The Windhover by Gerard Manley Hopkins


I was recently discussing the similarities between Shamanic journeying and Christianity with a friend. In my own spiritual practice the Falcon is an important symbol and guide, my friend suggested I read The Windhover by Gerard Manley Hopkins (written May, 1877)

My own interpretation of the Falcon is to ‘fly high’ be purposeful, to observe, learn from, heal and ultimately transcend any lower energy that may exist on the ground. It is also about self control. There is a sense of guardianship that comes from the duality of the ‘earthly’ falcon and its ‘spiritual’ counterpart Archangel Michael with his protective sword and shield. In Heraldry the Falcon means ‘One who does not rest until objectives are achieved’. The bird can also be viewed as a metaphor for Christ or of divine epiphany.(Wikipedia)

According to Guardian Books, the theme of Christ’s Passion is central to the poem, along with athletic, natural and often homoerotic grace that is represented by the Falcon (and perhaps his Archangel counterpart) The plunge of The Windhover onto its prey suggests not simply the Fall of man and nature, but the descent of a redemptive Christ into the abyss of human misery and cruelty. To me this is represented perfectly in the Cross. The single point that exists at its centre could be seen as the point of perfect earthly balance or Christ like consciousness and earthly non-duality. On death the intersection of earhlylife (horizontal) with spiritual divinity (vertical) at the centre of the cross provides a  metaphor for the point of consciousness that we pass through as our soul passes from our earth bound existance and back to the arms of God.

A full interpretation of the Windhover can be found here:

The Windhover
To Christ Our Lord

I caught this morning morning’s minion, king-
dom of daylight’s dauphin, dapple-dawn-drawn Falcon, in his riding
Of the rolling level underneath him steady air, and striding
High there, how he rung upon the rein of a wimpling wing
In his ecstasy! then off, off forth on swing,
As a skate’s heel sweeps smooth on a bow-bend: the hurl and gliding
Rebuffed the big wind. My heart in hiding
Stirred for a bird, – the achieve of, the mastery of the thing.

Brute beauty and valour and act, oh, air, pride, plume, here
Buckle! AND the fire that breaks from thee then, a billion
Times told lovelier, more dangerous, O my chevalier!

No wonder of it: shéer plód makes plough down sillion
Shine, and blue-bleak embers, ah my dear,
Fall, gall themselves, and gash gold-vermilion.


My Big Theory of Everything: A Review by Alan Mann


I was introduced to this work of Thomas Campbell and his work by Fiona, who contributes to this blog as Fiona1968, her review can be found here:  My big theory of everything I met Fiona at a gathering in Salisbury U.K. for those interested in the work of the late British philosopher and spiritual teacher Douglas Harding. Fiona was lugging a very heavy book around which she later told us was Campbell’s ‘Big Toe’, his theory of everything.   I was reluctant to tackle another reading assignment but intrigued by Campbell’s claim that he had resolved the problem which had stumped the likes of Einstein and Bohm and that his theory, by way of inserting the subjective aspect, succeeds in marrying metaphysics and  physics,  although I recall Bohm spoke of the ‘self-ordering principles of the universe’ which seems pretty close to the Campbell perspective.  I was also impressed by the enthusiasm and sincerity of Fiona who had recognized a correspondence between Campbell’s theory and what she had found as a result of her interest in Douglas Harding’s discoveries. I can’t hope to do justice to the complexities of the Campbell theory in a brief commentary but I decided to identify what I thought to be the key points and prepare these notes under a few basic headings.

Who is he?

Thomas Campbell , the author of My Big Toe is a physicist and at the time of writing and maybe still, employed as a research physicist at NASA.  His specialty is risk analysis.  As a young physicist, he was introduced to Transcendental Meditation  by a friend and although extremely skeptical he decided to give it a try. Consequently, he found himself opening up to aspects of consciousness which he, and most of the people he discussed it with, seemed to be completely unaware.  In addition to the book there are a number of You Tube videos which provide useful introductions to his thought.  He seems a very modest, likeable person, completely free of any pride in his achievement and discoveries.

(I added the link to the Martin Peniak website below which provides includes connection to an introductory talk by Campbell and there  is additional commentary and complementary material on Dr. Joseph Bray’s blog:, in particular, Fionna’s article on the subject at:.

The book

My Big Theory of Everything (TOE) is an 800 page-plus trilogy in which Campbell lays out his theory in great detail and includes some useful advice on how to test his claims. This takes the form of meditative practices designed to open the door to  aspects or levels of consciousness of which most of us remain largely unaware.   The book has an extensive index which  I found particularly useful. I first listened to the series of You Tube lectures (Toronto 2008) and then followed up his written commentary on the key issues  by using the index to find the relevant locations in the book.

What does he say?

He refers to the everyday world  which most of us would describe as reality, as  Physical Material Reality (PMR) and wholeness or underlying consciousness  out of which it manifests as Non-physical Material Reality (NPMR). To summarise his theory: consciousness is primary, information provides the building blocks for evolution based on a binary model for which current computer technology offers a helpful metaphor.  Consciousness is engaged in an evolutionary movement towards reduced entropy.  That is, out of the random chaos of undifferentiated energy the appearance of difference, differences of the most elementary quality, leads inevitably through self generating and self ordering evolution into reflexive consciousness and whatever might develop beyond that.  He says it is possible to access NPMR in a manner similar to meditation. This involves a not doing rather than doing and it is not a matter of learning a new technique but of abandoning ego, beliefs, fear and expectation.

What are the consequences?

We come to see ourselves as an element of consciousness in its movement to higher levels of complexity/order  (lower entropy) and as individuals we can make either a positive or negative contribution to the process. Consciousness provides the underlying context in which everything, including what we refer to as space and time, arise and that what we consider to be our reality is really one of many possible realities―actual and potential.  Given that that consciousness is the source and field of all that is, was and will be, it is possible to explore past and future actualities and probabilities as well as other realities.  And, as a side issue, this approach provides an understanding of how such matters as telepathy, remote viewing, out of body experiences,  healing, etc., come about.  Once the single point, body-free consciousness is attained through the recommended practice,  it is possible to become operational in the various realities by application of focus and intent.

What do I think about it?

I have long maintained that the so-called mystical is a blanket term  for my failure see the complete picture rather than some inaccessible, other-worldly dimension. The demystification of the mystical seems to be what Campbell is about and that is the main attraction as far as I’m concerned.  In my experience, whenever the veil is pulled aside, the revelation is usually accompanied by the understanding ‘Oh so this is how things really are’.  There is no attempt to retain the condition because it brings with it a sense of  how absurd it would be to try to hang on to what is clearly revealed to be what is; nevertheless, the veil of non-seeing falls yet again.  So, I am attracted to any theory or view which supports a ‘this is it’ perspective and particularly an approach which offers an experiential method, enabling  me to examine the goods which might be on offer.  The recovery of enchantment through scientific endeavour is an unexpected consequence and revelation of the unseen realities echoes much traditional commentary such as the oft- quoted verses from, for example,  the Bhagavad Gita about the seer of the Unseen. There is also in my case a weakening of the deep commitment to identification with the individual as opposed to the undivided. I remain sceptical about some of his claims which is only to say they are the possibilities he speaks of which remain outside my experience. However, there are a number of unlikely matters he speaks of which do match my own discoveries and this is what makes me take him seriously.

Some quotations from the book I found helpful.

 (What does he mean by describing our reality as  virtual) Because of our limitations and the constraints on our consciousness  our local reality must be constructed from ‘what appears to be’ not ‘what is’. P592

(Context— Observer versus participant perspectives) It is clear from Einstein’s writing that space-time is not the place where we live but rather a field of which we are a part.  P779

 (On Purpose) We, the creations of AUM (Absolute Unbounded Manifold), are the source of its joy and sadness. We evolve our individuated piece of basic consciousness by lowering its entropy and increasing its quality. As we drop our ego delusions , we become more AUM-like—an embodiment of love and caring. This is our goal, our purpose. We began this trip as a chunk of individuated digital consciousness with enough complexity, memory and processing ability to evolve ourselves from a high-entropy relatively dim awareness to a low entropy brilliant embodiment of love. In the simplest terms we are to follow n the evolutionary footsteps of Absolute Unbounded Oneness- Absolute Unbounded Manifold. P399

(On Free Will)…we have been given two attributes. First, we are individuated into existence—a tiny snippet of the AUM hologram—an interactive sub-routine or defined object running in its own piece  of mind-space within TBC (The big Computer)—a part of the Big Picture consciousness-evolution fractal that contains the pattern of the whole. Second, we are given free will so that evolution (growth) is possible. P399. 

Here are some additional notes from Martin Pentiak’s website at:

……..this site also provides access to Campbell’s  introductory lecture to The Monroe Institute’s 22nd Professional Seminar, March 2010 Thomas Campbell was one of the original consciousness explorers at The Monroe Institute (tmi) in Virginia in the 1970s and the explorer identified as “TC Physicist” in Bob Monroe’s book Far Journeys. Campbell, working alongside electrical engineer Dennis Mennerich, discovered what is now known as Hemi-Sync, the binaural-beat approach to inner exploration that came to be almost synonymous with TMI.

As Bob Monroe’s protégé, Campbell worked in the TMI lab and participated in explorer sessions as a subject. He was one of the first trainers and finished his tenure at TMI as an advisory-board member.

In his book My Big TOE, Campbell does not spend much time on his personal experiences through his 35 years of exploration. Rather, he concentrates on the inner workings of such subjective adventures as OBEs, remote viewing and healing — to name just a few — and much more.


With more than 800 pages in My Big TOE, the reader will find plenty to ponder and absorb. The knowledge gained will bring greater understanding that grows with each subsequent read.

My Big TOE presents a robust overarching model of reality that does a great job of demystifying some of our most cherished beliefs, and it’s done with an abundance of humour.

The book beckons you to search within yourself to understand how belief structures colour your outlook. Campbell masterfully nudges you away from the ego traps that keep many from experiencing the Greater Reality for themselves.

With patience and clarity, My Big TOE suggests to readers that they themselves need to create their own TOE — Theory of Everything — and that with greater awareness they can find answers for themselves.

My Big TOE by Thomas Campbell is a must read for anybody with questions about why we are here: the very purpose behind our existence.

 About Alan Mann:

 Alan Mann is based in New South Wales, Australia. He is  now retired from a working life in the timber and wood preservation industries.   His emphasis is on the work of the British philosopher Douglas Harding and others whose teaching and writing concern our first nature.  He is particularly interested in the mystical English poet, clergyman, theologian and religious writer Thomas Traherne  (1636-1674). Reference to the complementary work of Bohm, Wren-Lewis and Harding is included in his website at  For the past 20 years Alan and his wife Margot have held monthly meetings at their Sydney home.  Based on the principles of Bohmian Dialogue, they have provided a forum for exploration of spiritual, philosophical, scientific and religious enquiry. A periodic e-magazine, The NOWletter,  posted is an extension of  this group activity.


Great wisdom and where I find it

By Pearse Kelly

Most of the great wisdom I have stumbled across has come not from academia, but from such unlikely sources as drunks, graffitti, pop songs and bumper stickers. My most recent gem is a bumper sticker that reads….

“We are not people having a spiritual experience, we are spirits having a people experience.” (see similar image above)

This sits very well with my theoretical model of the universe because it suggests that we arrive here directly from a state of relative grandeur and hence the utter consternation of many babies at having unmet needs. I suspect that we depart from our spirit state and don our objective reality blinkers quite voluntarily, though I am open on that point.

As awareness grows we notice there are some rather obvious cracks in any of the given narratives concerning our existence here. Out of that comes a sense of a parallel spiritual existence and many of us yearn to be reunited with that consciousness and indeed may make it our very life’s goal. It feels for me a bit like that old yearning to be finished with school or college and that when I try to accelerate the process of achieving higher consciousness I just hit the walls. Real learning for me has come from that curious recipe that includes such ingredients as, ego (for drama), desire, joy, pain, victory, defeat, love and hate, all spiced up with a little resentment, shame, (catholic guilt) embarrassment and jealousy.

I am not certain of the exact cooking time, but I feel that taking it out of the oven too soon might be disastrous. For some inexplicable reason I feel certain that the universe will provide me with all of the ingredients I need. There is nothing to actively do but notice what comes to your attention and respond. In other words, just embrace life itself. Create some joy and be considerate of others. Ironically the active pursuit of enlightenment is not without some degree of vanity even though ego destruction may be the path one chooses to attain it.

So yeah, we go from enlightenment to ignorance and back. That feeling of ignorance may suck a bit, but it makes us believe the world is real. It makes us come out and play.
And so, one at a time, we grow.

In Enigma’s “Cross of Change” there is a great line that goes..

If you believe or if you doubt
If you understand or if you dont
There is a universal justice
And the eyes of truth are always watching you.

This was originally a comment posted in within