Third Eye: Florence & the Machine. Seeing and Living Truly

Humanity could be described as ‘embodied spirits’. Both of these words are as important as each other. We are embodied, incarnated. The stuff of life is valuable and sacred. Florence affirms this when she sings: ‘You are flesh and blood!’ And we also have in our mysterious depths that essence of us, that who we are at our deepest; our point of Originality in and with the divine life – our spirit. Is this what Florence appeals to (perhaps unknowingly) when she sings ‘Hey, look up!’ ?

Living truly, from spirit, helps us to see and live in the embodied sacredness of life. This means living relationally – with ourselves, others, creation, and the God within all.

For me this song is about the struggle to live truly, from this spirit as a whole human being. This spirit within us is our ‘original lifeline’. The mysterious spirit within is our Point of Truth, an always present Home to which we can return and, with practice, live life from. It is the ‘where within’ that prayer can help us be attentive to. It is where our spirit and the Divine Spirit are already one.

Our ‘third eye’ could be described as that mysterious intuitive perception that both includes and goes beyond the rational. It is a divine gift that originates from our oneness in spirit with the Divine Life. It is human intuition infused with divine wisdom. This song asks us to grow in seeing ourselves as our third eye sees us.

This third eye is appealing to that which Divinity has not created: the lies of worthlessness we have absorbed into the marrow of our bones; the deep memories and psychic wounds that get in the way of us accepting and living in the glory that we already are. We get caught, trapped, in the lies of a real unreality.

We are loved, deeply and completely. No lie can stop this, but a lie can stop our experience of it. This is the power we give to lies.

It is the ‘original tragedy’ of human relating that we are not more expressive of our fully loved and loving roots.

Our third eye sees into the original tragedy of our woundedness – that hole in our hearts where lies fester. Part of healing and integration is allowing this third eyesight into our awareness. Yes, our conscious selves can pull away from what our third eye sees. Yet, with time and living, this deeper intuition can become irrepressible. In this song Florence is chronicling some of her own irrepressible journey towards wholeness.

As the experience of our wounds moves into awareness suffering grows. Some of us actually cling to this suffering, allowing it to define them. Rather than the experience of suffering being a part of healing it becomes a meaning for living. Rather than have love embrace us, the pain of suffering can be worn like a mantle – that piece of experience we clothe ourselves with to keep life, love, and intimacy away. The lie that we simply do not deserve what we already have and are can be stubborn and strong – we make it so. While wearing this mantle, we can reject the people and experiences of life that are inconsistent with the lies we live and believe.

But your pain is a tribute
The only thing you let hold you
Wear it now like a mantle
Always there to remind you

Where is the way out of all this? We can feel the same, like nothing is changing. Something in us doesn’t want to change. And yet, still we try to change as if something in us does want to change.

The true and the loving in us embraces change. To grow in the spirit is to change. We change into who we most deeply are. This change is what we are here for – to become in our whole humanity who we already are in spirit: a unique, glorious, and beautiful life of love. This reality, once touched, once experienced, is too enticing to be ignored.

The contemplative life is a human life enticed by the spirit, a life drawn into becoming true love on earth. Only God can make this happen. It does involve struggle. It is a struggle that grows into the ‘slow burn’ joy that only divinity can fuel.

Prayer in touch with our contemplative and human roots is prayer at the service of our growth into love. This kind of prayer is deep and therapeutic. It is prayer as therapy for the soul.

Meditation is one form of this deep prayer. Attention on the mantra gives divinity within us the time and space needed to heal and integrate the whole of us. As this happens we may need to name and experience thoughts, emotions, and memories that our consciousness has (up to that point) repressed. At these times it is useful to have someone wise to journey with.

Meditation guides attention towards our spirit and its third eye. A fruit of regular meditation practice is an inner life more and more attentive to this third eye, this deep human and divine intuition within us. As we heal and integrate we grow in being able to see a little more clearly with this eye ourselves, and the people and the happenings around us. This seeing is divine gift that happens as we grow in self forgetting.

Christian spirituality describes this self-forgetting seeing with the third eye as having the mind of Christ.

The spiritual person, on the other hand, can assess the value of everything, and that person’s value cannot be assessed by anyone else. For: who has ever known the mind of the Lord? Who has ever been his advisor? But we are those who have the mind of Christ. (1Cor2:14-16)

About Andrew

I am an aspiring contemplative journeying through life practicing a Christian spirituality. I have completed studies in psychology, theology, and counselling. Currently I am in the midst of a masters in theology (specialising in spirituality). I am also an oblate of the World Community for Christian Meditation. View all posts by Andrew

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