Malcolm Guite's epiphany poem today reminds us that epiphany is about seeing things differently, perceiving something with the eye of the heart, opening the way from heaven to earth.
Sometimes one meets a person who is illuminated from within, or perceives the world and nature as illuminated from within. Sometimes gazing at the Moon and the stars can bring about an awareness of the numinous.
This set me thinking about the experience of epiphany as a moment of transformation. As Blake put it, "if the doors of perception were cleansed, we would see everything as it is - infinite". Blake it was who saw angels in the trees, and heaven in a flower.
To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
And eternity in an hour.
William Blake - Auguries of Innocence
I have had moments of transformed perception when I perceived the numinosity of everything, as it were the immanent indwelling divine light shining though things. These moments cannot be induced, they just happen, a gift from the universe to remind us that all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well. Even through the suffering and the sorrow.
It is hard, in the experience of the daily grind, of feeling depressed, sad and lonely, to recall these experiences and make them live. Perhaps that is what meditation and contemplative prayer is for - to open the way for the numinous to make itself felt.