January 4th, 2018

Common Sense Mysticism: A Review of Underhill's Practical Mysticism (VIII)



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This chapter deals with contemplating the "world of Being" which Underhill in the previous chapter called "Metaphysical" which helps me not at all to understand what this chapter is about.  Why do we need this intermediate form of contemplation?  Well, Underhill was a mystic and i am not.  This is an experiential thing; until i have fully learned to contemplate nature, i won't have the experience required to understand why i cannot just skip to the "third form."

I am further troubled by her omission of Eastern (Taoist, Hindu, and Buddhist) examples of meditation and contemplation, which, paradoxically, might further simplify her teaching.

In the same vein, i have to be careful about my  understanding of her terms "desire" and "craving."  I immediately think of the Noble Truth that all suffering is caused by desire.  I have to understand better than i do the idea of "disinterested adoration." or detachment with love.  If i can clarify this i can perhaps understand how an impersonal and "ruthless" Tao can be the source of compassion and mercy in its human followers.

Evidently, because the world of Becoming and the word of Being are "opposites" they must be contemplated separately before they can be experienced as a unity  in the "third form of contemplation."  How Taoists. Buddhists, and agnostics can deal with this, i will have to wait to find out.

I much enjoyed the section on Julian's visions (pages 61-64) which seemed to me to give the clearer idea of what Underhill was trying to say here.  Buy why should "He maintaineth" creation seem to be supposed to be more important than "He loveth" it?

My damned mind keeps getting in the way of my heart's desire to achieve unity with the "One." 

Both Sides, Now - Joni Mitchell

Both Sides, Now Lyrics - Joni Mitchell

Here is a song from the 1960s that has a different meaning for me now than it did then.

I thinki of advaita, which is said to mean "not two."  If i insist on seeing things as a multiplicity, i had better see more than "both sides."  Each "side" is likely to be a wrong side.

Of course clouds, love. life, and everything else are "illusions."  My "doors of perception" are too clouded by ego, socialization, history, culture, gender, class, taste, etc. to distinguish what is Real from what isn't.  I'm working on that.