Rosicrucian Writings Online
By Rodman R. Clayson, Grand Master
[From The Rosicrucian Digest July 1948]
When all the
Why nods the drowsy worshiper outside? --Rubaiyat
THOSE who have made no study of mysticism seem to have a misunderstanding as to its doctrines and significance. So many people feel that mysticism has to do with that which is obscure, strange, or weird, and, perhaps, uncanny. Mysticism, however, has in it no element of fright, and it is not involved in magic or theatrical illusions. Mysticism is not distracting--rather, it is quieting and inspiring. True mysticism is concerned with the contact and knowledge of God. Surely nothing can be more reverential and uplifting. Mysticism has discovered special methods of establishing this contact with the Divinity. Its first premise is that man himself is the medium through which God must be reached. It holds that, since man is infused with the divine God-Essence, man can enjoy attunement with God and the wisdom of God. The Divine Essence is a continuous flow through his being. Man, therefore, may secure to some extent the illumination, wisdom, and strength of the Divine Source within him by attuning his mortal consciousness with this Cosmic or Soul consciousness within himself.
Mysticism further contends that one should seek the God within--that it is not right to seek God outside oneself as an exterior Force or Being. Consequently, the mystic feels that if he does not allow himself to become too objective, or too mundane, and does not fail to heed the wisdom of the God Within, that he can never lose God. The mystic has recourse to periodical meditation, during which time he strives to cast off all impure or outer-world impressions; to neither see, hear, feel, taste, or smell, nor even think of the physical world about him. He turns his consciousness inward until he seems to feel from within the rhythmic, vibrant pulsations of every cell of his own being during this state of introversion. Insofar as his consciousness is concerned, it is lifted upward, and he soars above the entire world. This may be likened to the traveler who is taken to the top of the mountain peak and permitted to look at the grand and magnificent panorama below, where he may view the magnificent vistas which could never be seen from the base of the mountain. Upon descending from this height, he is refreshed, for he has learned and found that which he could never have objectively learned or found; for, he has for a brief moment dwelt with God.
Such inner contact is not simply acquired. A technique is necessary, as in any other art; and this is truly an art. However, the technique is beautiful, simple, and devoted to the use of Nature's laws and principles. There is nothing about the technique which at any time suggests fear. The true mystic always knows what he is doing, and there is no sensationalism--no strange rites, lights, or sounds--associated with his conduct. Even in the crowded subway train, with passengers all around him, the mystic is able to attune with his inner self for a few moments. During this attunement he gives no outward appearance of what he is doing; for at the moment he seems to be in a retrospective mood. He needs no turban, beads, crystal ball, or fanfare; neither is it necessary that he be an Oriental--although the unenlightened have the impression that the mystic has to do with things only of an Oriental nature. No true mystic will desecrate his Divine contact or the powers which he may eventually acquire. He need not retire to the mountaintop to enjoy at-one-ment with God. It is probably true, however, that in the solitude of Nature's realm, and when surrounded by the works of God, man is prone to feel humble; and this, of course, is an ideal factor for spiritual communion.
Levels of Consciousness
Within himself the mystic knows that there are heights to be scaled; within his own being are degrees or planes of consciousness which he can ascend. The lowest level, or plane, is that of the objective consciousness; it is indicative of a condition of inferiority, since it is the most common and because personal development is less apparent. Although perhaps keenly objective, man, insofar as the acuteness of his objective senses is concerned, is not far advanced above the higher order of mammals. He achieves his divinely intended status as man through other aspects of his consciousness. Symbolically the mystic ascends the mountain when he permits contemplation of the spiritual life, and the nature of his being, through the introversion of his consciousness. Each period of meditation brings forth spiritual realization and consequent solutions to the mystery of life; thus man rises higher toward the summit within himself. The soul transcends the valleys of ignorance, superstition, and darkness, emerging in a new light. The first attempts, however, to ascend the mystical mountain of consciousness may require as much time, preparation, and labor as does the actual climbing of a mountain peak, by the one who believes that he is brought closer to God by this means.
Because of the dissimilitude of the Divine and temporal realms, man has often feared that his efforts would never bridge it. He has, however, sought some bond or means by which to tie himself, at least periodically, to the Infinite Intelligence of this other realm. Mysticism, more than any other study, will broaden man's vision of life and the relationship of man to the problems of life. It recognizes the existence of the mundane or material world, and endeavors to relate it to the Absolute, or God. The mystic does not consider the study of mysticism as being religious. An individual, however, who unites with a particular religious group, does so because that religion is a confirmation of his own feelings, rather than his feelings being an outgrowth of religious experience. The principles and teachings of a religion are generally compatible with the personal beliefs of the one who subscribes to them. A religious experience is a valuable factor in the lives of all, because knowledge and theory alone have little value. One who has religious convictions feels that his choice of religion has provided a chain or link between him and his God which supplements other knowledge and experience, but which does not necessarily replace it. If one is going to attain mystical or religious discernment, he must have an understanding of what he is approaching. The student of philosophy, metaphysics, Rosicrucianism, or the arts and sciences, finds that religion in no way is fundamentally to be considered as an intrusion upon other fields, or vice versa.
The doctrines of mysticism have to do with the true knowledge of God, truth, and the Cosmic scheme, which is attainable through intuition or insight in a manner differing from ordinary sense perception. Throughout the long history of all religions, mysticism has been interpreted as man's attempt to reunite himself with the source from which he came, and eventually to become one with God. There are various stages of union by which one gains comprehension of the light ahead, and there are various routes by which to arrive at that union. The lives of great mystics of the past illustrate the effect that this knowledge and experience has had. Objective perception consists of that which one can perceive through his own sense faculties, but all cannot be perceived with objective perception, and that which cannot be perceived in this manner must come from another source. The mystic feels that this knowledge comes from that phase of his mind which is known as the subjective, or the mind of the soul. We conceive the mind as being a unit, and of its objective and subjective conditions as its phases. It is not possible for man to think regularly in the subjective phase of mind in our particular stage of evolution and development.
Thoughts gained through intuition are the result of the knowledge of the totality of the experience of the soul-personality or subjective mind, and to be of value they must be brought over into the objective consciousness. In other words, we may bring into the objective consciousness knowledge which is in the subjective storehouse. When dealing with mysticism, we are in a field far beyond our objective reasoning, except insofar as we have developed our intuitive abilities to gain an understanding of that field. Those who truly develop intuition become aware of the source of intuition. The mystic may have two modes of experience. One of these is through the external world which is closed by the very limitations of the things of which it is made--the physical nature of that which exists to provide a place for the physical body to manifest--whereas the world of appreciation of the internal mode of the mind is open and free. In the sense that we understand limitations, the latter has no limitation. It is a world in which it is impossible to conceive of barriers or boundaries, because barriers can exist only in a world where physical standards are maintained. The mystic, therefore, describes it as the Eternal world.
Complete understanding as indicated from ideas, thoughts, and values, occurs from external and internal causes. It is possible for us to be able to solve the problems of our existence because of the development of intuitive insight. The mystical student learns that with the development of intuition, he more and more gains the ability to correlate the faculties of mind in the consideration of everything as a whole. Oftentimes intuitive insight expresses itself suddenly. However, it is only through experience that intuition makes it possible for man to realize that which he has perceived. Only that which man can realize and know has any real existence to him. God can mean nothing to us if we have no realization or understanding of God, either directly or through His works and manifestations. However, because we have self-consciousness and self-awareness, we can have a realization of a manifestation of God. Some may have a different word, term, or expression for it, but changing the word will not change the manifestation. That there is a greater law in the universe, no one will deny, and everyone understands this law in his own personal way. From this, then, can be appreciated the beauty of the logic and the sound philosophy of true mysticism.
(To be continued)
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