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  Every Branch in Me — Who are we as "human" beings? Back to the List of Slideshows
slide 12 of 19

As was mentioned in the first slide of this show, the title of the book Every Branch in Me  was taken from the title of an essay (1) by the Swedish writer Kurt Almquist. He actually begins his essay with a metaphor for human existence. He writes that the soul of a human being (and indeed the cosmos) is 'woven' like a rug, with the vertical "warp" of invisible (i.e., divine) threads binding together all the separate individuals together that exist along the horizonal (i.e., earthly) axis, the "woof." He builds upon this symbolism to show that our individual egos only have significant meaning when considered as inextricably bound up with the invisible substance that holds it together:

…the ego holds a median position between the true, enduring, innermost Self which is one with the kingdom of God, and the surrounding world, similar to the central position where woof crosses warp. To the extent that the ego remains subject to the kingdom within as prescribed in Revelation  (2)—in other words, to the degree that it holds itself to be a servant of this kingdom —it will serve the inner world in the outer environment. Throughout all its struggles and efforts it never ceases to be permeated with the flow from within: to be the branch which “abides in the vine” (John 15:4). This is self-forgetfulness or self-sacrifice in a more than moral sense.

It is quite misleading, however, to speak of self-effacement or self-annihilation without some further explanation. Even if the metacosmic sphere is the only absolute reality, the world of the senses is by no means completely unreal. It has reality insofar as it reflects the supersensuous and is illusory insofar as it asserts independence apart from its source This means that in man his reality flows directly from the spiritual Self like a ray from the Sun. This may then be said to be man’s only real Self, though the outward mortal self has reality to the degree that it reflects and manifests the inner, immortal Self. In the final analysis only the divine Self (Âtman) is real; but, as the Hindus say, all is Âtman.

(1)  Taken from page 205 of Every Branch in Me,  this chapter is also found in the journal Studies in Comparative Religion, Volume 15, copyright 1983, pages 194-196.

(2)  Editor's note: Almquist is using "Revelation" here to signify the Divine descent of any message of salvation for humankind—not a particular revelation.

  Kurt Almquist
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