The Determination of the Mystic

“We have then arrived so far in our description of the mechanism of the mystic. Possesses like other men of powers of feeling, thought, and will, it is essential that his love and his determination, even more than his thought, should be set upon Transcendent Reality. He must feel a strong emotional attraction toward the supersensual object of his quest. … Of this must be born the will to attain communion with that Absolute object. This will, this burning and active desire, must crystallize into and express itself by that definite and conscious concentration of the whole self upon the object, which precedes the contemplative state. We see already how far astray are those who look upon the mystical temperament as passive in type.” ~Evelyn Underhill

ConsciousnessExpanded2JThe one who succeeds in achieving spiritual enlightenment—Christ Consciousness, if you prefer—must be one who is strongly devoted to doing so. True spiritual enlightenment cannot be achieved by a casual, sometimes approach, or by one who doesn’t really care if he achieves it or not. The one who will succeed in this must be driven to do so.

When we see televised coverage of the Olympics, and they look at an athletes training routine, do you ever hear of a medal winning athlete who approaches her sport casually? Who does it occasionally, just when on vacation, or only on weekends? I never have and I doubt such a person exists. The ones who win the medals have natural talents to be sure, but they develop those talents to the fullest by practicing several hours a day, five, six, even seven days a week. Some guy who just says, “I like to swim in the lake with my friends occasionally,” isn’t going to be sent to the Olympics.

Likewise, if you went to a doctors office and asked where he attended medical school and he replied, “Oh, I didn’t go to medical school, I just read a book about it,” you would run, not walk, from that doctors office (and hopefully report him as an untrained, unlicensed person practicing medicine).

The idea that the mystic would get there without any work, any study, any dedication to learn is just as ridiculous as with the doctor or the athlete. And the mystic must be strong willed because his efforts will be resisted in various ways by the forces of darkness and materialism. First, on the human level, there will be friends and relatives who will laugh at the very idea of spiritual growth and enlightenment, friends that you were close to and thought you knew. If the people you work for find out you are involved with some spiritual school or community, they may be less likely to give you a promotion and may even look for excuses to lay you off or fire you. They are, after all, the agents of materialism, and like many others, they don’t recognize any other religion except materialism. On a higher level, demonic forces and dark beings will do their best to prevent you from achieving enlightenment and you don’t want to make it easy for them. The more firmly you are dedicated to the goal, the less likely it is that they can turn you away with their tricks of making you ill, whispering to your ego, or causing you to have accidents. The truly devoted mystic, or spiritual student, will overcome all such efforts and continue on his quest. And when she achieves it knows that the prize was well worth the difficulties of the quest.

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