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Teilhard de Chardin, Pierre - The Spiritual Power of Matter - Rebirth

Identifier

004130

Type of Spiritual Experience

Background

Teilhard de Chardin’s Hymn of the Universe has one essay – The Spiritual Power of Matter based on an extract from the Book of Kings, which is almost worthy of inclusion in its entirety because of its poetic beauty.  It describes two men walking in the desert when they see a whirlwind approaching………… it is essentially describing a rebirth experience and the way it is described indicates that Teilhard de Chardin was quite probably the man described.

A description of the experience

Teilhard de Chardin  - Hymn of the Universe
The Spiritual Power of Matter

From afar it had appeared to him quite small, gliding over the sand, no bigger than the palm of a child’s hand – as a pale, fleeting shadow like a wavering flight of quail over the blue sea before sunrise or a cloud of gnats dancing in the sun at evening or a whirlwind of dust at midday approaching the plain…………..

[the thing approached them and ] spread outwards with prodigious rapidity as far as his eye could reach, filling the whole space, while its feet brushed lightly over the thorny vegetation beside the torrent, its brow rose in the sky like a golden mist with the reddening sun behind it….

What was advancing towards them was the moving heart of an immeasurable pervasive subtlety.

The man fell prostrate to the ground and hiding his face in his hands he waited.  A great silence fell around him.

Then suddenly a breath of scorching air passed across his forehead, broke through the barrier of his closed eyelids and penetrated his soul.  The man felt that he was ceasing to be merely himself; an irresistible rapture took possession of him as though all the sap of all living things flowing at one and the same moment into the too narrow confines of his heart, was mightily refashioning the enfeebled fibres of his being.  And at the same time the anguish of some superhuman peril oppressed him, a confused feeling that the force which had swept down upon him was equivocal, turbid, the combined essence of all evil and goodness.

The hurricane was within himself.

And now in the very depths of the being it had invaded, the tempest of life, infinitely gentle, infinitely brutal, was murmuring to the one secret point in the soul which it had not altogether demolished.

‘You called me, here I am.  Driven by the Spirit far from humanity’s caravan routes, you dared to venture into the untouched wilderness; grown weary of abstractions, of attenuations, of the wordiness of social life, you wanted to pit yourself against Reality entire and untamed.  You had need of me in order to grow; and I was waiting for you in order to be made holy.  Always you have, without knowing it, desired me, and always I have been drawing you to me’.

‘And now I am established on you for life or for death.  You can never go back, never return to common place gratifications or untroubled worship.  He who has once seen me can never forget me’.

‘Because in my violence I sometimes slay my lovers, because he who touches me never knows what power he is unleashing, wise men fear me and curse me’.

‘You who have grasped that the world – the world beloved of God – has even more than individuals, a soul to be redeemed, lay your whole being wide open to my inspiration’….. 

I am the essence of all that is tangible and men cannot do without me.

Thus at long last he had found a point d’appui, he had found refuge outside the confines of human society.  A heavy cloak slipped from his shoulders and fell to the ground behind him, the dead weight of all that is false, narrow, tyrannical, all that is artificially contrived, all that is merely human in humanity.

A wave of triumph freed his soul.

And he felt that henceforth nothing in the world would ever be able to alienate his heart from the greater reality which was now revealing itself to him, nothing at all….. a deep process of renewal had taken place within him, now it would never be possible again for him to be human save on another plane, were he to descend again now to the everyday life of earth … he would henceforth be for ever a stranger

The source of the experience

Teilhard de Chardin, Pierre

Concepts, symbols and science items

Concepts

Symbols

Science Items

Activities and commonsteps

Commonsteps

References