“If you suffer yourself to be always looking into Nature and the things of Time, and to be leading the will, and to be seeking somewhat for thyself in the desire, it will be impossible for thee ever to arrive at the Unity, that you wish for. Remember this and always be on your watch. Give not your mind leave to enter into, nor to fill itself with, that which without you; neither look backwards upon yourself; but quit yourself and look forward upon Christ. Let not your left eye deceive you, by making continually one representation after another, and stirring up thereby an earnest longing in your self-propriety; but let your right eye command back the left; and attract it to you, so that it may not gad abroad into the wonders and delights of Nature. Yea, it is better to pluck it quite out, and to cast it from thee, then to suffer it to proceed forth without restraint into Nature, and to follow its own lusts. However, for this there is no necessity since both eyes may become very useful, if ordered aright; and both the divine and natural Light may in the Soul subsist together, and be of mutual service to each other.” ~Jacob Boehme
Always Looking Into Nature
Let’s get one thing straight right away. There is nothing wrong with Nature. Nor is there anything wrong with enjoying what nature has to offer. What Boehme is talking about, we would today call Materialism. He is warning us to not get caught up in the traps and endeavors of materialism. To use the more proper spiritual terminology in use today, he is telling us to not get attached to the material world and the things in it.
We can let our body enjoy eating a good meal. We can let our mind enjoy a good play or concert. But we must not get too attached to those things. We must remember that they are temporary and don’t come from God, but from the Demiurge who created the fallen realm of matter. We can live in a material house, but we shouldn’t get so attached to it that we refuse to leave it when a tornado or wildfire threatens to destroy it. And as Boehme warns, we shouldn’t always be looking into Nature for our pleasures and activities, but spend a good amount of our time looking at the Spiritual instead.
Things of Time
The things of Time are the same as the things of nature since it is only in the fallen realm of matter that things grow old, change, and die. Only matter has time, not spirit. So when looking into nature, we are looking into time, but when we get into the spirit, we operate outside the limits of space and time.
Arrive at Unity
To arrive at Unity, to be one with God, the Angels, and all the dimensions of Spirit is the greatest accomplishment of spiritual development and don’t happen overnight. Boehme is warning us here that getting too caught up in the material world will limit our growth in the spiritual world and we will never achieve that Unity if we are always looking into Nature, and clinging to the things of nature.
This is one of the hardest things for many of us. It is only human nature to look to the past and rely on our past experiences. To some degree, we must do this. If we erase all of our past we won’t be able to talk to others, we won’t know what to eat, we certainly won’t be able to drive a car. So we do need to look backward, but not to cling to it and let it limit us. If we want our future to be different from the past, we have to release the limits and beliefs that past and our looking into nature has filled our subconscious with.
Left Eye and Right Eye
It’s important to understand that what Boehme is saying about the left eye and the right eye is an allegory. If it were literal, then a person who is blind in the right eye would be stuck being a materialist with no hope of redemption and the person who is able to see only with the right eye would be unable to function well in the material world. The physical eyes are both things of nature, so they both look at the realm of matter. To be more spiritual, we need to use our spiritual eyes rather than either of our physical eyes. But the spiritual “eyes” are a part of the Soul, and function only if the Soul has been awakened. To awaken the Soul, we need to turn our physical eyes to the spiritual sun, which is found in the same location as the physical sun, and let the light of the spiritual sun awaken our Soul. Only when we have awakened our spirits and Souls can we turn from looking into nature to the things of God and Spirit and become immortals.