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The Role of Sacred Geometry In Informing Us

Sponsored Content from James Olson

Sacred geometry and forest


The world’s teachers have long taught that the most important thing we can discover is knowledge of self. Helpful to an understanding of who we are is an understanding of sacred geometry. Euclidian geometry and systems of mathematics are a part of our public knowledge, and we all are exposed to these in our educational systems. But sacred geometry is much less well known. Because this discipline views forms and ratios as having sacred significance, it is perhaps not surprising that most mathematicians, scientists, and academics are unfamiliar with it; or, if they are familiar, they likely dismiss it as arcane, superstitious, or unscientific. Yet, in spite of this, the principles of sacred geometry have been consciously utilized by nearly every culture through most of recorded history.

Sacred geometry refers to the ways that shapes and patterns are repeated throughout nature, including the mental and spiritual worlds. Full study of these patterns reveals the myriad ways that we are connected at (and to) all levels of life. Every discipline, every way of knowing (such as chemistry, physics, architecture, music, even one’s emotional states), can be shown to have a correlation in sacred geometry. Even mathematics would not be possible without sacred geometry, for numbers and their laws arise out of (and could not exist without) shape, form, proportion, and the relationships these reveal.

“Geometry deals with pure form,” Robert Lawlor reminds us.1 Geometry can be said to be sacred because it reveals the underlying structure of reality, what we might call the framework of God’s body or the Oneness of life. Our own bodies are also geometrical in form. We see an illustration of the connection between sacred geometry and the body in Leonardo da Vinci’s famous drawing of Vitruvian Man, a man with outstretched arms surrounded by a circle.

Everything embodies an element of geometry. Our perspective, which feeds information to consciousness, is no exception. Depending on our genetic inheritance, our brain can be managed by any one of four operating systems, that of the left hemisphere, that of the right hemisphere, a mixture (a hybrid system), and a team system (a unified system). Each system has its own viewpoint (a hybrid system would seem to convey a variety of potential viewpoints). Having different viewing points with respect to a given object or issue means that the four operating systems possess different viewing angles and thus have different geometry with respect to a given object.

Most of us think of geometric shapes as interesting but not particularly useful unless one is, say, a mathematician, architect, or engineer. But the evidence is otherwise, and this evidence has been known for thousands    of years and in nearly every religious and cultural tradition. Even in our culture, where sacred geometry is ignored or devalued, these geometrical structures are fundamental to our understanding of ourselves and all aspects of manifestation—physical, mental, and spiritual. Their significance lies in their immense creative power. These structures describe—in the abstract symbolism of geometry—the places where the “universes” of the left and right brain hemispheres meet. The process of transforming the linear into the holistic, even on the physical level, is an immensely creative one, producing transformative spiritual consequences.

An example of the spiritual shift that can occur when we transform a linear structure into a holistic structure is contained in the story of how the legendary Knights of the Round Table came together. According to the story, an ongoing quarrel among a group of knights over who would sit at which position at the table was blocking an effort to unify them and bring peace. Tables were long and narrow, and those who sat at the ends had an advantage. Seated at an end, a knight had a more visible presence and a linear perspective that allowed him to clearly see everyone’s face. In case of a fight, a knight could more easily draw his sword and protect himself. Because the ends clearly offered the best seats, they were reserved for those of the highest rank. Given the natural competitive spirit of left- brain-dominant males, some of the knights were unwilling to come to a negotiation if it required them to accept an inferior position.

Eventually a solution was found when someone recognized that by creating a round table, they could eliminate the superior position, and then no one would have a physical or spiritual advantage. The act of getting away from a linear structure and adopting a circular structure—a change of physical dimensional relationships—created sufficient spiritual and ideological harmony to allow the individuals to come to the table and assume the power of their collective self.

If we are to understand who we are, we need to understand the cosmic patterns that make up our world. Our perception of patterns largely determines our understanding of people and things, and our understanding of people and things affects the way we treat people and things. How we treat others then affects the way they feel. When we stir people’s feelings, we stir energies that can influence the way we are treated and the way we subsequently feel. When we understand this cycle, we empower ourselves to more intelligently manage the energies swirling about us in our environment, the energies that show up to create conflict.

The path to peace is one of conflict resolution, and conflict resolution is best achieved in an environment of freedom where people understand life systems and work out their solutions rather than impose them on others or have them imposed on themselves. It’s an environment where both sides of the brain contribute to our understanding of life and to the solving of our problems. It’s a world of whole-brain thinking. But most of us are either left-brain dominant or right-brain dominant, and for us whole-brain thinking is a choice, a goal to be achieved.

1: Robert Lawlor, Sacred Geometry: Philosophy and Practice (London: Thames & Hudson, 1982), 10.

Adapted from How Whole Brain Thinking Can Save the Future (Origin Press, January 2017) from James Olson.

James Olson is an integral philosopher whose studies have included religion, art, psychology and neuroscience. Olson’s mission is to help bring the planet’s masculine (dualistic left-brain) and feminine (holistic right-brain) energies into greater harmony, through his advocacy of whole-brain thinking.

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