“The mystics have a vivid metaphor by which to describe the alternation between the onset and the absence of the joyous transcendental consciousness which forms at it were the characteristic intermediate stage between the bitter struggles of pure Purgation, and the peace and radiance of the Illuminated Life. They call it Ludus Amoris, the ‘Game of Love’ which God plays with the desirous soul. It is the ‘game of chess’ says St. Teresa, ‘in which game Humility is the Queen without whom none can checkmate the Divine King.’ ‘Here,’ says Martinsen, ‘God plays a blessed game with the soul.’ The ‘Game of Love’ is a reflection in consciousness of that state of struggle, oscillation and unrest which precedes the first unification of the self.” ~Evelyn Underhill
Absence of Transcendental Consciousness
This absence is not some rare condition found in an unfortunate few. It is actually the condition most people are in. And sadly, most remain in that condition for their entire life. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
This absence is characterized by being attached to matter. Even though many such people have religious beliefs, their idea of God and angels is essentially material beings that are superior to man. They may not thing that is the case, but when they ask questions like, “Is God male or female?” they are thinking in terms of matter not spirit.
If you are traveling from Los Angeles to Athens, Greece there is a period of travel when you are in neither place, but between both. Likewise, when you first began your spiritual awakening, there will be a phase in which you are not full asleep, but not really awakened either. This is the state Underhill calls the Ludus Amoris, or Game of Love state. It is a “game” in the sense that God is testing us to see if we are up to the challenge of the spiritual path. I think, however, that is looking at it from a human point of view.
God is not playing games with our lives as if we are but chess pieces to Him. He knows that great strength is needed to succeed on that path. He wants us to succeed. That is why God and His agents do their best to strengthen us on all levels when we began that path. For that reason, the beginning of the path of awakening is often difficult and depressing. But that intermediate state is preparing us for what Underhill calls joyous transcendental consciousness.
Humility is Queen
Yes, when it comes to spiritual growth, humility is the queen. We need humility in order to admit that many things we have believed for years are not true. Once we accept that, we can start to learn the truth. Humility is necessary to recognize that our physical and mental self isn’t all that we are. Once we do, we are ready to develop our spiritual self.
After a certain point in the awakening process, things that left us depressed or angered lose the ability to do that. We learn to live in peace and radiance, as Underhill puts it.
This doesn’t mean, as many seem to think it does, that we can no longer recognize evil when we see it. It doesn’t mean that we stop believing in good and evil as opposing forces. “There is no good or evil, only power,” is the philosophy of the evil Emperor in Star Wars. It is not the philosophy of a spiritual master.
The illuminated life of Transcendental Consciousness means that we can recognize those things as largely illusion and not to be worried about. It isn’t that we accept evil as necessary. It’s just that we recognize that we defeat evil not by going after the evildoers, but by helping spread goodness and truth to all. By doing that ,eventually there truly will be no evil and we will all live in the highest possible state of Transcendental Consciousness.