sense of the presence

Sense of the Presence of God

Sense of The Presence of God

“Modern psychologists have struggled hard to discredit the ‘sense of the presence’ [of God], sometimes attributing it to the psychic mechanism of projection, sometimes to ‘wish-fulfilments’ of a more unpleasant origin. The mystics, however, who discriminate so much more delicately than their critics between true and false transcendental experience, never feel any doubt about its validity. Even when their experience seems inconsistent with their theology, they refuse to be disturbed.

“Thus St. Teresa writes of her own experience, with her usual simplicity and directness, ‘In the beginning, it happened to me that I was ignorant of one thing—I did not know that God was in all things: and when He seemed to me to be so near, I thought it impossible. Not to believe that He was present was not in my power; for it seemed to me, as it were, evident that I felt there His very presence. Some unearned men used to say to me, that He was present only by His grace. I could not believe that, because, as I am saying, He seemed to me to be present Himself: so I was distressed. A most learned man, of the Order of the glorious Patriarch St. Dominic, delivered me from this doubt, for he told me that He was present, and how He communed with us: this was a great comfort to me. …

“Such a sense of the divine presence may go side by side with the daily life and normal mental activities of its possessor; who is not necessarily an ecstatic or an abstracted visionary, remote from the work of the world.” ~Evelyn Underhill

The presence of God

So what Underhill is saying is that men of material science say that a feeling that God is actually present is having hallucinations, wishful thinking, or a mental breakdown. Mystics, on the other hand, believe that it is real. While that is largely true, I think it may be an oversimplification.

The psychologists are not wrong. In many cases, perhaps a majority, the people who claim to feel the presence of God do fall in with those who claim they have been abducted by aliens or who say they themselves are aliens from another planet. Only a small fraction of those claiming to sense the presence of God is actually doing so, and mystics would naturally be among them. Of course, when I say mystics, I mean real mystics just as Underhill does, not the pretend mystics and spiritual adepts of today’s New Age movement.

So the mystics are correct when speaking about themselves and fellow mystics or spiritual adepts, but the psychologists are correct for the vast majority of other people. Continue reading “Sense of the Presence of God”

oscillating consciousness

Oscillating Consciousness and an Infinite God

Oscillating Consciousness and God

“To say that God is infinite is to say that He may be apprehended and described in an infinity of ways. That circle whose center is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere, may be approached from every angle with a certainty of being found. Mystical history, particularly that which deals with the Illuminative Way is a demonstration of this fact. Here is the establishment of the ‘first mystic life,’ of conscious correspondences with Reality, the self which has oscillated between two forms of consciousness, has alternatively opposed and embraced its growing intuitions of the Absolute, comes for a time to rest.

“To a large extent, the discordant elements of character have been purged away. Temporarily at least the mind has ‘unified itself’ upon high levels, and attained , as it believes, a genuine consciousness of the divine and veritable worlds. The depth and richness of its own nature will determine how intense that consciousness shall be.

“Whatever its scope, however, this new apprehension of reality generally appears to the illuminated Self as final and complete. As the true lover is always convinced that he has found in his bride the one Rose of the World, so the mystic, in the first glow of his illumination, is sure that his quest is now fulfilled. … He has yet to pass through that ‘night of the senses’ in which he learns to distinguish the substance of reality from the accidents under which it is perceived; to discover that the heavenly food here given cannot satisfy his ‘hunger for the Absolute’.” ~Evelyn Underhill

Infinite God

I’m not sure I can agree with Underhill that saying God is Infinite means He can be be “described in an infinity of ways.” It is more like God is so complex that in order to make Him somewhat comprehensible, we describe a limited part of Him, a single aspect. In this way, we can comprehend, to some degree, that one aspect, but it is not a true and accurate description of God. Describing a brick is not an accurate description of a brick wall. Even describing each and every brick in the wall is not accurate, for the whole is more than the sum of the parts. That is even more true of God.

Circle Center

To tell you the truth, I am not fond of this Zen description of God as a circle whose center is everywhere and circumference nowhere. Turning God into riddles does not, in my opinion, aid understanding. Besides, I think it would be more accurate, since the rules of space and time do not apply to God at all, to say that He is a circle with a center everywhere and a circumference everywhere. In other words, all of God is everywhere, yet He is not in one location only, not in the physical sense of location. Continue reading “Oscillating Consciousness and an Infinite God”

apostolic state

Apostolic State and How to achieve it

“The true Apostolic state is to become all things to all men; that is, to impart to each one spiritually, according to his necessities. Only those who are reduced to littleness and simplicity have this power of communicating grace. They have also the ability to sympathize deeply to the states of others, of bearing to some measure their burdens, and are sometimes in great heaviness on that account. This communication of grace and aid is not necessarily restricted to the personal presence of the individual. We may be ‘absent in body, yet present in spirit,’ after the manner of God’s operations, and as the angelic powers communicate to us. It is only by the enlightening of God’s Spirit that we realize the state of those to whom we are spiritually united.

“Unity of souls is experienced, not only with those in the body, who have affinity with ourselves, but also with those out of the body. I realize, with the holy prophet David, a correspondence and unity, which renders our souls one in God. You will experience this unity with the saints more fully when all perception of self is taken away.” ~Madam Guyon

Apostolic State

What Madam Guyon calls the apostolic state is better called today a state of spiritual enlightenment. This is the state of being sought by the ancient mystery schools and schools of spiritual philosophy such as those of Pythagoras and Plato.

All Things to All Men

I have to disagree with Guyon on this one. At least in the way we would interpret it today, no one can be all things to all men. If, for example, a person wanted to hire a hitman to murder a rival, would one in this apostolic state take the job? Certainly not! What Goyon is really saying is that a person in this apostolic state will treat all people equally, not showing favoritism based on race, nationality, language, etc. Just as the sun shines on us all, the true mystic sends love and joy to all. That doesn’t mean that the mystic will teach the path of hidden knowledge to anyone who seeks it. They are aware that the misuse of that knowledge makes that a dangerous thing to do. Yet the mystic, or person in an apostolic state, will teach any who are ready for such knowledge and will not misuse it.

Littleness and Simplicity

Today we would say with more accuracy that the spiritual person in an apostolic state must have humility. While the ego need not, and should not, be destroyed, it must be controlled by the awakened soul so that one can function in humility, yet still function. Only those with humility would want to help others, and only those who still have an ego would bother to do so.

Sympathize Deeply

I don’t know if the term was used in the time of Madam Guyon, but what she is describing here is an empath, and that is indeed common among those in an apostolic state. It simply stands to reason that spiritual people have far more concern for others than a materialist would. That concern often reached the point of being an empath where the person can feel the emotions and sometimes even the physical aches and pains of other people who are physically close to them. I know that I can get very sad when near a funeral even if I have no idea who the dead person is. Why are we like that? Because God wants us to understand the trials and tribulations of our fellow beings trapped in the realm of matter. This makes us more sympathetic to their plight as well as our own. Some spiritual people just wouldn’t worry about it too much if their own life was difficult, but when they can feel the difficulties of others, they are more motivated to work to heal the world. To be in a true apostolic state means that we want to aid in the process of changing the fallen worlds of matter back into spirit, and we won’t let any of the efforts of demons or those they inspire stop us.

Unity of Souls

The apostolic state is one in which all souls become united into one super being called the Godhead. Most, however, only experience this state occasionally, and for brief periods of time. But as they continue to practice and to raise their frequencies and consciousness levels using the Light of the Spiritual Sun, they experience that unity more often, and it affects their behavior even on the physical and mental levels.

world of becoming

World of Becoming Mystical and Spiritual

“We have seen that a vast tract of experience—all the experience which results from contact between a purged and heightened consciousness and the World of Becoming in which it is immersed; and much, too, of that which results from contact set up between such a consciousness and the Absolute Itself—is included in that stage of growth which the mystics call the Illuminated Way. This is the largest and most densely populated province of the mystic kingdom. Such different visionaries as Suso and Blake, Boehme and Angela of Foligno, Mechthilde of Magdeburg, Fox, Rolle, St. Teresa, and countless others have left us the record of their sojourn therein. Among those who cannot be called pure mystics we can detect in the works of Plato and Heracleitus, Wordsworth, Tennyson, and Walt Whitman indicate that they too were acquainted, beyond most poets and seers, with the phenomena of the illuminated life. In studying it then, we shall be confronted by a mass of apparently irreconcilable material: the results of the relation set up between every degree of lucidity, every kind of character, and the suprasensible world.” ~Evelyn Underhill

World of Becoming

The World of Becoming is all about achieving higher and higher states of consciousness. It is also about awakening and developing the spirit and soul. Those are not really two different things. The awakening and development of the spiritual faculties is the only way to really reach higher states of consciousness and enter the world of becoming.

Between Consciousness and the Absolute

Contact between our own conscious and the Divine Consciousness of the Absolute (God) is indeed the goal of the world of becoming. Real spiritual development isn’t about self-interest or education. It isn’t about making ourselves better than others so we can lord over them. Neither is it a panacea that will make us happy and wealthy without having to work for it. It is all about awakening the spirit and soul, then developing them into higher and higher states of consciousness until they become linked to the Divine Consciousness of God. This absolute consciousness may be looked at as a massive temple of consciousness in which each of our individual consciousnesses is but one small stone. Individually, those consciousnesses are not much, but when billions of them are working together, you have a very powerful force. Continue reading “World of Becoming Mystical and Spiritual”