The Birth of a Book of Visionary Fiction – Guest Post – Barbara Ann Briggs

When my feet first touched Indian soil in 1986, I felt as if I had finally found my home. Since that time, my destiny has led me back to India time and time again, first to study sitar in Shimla, then to study Sanskrit in Varanasi and then to live here continuously from 2001 until 2010. These trips etched in my heart and mind images, feelings and ideas which shaped my world view and the subsequent pattern of my life.

Pilgrimage on the Path of Love cover

Pilgrimage on the Path of Love unraveled in the jungles of the Himalayas in Manali. I used to come to sit beneath the towering deodar trees in the early morning when the sun poured its liquid radiance through the leafy bowers. The jungle in its cool still verdant beauty invited introspection, and my fingers raced over the blank paper in an effort to keep up with the rapid tempo of thoughts and feelings flitting like fireflies through my mind. During my travels in the mountains of Manali and Ladakh, each person I met shared a fragment of their life with me and the multi-colored fragments, like beads on a thread, wove the necklace I carried with me, as an inner adornment, a cherished memory of a country to which I felt I belonged. The sunrise painting the cliffs of the Himalayas at dawn, the prayerful rituals on the banks of the Ganges, solitary treks to the sacred temples in the mountains. These images became an indelible part of my inner life. If I had to choose a country to which my inner being is most resonant, I would unhesitatingly choose India.

In Pilgrimage on the Path of Love, we enter the interior world of a woman on the spiritual path and we see how the spiritual dimension of life in India fosters in her a deeper understanding of the ultimate quest of human life which is enlightenment.

The concept of writing this book arose as a natural consequence of the experiences I was having as I travelled higher and higher into the Himalayas. I would meet people who shared their wisdom so innocently that I was tempted to write down what I heard and later I realized that many could benefit by being exposed to this knowledge. The journey became as much spiritual as physical. Visionary fiction is a term that denotes a transcendental message that brings with it a deeper understanding of the inner, spiritual dynamics of life. In this book, the journey the protagonist undertakes is symbolic of the soul’s search for harmony in a world characterized by turmoil and the conflict of opposing forces.

Himalayas

A salient feature of visionary fiction is the evolution of consciousness from a narrow, restricted perception of life to a more expanded and evolved worldview. In this book, there is a progressive deepening of understanding of the inner dimension of life and love. The subtle dynamics of consciousness is explored through the use of dreams, meditations and inner visions. Such methods are important in creating works of visionary fiction. As the story unfolds, one is led, through the voice of her higher Self and the experiences she has during her meditations, as well as through her memories, dreams and reflections, into the interior world of a woman on the spiritual path. As she travels higher into the Himalayas, her knowledge of life and love unfolds. Everyone she meets adds another layer to her understanding of the purpose of human life and the true nature of love. In the story we see that her ascent from the plains to the mountains is as much a journey of the spirit as a physical journey. As she travels on, her faith and trust increase and she develops the courage to face the challenges on her path.

Lama

The process of transformation of consciousness in visionary fiction is characterized by an unfoldment of spiritual wisdom, an increasing attunement with an inner source of strength and a subsequent influx of peace and fulfillment. In Pilgrimage on the Path of Love, the ascent of the protagonist is symbolic of the soul’s quest for inner harmony and fulfillment in a world in which one is constantly tossed between the opposing forces of gain and loss, victory and defeat, pleasure and pain. We see the dichotomy exemplified in her desire to lead a secluded spiritual life apart from the world and the desire to enter into an emotional relationship with someone she loves. Even though, on the rational level, she knows that the destiny of the lama she loves will take him away from her, the unresolved passions within her heart force her to continue to nurture the desire to be with him. These two opposing desires exert their influence on her actions until finally she reaches a stage where she can transcend the division between her mind and heart and discover a source of happiness within herself that is independent of outer circumstances. This plot is universal in scope as it contains a theme common to human experience everywhere. Ultimately, she realizes that every situation is fashioned by the Divine Will and everything happens at the right time. She is then able to flow with the current of her life and to find happiness with what IS rather than wishing for something that IS NOT.

Pilgrimage on the Path of Love is the story of a woman’s pilgrimage to the center of her Being where she gains insight into the perfection of life as it is and the realization that the Divine is orchestrating every moment of one’s life and therefore, the direction is always right.

Visionary fiction contains timeless knowledge that inspires the reader to delve deeper into the unsolved riddles of human life like: What is the purpose of my life? How can I reach the ultimate truth? What is the path I must take? These questions have intrigued thinkers throughout the ages. Visionary fiction sheds light on the perennial philosophy of spiritual development and enables us to penetrate deeper into the core of our inner being to find the answers we are seeking.


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10 thoughts on “The Birth of a Book of Visionary Fiction – Guest Post – Barbara Ann Briggs

  1. reanolanmartin says:

    Beautiful descriptions of the outer journey reflective of the inner quest. And what represents ascension better than the Himalayas? Powerful story, Barbara. Lovely to have you in the VFA.

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  2. Drew Fisher says:

    Such beautiful writing even here in your introduction to us. The story you are promoting reminds me of a transformational Himalayan adventure I first read over forty years ago, and particularly of the beautiful character Cynara in the parable story in the second half of Cyril Scott’s “The Initiate: Impressions of a Great Soul.” Thank you for the reminder and for your journey. I look forward to reading your story of “patchwork” wisdom!

    Sincerely,

    Drew Fisher

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  3. Candy Ray says:

    A lovely description. Indian spirituality was the first spiritual path to inspire me when I was a teenager, and I loved books like ‘Siddhartha’ by Herman Hesse. He was influenced by some of the same sources that you are, for your visionary fiction.

    I once got up in the middle of the night to watch the film version of ‘Siddhartha’ on TV- no video recorders in those days! Also I like Rabindranath Tagore’s poetry, and I bet you like him as well.

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  4. Victor Smith says:

    As soon as I began to read your post, and then throughout, I could actually feel your words, Barbara. High praise to any writer. And I second Candy Ray’s comparison to Hesse’s “Siddhartha.” Thank you for so gently informing us about your journey and your work. Welcome to the VFA.

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  5. margaretduarte says:

    I love your descriptions of India–the mountains of Manali, Ladakh, the Himalayas–and how In your story the ascent of your protagonist from the plains to the mountains is as much a journey of the spirit as a physical journey. Your writing is poetic and a definite draw into a “soul’s search for harmony.” Welcome to VFA!

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