I wish to inquire into the meaning of invocation and why it is so emphasized in this work.
Spiritual evolution ultimately requires help from higher forces. The opponent of progress is self. I am the barrier to my own evolution. If evolution depends on me alone, I am lost. My efforts to change are a reflection of my limited understanding and my motivations which prevent real change. Can the one who seeks change be simultaneously the agent of change that is by its very nature unknown to me?
Furthermore, if spiritual evolution is real, would it not suggest that I am not the first and that others who have gone before me may have been able to find help? Perhaps they are able and willing to help me?
The idea of help suggests teachers and schools. Let us be sceptical and assume that they know nothing more than you do and that they have personal motives. Not a bad assumption, in my experience. Is there another kind of help?
A good place to start is to take an inventory. What tools for your possible evolution do you have available to you now? Can you access capacities that are not tainted by self? This is a serious question each of you should work with diligently. Today, I will skip to the answers I have found but you need to go through the same process and not rely on my work.
In my experience, the first and most important tool you have access to is attention. Attention is the perfect catalyst…it initiates various processes but it is itself not changed by them. We have discussed attention many times in our group and it is not the subject of this inquiry. A second immensely valuable tool is invocation.
What is invocation? To invoke is to call. It is a very specific use of the human capacity for speech.
Vajrayana says that humans consist of body, speech and mind; speech connects body to mind, it is the subtle bridge between form and essence, a midpoint of transformation and a doorway to invisible worlds.
A word may be used to create an initial vibration. Certain words are invocational; they have a shape, sound and texture which together suggest the inner nature of what they name, even when pronounced inwardly as fikr. The word creates a vibration in body and mind. The machine being quiet and passive, the word in the mind finds its counterpart, its echo, in sensation. Word and sensation held gently by attention resonate and invite feeling. All other content is ignored.
And so the presence of that which is named is brought into the present. This is invocation.
Invocation is deepened by inviting the invoked to shape thinking, sensing and feeling. Attention is a key…it does not wander but continues to connect to, and accommodate, the sensations and feelings of the invoked, and amplify them. A rose is easily thought and sensed but its essence is a feeling, a vibration of exact frequency which is expressed in every rose.
Submission is the other key. Are you willing to become the invoked and know it from the inside…knowledge by presence as the sufis say? Anything of your self is hindrance. Submission begins even before the invocation, in a relaxation of the body/mind, a releasing of self.
On Monday night, we invoked XX. The experience was not what might have been imagined or pre-figured in thought. Knowing through invocation is not anything like thinking. In this form of engagement, you may experience a reciprocated love.
Invocation is a talent. Are you an invocant? The invisible world is looking for invocants who can help its ‘residents’ enter and assist this continuum of sense and form. Who or what are these residents? They are qualities of essence, of being, most often experienced as feeling, perhaps embodied by an historical personage or an angel, perhaps having no form at all. Not all of them make good guests. You must be discerning, trustworthy and reliable. You cannot always call the one you wish; you must work with those whose presence, for various reasons, are nearest your present, those most in sympathy with where you are, inwardly and outwardly. This is not work for proud or precious people.
I have heard you say that invocation and contemplation are closely related.
You could say that contemplation is an invocation that is held. Contemplation is not mere thinking. The word contemplation is derived from templum, a proto-indo-european root word meaning to stretch or to string…a string that connects us to the worlds within and above?