Rosicrucian Writings Online


On Spiritual Appetite

 [From The Rosicrucian Digest June 1958]
 
 
ARE we to admit that spiritual appetite and its satisfactions are an evanescence, a portion of that eternal flux of things which belongs to the human consciousness as well as to the outside world; a something begotten of a previous, different state, and producing in its turn another mental condition, often its opposite? Assuredly in certain forms of the soul's desire there is . . . a to and fro, a coming and a vanishing. Plotinus speaks of having three times enjoyed the immediate vision of God; Jacob Behmen tells of a great experience in which "the triumph that was in my soul I can neither tell nor describe." But in all these instances, and one could multiply them indefinitely, we have ever repeated the old story of the ebb and flow. These highest reaches of the soul are but a moment in a life, which the memory alone retains. . . .
 
It is well known that the brain of a great scholar contains deep and crooked furrows, and hundreds of creases which do not appear in the brains of ordinary men. This means that mental toil is continually transforming and developing the tool which the mind works with. The soul is ever shaping its instrument. . . . We are in this respect the creators of ourselves. Every act of our will by which we respond to the celestial voices, by which we reject the lower and choose the higher, adds to the perfection of the instrument by which the heavens register themselves in us, broadens and deepens the channels along which flow the currents of spiritual power.
 
And that is not all. The spiritual appetite, as a vivid form of consciousness, we say, comes and goes. That of necessity. But what is to follow it? Shall a man, after a great inward realisation, come away, eat and drink, play with his children, listen to music, go to business and make money? Shall he, after divinest things have passed in his mind, fill it now with the thousand things which the world offers, and allow them in their turn to fire his ardour and to work on his will?
 
The mediaeval monk said "No." The modern man has learned better. For he discovers that God is in the world as well as above it, and that he will not even know God in all His aspects apart from a hearty use and enjoyment of His material manifestations. The "seeing all things in God" by which Malebranche sought to solve the metaphysical puzzle of perception, turned into "a seeing God in all things," becomes at once his life's joy and safeguard.
 
And in this sense the spiritual appetite, mutable as to its form, becomes in faithful souls an unchanging possession. They have the broadest range, for the Kingdom is infinite, but they will take nothing from the world, not its wealth, or power, or beauty, which does not yield Him who is Holiness and Love as the ground of their satisfactions. "Are you recollected?" Wesley was accustomed to ask of his followers. He meant, "were they in all their variety of pursuit aiming ever at the highest?" It is an excellent question for us all.
 
From Problems of Living, (p. 313)
By J. Brierley, London--1903
 
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Webmaster's Note: Problems of Living by J. Brierley is on-line and may be downloaded from here (external link).
 

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