The Supersensible Life
"The undeveloped being lives in isolation of consciousness within himself, his village, his town, his country, depending on how far along he is, always contained within definite personality limits, separated from other creations by the confines of his senses and sympathies. The developed man is as different a creature in the breadth of his perceptions as a walnut differs from the winds. The developed man can search out any distance with an extension of himself, his full consciousness concentrated at any point he desires. He assumes kinship with other consciousnesses as poignantly as with his own."|
An essential aspect of the Mystic Path is developing the ability to experience the Higher Spiritual Realm. Each seeker discovers for herself the means whereby she gains an awareness of and a participation in that realm.
One of the most rewarding aspects of that experience is communing with other souls seeking--or having found--higher understanding: those in physical existence and those beyond. Kindred souls commune not only psychically as souls but also through their inspired artistic creations: writings, art, and shared acts of kindness.
"A good book is the precious lifeblood of a master spirit, embalmed and treasured up on purpose to a life beyond life."
John Milton, Areopagitica
What a marvel it is to read the sublime philosophy of Plato or Iamblichus and thus be able to commune with these great souls over time and place (in a realm where there is no time or place).
"What shall we say of the actual acquirement of wisdom?--is the body, if invited to share in the inquiry, a hinderer or a helper? I mean to say, have sight and hearing any truth in them? Are they not, as the poets are always telling us, inaccurate witnesses? . . .|
"Then, when does the soul attain truth? . . . must not true existence be revealed to her in meditation, if at all?
"And meditation is best when the mind is gathered into herself and none of these things trouble her--neither sounds nor sights nor pain nor any pleasure--when she takes leave of the body, and has as little as possible to do with it, when she has no bodily sense or desire, but is aspiring after true being?
"There is a faculty of the human mind which is superior to all which is born or begotten. Through it we are enabled to attain union with the superior intelligences, of being transported beyond the scenes and arrangements of this world, and of partaking in the higher life and peculiar powers of the heavenly ones. By this faculty we are made free from the domination of Fate, and are made, so to speak, the arbiters of our own destinies. For, when the more excellent parts of us become filled with energy, and the soul is elevated to natures loftier than itself, it becomes separated from those conditions which keep it under the dominion of the present every-day life of the world, exchanges the present for another life, and abandons the conventional habits belonging to the external order of things, to give and mingle itself with the order which pertains to the higher life." |
The very act of reading and meditating on the inspired words of an ancient sage such as Hermes, Plato, Jesus, Iamblichus, Plotinus, or Tauler, helps us understand the reality of a Higher World of Ideas in which kindred souls commune. Jacob Boehme speaks of how the Higher Selves of the like-minded, whether near or far from each other, become "fellow-members, friends and relations."
The man who "standest still from the thinking of Self, and the willing of Self . . . gets the very hearts and souls of all [like-minded] to be his brethren, and the members of his own very life. . . He gets them all to be his fellow-members . . . as the branches of a tree in one and the same root . . . spring all from one and the same source of life in them. So that he can have no want of spiritual friends and relations . . . who are cherished all by the same quickening sap and spirit diffusing itself through them universally from the one true Vine, which is the tree of life and love.
These are friends worth having; and though here they may be unknown to him, will abide his friends beyond doubt to all eternity. . . So, in like manner, those who love truth and righteousness will love that man, and will associate themselves unto him, yea, though they may perhaps be outwardly at some distance or seeming disagreement, from the situation of their worldly affairs, or from other reasons, yet in their hearts they cannot but cleave to him. For though they be not actually incorporated into one body with him, yet they cannot resist being of one mind with him, . . . for the great regard they bear to the truth, which shines forth in his words and in his life. By this they are made either his declared or his secret friends; and he doth so get their hearts that they will be delighted above all things in his company, for the sake thereof, and will court his friendship and will come unto him by stealth, if openly they dare not, for the benefit of his conversation and advice. . . And thus thou shalt have many friends that are not known to thee; and some known to thee, who may not appear so before the World."
Jacob Boehme, The Supersensual Life
My wife and I are particularly touched by the gracious, heartfelt email messages we receive from kindred souls in the realm of cyberspace in response to our Web site and books. And we are heartened when we read a Web article by someone such as Lewis Lapham who understands the enduring verities of our Western Civilization.
"The makers of America's liberties were discoverers of new plants and new stars, delighting in what Thomas Jefferson called 'the inimitable freedom of the human mind,' bringing to their studies of science and philosophy the excitement of explorers mapping the headwaters of the Missouri River or measuring the transit of Venus. . . They didn't have much use for priests, and they insisted on the separation of church and state, not because they feared the power of the state to harm religion but because they feared, more sensibly, the power of religion to harm the state."
(Harpers, May 2003, "Notebook")
"Your brother is he who agrees with you in character and possesses what you possess by way of illumination so that he can be with you in the presence of subsistence and the regions of happiness through meeting." al-Mawahib al-Shadhili, Articles of the
Maxims of Illumination, 1450 C.E.
As the initiate in the Mystic Way learns to travel to the Spiritual Realm, she moves beyond intellect or "pleasure" to Higher feelings of peace, joy, and rapture--heart-filling, aching wonderment as beauty, truth, justice, and goodness take her into complete communion with themselves in their supernatural essence.
"This sympathetic assumption of kinship empowers the developed being with the attributes of the higher consciousness. And one result of this is that he is no longer, while living as other men, restricted by their limitations of position--position in the geometrical sense--because anything he turns his attention to ardently, anything he loves, he becomes in this greater entity. It gives him the ability to broadcast himself, to travel to it sympathetically, as it were, on its individual wave length."
Stewart Edward White, Across the Unknown
Our ordinary, earthly experiences of rapture in our delight with a beloved person, sympathy with the suffering of others, or the feeling of oneness with all humankind constitute a training ground for--a parable of--the higher feeling of love for the One who creates all the people and all the experiences in our lives.
"The Soul selects her own Society --
Then -- shuts the Door --
To her divine Majority --
Present no more --
Unmoved -- she notes the Chariots -- pausing --
At her low Gate --
Unmoved -- an Emperor be kneeling
Upon her Mat --
I've known her -- from an ample nation --
Choose One --
Then -- close the Valves of her attention --
Like Stone --