|Creation of Light, by Gustave Doré (1832–1883)|
The All is Mind; the Universe is Mental
In other words, The All, what we think of as God, The Infinite, which is beyond all understanding, is all and is in all. We cannot really say what The All is; only that it is The All. We cannot say The All is Soul or Spirit because The All supersedes these classifications. For the sake of analogy, however, we can say that The All has an Imagination, which encompasses all possibilities. Using infinite Imagination, The All imagines the Universe; the Universe exists in the Mind of The All and is therefore infinite. Now, because the Universe is imagined, does this make it any less real? Of course not. Reality always includes imagined things.
I don't agree that The All is to be equated with Spirit. I see this as an attempt to define The All and that is impossible. In Itself, The All is unknowable; The All cannot be characterized as this or that.
Many great spiritual traditions distinguish between an unknowable Ultimate Reality, and a Reality as experienced in everyday human endeavors. The Hindu religion recognizes this distinction as Nirguna Brahman, Brahman with no attributes; beyond human understanding; and Saguna Brahman, Brahman with attributes and manifested in human experience as Ishvara, a more personal ruler of the Universe.
Even the great Christian mystic, Meister Eckhart, distinguished between the Godhead (Deitas) and God (Deus), the former being totally unknowable to human thought.
I see The All as a similar idea. It may be upon this point that a unified spirituality could someday be organized. That sounds very Utopian and I am not naive concerning such lofty aspirations. Hope, though, springs eternal in the human breast, to quote Alexander Pope.
The realization that the Universe is an imagined Universe, the very stuff that dreams are made of, causes us to understand that the dream-like nature of the material world makes all the situations and experiences we find ourselves exposed to are changeable, since we, being made in the image of The All, have the ability to transform or, in Hermetic terms, to transmute these experiences by entering into our Imaginations. Now do you see why I talk so much about Imagination? This transmutation is the same phenomenon as Magic, in the Hermetic sense.
The student and practitioner of Mental Transmutation works among the Mental Plane, transmuting mental conditions, states, etc., into others, according to various formulas, more or less efficacious. The various “treatments,” “affirmations,” “denials,” etc., of the schools of mental science are but formulas, often quite imperfect and unscientific, of The Hermetic Art. (The Kybalion).I would interpret this "mental plane" mentioned in The Kybalion as what we call the Mundus Imaginalis. These formulas discussed here are like the affirmations we use to create positive things to come our way. I think prayer may also be included here. The point is, though, that we have the ability to change our world through the Imagination.
Transmutation is a good word. It is very alchemically-oriented, which explains why alchemy has been so important to Jungian psychology the past one hundred years. I have written before concerning the Akasa, which is seen by Hindus as the basic element from which all material things are made. It is plastic and malleable and can be fashioned by Imagination. Of course, this is a metaphor for the malleability of Reality, and how we have the power of transmutation, if we learn the methods and execute them. As above, so below.