By Evelyn Underhill
Functional Mysticism is a piece by means of Evelyn Underhill now dropped at you during this re-creation of the undying vintage.
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Extra resources for Practical Mysticism
You will look at the coloured scene, and it will seem to you thin and papery: only one amongst countless possible images of a deeper life as yet beyond your reach. And gradually, you will come to be aware of an entity, a You, who can thus hold at arm’s length, be aware of, look at, an idea—a universe—other than itself. By this voluntary painful act of concentration, this first step upon the ladder which goes—as the mystics would say—from “multiplicity to unity, ” you have to some extent withdrawn yourself from that union with unrealities, with notions and concepts, which has hitherto contented you; and at once all the values of existence are changed.
So you are to begin with that first form of contemplation which the old mystics sometimes called the “discovery of God in His creatures. ” Not with some ecstatic adventure in supersensuous regions, but with the loving and patient exploration of the world that lies at your gates; the “ebb and flow and ever-during power” of which your own existence forms a part. You are to push back the self’s barriers bit by bit, till at last all duration is included in the widening circles of its intuitive love: till you find in every manifestation of life—even those which you have petulantly classified as cruel or obscene—the ardent self-expression of that Immanent Being whose spark burns deep in your own soul.
You are to “energise enthusiastically” upon new planes, where you shall see more intensely, hear more intensely, touch and taste more intensely than ever before: for the modes of communion which these senses make possible to you are now to operate as parts of the one single state of perfect intuition, of loving knowledge by union, to which you are growing up. And gradually you come to see that, if this be so, it is the ardent will that shall be the prime agent of your undertaking: a will which has now become the active expression of your deepest and purest desires.
Practical Mysticism by Evelyn Underhill