“Will you see the infancy of this sublime and celestial greatness? Those pure and virgin apprehensions I had from the womb, and that divine Light wherewith I was born are the best unto this day, wherein I can see the universe. … Certainly Adam in Paradise had not more sweet and curious apprehensions of the world, than I when I was a child.
“My very ignorance was advantageous. I seemed as one brought into the estate of innocence. All things were spotless and pure and glorious: yea, and infinitely mine, and joyful and precious. I knew not that there were any sins or complaints or laws. I dreamed not of poverties, contentions or vices. All tears and quarrels were hidden from mine eyes. Everything was at rest, free and immortal. I knew nothing of sickness or death or rents or exaction, either tribute or bread ….
“All time was Eternity and a perpetual Sabbath. … All things abided eternally as they were in their proper places. Eternity was manifest in the Light of the Day, and something infinite behind everything appeared which talked with my expectation and moved my desire. The city seemed to stand in Eden, or to be built in Heaven. …” ~Thomas Traherne
The celestial greatness that Traherne is referring to is not the stars and planets around us. It isn’t even black holes and nebula galaxies. He is talking about other dimensions of reality, spiritual dimensions, including the highest dimension that most call Heaven.
This real celestial greatness is something that most of us do not see, even though it is all around us. Spiritual dimensions, being free of the limitations of space and time that controls physical dimensions, can occupy the same space and time as those dimensions, and yet not be affected by them, or apparent to the beings that dwell in them. Some of us do get occasional glimpses of these higher dimensions (or higher states of consciousness), but it generally doesn’t last. Naturally, those practicing spiritual development techniques are more likely to have such contact than those devoted to materialism.
Like A Child
Traherne tells us was lucky that he was born with “ sweet and curious apprehensions of the world,” by which he means that he knew at an early age that the material was not all that existed, or at least he suspected it wasn’t. I think most of us are born like that. It takes education to block those realities from us. This is why Jesus told his followers that they must become like little children. He didn’t mean that they should change physically, but that they are open to new knowledge, especially spiritual knowledge. We need to free ourselves of false beliefs that prevent us from experiencing the celestial greatness.
Advantage of Ignorance
Generally speaking, ignorance is not a good thing. In fact, many spiritual teachers say that the only real sin is ignorance of God because only such ignorance permits us to do things against God’s wishes and His Great Plan for redemption. But what Traherne is that his “ignorance” of the limitations taught by materialists and false preachers allowed him to continue to believe in spiritual beings and spiritual dimensions. It isn’t really ignorance, because he was ignorant of a lie.
When Traherne says that all things were infinitely his, some may jump on this as a statement of materialistic greed, but it isn’t. Traherne means that everything was his because he was part of the whole, part of the One. As such, everything was his, but also everyone else’s. It was not a claim of ownership, but a recognition that to spirits and souls, everything real, everything spiritual is theirs, as well as every other soul’s. That is what the experience of celestial greatness is like. You have no needs or wants, yet you don’t claim to own anything. There is no reason to claim ownership of anything real, because you are a part of it, and it is a part of you. True celestial greatness!
No Poverty or Vices
Of course, there is no poverty or vice in Heaven. In the realms of spirit, there is no death, no disease, no want, and no greed. Vices and poverty come about through the false belief in limitations. There are no limitations in the celestial greatness of the spirit and soul. Of course, the spirit and soul must first be awakened to experience that greatness.
Eternity and a Perpetual Sabbath
As already mentioned, time and space have no meaning in the spiritual worlds. So everything, every being, in those worlds is eternal. Every force in those worlds is eternal. And it is a perpetual Sabbath, in the eyes of Traherne because he sees the Sabbath as a day of oneness with God, of showing our love for God, and of obeying God’s will. Not because God forces us, but because when we truly experience celestial greatness, we want nothing else but to work for God.