Fantasies and Speculations Don’t Bring Enlightenment

“Whereas the enlightened man, by virtue of the Divine Light, is simple and stable and free from curious considerations, these others are manifold and restless and full of subtle reasonings and reflections, and they do not taste inward unity, nor the satisfaction which is without images. …

:Whereas the enlightened man possesses a wisdom impoured by God, wherein he knows and distinguishes the truth without effort, these [other] men have shrewd and sudden notions, with which they work their imagination, and which they display and develop with much cunning. But their ground is barren and they cannot bring forth fruitful doctrine. … And thereby inward men are troubled and led astray. They neither lead nor point to unity; but they teach subtle observations in multiplicity.” ~John of Ruysbroeck

Simple and Stable

Humility is the crown worn by the awakened person. We shouldn’t say “enlightened”, because enlightenment is not something that happens suddenly like turning on a light switch. It is a process that continues for many years. It even continue after physical death, if we are already on that path when we die.

Spiritual people are simple because they understand that the world of matter is illusion. Therefore, the collection of material wealth doesn’t appeal to them. It would be like a child collecting comic books. Most of us grow up and lose interest in such things. We don’t get stuck in fantasy.

Spiritual people are also stable people. Not just in the sense of being mentally stable, but also emotionally. They rarely get angry, jealous, or envious. At least not to the point of being overwhelmed by it. We may feel sadness, or even some anger, when we see animals being abused, but we rarely get overwhelmed by it. Most of us know the story of Jesus getting angry at the temple and throwing over the tables of the money changers and animal vendors. Few understand that he was angry about all those innocent animals being killed in a mockery of true religion. Even fewer understand that when it was over, Jesus was shocked with himself for becoming so emotional, and went off into the wilderness to be alone and recover. Continue reading “Fantasies and Speculations Don’t Bring Enlightenment”

great consciousness , eternal man, transcendental consciousness

Between Materialism and Transcendental Consciousness

“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.

Between State

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. Continue reading “Between Materialism and Transcendental Consciousness”

spiritual humility

Spiritual Humility aids Spiritual Growth

“The soul that really loves God and Christ, though it may do ten thousand righteousnesses, esteems itself as having wrought nothing, by reason of its insatiable aspiration after God. Though it should exhaust the body with fastings, watchings, its attitude towards the virtues is as if it had not yet even begun to labor for them. Though divers gifts of the Spirit, or revelations and heavenly mysteries should be vouchsafed to it, it feels in itself to have acquired nothing at all, by reason of its unlimited and insatiable love to the Lord. … It continues to be insatiable for the mysteries of grace, and for the accomplishment of every virtue. It is smitten with passionate love of the heavenly Spirit, …desiring to be perfectly admitted to the mystical, ineffable fellowship with Him.” ~St. Macarius the Egyptian

Spiritual Humility

Many people do good deeds. Some do it for God, some not. Some do it primarily for recognition. They will donate only to charities who publicly announce the donations. They are not being charitable, they are buying acclaim.

St. Macarius says this is the wrong approach. No matter how many good deeds we do, spiritual or physical, we should not brag about it, but give the credit to God who inspires that devotion. In doing that, we show proper humility. Sadly, today, humility is not a popular virtue on Earth, but it still matters a great deal in Heaven. Spiritual humility is an important spiritual attribute.

Insatiable Aspiration

The other reason we should not brag about our spiritual accomplishments is that we should never feel that we have done enough. No matter how much it is, we should always wish to do more. That is the attitude of the true servant of God. We do not stop on the path of progress and rest on our laurels. We continue forward forever. Even after death, we continue climbing toward the highest level of consciousness and being called Heaven. Spiritual humility keeps us on the path and moving forward. We may need to rest occasionally, but always with the idea of resuming our path forward.

It is not that it is a race. We are not trying to do better than others, or get somewhere before others. That would be the opposite of humility. We are simply moving forward to that great day when we are truly One with God in heaven again. But we are not even doing it for our own benefit, but because it is what God wants. Continue reading “Spiritual Humility aids Spiritual Growth”

Hubris, pride

Hubris or Not Hubris, That is Another Good Question

“So, with Dante, the first terrace of the Mount of Purgatory is devoted to the cleansing of pride and the production of humility. …

“The first thing that the self observes, when it turns back upon itself in that awful moment of lucidity … is the horrible contrast between its clouded contours and the pure sharp radiance of the real; … and the clear, onward sweep of that Becoming in which it is immersed. It is then that the outlook of rapture and awe receives the countersign of repentance. The harbenger of that new self which must be born appears under the aspect of a desire; a passionate longing to escape from the suddenly perceived hatefulness of selfhood, and to conform to reality, the Perfect which it has seen.” ~Evelyn Underhill

Pride and Hubris

Sometimes we have good reason to be proud of our accomplishments. For most of us, however, those accomplishments pale when faced with the realities of the spiritual world and the true purpose of Man. Winning a baseball championship, a spelling bee, or even an elected office may puff us up with pride, but such things are of no significance to God and His Great Plan. Those who think that God cares who won a football game are only fooling themselves. God doesn’t care who won the big game any more than he cares which necktie you wear today. Those who continue to think that such things as winning a ball game are matters of great importance are only filling themselves with Hubris, a false pride of accomplishment when the thing accomplished doesn’t matter. Most of us don’t realize this until, As Ms. Underwood says, we face our inner self while engaging in spiritual practices.

Sharp Radiance

Underhill is using metaphor when she talks of clouded contours and sharp radiance. But it is not by coincidence that so may spiritual writers equate materialism with darkness, shadows, or clouds, and enlightenment and truth with bright, white light.

Thanks to the modern science of quantum physics, we know that the material universe is actually a hologram. And a hologram must have a source of light. There must also be a reality from which the hologram is projected. That place of sharp radiance is the spiritual world. Continue reading “Hubris or Not Hubris, That is Another Good Question”