. The man says, Oh! Dearest, precious Lord Jesus, I seek only one thing, what is the will of thy holy Father? Jesus kneels and prays with him, Father, Thy will be done. Jesus grabs him by the hand and they fly high, high past all the multitudes of worshipping beings, until finally they stand at the throne of God itself.
The man falls not on his knees this time, but on his bare face. His chin hits the crystal throne of God. And says, Holy Father, I have sought for so long to ask only one question. What is thy will? Oh! Holy Father! Infinite God creator, preserver and destroyer of the universe, Thy will be done! !
God from his infinite throne says, Rise my good and faithful servant.
And God looks deeply into his eyes, and God says one simple thing.
“Thy will be done.”
This vision is called a Theophany, an appearance of God, where God transcends the limits of normal human consciousness and appears to us directly in a vision.
What the mystics have told us from the beginning of time is that the difference between God’s will and our will is a fiction. There is in fact only one will, that is God’s will. And that will God has deliberately, intentionally, and consciensciously placed into us. That is the doctrine of free will, through which we ultimately recognize that we are co-creators with God. We are a spark in the heavenly fire which has been cast out of the celestial fireplace to land upon our own woodpile, to create our own local flames of fire. God tells us, quietly, hidden in the highest heaven, "Not My will, but thy will be done." This is a profound mystery worthy of deepest meditation. It will change your life.
Occasionally, albeit very, very rarely, in the human race we see such an experience, where the human will is poured out so completely that it is quite apparent the human will and the Divine will are one. St. Paul was able to claim (Galatians 2:20) that he did not exist. The only thing that really existed is God. Therefore here in verse 21, this remarkable verse can equally apply with complete 100% total integrity to both the human aspirant toward God and God himself.
“I crucified my hate and held the word within my hand." From God’s perspective this is obvious, this is a very clear direct reference to the Christian Gospel. If Jon Anderson, when he wrote these words, didn’t intend for them to mean that, all I can say is he should have. God’s hate is the hatred of sin, and sin is the occurrence of ego. This is very clearly laid out for you in my writing, In the Garden.
The ultimate sin is not one of disobedience, but is one of ego, wherein the individualized local consciousness imagines that it is separate from the divine unity. This is a hateful, odious thing. God takes that hatred and takes the Word who was with him in the beginning, places that word upon the earth in the form of Jesus and crucifies it.
But that is also what we do. For we saw in verse 20 the pain and suffering which the individual has. As the individual achieves awareness and has to struggle with those who are so ignorant around us, we too must crucify our hate, we must be able to rise above us. We must be able to rise above our own self-concerned-enlightenment and be able to see and walk with the totality of the human race. We must crucify our hate and hold the word, the infinite word, through which the heavens and the Earth were made. We must hold that word within our hand.This is, if you will, the “out” for the previous verse. We can come to understand many things, but if we don’t understand, then there are reasons. There are reasons why our fellow human beings walk in ignorance and darkness. Those reasons ultimately tie to what the East calls the wheel of Karma.
The highest truth is that the universe is a fractal equation based upon the formula, “I will be what I will be.”
This has endless and infinite ramifications, for us, at this time. It suffices to say that this is an expression of health. When we are healthy we can be whom we choose to be and not whom or what someone else tells us we should be. But, that health takes much time and effort to achieve.
For the most part we are unable to do that. Why? Because we are trapped, we are enslaved. We gain the perceptions and thoughts and feelings of our parents and our society, and we wind up being a flag blown about in the wind. This is truly sad. And yet these are the reasons we don’t understand.
So we see in this verse 4 entities. Number one is you. Number two is the time. Number three is the logic. And, number four is the reasons we don’t understand. “We don’t understand” stands in counterpoint to the previous trilogy. You, time and logic work together.
To whom does “You” refer? Number 1, as the previous verse speaks through the person of God, it refers to the human race. And as the previous verse also speaks from the perspective of the individual seeker for God, it speaks of God himself. The word “you” here in verse 22, refers to God and the human race.
“The time” refers to the consciousness which transcends time and space. You see, time is nothing more then a flow of measurement of physical reality. The time is part of what we live within. And that time can be anointed. Can be transformed. Need not be profane time but can be realized to be truly sacred time.
“The logic” is the salvation of the mind. The mind can perceive with complete and total certainty the truth of the infinite Godhead.
So, what do we have here?
Both the seeker for truth and God have crucified their hate and they have held the infinite Word within their hands. And then they recognize that there is you, which is shared union attained with love between God and his seekers. There is the time, which is the here and the now beyond all ramifications of space. There is the logic, which is the anointing of human consciousness to perceive all infinite truth.
Or... there are the reasons why we do not understand. We do not understand God, we do not understand the time, we do not understand the logic.
What we are about to enter into is a phase wherein we truly and deeply do not understand anything at all.
We have here in poetic form a description of war, the saddest and most pathetic manifestation of mankind’s ego that we have. All pain and suffering is an extension of this ego, this self clinging. And it is all unnecessary. But, as the human race gets together in the total mass, which is what we are discussing, the total mass eventually bubbles up in it’s ego to create these vast, horrid unmentionable orgies of death, suffering, and pain.
In these two tiny verses all of the human experience of war is encapsulated. We have armored movers, these are simply tanks. They are moving from their inland position to the sea. And with their sad courage people without the tanks, without the armor, are hoping to stand in opposition to these armored movers. But, they cannot.
The history of the human race can be seen as an unfolding of greater ability to manifest the physical creation for purposes of death. The reason that the Greeks overtook most of the know Western world in the centuries before Christ, is because they had the ability to manipulate iron for purposes of creating chariots and spears.
The Romans were able to advance because they took the art to a even higher degree. I will not bore you with all of the details. The reason America is seen as an immense global power, the reason Russia, China, England and France exert power on this earth is not due to any morality, is not due to any enlightenment. Is not due to having a greater standard of living for their people. And it is not due to having a lower infant mortality rate. No, the reason the so-called super powers are super powers is because they can kill more people more quickly more efficiently than anyone else.
For one whose eyes “have become convinced”, this becomes like drinking sewer water. The stench and the filth of this disgusting mass of human evil. Some might have courage, some might wish to rise above the evil and make a brave claim for truth. But, we have seen what has happened at times past.
While some people may eventually, through their pain and suffering, convince the evil ones that they are doing wrong, number one they must suffer immeasurable death. And number two, more often than not, the evil ones never really care. That’s why the courage is so sad. Because on this plane if you want to swim in a sewer you had better be prepared to fling some shit. That’s simply the way it is.
So the movers are approaching the victims, and with their sad courage the victims are standing still for all to see. They are declaring their faith before the world. Just as the Jews stood to oppose the Holocaust, just as Mahatma Gandhi opposed the British, they stand. The courageous ones who attempt to oppose the oppressors. They stand and are seen by all, but ultimately the armored movers do approach. They kill, murder and slaughter the sad courageous ones. Until finally they take their position overlooking the sea.“There” is where the armored movers are standing upon the scene. As they have always been since the cord, the license or the reasons we don’t understand, will be. The cord connects us to the eternal. And since the beginning of time, since the beginning of the first moment of creation we have been connected to the infinite.
But that connection, that cord has always been coupled with license, freedom. We do have free choice. This is one of the greatest mysteries in all of creation. The notion of human will. It exists and needs not be argued over. We have the capacity to do as we choose. I am capable and have the freedom to murder my father, my mother, my wife and my children. And I need not actually do that in order to prove or establish that I actually have that freedom. That is the license we have been granted.
Just like the social order grants a license to people, to drive a car or own or operate a business, so too, YHWH has granted to us all a license to be co-creators with him.
The reasons we don’t understand we have covered in a previous verse. In verse 22 we discussed you, time, logic and the reasons we don’t understand. So, what we are saying in essence here in verse 25 is that war, the waging of war, hatred, evil and sin have been there since the beginning of time with the cord, which had connected all of creation to YHWH himself. And it has been there since the beginning of license, which is free will. Which is Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.
Because, one of the very first things the Bible tells us is that of their first two children, Cain and Able, one killed the other. Due to ego, due to sin. All of these constitute the reasons we do not understand. This murder with the armored movers killing the sad courage of the victims has been there since the beginning of time. Has been there since the cord itself was woven, since license was granted to the human race. These all constitute the reasons we don’t understand.
The essence of religion constitutes an awareness, a knowledge. Repentance, for those who understand it, is not a matter of feeling sorry. It is not an emotion. It is not a ritual. It is not a series of acts. And it is not a commitment or a promise.
Repentance means to think differently.
And what we must do is have our awareness heightened. We must learn.
26. Down at the edge close by a river, Close to the Edge around by the corner / Close to the edge, down by the corner, down at the edge, `round by the riverAt this point, at the end of this war, or in the midst of it, the singer comes in with this very high- energy, frenetic proclamation regarding the edge and the river and the corner. The purpose is to tell us very simply that, even in the midst of war, the only reality is the edge. We are constantly coming closer to terms with God and the river of life that flows from Him, because if God did not grant us the license and the cord did not exist, then the war could not happen.
It is only because of the cord and the license that we do not understand. Even ignorance, even stupidity, even war, even death, even sin is a part of the cycle. Is a part of the grand scheme which we see here in Close to the Edge. That’s why we’re reminded that, even in the midst of war, even in the midst of suffering, even in the midst of cancer, we are now and forever remain Close to the Edge.
Just around the corner, if we will turn, (because that is what a corner constitutes, a turning from one pathway to another) we will dwell in the truth. “Like the time I ran away, turned around and you were standing close to me." That comes from Awaken. If we turn the corner we will find that the river has always been there. If we will change our way of thinking. If we will repent, then we will recognize the all-consuming truth of YHWH. Even in the midst of the Holocaust, even in the midst of nuclear war. Even in the midst of genocide. Because the only truth that is forever is either our misunderstanding or “time, logic and you”. That’s why we’re called to be Close to the Edge.One of the things which remains constant across all of the world’s religions is the notion of the call. Sometimes it is the call of God in those religions which are particularly theistic. Sometimes it is the calling of the unknown, or the beyond.
But, sooner or later, the religious figures of the world experience a call, much like in our modern mechanized society we receive a call on a telephone. We are sitting behaving ourselves and all of a sudden this call comes in. Now, this call transforms us. Musically in this passage, we have an incredibly dramatic change from being down at the edge and round by they river, and we are lifted, as it were, upon a high plateau, musically speaking. And this sudden call comes in, this is a reminder.
And when someone calls you on the phone, what do you hear? You hear their voice. This is the word of God. This sudden call should not take away your startled memory. We stand, as Tales from Topographic Oceans, part 2 tells us, upon hills of long forgotten yesterdays.
The only reason you are able to sit and read this is because of World War II and World War I. The Civil War in America. Because there was a cure and a vaccine found for Polio. Because Leonardo DaVinci helped find a way to transport clean water.
This “memory” constitutes the sum-total of the human experience. All of these wars and all of this ego is a part of who we are and where we have come from. This is the startled memory. When you hear the sudden call of God, when the dew drop can exalt you like the music of the Sun, it should not take away your startled memory.
Do not forsake a moment living out your life. The past, even if that past is darkness, can always be redeemed.
There is a darkness upon the face of the planet, upon the entire human race. A scourge, an evil, that is the crucifixion of the Son of God himself. But, we are called to always remember it. Just a few years ago the Jewish race lost a third of it’s entire population. Yet every Sabbath, every high holy day, we remember that. Because out of the pain, out of the misery, out of the suffering comes salvation. That is why the sudden calling of God upon our hearts should not take away this startled memory.
We should always remember, because of what verse 28 tells us.We see here a promise, a promise of moving from who and what we are to the completion of the pathway. We are not yet at half way point in the lyrics of Close to the Edge. We are, most of us, not yet at the halfway point of our spiritual life. For once we become completely healed, completely well, completely self actualized, we have only arrived at the half way point of our life.
All in all the journey takes you all the way. “All in all” refers to the sum-totality of the human race. Sooner or later all human beings will drink from that divine dew drop of the Sun. Sooner or later all beings will come to the totality of their understanding. The journey takes you all the way. Not just you individually, but you corporately.
That is one magnificent miracle of the English language. The word you can refer a single individual autonomous human being. It can also refer to the collective of every human being who has ever walked the Earth. Singular and plural.
The journey does take you all the way from your pollution, wherein the seasoned witch can transform you to the solid mental grace. And can take you to the pure egoless state of absolute perfection. The journey will take you.
And notice how important it is that the phrase is “takes you." The journey takes you, you don’t take anything. Because this small you, this ego you, is what gets in the way. The journey will take you from where you are to the inner throne room of God himself.This sudden call that we are discussing, to move us from our profane existence to our elevated spiritual insight, and this journey which takes us all the way, is actually apart from any reality that we have ever seen and known.
As the Bard William Shakespeare said, “There are things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, not dreamt of in your philosophy." There are realms, domains, kingdoms beyond our wildest imagination. Many of these kingdoms are available to us now, but due to our inordinate dependency upon the material/physical creation we have blocked off any access we would have to them.
Through the process of what we call death, we gain access to more of these realms. In the next world, whatsoever you desire is your “action.” Through focusing your will through your mind as you clothe your thought with desire, that desire is your action.
The results of this are quite astounding. All you need to do is want to touch someone and you can touch them. All you have to do is want the music and the music is real. If you want a red rose, then you have a red rose. Not a red rose made of carbon, nitrogen and hydrogen the way red roses are made down here, but red roses made of a finer, more glorious stuff.
The strength of your desire is likened to the strength of your bodies. On this earth we must have physical energy in order to manifest anything. And what we find is that through technology we are able to gain access to functions of the higher realms without being in the higher realms.
For example, desire. If we desire to hear Beethoven’s symphonies, in the next realm that desire makes the symphony play. In this realm for the longest time hearing that symphony required an immense amount of effort: to find the musicians, rehearse, go to the concert hall and actually have the music performed. Through technology we now have the ability to speak into a computer and say “Beethoven’s 7th symphony”, and the music begins to play.
We therefore see that through the application of technology the limitations and forms of the current physical realm are becoming reduced. And we are approximating in this realm the natural realities of the higher realms.
But this is only the beginning. There are vast vistas that go far beyond our conception. You see, as huge as this physical earth is it is very, very small compared to the next world. If you think of all the worlds and dominions within what we call fantasy or fiction, you can see that through desire we can create new worlds as easily as thinking them.
In this world, thinking them also requires us to put a little physical energy into it for them to become manifest reality. Then in the next world, as I’ve said before, that final step is not necessary. Therefore, the creation of new worlds is in some respects easier, though there are greater dangers and pitfalls because we have access to higher forms of power.
You can see the physical body as being a type of training wheels. True, you’re not going to go as fast as you could, but you’re not going to wreck yourself as easily either.
Well, that’s what it means when Jon Anderson talks about the journey which takes you all the way, all the way from here to the ultimate.
The ultimate consciousness is something which the overwhelming majority of human beings cannot begin to conceive of. But there are domains within the universe wherein you can see the faces of all of the uncountable billions of souls bubbling up through the waters of existence and returning to their primordial spiritual home.
You can eventually recognize that you are what you have always been, and the only thing that you could ever be: the birthless, deathless, creator, preserver, destroyer of the entire universe.
That’s what it means for the journey to take you all the way. And it is, ladies and gentlemen, quite definitely apart from anything which you have ever seen and known. Do not be deceived, you will not be disappointed. This is exactly what the Bible refers to when it says that the eye has not seen, nor has the ear heard, nor has the heart conceived of those things which God has prepared for those who love Him.
So, taken in totality, this little triplet of lines paints an astounding picture of the soul’s journey beyond this mortal frame, far beyond any reality we have ever imagined. That is your destiny.
Now how do we get there? That is what the rest of this story is going to be about.Throughout my life, friends, this one little line has proven to be one of the most important lines of any that I know. It’s one of those things which I find myself singing or repeating to myself over and over, reminding myself, Guessing problems only to deceive the mention.
What does this mean?
“The mention” is the word, the speaking. This is the sudden call. If you mention something to somebody you are telling it to them. Well, this relates to the Word of God. This relates to the sudden call in verse 27. This relates to our startled memory.
We deceive that mentioning. We live in constant states of lies. We lie to ourselves that there are problems on this earth. We lie to ourselves that there are difficulties. We lie to ourselves that there is a scarcity of resources. We lie to ourselves that there is no way we can ever live in peace. We lie to ourselves that war is inevitable. We lie to ourselves that taxation is a part of life. All of these are problems which we guess, because we do not have any real or genuine problems.
NONE! ! ! ! ! ! ! !
And this calling which we have from beyond,
this great mentioning,
the dew drop which has exalted us like the Music of the Sun,
taking us to the highest realms of existence,
these, ladies and gentlemen, are the only reality.
There is none other! ! ! ! ! !
One of the things which my writing, The Revealing Science of God attempts to state over and over, through a variety of examples, is that the only reality is God. There can be no other reality.
Therefore, since we are all a part of this oneness, there is ultimately no problem! All problems must be guessed.
We are talking here about a journey which is going to take you from here all the way to the highest realms of Heaven. And this, to me at least, is completely consistent with the Bible, where in the last book of the Bible, Revelation, we find the souls of God surrounding this celestial throne which sits upon a lake of crystal. And you and I are there.
So regardless of what Jon Anderson meant when he wrote these words, regardless of whether he would pronounce the proper Biblical formulas to convince a fundamentalist Christian that he is one of the redeemed, he has through these lyrics tapped into a revelation which is extremely Biblical and very much a part of God’s holy Word for all of us.
“Guessing problems only to deceive the mention.” We know the truth, that there is only one human race. We know that there is no reason for war. We know that there is no reason for anxiety. We are constantly guessing problems.
Life basically boils down to being like a jigsaw puzzle. We start off with a beautiful picture and we spend our time and a lot of technology cutting that puzzle up into thousands of little pieces. Until finally we derive the pleasure of putting it back together again.
That is the mention which we are guessing problems about, in order to deceive ourselves.
There is no reason for it, it is silly, it is a waste of time and space. And yet that is what we do, and that is what the world is all about.
I have reminded myself of this often. On a very practical level I think back on those times and phases of my life where I was anxious about something or worried about something or disturbed about something, and all the energy I spent contemplating these different problems and what I could theoretically do to solve them. And all of the countless hours and days and months that I spent worrying about something which never came to pass. Having anxiety about a situation which was beyond my ability to control. Having negative feelings about things which I simply could not affect. And ultimately would not affect me.
“Guessing problems only to deceive the mention” is the normal, fallen human condition. In terms of being Close to the Edge, it specifically relates to this war that we find going on in this second section, the fall.The void is a magnificent term, and it is an astounding idea in the course of human history.
A true void exists in two ways. There is what we call the left hand and the right hand path, the positive and negative existence. It is the difference between nothing and no-thing.
Nothingness is when the radio is turned off. That is the negative void, the left hand path. When we turn all radios on and simultaneously listen to all radio stations then we get what acousticians call white noise. That is where all frequencies are represented. You cannot distinguish anything, that is the no-thing, that is the positive void.
Which void is being discussed here? Personally, I think it’s the positive void, but it works just as well being the negative void. The positive void is in mysticism referred to as the vast countenance of God. What the Hindus refer to as Naguna Brahmin. That means God without attributes, God before God became creator. Before there was a creation God was not creator. God before there was anything to love. Because until he had a beloved God was not love. Until there was something to shine upon God was not light. That is Naguna Brahmin, God beyond and before all attributes.
The Hebrews call that the vast countenance of God also known as the Arik Anpin. Inside of the Bible we see God passing before Moses and God says, My backside you may see, but my front side you cannot see. For no man can see my front side and live. That is the same vision. We have in the book of Revelations the seventh scroll being opened and a silence in Heaven for at least half and hour.
These are the void, these are the realms beyond human consciousness. Beyond human experience. Beyond human thought.
If you were able to perceive the thing which makes you think, how could you know it?
If you are thinking in a language beyond words, what language are you thinking “in”?
These are the void. The paths that we walk climb halfway into the void. Both the negative and the positive void.
The negative void, so much of what we do is entirely silly, idle meaningless trivial amusement. These things lead everywhere as we have seen before, but not a one of them creates life. Every path. For example, memorizing the batting averages of every major league baseball player for the last 25 years. This is something that climbs halfway into the negative void. Not that there is anything inherently wrong or evil or bad about that, but this ultimately is part of the creation that is moving ever farther away from the creator and, as we’ve discussed before, we can endlessly stay involved in all of these statistics. And that will take us at least halfway into the negative void.
But all the while we are also passing paths that climb halfway at least into the positive void. Being able to experience the sacrament of sexual bliss. Being able to hear a bird’s song. Being able to experience the touch of the divine within our hearts, seeing a mother care for her child. All of these, and so many more, are different pathways of love, devotion, enlightenment, understanding which will take us halfway, at least, into the positive void.
So while we are waging our little war and we have the sad courage being overtaken by the armored movers and we have the divine call, we should be able to recognize that right here, right now are paths that will take us straight to the infinite throne room of God himself.
Biblically speaking St. John the divine wasn’t anymore saintly or divine then you are, or anymore saintly and divine then you could be if you choose. And the visions which he had in Revelation, the experience of communing directly in the inner most throne room of God, has been repeated over and over by countless mystics throughout all religions, throughout all centuries.
God awaits you because, once again, it is you, it is I who are deceiving ourselves by guessing all of these constant problems. “Well, someday I’ll get to know God if only I could....” “Well, if I could do this then I could....” “Well if only this....” “Well if I could just get this one more thing.....”
It doesn’t work that way.As we cross from the side of the positive void and the negative void, as we cross between the journey which takes us all the way and our points which lead to no where, as we vacillate between these extremes we begin to touch and see and feel the total mass retain.
Now, what does that mean? It means several things.
There is within the realm of physics what we call the conservation of mass. What is mass? Mass is defined as the resistance to inertia. Inertia states that an object at rest stays at rest unless acted upon by an outside force. Objects at motion stay at motion, unless acted upon by an outside force. Inertia is a measurement of how much force is needed in order to alter your resting or moving state. Mass is the measurement of your inertia.
Mass is different from your weight. Weight is the force exerted upon your mass by gravity. A 200 lb. man on the Earth weighs only 32 lbs. on the Moon because the Moon has 1/6th as much gravitational pull. However, that 200 lb. man has the same exact mass. So while it may take less energy for the man to jump up on the Moon. It will take exactly as much energy to accelerate him to 60 mph along the surface of the Moon.
One of the pillars which underlies all of science is known as the principals of conservation. Conservation means it stays the same. Conservation of mass means that throughout all chemical and physical changes the sum total of all mass remains constant. If you burn incense then the amount of mass in that incense doesn’t disappear, it simply becomes transformed. It becomes transformed into smoke and ash. But the total mass remains constant.
Jon Anderson, with the phrase “the total mass retain”, (which is, if you’ll recall, the name of this entire second section) is referring to the totality of human experience. All human beings universally. Remember that the religious journey is done personally by each human being individually, but it’s also done communally as we share this together. That is the total mass.
As we cross from the side to side. From the positive and negative voids we hear the total mass retain. The total mass of what?
Our lives. Whether we are a part of the fall or the redemption, whether we are walking with God or without him, whether we are in peace or war, whether the planet is blaspheming or fulfilling it’s nature as the bride of Christ, the total mass remains constant.
And that total mass is what?
The total mass is God.
We remain forever close to terms with God. God is once again the only truth. That sudden call is the only reality, everything else is just a guess, an imagined problem.
You see, the Hindus refer to the term “Maya”, which is not to be confused with the Mayan Indians. Maya is the delusion by which individual human beings stop looking at the totality of life and stop recognizing God as everything and in everything, and begin to look at each individual tiny particle. Maya is the trick, the illusion wherein the one appears to be many. It is only, however, a delusion, because God is one and is the same yesterday, today and forever, and therefore nothing can ever be lost from him. The total mass retains.
What science knows is that inside of a closed system conservation of energy and mass are absolute. That means that if nothing exists outside of the system to act upon it, if there is no external force, then the system in terms of it’s energy and it’s mass, it’s angular momentum, it’s center of mass and many other scientific formulas remains absolutely completely unchanged!
God is, by definition, the totality of the entire universe and there is, again by definition, absolutely nothing outside of Him. Therefore God’s angular momentum, His conservation of energy/mass, His center of mass must all be completely unaltered by any changes which occur in this universe.
As we cross from the side to the side we hear the total mass retain!
And what does it retain? That is answered for us in the next verse.The total mass retains the fact that it’s down by the end, the end of existence which is our purpose, the fruition of our souls. Around by the corner, because just around the corner is God and fulfillment. Close to the Edge, the total mass retains the fact that it is close to terms with God. Down by the river, because the river of everlasting life is still there. And still flows from the Heavenly throne!
It is of ultimate significance that in the first chapter of the Bible we are told about God’s creation and how in the center of Eden he placed these flowing rivers surrounding the Tree of Everlasting Eternal life. It is profoundly important for any spiritual seeker to understand that those trees, that tree of life and that river of living water flowing from it, are described for us in the last chapter of the last book of the Bible. We are always by the river. The river remains the same. We are always Close to the Edge. We are always just around the corner. We are always down by the end. That is what the total mass retains. The fact that, despite all of it’s silliness and stupidity, it remains once and forever, Close to the Edge.Because for every time you inhale you must exhale. For every time you eat, you must excrete. For every time you sleep, you must wake. For every time you are born, you must die. For every time you become richer, you must become poorer. For every action there is an equal but opposite reaction.
That is a necessary corollary to the conservation of energy/mass. As you give so shall you receive.
And of course, what goes up must come down.This is the breath of God, this is the cycle. We have heard it before, we will hear it again.
I would like to close this section on the total mass retained with a little poem that I wrote in 1986, called Passion.
When you embrace life with passion
you experience both it’s joys and it’s sorrows
with an intensity unknown to those who
protect themselves behind a
To be open to life’s pleasure
is to be
vulnerable to it’s pain.
But as spring time follows winter,
so sunshine follows rain.
This is, on a simple sonic level, one of the most truly beautiful passages of music I’ve ever heard, and I’ve heard a lot. There’s no way to count how many decades of music I’ve listened to in my life.
After the highly frenetic energy of The Total Mass Retain, they go through an extended coda and a segue way into a passage of astounding depth. If you never have, get a decent pair of headphones and listen to the passage between The Total Mass Retain and I Get Up, I Get Down. Notice how some of the sounds are so far away. Notice how they painted a complete aural landscape. It is truly gorgeous. They spent weeks in the studio on these 3 minutes.
In terms of what is being communicated here, I read an interview with Jon Anderson back in `73 when this had just come out. And he said that this whole thing came from a dream he had, and I believe at the time he said that this was a scene between Mother Nature and the human race. Whether my memory is correct I cannot at this point verify. But that certainly fits in very well with the words presented here.
We have a passage that is very, very soft and Yes worked for a long time on the harmonies vocally making sure that all of the voices could intertwine properly. It paints a picture of such subtlety and beauty that it is almost entirely unique within the world of rock `n roll.
The lady sadly looking is Mother Nature. The one in white lace who sees the sad lady I believe to be the human race. We’re transported to a cave or a great hall, or some mystical land wherein Mother Nature is going to give an accounting for the harm that has been done to her through the years. In her white lace, that is the human race, that is all of us, we clearly see the lady sadly looking. Mother Nature says that she will take the blame for the crucifixion of her own domain.
You see, we have crucified nature. The human race can be seen as a struggle between culture and nature. Mother Nature, we at least think, is often very cruel: floods, fires, earthquakes, tornadoes, all sorts of strange disaster. Pestilence, disease, problems which the human race has had to deal with from the beginning of time.
Rather than befriend Mother Nature, for the most part we have crucified her and taken her holy and sacred domain and ravaged it. Raped it. Pillaged it. That is what is happening here. Mother Nature is saying that she will take the blame. That she will not pass along to humanity any anger or negativity for mankind’s faults. That it is a part of our nature, albeit ignorantly, that we have so abused Mother Nature.
That is why Nature allows us, as a part of our nature, to abuse nature itself. This is magically and mysteriously part of the Total Mass which is Retained.As I have said so often, I do not know what Jon Anderson meant when he wrote this. But I will tell you what it means to me. The 2 million people is a symbol for the countless millions who have been slaughtered on this planet. 6 million Jews during World War II, 20 million Russians during World War II, 12 million Vietnamese during the Vietnam War, we could go on and on. And even if we kill 2 million of them at once, that barely satisfies the hunger and the need that the human race has for crucifying nature’s domain. We will kill and we will pillage and we will murder and we will torture until we are absolutely utterly stuffed with it.
We gorge upon this orgy of death lust. But that does not barely begin to satisfy us. Because after we are done with the blood feast then we spend millions upon millions of dollars more preparing for the next one, and we even spend several million dollars making movies in great graphic gory detail of the previous carnage. And we spend even more hundreds of millions of dollars paying money to go watch these recreations of the carnage.
2 million people barely satisfies.
But in this holy sanctuary which Jon Anderson has described to us, he also tells us:There is a sadness here. Mother Nature has been profaned, all is not well. Yes, it is true that the Total Mass does Retain. But it is also true that during the flow, during the cycle, during the getting up and down there is great sorrow and great pain. The 200 women, I think, symbolizes the small remnant, the small remnant of people who seem to want to be the peace makers on this earth.
If you look at the Bible one of the things that is constant throughout it’s revelation is that God is forever using smaller and smaller numbers than we would at first anticipate. God had several hundred thousand people in bondage to slavery in Egypt and yet we had to await the appearance to the One in order for the Hebrews to be freed. That one being Moses.
We had Gideon and 10’s of thousands potential soldiers who he could have worked with, but no, from the 3 thousand came the 300.
When Jesus came to the Earth, of all of the thousands and millions of people it boiled down to a small group of 12, and ultimately one who would do the Lord’s work.
I think that’s one of the reasons that the peace keepers are so blessed, because they are so small in number. The 2 million people barely satisfy our blood lust. And the smaller 200 people watch this one woman, Mother Nature cry. The 200 are the ones who try and remain outside of the evil and who have taken the journey and have seen the needlessness of all of it.
If he had chosen to work in togetherness and peace Adolph Hitler could have recognized that he already owned the entire world.
Domination of kings and kingdoms is so silly and so senseless, that’s what the 200 women watch. As the one woman Mother Nature weeps.It is in some ways already too late for us. The desecration that we have made upon this planet is not trivial. The threats which we have placed for ourselves are like thousands of tiny time bombs just waiting. Between the nuclear power plants and the nuclear bombs and the toxic waste sights and the depletion of the ozone layer, the destruction of the rain forests, and the dumping of toxic pollutants into the oceans, mankind truly is upon a course which one need not be a Biblical prophet to recognize is fraught full of danger.
This is not to say that the end of the world is near, and I’m not one of those doomsday prophets. But it is in so many ways too late, so many of our children already, whether they are in industrialized areas or in the pre-industrialized slums of Africa and India, never have a clean drink of water their entire lives. It’s already too late.
But while Jon Anderson is singing those words, there are other words in the background which are very challenging to hear but are oh so significant to the telling of the story!What in the world does that mean? Well, “the duty” is responsibility. It is ultimately the parent’s responsibility to help guide the children. It is ultimately Mother Nature’s responsibility to make sure that her children are going the right direction. That is her duty. So through her duty, she would coil, would rap up their said amazement of her story.
Mankind sits astounded, looking at the desecration of nature, looking at the war, looking at the carnage. And it is so easy to give up, but Mother Nature is talking to their said amazement, the 200 who are watching, the ones who are truly listening to her story, because her story is here for whoever wants to hear it. She will take their amusement and wrap it up and give them a gift. What is that gift?What Mother nature says is, if you are astounded by me then your interest should be laid upon my children. Mother Nature is renouncing herself.
This is another thing which you find throughout the ages of man. Moses pointed only to YHWH, Jesus pointed only to YHWH. “If you love me, feed my sheep.” “No one is good but God alone.” Gautama Buddha sought to bring no attention to himself.
This is key. Mother Nature is taking the amazed interest of these small remnants, the 200, and asking that they not be so concerned with nature herself, but with nature’s children.
Ultimately the Earth will survive, nature will survive. And if we erase the human race, in enough time the Earth will be restored to the place it was before we desecrated it. Certainly something that is capable of generating 100 billion stars for every one of 100 billion galaxies cannot ultimately, in all of the billions of years it takes, be concerned about whether or not we blow ourselves up in some sort of grand final carnage. No, God says, if you love me, feed my sheep.
Mother Nature wants us to know that our ultimate concern is for each other. For God’s children. As the Bible says, “No one who loves God can hate his or her fellow man.” This is so true.You see, mankind is on a quest, a quest for knowledge, a quest for truth. We want to become Close to the Edge. We want to see and know God. And here especially in the 3rd section, we enter the darkness of winter. The falling leaves and the winds of October and November have died down and the trees are silent. The quiet snow rests upon the branches.
And mankind is in a time of hibernation. Waiting for spring, waiting to discover, waiting to be able to understand.
The eyes of honesty can achieve this. We see this theme being repeated, how we guess problems to deceive the mention. How we look not with the eyes of truth, but we are constantly deceiving ourselves and others. If we will open our eyes and look honestly to see the truth, we will have taken the largest step we can in our redemption.
There is an old saying. Lie to your doctor, lie to your priest, lie to your family, even try and lie to God, but never ever lie to yourself! There is great wisdom in this. We have to begin with honesty somewhere. And if we cannot be honest at least in the depths and recesses of our own heart, then we cannot be honest with anyone, anywhere, anytime.
The proclamation, though is glorious. The eyes of honesty can achieve.There is such deception upon this earth. The religious organizations deceive the poor, scared, frightened multitudes, using threats of hell and damnation in order to subject them to the wills of the Ecclesiastical structure. Governments lie to people constantly in order to get them to behave in the way that the Governments want, to increase their pathetic little power.
Lies and deceptions are the actual stuff of society, it is the food that we eat, that fuels our media, our advertisements, our complete socio-economic system.
How many millions do we deceive each day? It is not possible to count the numbers.Mankind ages a little bit. Someone is in charge of nature. We may live our lives according to nature but something rules and controls nature. So whoever is in charge of us has someone in charge of them. That person, that being is our ultimate goal, that is God. This is a very healthy attitude to have, wherein we constantly reexamine our thoughts, our ideas, our impressions, our opinions. We say we see the way. But do we really? Do we have any true understanding? Is there a single thing I have written in this entire document that has one gram of truth to it? Is there a single thing that has ever been written in the history of the human race about God and religion that has anything to do with truth at all?
So we see here the honest seeker for truth. This is a prayer that we offer to God, that we offer to Mother Nature. Whoever is there in charge of who is in charge of me, I have a question. Do I look on blindly, but only say I see the way? This is the prayer. This is the beautiful nature of what I attempt to describe in my document, The Revealing Science of God, in that the human race reaches for God, but God also reaches to the human race. With our minds we attempt to understand God and with His Word He attempts to talk to us.
So here is a moment of prayer. “Hello, you, whoever you are, in charge of whoever is in charge of me, what is the truth?! ?! ”
The answer comes from Heaven.
God gives us the answers. The pages of the great world’s religions, including the Bible, do contain absolute infinite truth. And in this dream vision of phase three of Close to the Edge the seeker for truth is handed a page. And upon that page is written the entire sum-totality of everything the human race ever needs to know.
There is only one thing remaining. Mankind is not quite ready for it yet. You see, the truth has been presented from the beginning of time. But, we can only understand what we are prepared for.
This is so profoundly beautiful that it almost makes me weep. Mankind has been presented the page, the Holy Book. This is much like the scrolls of infinite truth that St. John sees in the Book of Revelation. And mankind now holds this sacred page, but he looks at it and he realizes that he doesn’t understand a word it says! ! He doesn’t understand the language, and those few words which he can recognize make no sense.
So, here he has been given a divine gift, the infinite truth of the universe. Written out for him in black and white. And Mother Nature, God Him/Herself has handed all infinite God consciousness to mankind.
And we simply have to say, how old will I be before I can read this? Where do I go to school? We have to be prepared.
“Ripeness is all, ” Shakespeare said in King Lear. Ripeness is all. It is certainly possible to teach integral calculus to second graders, but they’re going to have a very very difficult time dealing with it. And even if you can teach them on a rudimentary level some of the base mechanics, it will be impossible for them to understand the greater picture.
That’s what happens here. The journey does take us all the way. And it is apart from every reality we have ever seen and know. And yes, the total mass retains all knowledge, and yes, it is here. And yes, it has been presented to us on the page for us to simply open our eyes and read. We have asked and we have been given, but we are not yet able to receive it.
So what happens? We go through the cycles of growth.
Seven is a wonderful, magical number. The seven moments of creation, and after the seven cycles of aging we have an extended instrumental solo, which communicates the exuberance of the human race, celebrating the fact that now we have matured. With every “I get up” and every “I get down”, with every breath we become a little older, a little wiser, a little more mature. A little more able to understand the truth.
Mankind finally is now ready, and through this extended instrumental passage dances the dance of celebration. The music picks it’s energy back up and all of the sudden it is time for us to enter the fruition of our soul, what we have been seeking all along from the very first verse. The seasoned witch, purifying our liver so that we might experience the solid mental grace, is now ours, is now in our hand. We have gone through the wars, we have gone through the ego, we have overcome the desecration of nature. We have realized the foolishness of human carnage and war. And we, as a mature race, and as individuals, are prepared to see the totality of God’s infinite truth.
Winter is over, the sun is rising in the sky.
The flowers are beginning to bud....
and it is springtime!
It is now spring time. Man has gone through the dark winter of his soul. He has overcome the carnage of murder. He has decided to seek for truth, he has gotten up and down. And gone through the cycles of aging. And is now prepared after a glorious festive dance to have revealed to him the sum total of all truth.
This is some of the most mystical and almost bizarre language I’ve ever read in or outside of lyrics. And is very densely compacted with symbolism. The music returns to it’s high energy state and we continue.
This is one of the most potent and bizarrely symbolic lines I have ever heard in my life. And this is another one of those lines which I happen to wind up referring to over and over and over again in my life.
What in the world could it mean? Well, let’s take the second half first....”the color to the scenes.” Color is optional, ladies and gentlemen, and for the most part provides us very little information necessary for evolutionary survival.
Many species of animals, we know, perceive only in black and white. Common household cats and dogs, for example, do not see in color. What they see are black and white patterns and shapes. And obviously they have been able to survive for quite some time.
Color is a interplay of light as light vibrates at different frequencies. The lower the frequency the more red it is. Red is a vibration of about 46,000 cycles per second. Then we move through orange and yellow and green, blue until finally we get to violet, which is approximately 72,000 cycles per second.
What we find is that this one presence, this one entity called light, vibrates at different rates and speeds, and as it does so it creates what our eye perceives as color.
Now, how does that color get related to the scenes that we see? In other words, if you look out upon a hillside you see a thousand shades of green; lighter green, darker green. If you look into the sky you can see a million shades of blue. Especially if it’s a cloudy day you can see 10’s of thousands of shades of gray.
What is actually happening, though, is that the light is hitting the scene, the mountain, the sky, whatever, and is bouncing off. And as it bounces off it takes upon itself a certain colorful vibration. You cannot actually see a tree, you cannot see a car. You cannot see anything except light. This is a deeply and profoundly potent revelation. The only thing the eye can see is light!! As the light descends from above it hits the tree, the light "takes the shape" of the tree and bounces off of the tree into our eye. That is the way that color relates to the scenes. By folding and molding itself to the scene and reflecting off until we have the light beams enter our eyes and we have the illusion of seeing the tree.
Now, how does this happen? What we are talking about here is the miracle of sight and the miracle of being able to perceive a wide variety of colors. To perceive all of the spectra that are there.
Then we have this very mystical statement, The time between the notes......relates the color to the scenes. Well, musicians learn very quickly in their careers that what is not played is at least as important as what is played. The silence can speak volumes.
Piano players and organists learn the difference between a legato, which is a very smooth flowing style, and a staccato, which is a very marked and fractured style, and a pizzicato, which is extremely short notes. The duration of the notes is critical, and how much time there is between them is essential to creating the mood, or if you will, the color of a piece.
So what we have here is what is know as synesthesia. Synesthesia is the crossing over of different perceptual frames. In other words, when you can hear what you see or you can see what you hear. When you can taste what you see, when you can hear what you feel then you have a cross-over of your senses.
This is something which is available to all people, and this synesthesia is also one of the most potent mystical revelations. As people draw ever closer into the throne room of God and approach what we call theophanies, very often they report some kind of intermingling of their senses. Most often, although not exclusively, what they see is what they hear and what they hear is what they see.
We have a definite reference here to synesthesia, where “the time between the notes”, being a very auditory experience, is being related and connected to color and light. It turns out that sound is merely a lower vibration then light. Light is anywhere from 44,000 cycles per second to 72,000 cps. Sound is anywhere form 25 cps up to approximately 18,000 cps. So we are dealing with different vibrations. And you can do a mapping of one to the other.
One of the things that’s happening through computers now is that we are able to connect what we see with what we hear. Thus you get a lot of animated and computer graphics material that attempts to portray visually what we hear.
But there is something deeper I believe here then a mere reference to a crossover of sight and hearing. You see, the notes, I believe, can refer to the song of God, the music of the sun which we saw in part 1. That music of the sun is played by notes. Now we are not always going to hear those notes are we? No. We go through times of darkness, we go through times of despair, we go through times of war. But eventually we do see the light and eventually we do hear again the music of the sun.
Now the time between those notes is what we can call the fall, it’s what we can call darkness, it’s what we can call sin. So, symbolically speaking, the times of non-enlightenment, the times of darkness, the times of despair relate the color to the scenes. They form the framework by which the truth of God can be played out.
If you look around you we see all around us villains and heroes. Every story has a villain, every story has a hero. This is universal. The hero performs his deeds based upon the actions of the villain. Whatever the villain does will affect what the hero must do in order to right the wrong. So, what we do is, with our modern technology and our movies and our books, we create ever more elaborate villains. So that we can delight in watching ever more sophisticated heroes vanquish them!
This is a planetary multi, multi, multi billion dollar enterprise. You can see much of our life being shaped by this. Not only in the world of fiction but also in our so-called reality. We create enemies only for the joy of vanquishing them. And populations need, it seems, at this point in our development, enemies to hate.
What is “the scene” in this verse 52? There is only one scene, and as we’ve seen before, that is God. God is the only reality, and yet we shape and color Him in our perception of Him through our darkness. If it wasn’t for humanity’s fall there would be no redemption. If it wasn't for alcoholism there would be no glorious testimonials of life reborn without alcohol. Without death there would be no resurrection.
That, to me, is ultimately the symbolic significance of this verse. The time between the notes, the times of darkness, is exactly how the universal field of God gets shaped and molded by us. Until we become separated from Him and dwell in the realm of sin, we are essentially automatons.
This is a very important clue to the ultimate meaning of Close to the Edge. Because we are getting very close to when we will see that this interpretation is entirely in harmony with the rest of the verses.
This is in many ways the opposite of the previous verse. The previous verse is talking about the darkness, the time between the notes. And this is talking about all of our triumphs. These are the vanquishing of the villains by the heroes.
We have these alleged triumphs, the building of a sky scraper, the creation of a symphony, the creation of a micro computer. And all of these triumphs, mankind feels, gets him somewhere. But ultimately what we have to do is realize that there is no where to be gotten. We will see this shortly. That we are forever the only place where we can be, in the mind of God dwelling in the celestial kingdom. There can be no other place.
And it’s interesting how it’s a vogue of triumphs, because sometimes it’s triumphant for the male of the species to be strong, sometimes it’s triumphant for him to appear to be weak. Sometimes hem lines are up, sometimes they are down. It really is a vogue, because each triumph is someone else’s failure.
So as we constantly roll through life making our victories and successes, we come to the realization eventually that none of this is real, it dislocates us. Because, much like the Tower of Babel, we try and create towering achievements to ourselves. Monuments of human accomplishment. It should not be so.
It is interesting that verse 52 is related to the I get down, verse 53 is more on the I get up. Both of them are a part of the cycle. Forever, we see the cycle over and over again in this piece.
...space between the focus... Well, when you are focusing a camera you have at least two lenses, one in front, one in back. The space between them determines exactly when and where the focus will be. That space, that distance, is here referring, I believe, to the previous two verses.
The triumphs and the failures. The getting up and getting down. That space, that distance, that time between them shapes and ascends knowledge of love.
“Knowledge of love” is such a magnificent phrase, linking as it does to elements which most people think of as being different. We talk about thinking with our head and feeling with our heart, that knowledge is cerebral and love is emotion. Neither is true. Knowledge of love is the truth of the universe. God is love, and has been so from the beginning of time. We are all brothers and sisters in this world. And as such share a harmony and a oneness as only families can. Therefore the true identity of our relationship, even with our enemies, is one of love. That is the truth. Because love is harmony, love is union. Love is relationship.
As we then go through life we eventually have our minds transformed. Our livers get rearranged to the solid mental grace and we begin to understand and perceive the truth. We gain knowledge of the love which God has always had for us. We gain knowledge of the love which our parents had for us and all that they gave to us and all that they sacrificed. We gain knowledge of the brotherhood and sisterhood of all humanity.
So between our triumphs and our failures, between the time we get up and the time we get down is that time which is going to focus us and ascend to rise up and grant us knowledge of all love.
As this happens, things do come into focus. The space between the focus. Once we find the right space, once we find the right understanding and can properly assimilate both our successes and our failures, then we are able to have life come into proper perspective, come into focus. And as that happens, knowledge of love begins to ascend, to bubble up through the inner most parts of our being so that we can see, feel and know the truth. The truth of love.
The song is the music of the sun. It is the time between the notes, it is the song of God. It is the hymn of the faithful. The song is when we can live our lives in accordance with the plan, God’s perfect plan, God’s unfolding plan. That song is always there. Waiting for us to sit and listen long enough so that we can hear it. That song couples with chance.
Now chance is a magnificent notion. And it contains two parts: Complete random happenings, and absolute law.
Unpredictable, non-deterministic and absolutely random. Just like the shaking of dice, it is completely impossible to know what number will come up next. It is total, utter chance. And there are many things that happen in our lives which are simply chance. And it is not for any better or worse reason then that. It just happens.
But, there is another side to chance. And that is the side of law. Because you see, though each individual event within a chance relationship may be random, the totality, the total mass retain, operates according to law. After an infinite number of rolls of the die, exactly 1/6th of that infinity will come up #1, 1/6th will come up #2 etc...
So, while each individual event is unpredictable, the total mass retains perfect law. So, what we find here is that the song of God, which is God’s direct ordination, His direct plan and chance, are working together to create life. Part of the revelation that we have in the Seasons of Man is that life consists not always of predestination and ordination but also a certain element of chance, that even chance works within the broader perspective of absolute deterministic law.
You take the song of God, and you take the laws and indeterminacy of chance, and you put them together, and you have the development of all time. That is the sum total of the human race and all of time. Song and chance develop time.
And while that happens, lost social temperance rules above.
There is always love. The greatest commandments, to love God and to love our fellow people as ourselves, remain true. And that simple social temperance is enough, or could be enough, or would be enough, to solve all problems. If human beings would simply take the time to reach out and love we could eliminate all suffering, we could eliminate all pain.
All suffering and all pain.
This lost social temperance is the guiding, loving hand of God, which is always trying to shape and mold and protect us. To help us to get back upon the path. God does not, has not and will not abandon his children. This social temperance rules above. Also meaning that inside of all of us there lives a conscience. We know when we hurt someone else. We know when we are doing wrong. And if we will listen to it, that will guide us.
It is time for the infinite limitless truth to be revealed. The singer, along with a few other representatives, is taken up to a high mountain. And upon this mountain is the man. We can speculate if this man is God in the flesh or just an enlightened being or maybe it’s who ever you want it to be. But it is now time and people are going to have revealed to them all truth.
The man is standing holding his outstretched arms up to space and then he turns around.
Here, the man shows Jon Anderson all that there is to see, all that there is to know. The totality of the human race. How many songs have you ever heard in your life that even attempt to tell you what the sum-total purpose of life and human existence is all about? I don’t know of too many others. And yet, here, this man is about to reveal all the human race.
Jon Anderson smiles a little bit, shakes his head, and almost with bemused astonishment realizes that now he understands it all. And upon this ultimate revelation he has a little smile, but there’s also a tiny bit of disbelief, shaking of the head.
Because we are about to have what amounts to a little bit of a shock.
What is the secret? What is it that this man has revealed? We have now spent pages and pages talking about getting closer to the edge. We have talked from the very first verse of mankind trying to become purified so that he can understand the truth. We want his knowledge to be ascended, we want to seek the solid mental grace. And now finally we have had all revealed.
What is it?
There is no great mystical statement, we don’t have any divine visions. There are no mystical scrolls to be unlocked. There is no strange magical formula, there is no great deep dark incomprehensible mystery, no. The valley is silent. Standing upon this huge hill, having the whole human race revealed to them, the valley is silent. What happens?
That is the key verse of the entire piece. The ultimate truth of life, the ultimate purpose of the human race. The ultimate truth written along the page that we are now finally come of age to understand.
Cycles of the past, getting up, getting down. Wars and peace. We see these cycles as being the truth, perfection and fulfillment of the human race.
In short, traveling is no less desirable then arriving. Becoming is not less important than being. We are not to regret a moment living out our lives. Life does actually spin it’s own purpose and is it’s own meaning. The infinite limitless Godhead creator, preserver and destroyer of the universe has granted to us all the power and ability to live and we have our freedom.
Yes, we can maximize and increase our bliss and our joy and our ecstasy. And yes, that is our destiny and that is what we want. But, even in those times when others hurt us or pain abounds. We can learn from them and they can ultimately become a force for good.
Life is in and of itself it’s own end. This sacrilizes (makes holy) the entire human race. Composing a symphony ultimately is no more nor less important then scrubbing a toilet. This is what we were told at the very beginning. That a dew drop can exalt us like the music of the sun. If we truly understand, then the simplest task, petting a cat, cleaning the garden, fixing dinner, becomes a holy ecstatic dance of joy!
There is no reason to separate within your mind any difference between sacred time and profane time. The Bible itself is quite clear on this. “What so ever you do in thought, word or deed, do all to the glory of God.”
Whether you choose to accept it or not, whether you like it or not, this song Close to the Edge, is telling you exactly what the Bible does. Close to the Edge is quite clear that there is evil in this world and that evil must be overcome. And that there are higher, purer better ways to live.
But the Bible is quite clear that we should appreciate everyday of our lives. “Do not take any thought for tomorrow, for each day has trouble enough of it’s own.” “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything with prayer and supplication, thankfulness in your heart, make your requests made known to God.”
God is the same yesterday, today and forever. “Behold I am with you even unto the ends of the age.”
What is the purpose of life?
What is the purpose of existence?
What is the purpose of the universe?
“On the hill we view the silence of the valley………”
There are no trumpets here, there is simply a solid profound deeply moving religious revelation, where we are called to witness cycles only of the past.
Do you want to see what the purpose of life is? Well, all of the time that you spent wondering what the purpose of life was, you were living it’s purpose! This is the purpose, right here, right now. You do not need any special revelations. You do not have to have anything more divine or more spectacular then simply being able to breathe!
This is truly beautiful. We reached all of this, this fulfillment, this revelation, this comprehension of the total sanctity of all life, we reach all of this with movements in between the said remark. What said remark? Well, that is the purpose of the final verses. Because the remark is the Word, which is the proclamation of God from the beginning unto the end. And this all happens within the Word. And we are granted one more time a glorious recapitulation.
You have here a classical Beethoven symphony climax, where the music comes to it’s absolute apex. And that happens over the course of the “said remarks.” We have been told from the beginning. They follow.
We are forever Close to the Edge. We had those words presented to us at the very beginning of the song. We are told from the beginning, in our darkness, in our ecstasy, in our joys, in our pain we are always Close to the Edge. We are always near to God. As the Bible says, He will never leave us, ever!
Where can I go? Into the heights of Heaven God is there, into the depths of hell God is there. We are always Close to the Edge, that is the said remark. We are always down by the river. The river is still here. And notice how they continually recapitulate these words. They’re not just meaningless words. They’re showing us that in summer, winter, spring and fall the river is always here.
The totality of all seasons works together. God is no less present in the fall then he is in springtime. It is all a part of the blessedness of life. We may not necessarily enjoy using a toilet, but it is a blessed sacrament and a way that God’s grace is communicated to us. Without the ability to get rid of waste it would clog and pollute us. Without the ability to get rid of poison we would own it forever. In other words, excreting is no less important then eating.
All of life is a celebration. All of life is an ecstasy to be lived, we are always just by the corner and all seasons will pass you by. We forever remain outside of time and space. We may not understand it, we may not be comfortable with that concept, but, time and space are relative terms. We are, in reality, eternal beings and the totality of our existence is eternal life. The music of the sun is the ascended knowledge of love.
Seasons will pass us by, but we will remain. You can become happy, you can become depressed, but you are the same person. So while we need not be attached to the cycles and flows of life, we also need not shy away from them. They are to be celebrated each and every moment.
Because at this point in the song mankind has come to the end of his life. We have come to the end of this cycle and we have had all truth revealed to us. Now that it is all over and done, now that we have been called to the seed, right to the sun. You see the tiniest seed dies, falls into the earth, gets watered by that river and rises up toward the sun. From fruit comes the seeds of new life.
We have been called to seed and we are now stretching right to the sun itself, the source of all life. Light itself and all life comes from the sun without which nothing would exist. And it is so glorious the way this is echoing back to the very beginning, the music of the sun.
68. Seasons will pass you by, I get up, I get down
The greatest climax of this piece comes on these words. Followed by a series of, I get up, I get down. The cycles of life.
To be attached not to any single part, to not always be striving for, fall or spring or summer or winter, but to recognize the beauty of the totality, the total mass retain. Seasons will pass you by, and it is that flow that is so glorious. We breath in, we assimilate the oxygen, we transform the oxygen into life and into carbon dioxide and then we exhale. All parts of that are divine.
We have our four seasons and those four seasons are the breath of God. We are being told through this song that God is always here, that we are always near to God. That our consciousness can always be transformed from the profane to the sacred just by opening our minds and coming to understand the truth. That we can appreciate every moment of our lives and dance in the bliss of being forever...
Close to the Edge
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