Inner light as a glimpse of the I which lies behind the field of centers
It is clear that what we have understood before as purely geometric order — living structure in buildings, paintings, artifacts — is helped by the additional unity that color brings to it.
This deeper unity depends on a series of qualities in color, like the geometric properties we first learned to see in the geometric field of centers, but now having to do with unity, not merely structure. In the geometric field, each of these properties is one of the ways in which centers can be built out of centers. In the realm of color, too, these properties somehow generate pure unity, by generating wholeness out of other wholeness. But in the realm of color, we have, for the first time, also been confronted with an additional phenomenon: a purely unitary, non-structural aspect of wholeness. The aspect of wholeness which shines, like light, from the colored thing, and which pervades it, permeates, shines through it, as a whole.
This undivided wholeness cannot be seen, or felt, as a structure, and should not be understood as a structure. It is experienced as an undivided quality which transcends structure, and seems to spring from the very ground of things directly to our consciousness. What we have been looking at is an extension of the idea of order, as I formulated it before, to pure wholeness.
In addition, there are the beginnings of a hint of something beyond purely structural order, a unity more profound, more deeply rooted, than even the word wholeness implies. A hint of something which beckons from, or enters into, a realm beyond. A hint of something which makes connection with a “ground”, with the I itself. There is some fashion in which the unity of color, the perfect, melted unity of inner light, summons up feelings of a deeper sort. We feel, intuitively, that the inner light we have observed is — somehow — unalterably spiritual.
In this sense, we have now begun to look at something in the realm of order, which is new — beyond what we discussed before.
When we say that order is transcendent, we mean to say that somehow, the order makes contact with some other reality, or some other “something”, which lies outside of and beyond our normal experience — and presumably, therefore, outside the range of things which have ordinary names. In accordance with the great religious tradition already quoted in earlier chapters, I use the word “ground” to refer to this something.
The ground is imagined to be a pure reality. It is a state of reality, or substance, which is in the universe, but not accessible to normal perception and normal awareness. It is, however, not assumed to be distant. It is generally assumed to be here where we are, and even more real, more authentic, than the reality we normally experience. It is supposed to be a state of matter, or state of things, or state of existence, which is more fundamental — and of which one might say that “the universe is really made of this stuff”. All this is “the ground”. It is the ground beneath our feet, the ultimate ground of substance on which all things stand.
Color not only establishes wholeness as a single quality, a oneness beyond structure. It begins to establish a connection with this ground. The inner light we experience in the cases of great color seems to penetrate beyond normal experience, reaching through towards this ground, showing us this ground, making us feel the ground.