A Mystical World

Rain 083018There is a line I love from a song by Carrie Newcomer – “We Were Sleeping” – that says “the blessed rain, falls like grace, without regard to wealth or race.”

We are receiving torrential rain today, a blessing always needed these days as a hot dry summer gradually transitions to autumn. The little hill in front of our house has a miniature waterfall that’s been created from all the water that’s pouring down, nourishing and cleansing. Rain is a miracle we can see and feel, hear and taste. But more than that … the Infinite pulses within every droplet, carrying songs of the Divine.

There are deep and empowering messages embedded within the roots and flowers of mysticism. As a primer on this topic, I’ve been engaging with the classic work by Evelyn Underhill: Mysticism: A Study in the Nature and Development of Spiritual Consciousness (a 400-page tome, first published in 1911, and in its 12th edition by 1930). This is truly a remarkable book.

Underhill writes:

“This “real world,” then, is the result of your selective activity, and the nature of your selection is largely outside your control. Your cinematograph machine goes at a certain pace, takes its snapshots at certain intervals. Anything which goes too quickly for these intervals, it either fails to catch, or merges with preceding and succeeding movements to form a picture with which it can deal. Thus we treat, for instance, the storm of vibrations which we convert into “sound” and “light.” Slacken or accelerate its clock-time, change its rhythmic activity, and at once you take a different series of snapshots, and have as a result a different picture of the world. Thanks to the time at which the normal human machine is set, it registers for us what we call, in our simple way, “the natural world.” A slight accession of humility or common sense might teach us that a better title would be ” our natural world.”

Thus, what most of us perceive is simply our human interpretation, rather than so-called reality.

One of the most tragic developments in modern times is having turned most religion into a dry-as-dust text-based view of the Divine (that which is ineffable, transcendent and immanent). No wonder so many people are seeking alternative paths into the sacred, into spirituality, indeed, into mysticism – most religious organizations with their excessive dogma and literal interpretations have had the mystic marrow sucked out of their bones!

Underhill says:

“How, then, may we knew this Life, this creative and original soul of things, in which we are bathed; in which, as in a river, swept along? Not, says Bergson bluntly, by any intellectual means. The mind which thinks it knows Reality because it has made a diagram of Reality, is merely the dupe of its own categories.”

Another view on the mystical is through the works of Llewellyn Vaughn-Lee. His most recent video – Spiritual Life: Miracles & Magic – is an absolute treasure:

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