“Here, then, is the classification under which we shall study the phases of the mystical life.
The Awakening of the Self to consciousness of Divine Reality. …
The Self, aware for the first time of Divine beauty, realizes by contrast … the manifest illusions in which it is immersed, the immense distance which separates it from the One. …
When by Purgation the Self has become detached from the ‘things of sense.’ and acquired the virtues which are the ‘ornaments of the spiritual marriage.’ … It has awakened to knowledge of Reality. …
… The final and complete purification of the Self, which is called by some contemplatives the ‘mystic pain, or ‘mystic death,’ by others … the Dark Night of the Soul. …
Union: the true goal of the mystic quest. In this state the Absolute Life is not merely perceived and enjoyed by the Self, as in Illumination: but is one with it.” ~Evelyn underhill
The Mystical Life
There are many ways of breaking down the mystical life or mystic’s path into steps, and no one of them is necessarily true or absolute. They are simply a convenient way for a particular school of teacher to judge where the students are along the path. Whether you have five steps, seven, or eight doesn’t matter. Like the division of the rainbow into colors, they are somewhat arbitrary.
Not only is there overlap in the steps of the mystical life, but they are not always followed in order. There are, for example, cases where one goes through the Dark Night of the Soul to bring about the Awakening of step one. But for now, lets look at the path described by Ms. Underhill.
This step of the mystical life means a spiritual awakening, not a physical one. While the mind may be involve, it is primarily a thing of the soul. We come into the world of matter with our spiritual faculties alive, but in a dormant state. It is as if they are in a deep coma. Making those spiritual faculties active is often called “Awakening.” It may also be called “rebirth”. It is this awakening that Jesus and the apostles meant when they said we needed to be reborn. Continue reading “Mystical Life and the Steps to Follow”