The final shrine is the crown, the top of the head. It’s where many spiritual traditions locate the experience of the transcedent. A few weeks back I quoted Theresa of Avila who locates a powerful spiritual experience in this part of her body:
“As I write this, the noises in my head are so loud that I am beginning to wonder what is going on in it…My head sounds just as if it were full of brimming rivers, and then as if all the water in those rivers came suddenly rushing downward; and a host of little birds seem to be whistling, not in the ears, but in the upper part of the head, where the higher part of the soul is said to be; and I have held this view for a long time, for the spirit seems to move upward with great velocity.”
This shrine leads us up and out of our bodies to connect with the Other. But it is important to experience this in the context of the other shrines. Whilst it might seem that this is the highest point and the most important experience to pursue, in fact for us to genuinely experience the world (and God if that is part of your worldview) and live frutifully here we need to be aware of our whole bodies:
The grounding and earthiness of our sacral spine,
The urge to connect to others in our abdomen,
The power and will in our solar plexus,
The compassion of our heart,
The way we communicate with our throat,
The way we see and perceive the world with our eyes.
As well as the transcendent experience of all that is beyond us.
Here are images of the seventh shrine followed by a meditation:
Your being stretches far and then farther beyond.
And somehow my fragile flesh may know that which is beyond all.
May I transcend all that I cling to, and as the detritus falls away may I ascend into union with the Great Mystery.
And so may I know fully even as I am fully known.