The Poetics of Light



Chapter One

Out of the Ordinary and into the Real


     What do I know of time? The measuring of days, the phases of the moon, the changing seasons, the cycles of history, aging and the natural rhythms of life, they all interweave in my considerations. Memory and possibility play their hands.

         During the days before the turn of the 20st century when the idea of time was prominent in the collective mind, the “timing” was oddly perfect that I was challenged with a puzzle. The puzzle was to understand my relationship with time. The challenge was to become experientially aware of my perceptual relationship with time.

         In the reflective quiet of an afternoon I was prompted to engage in a series of spiritual dialogues with intelligent Beings responsible for various aspects of the natural world, who were well versed in the history of humanity and who surprisingly knew me intimately. When I asked who they were, I was told they were the Divine Angelic Denomination of Light and I admit I went through all my references of angelic visitations and guardian angels until I realized… I was in entirely un-referenced territory. The dialogue that began that afternoon developed into an extended series of dialogues which lasted for many years. The puzzle is something I continue to work on every day.

         I have learned a great deal in my life about persistence, endurance and a flexible kind of continuity since whenever I am finally settled somewhere, something inevitably uproots me, keeping me continually on the move. I have become accustomed to creating a kind of order in these chaotic situations, situations which prevent me from becoming more firmly rooted in place. I find stability in family, in friendship, in being a mother, in nature and even though I am now on my own, in partnership. I will also be eternally grateful that I have two daughters, great friends now they are grown and mothers themselves, who have blessed me with four creatively inquisitive grandchildren. I’ve worked any number of odd and interesting jobs but my energies have remained centered within my family, whether it’s my family by blood or ones created by work or circumstance.

         For the most part from a young age Nature has been my constant spiritual companion. I was raised Catholic, gravitated towards Indigenous and Eastern spiritual traditions, although like the rest of my life, none has firmly taken root. I’m naturally introverted and unabashed by the need for solitude and I enjoy working with my hands. I have only begun writing in recent years in order to understand and share this experience. In trying my hand at writing I very quickly discovered a love for writing poetry, which for me is the most natural language.

         The dialogues themselves were often in poetic voice, a welcome break from the usual strict formality. I would have been happy translating this experience solely in poetry but in writing this narrative I am following the path taken in the dialogues, convincing me that to the best of my ability this narrative necessitates a specific unambiguous clarity. Finally, I am of the persuasion that it is useless to question why I was asked to engage in the dialogues. Perhaps it is just that I had the space in my life to listen.

         In writing this account of my experience I’ve also come to understand the impossibility of describing perception itself in language, since I’ve learned that perception is by nature experiential. In order to acquire a grasp of my perceptual relationship with time however, I was challenged to dialogue in an alternate perception, affording me ample opportunity for comparison. In writing this account I find it difficult, but not entirely impossible, to give an account of engaging in an alternate perception by describing the responses I had in my attempts.

         In my search for vocabulary to describe an experience difficult to describe, I have developed a huge respect for shared dialogue. As I’ve been writing my way to my own understanding and sharing my attempts along the way, I’ve experienced that words have the possibility of becoming more than ink on a page when there is shared dialogue. As in oral culture before we developed and began to depend on the written word in order to communicate, by openly encouraging this sharing I am hoping the ideas presented in the dialogues have the opportunity to stay current, to remain alive, and most importantly to find context in as many personal ways as possible.

         In all honesty, on a day by day basis, my own experiential understanding of perception comes and goes. Living in our world is complicated and I’ve learned that, although we entertain the idea of enlightenment, there is no such thing as static accomplishment. It requires continual participation, continual acknowledgement to navigate the borderlines of awareness and perception. It is also very clear to me that although we may all be in this life together, our spiritual approaches are inevitably unique even when following a common path.

         However, my experience also leads me to acknowledge that even though we are unique in our spirituality, consciousness is relationship and is all inclusive. A door has been opened. When a door opens, it opens for us all.   

To be continued….


© Jana H. White

Artist credit: Michal Lukasiewicz



62 responses

  1. Sister. Like the stream of all things. Inexplicable linkages. You are. This morning I woke up thinking of Jacob wrestling the angel. I don’t remember the lesson or relevance. The story; cupped. Rolling. Somewhere between heaven and the forest floor. Sister.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Beautiful writing Jana. The beginning of a memoir and a foraging for answers. I’m really looking forward to immersing myself in the dialogues over the coming weeks.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I adore the way you write. It’s how I would write if I could. But a lot of what you wrote is what I think, and I have no one to share this kind of thinking with, so I’ll be following your blog more closely now as you definitely have peaked my interest!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Looking forward to seeing how you wrestle with the challenge of setting your discoveries to words, Jana – you’re a woman of courage as well as insight, to be sure. I like how you’ve begun the attempt, in noting the seemingly intractable constraints of conveying perceptual experience. What is the scent of a rose? We can’t even begin to describe it, yet we know it. How much more of a challenge, then, to convey (as knowledge) the extraordinary? I spent years thinking I might perceive something beyond the ideas I had of myself and the world. Then I realised that if I could, all there would be is a percept. What am I beyond percept? Not this, not this. [“Neti, neti”] Many congratulations on the emergent book.

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    • Well Hariod… This is the puzzle isn’t it. I keep feeling there is something we’ve been overlooking in our approach to language. Something we were able to tap into when we communicated more directly with each other… Voice to ear. It incorporated our bodies. And now we are here in virtual space! No bodies but also no referenced distractions. And we have an immediacy I believe is entirely new. There’s anonymity but uncanny intimacy. I’m trying to squeeze myself into writing this on my Iphone. My computer is in the shop. Bit challenging! Thanks as always Hariod.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. It is good to learn more about you, Jana. The life of community, and the mystics finding life in community, as well as solitude, but so deep is the struggle to communicate things that seem at their heart incommunicable. How to speak the unseen. How to see the unsaid. It is good to be a pilgrim, Jana, but it is hard. Bless you.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Awesome! I am so excited! Delectably told our predilections and trusts, the mysterious fecundity of language as it works in/with us and expands in its differentiation in dialogue! Honored to be reading this serial confession and construction!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Much as you have described it, my own experience too shows that enlightenment is not a one time experience. As we grow and learn, we become more capable of receiving knowledge and understanding… and then at different stages in our lives, the intuition, the awareness, the true understanding of what we’ve learned becomes crystallized, and we see the light… to continue on as students to the next levels. Best wishes, Jana.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello Shimon… I am encouraged by your response and am grateful that you feel free to articulate your own experience here. Thank you for joining in. There is much to explore and multiple perspectives make a fine soup!


  8. “we are unique in our spirituality, consciousness is relationship and is all inclusive. A door has been opened. When a door opens, it opens for us all. ”

    — wouldnt the world be so much more peaceful if we lived by your wise and wonderful words?

    Liked by 2 people

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    • I was learning how to communicate in a body centered “language”. This in turn required that I “think” in an entirely different way than I was used to processing thought. There were times at the end of a session though, when a poem was offered which felt like a wonderful break from the discipline of the attention needed for learning. It was very enjoyable for me as most were in the form of puzzles. We called them “Poems of Becoming”. I also recognized my affinity for poetry! The poems I’ve included here in the narrative are some of these poems Petru.


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