Rosicrucian Writings Online
Idealism, Mysticism--Are They Practical?
By R. M. LEWIS, SUPREME SECRETARY
[From The Mystic Triangle October 1926]
Reference is constantly being made, by those who first consciously awake to the inner urge and realization of the duality of their existence, to the term of practical mysticism; that is, when an individual has at last reached the crisis of his cycle on this plane, where he comprehends with inner intelligence that there exists, besides the outer world, an inner world; when he realizes, from inklings of truth attained through unconscious attunement, that there is something other than can be comprehended by his objective mind, and that he should investigate the subject more deeply, he follows the regular routine of a neophyte at this particular stage. Perhaps it might seem rather peculiar to term it routine, but there is a certain path, containing various tests and trials that the seeker for truth must follow, and this path is very easy to travel by the neophyte. Thus it is really a routine that he follows, before he knows where to look for the real guide, and while on this path he has delved into many sources and received many suggestions. Naturally, he has set for himself mysticism as his goal and conscious understanding.
But perhaps, after several contacts with this subject, and after several interviews with some of its exponents, he has come to doubt a few things. One of these things, without a doubt, is whether or not it is practical. He analyzes thus: My past experience on this physical plane has caused me to record various impressions upon that physical organism, the brain, to such an extent that I can refer to it instantaneously for comparison. I can prove the existence of certain things on the physical plane. In fact, every material object or condition reacts to me in the form of a sensation that I can prove at the moment of its reaction, and compare it with past experiences. So physical and material things of life are known to me.
Is the impulse that I am following, and which has been explained to me as mysticism, an ideal that is created by my own mind, let us say subjectively? Is it merely an ideal vision; or is it a practical, useful system of laws that I can apply? This is the first great obstacle that the neophyte meets in his path.
Many students briefly place the query in this way: I know of one world. This I am conscious of always. But mentally I create certain ideals, certain impressions that I cannot substantiate or prove. Are these gleanings of truths of another world, so called the spiritual world, or are they merely the opposites of the things I know? I know, says the neophyte, that I must be conscious and adhere to the physical, material world; but at times I am aware of an impression that is the direct opposite of the laws of the material world.
Have I merely created this within my own mind as an ideal, opposite to that which I know; or is it an actual truth of another plane of existence that I do not know of, but am gradually becoming conscious of?
Again, the student of philosophy and psychology might consider mysticism in this sense. The human mind not only records various impressions that are conveyed by the sensory nerves, but it also classifies them; and it is this classification that results in memory. Thus, do we take all these impressions of like nature and summarize them consciously into one unit; and then, when fully conscious of this unit of impressions, we realize it as a certain distinct factor or ideal. If this may be the case, says the student, then all our ideals are merely compiled impressions, moulded into a unit, and this unit itself impresses us consciously of a certain distinct thing, idealized.
This thing we classify as an ideal. If this is the result, then ideals are merely mental creation, and the spiritual or mystical side of life is not a distinct plane from the physical plane, but is really a more classical comprehension of the material side of life. In other words, some students would say that mysticism is the idealizing of the material, objective world.
But the student is wrong. Mysticism is distinct, by itself. Mysticism is the art of knowing God. It is the possible way for us to know God within us, and it is God within us that is the other side of man.
There is the personality without. It is the "I". Mysticism, as the Rosicrucians know it, is a distinct, separate part of man and not merely the reaction of the physical side of man. Mysticism is practical, it is the divine side of man, and it is those divine laws of the universe that have allowed the existence of the material side of man. The material side of man is secondary.
It is true, mysticism is an ideal. Mysticism is the word, the law. It is the spiritual side of man that resulted in the objective manifestation of man. Therefore, if we study mysticism and thoroughly comprehend its laws, digest it, we are bound to know that it is practical, since it will teach us the proper purpose of man. It will teach us the limitations of the material side of man, and how the two, though distinct, must be worked in unity. Man does not know himself until he knows mysticism. When he knows mysticism he knows God, and he knows himself.
Thus it is easily seen that mysticism is practical, because if man does not know of the spiritual side of himself, he misses the purpose of his existence, fails to comprehend his place in the scheme of things, and cannot do justice to his existence in the physical world. Any means that will show man his proper place in the scheme of things certainly will serve a purpose, and a practical one.
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