Mystics from the West
The most beautiful
thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all
true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who
can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as
dead: his eyes are closed.
creatures contain one reflection: one, that is the denial of its being
the highest of the angels denies he is the lowest.
God is the denial of denials.
When a man delights to read or hear about God,
that comes of divine grace and is lordly entertainment for the soul.
To entertain God in one's thoughts is sweeter than honey.
My first spiritual love was
Meister Eckhart and
At that time I had not yet met Divine
Inspirators in flesh and blood.
So I sat with Doctor Ecstaticus in the space between words of books.
I have intuitively chosen these quotes after reading everything available
When I was 25, 26 years ago,
I made this intuitive drawing
imagining how dear Doctor
Ecstaticus would look:
is unable to follow this discourse, let him never mind.
While he is not like this truth he shall not see my argument.
Merchants go when the truth appears,
for the truth needs no merchanting.
Behold thy temple cleared of merchants.
Had I a God whom I could
I would no longer hold him for
Man has to seek God in error and forgetfulness and foolishness.
It must be understood that this is all the same thing:
knowing God and being known by God,
and seeing God and being seen by God
If a man's spirit were always joined to God
in the same Power, he could not age.
For the now wherein God made the first man and the now
wherein the last man disappears
and the now I speak in, all are the same in God where there is but
The man in Truth has motion taken from him and all things stand
intrinsic in him.
Nothing new comes to him from future things nor yet by accident for he
dwells in the now
ever new and unceasingly renewed.
The happenings of a thousand years ago, days spent millenniums since, are
in eternity no further
off than is this moment I am passing now; the day to come a thousand years
ahead or in as many
years as you can count, is no more distant in eternity than this very
instant I am in.
We feel an inkling of the perfection and stability of eternity, for there
time nor space, neither before nor after, but everything present in one
fresh-sprinkling now where millenniums last no longer than the
twinkling of an eye.
The happiness he (Christ) brought was our own.
To one who even for an instant has seen into this ground,
a thousand ducats of red beaten gold are worth no more than a false
We might question life for a thousand years: Why dost thou live?
It would only say, if it replied at al: I live because I live.
For life lives in a ground of its own, wells up out of its own.
It lives without a cause for it lives itself.
Things are all made from nothing;
hence their true source is nothing.
But God is truth, and things in time, the things that God created, are not
There all too few who are fully ripe for gazing in God's magic mirror.
Aye, in this power is such poignant joy, such vehement, immoderate delight
as none can tell
nor yet in truth reveal. I say, moreover, if once a man in intellectual
vision did really glimpse
the bliss and joy therein, then all his sufferings, all God intends that
he should suffer, would be
a trifle, a mere nothing to him, I say more; it would be pure joy and
The more we can impute to Him (God) not-likeness, the nearer do we get to
In unknowing knowing shall we know God.
Verily I say, the soul will bring fourth Person if God laughs into him and
she laughs back to him.
God is beyond all name, none can express him.
Seeing nothing he saw God.
The light which is God is flowing and darkening every light.
The body is much rather in the soul than the soul is in the body.
God is the Word which pronounces itself.
God's exit is his entrance.
He broke in to let us out.
God is simple presence, a stay-at-home in himself
Real knowledge, even in this body, is intrinsically so delightful
that the sum total of created things is nothing to the joys of pure
Dedicate all acts to God.
I am certain as I live that nothing is so close to me as God.
God is nearer to me than I am to my own self; my life depends upon God's
being near me,
present in me. So is he also in a stone, a log of wood, only they do not
If the wood knew of God and realized his nearness like the highest of the
then the log would be as blessed as the chief of all angels.
A life of rest and peace in God is good;
a life of pain in patience is still better;
but to have peace in a life of pain is best of all.
If we are more conscious of God being in a quiet place,
that comes of our own imperfection and is not due to God,
for God is the same in all things and all places.
God is near to us, but we are far from him.
God is in, we are out;
God is at home, we are strangers.
I never give God thanks for loving me,
because he cannot help it.
This spirit knows no time nor number:
number does not exist apart from the malady of time.
He rejoices all the time who is rejoicing above time and timelessly.
Divine light is so overwhelming that the soul is unable to bear it
unless it is tempered in the angel's light and so conveyed into the soul.
He (God) enlightens her therefore by reflection. The angel conveys his own
to the soul and strengthens her in this way to bear the light of God.
The God-and-Man has prepared this supper, the ineffable man who is
The moral is that those who live the life of the five senses never taste
Where is Christ sitting? He is sitting nowhere; he is nowhere.
If ye seek him anywhere ye shall not find him.
God like forgiving big sins more than small ones.
The spot I am standing on is small, but it must disappear.
Were I wholly that I am I should be God; there would be for me neither
time nor place nor change.
There is nothing so easy to me, so possible, as to be God. To stay quiet
requires no work.
Flee away and hide thee from the rush of inner thoughts which cause such
The really virtuous man does not want God.
What I have I want not.
To be undivided you must be free from not.
Beware lest ye take yourself as either
this or that.
But now I say: it is
neither this nor that.
Yet it is somewhat...
It is of all names free, of all forms void:
exempt and free as God is in himself.
God is such that we apprehend him better by negation than by affirmation.
To call a man enlightened as we sometimes do, means little.
My firm conviction is that everything a good man sees must better him.
God enjoys himself in all things.
Grace is to God as the shine to the sun.
The greatest happiness in earth or heaven lies in the likeness to God.
God is creating the whole world now this instant.
Here the soul is pregnant without form or image.
To gauge the soul we must gauge it with God,
for the Ground of God
and the Ground of the soul
are one and the same...The highest part
of the soul stands
and know nothing of time.
It is permissible to take
life's blessings with both hands,
provided thou dost know thyself prepared in the opposite
event to leave them just as gladly.
When the soul
beholds God purely, it takes all its being and its life
and whatever it is from the depth
of God; yet it knows no knowing,
no loving, or anything else whatsoever. It rests utterly
within the being of god, and knows nothing but only to be with with God.
So soon as it becomes conscious that it sees and loves and knows God,
that is in itself a departure.
The Godhead gave
all things up to God.
The Godhead is poor,
naked and empty as though it were not;
it has not, wills not,
works not, gets not.
It is God who has the treasure
and the bride in him,
the Godhead is as void
though it were not.
Men should not think
so much of what they
ought to do, as of what they ought to be.
Think not to lay the foundation of thy
holiness upon doing, but rather upon being.
For works do not sanctify us,
but we should sanctify the works.
Whoever is not great in his essential
being will achieve nothing by works,
whatever he may do.
God needs me
as much as I need him.
Let no one be affrighted at my sayings that God loves none beside
He purposes to lure us to himself, to get us purged and take us to
so that with himself he may love himself in us and in him.
I never give God thanks for loving me, because he cannot help it.
The Spirit knows no time nor number; number does not exist apart from the
malady of time.
Love is incompatible with fear and pain, for the waxing of love is the
waning of fear,
and when love is perfect all fear is gone. But at the beginning of the
virtuous life fear is of
use to man, providing him a thoroughfare for love.
To rest in the illusion means delay in the attainment of real oneness.
Know then that my soul is as young as when I was created, aye, much
And I tell you, I should be ashamed were she not younger to-morrow than
There is one power in the soul to which all things are alike sweet;
the very worst and the very best are all the same in this power which
things above here and now. Now meaning time and here meaning
A man must be so true to God that nothing whatever can gladden him or
He must see all things in God, as they are there.
There is one power in the soul and that not merely power but being; and
not merely being;
it radiates life, and is so pure, so high and so innately noble that
creatures cannot live in it;
none but God can abide therein. Nay, even God cannot enter there in any
God is only there in his absolute divinity.
The just man serves neither God nor creature: he is free; and the more he
is just the more he is free
and the more he is freedom itself. Nothing created is free.
The tendency is ever towards self-repetition, towards the preservation of
it is every man' s intention that his work should be himself.
He (God) never destroys without providing something better.
I sometimes seem to like one better than another, and yet I have the same
that other person whom I have never seen, only, by asking more of me, this
one enables me to
give him myself more. God loves creatures all alike and fills them with
his being. And we too should
pour forth ourselves in love of all creatures.
But now we change our ground and declares withal, that a person in this
poverty has gotten all
he was when he lived not in any wise, not to himself. nor truth, nor God,
he is so quit.
so free of any kind of knowledge, that no idea of God is alive in him.
I sometimes say, if a man who seeks nothing finds nothing, what has he to
After all, he has found what he sought.
Creature comfort is imperfect, it has innate defect.
But Gods comfort is complete, with no shortcomming..
God is foolishly in love with us, it seems he has forgotten heaven and
earth and his happiness and deity,
his entire business seems with me alone, to give me everything to comfort
me; he gives it to me suddenly,
he gives it to me wholly, he gives it to me perfect, he gives it to me
he gives it all the time and he gives it to all creatures.
Here there is no before nor after; everything is present, and in this
immediate vision I possess all things.
This is the perfection of time, and I am perfect and I am truly the only
Son and Christ.
God's content is too subtile for renewal.
God's delights so in this likeness that he pours out his whole nature, his
whole substance into it, in his own self.
The joy and satisfaction of it are ineffable. It is like a horse turned
loose in a lush meadow giving vent to his
horse-nature by galloping full-tilt about the field: he enjoys it, and it
is his nature.
I know that without
God cannot live an instant.
1342 - ?
for in us
He enjoyeth without end.
God because of his
he may rightly be called Nothing.
345 - 407
God is The
which is above
Do thou, in the intent
practice of mystic contemplation,
leave behind the senses and the operations of the intellect,
and all things that the senses or the intellect can percieve,
and all things which are not and things which are,
and strain upwards in unknowing as far as may be
towards the union with Him who is above all being and knowledge.
For by unceasing and absolute withdrawal
from thyself and all things in purity, abandoning
all and set free from all, thou wilt be borne up to the
ray of the Divine Darkness that surpasses all being.
No monad or triad can
express the all-transcending hiddenness
of the all-transcending superessentially superexisting superdeity.
There is that most divine
of God which takes place through ignorance,
in the union which is above intelligence,
when the intellect quitting all things that are,
and then leaving itself also,
is united to the superlucent rays,
being illuminated thence and
therein by the unsearchable depth of wisdom.
seeks to penetrate the nature of the Divine Mind must see
deeply into the nature of his
own soul, into the Divinest point of himself.
He must first make
abstraction of the body,
then of the lower soul and emotions
and every such triviality, of all
that leans towards
the mortal. What is left after
this abstraction is the part which we describe as the image
of the Divine
Mind, an emanation preserving some of that Divine Light.
Richard of St. Victor
1123 - 1173
utterly puts off itself and puts on divine love;
and being conformed to that beauty which
it has beheld,
it utterly passes into that other glory.
1830 - 1882
Lord, we are rivers running to Thy sea,
Our waves and ripples all derived from Thee,
nothing we should have,
a nothing be Except for Thee.
Let it be
that we cannot return to God unless
we enter first into ourselves.
God is everywhere but not everywhere to us.
There is but one point in the universe
where God communicates with us,
and that is the center of our own soul.
There He waits for us.
There He meets us; there He speaks to us.
To seek Him therefore we must
enter into our own interior.
Groundwork of Christian Virtue
St. John of the Cross 1542 -1591
Of all forms and
manners of knowledge
the soul must strip and void itself
so that there may be left in it no kind
of impression of knowledge,
nor trace of aught soever,
but rather the soul must remain barren and bare,
as if these forms had never passed through it,
and in total oblivion and suspension.
that is attached to anything,
however much good there may be in it,
will not arrive at the liberty of divine union.
For whether it be a strong wire rope or a slender
and delicate thread that holds the bird,
it matters not, if it really holds it fast;
for until the cord be broken
the bird cannot fly.
So the soul, held by the bonds of human affections,
however slight they may be, cannot, while they last,
make its way to God.
1515 - 1582
Beside me on the left
appeared an angel in bodily form . . .
He was not tall but short, and very beautiful;
and his face was so aflame that he appeared to be
one of the highest ranks of angels, who seem to be all on fire . . .
In his hands I saw a great golden spear,
and at the iron tip there appeared to be a point of fire.
This he plunged into my heart several times so that it penetrated my
When he pulled it out I felt that he took them with it,
and left me utterly consumed by the great love of God.
The pain was so severe that it made me utter several moans.
The sweetness caused by this intense pain is so extreme
that one can not possibly wish it to cease, nor is one's
soul content with anything but God. This is not a physical but a
though the body has some share in it -- even a considerable share.
It is a caressing of love so sweet which
now takes place
between the soul and God, that I pray God of His goodness
to make him experience it who may think that I am lying.
Chapter XXIX; Part 17 Teresa's
Spiritual marriage is like rain falling from
into a river, becoming
one and the same liquid,
so that the river water and the rain cannot
be divided; or it
resembles a streamlet flowing
into the ocean which cannot afterward
be dissevered from it.
God who in his
simple substance, is all everywhere equally, nevertheless,
in efficacy, is in rational
creatures in another way than irrational, and in
good rational creatures in another way
than in bad. He is in irrational creatures
in such a way as not to be comprehended by
them; by all rational ones,
however, he can be comprehended through knowledge; but only
the good is he to be comprehended also through love.
Grace is necessary
free will equally so,
but grace in order to give salvation,
free will in order to receive it.
Therefore we should not attribute
part of the good work to grace
and part to free will; it is performed in
its entirety by the common and inseparable
action of both; entirely by grace by the common
and inseparable action of both; entirely
entirely by free will, but springing from
the first in the second.
Who is God?
I can think of no better answer than,
He who is.
Nothing is more appropriate
to the eternity which God is.
If you call God good,
or great or blessed, or wise
or anything else of this sort,
it is included in these words,
namely, He is.
God who in his
is all everywhere equally, nevertheless,
in efficacy, is in rational creatures
in another way than irrational,
and in good rational creatures
in another way than in bad.
He is in irrational creatures in such
a way as not to be comprehended
by them; by all rational ones,
however, he can be comprehended
through knowledge; but only by
the good is he to be comprehended
also through love.
1575 - 1624
When thou standest
still from the thinking of self and the willing of self;
when both thy intellect and will
are quiet and passive to the expressions
of the eternal world and spirit, and when thy
soul is winged up and above
that which is temporal, the outward senses and the imagination
up by holy abstraction, then the Eternal Hearing, Seeing and Speaking will be
in thee, and so God appeareth in thee and whispered to thy spirit. Blessed art
therefore, if thou canst stand still from thy self-thinking and self-willing
canst stop the wheel of thy imagination and senses.
Thou shalt do
nothing but forsake thy own will,
whiz. that which thou callest "I" or "thyself".
By which means all thy evil properties
will grow weak,
faint and ready to die;
and then thou wilt sink down again
into that one thing,
from which thou art originally sprung.
Discourse between Two Souls
The highest spiritual state of the soul
in this life consist in the vision
and contemplation of truth,
wherein are joys, and the full enjoyment
of the highest and truest good,
and a breath of serenity and eternity.
What a man loves a man is.
Because the soul is greedy, because she wants to have and hold so much,
therefore she reaches into time and; snatching at things of time and
loses what she already has.
This man is freed
from servile bonds
Of hope to rise, or fear to fall;
Lord of himself, though not of lands
And having nothing, yet hath all.
- the Areopagite - 25 -
God is invisible
from excess of light.
He who perceives God is himself in darkness.
Godīs all-pervading darkness
is hidden from every light and
veils all recognition.
And if anyone who sees
God recognizes and understands
what he sees, then he himself
hath not seen Him.
350 - ?
Blessed is he who has won
to the heart of the universe;
he is beyond good and evil.
But that is to much for ordinary
humanity to attain; it is very good
second best to know
the gods of the country,
to live the life of the country.
Boethius 480 -
In other living
ignorance of self is nature;
in man it is vice.
I cannot seek Thee
except Thou teach me,
nor find Thee
except Thou reveal Thyself.
John Smith - the Platonist
may unfold the pictures
of Truths garment but they
cannot discover her lovely face.
Louis of Blois
The soul, having entered the vast solitude
of the Godhead, happily loses itself;
and enlightened by the brightness of most lucid darkness,
becomes through knowledge
as if without knowledge,
and dwells in a sort of wise ignorance.
(Spiritual Mirror ch.XI)
To find or
know God in reality by any outward proofs, or by anything
but by God Himself made manifest
and self-evident in you, will never be
your case either here or hereafter. For neither
God, nor heaven, nor hell,
nor the devil, nor the flesh, can be any otherwise knowable in
you or by you,
but by their own existence and manifestation in you. And all pretended
of any of these things, beyond and without this self-evident sensibility of
within you, is only such knowledge of them as the blind man hath of the
that hath never entered him.
is everywhere preset, yet He is only present to thee in
deepest and most central part of
thy soul. The natural senses cannot
possess God or unite thee to him; nay, thy inward
faculties of understanding,
will and memory can only reach after God, but cannot be the
place of His habitation in
thee. But there is a root or depth of thee from whence all
these faculties come forth,
as lines from a center, or as branches from the body of the
tree. This depth is
the unity, the eternity - I had almost said the infinity of thy soul;
for it is so infinite
that nothing can satisfy it or give it rest but the infinity of God.
(Taken from Perenial Philosophy af Aldous Huxley)
However long you
exert yourself in dialectic,
you will consume your labour in vain,
from heaven makes your mind
capable of so great
a mystery. Daily practice,
can, indeed, furnish
any mind with knowledge of
the other science,
but philosophy is to be attributed
divine grace alone, and, if this grace
does not prepare your mind inwardly,
your philosophy merely flogs the air
outside to no avail.
Dangerous it were
for the feeble brain of man to
wade far into the doings of the Most High;
whom although to know be life and joy to make
mention of his name, yet our soundest knowledge
is to know that we know him not as indeed
he is....our safest eloquence concerning
him is our silence.