"In order that the mind may not be taxed, moreover, by the manifold and confused reading of so many such things, and in order to prevent the escape of something valuable that we have read, heard, or discovered through the process of thinking itself, it will be found very useful to entrust to notebooks ... those things which seem noteworthy and striking."

[Commonplace books: Thomas Farnaby, 17th-century]

Contrary to our frequent assumption that mystics live in states of continuous (or at least frequent) bliss, the reality is that like us, darkness characterizes more of their lives than bliss. Consequently they have much to teach us about learning to live in these places where our senses are darkened and our souls clouded. And what they tell us is that rather than expect the darkness to be eliminated, if we continue to consent to the inflow of grace, we can expect to learn to see in the darkness and to know God’s presence with us even when we are in the cloud of unknowing.

[wilderness: David Benner, Spirituality and the Awakening Self]

Posted by Jeff on 08.03.2011

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