Thursday, November 2

Morphus Mystics

The other day, someone made a remark, about how what the mystics say is so "amorphus." I suddenly realized that this was, in fact, entirely not true. What the mystics see and talk about is thouroughly solid and real; it is, to be precise, words that are too amorphus (see C.S. Lewis, Perelandra). It's akin to the argument that monastics are escaping from the real world into seclusion and idealism. The whole thing hinges upon what is truly real. If God is real, then the mystics and monastics are realistic. If God is not real, then Wall Street and Madison Avenue are realistic.

One cleric was known to say that becoming a monk allowed him to be at the center of life, rather than at its periphery. As a cynical and hard-headed individual who has been slowly brought into a more mystical way of thinking, I have come to see that this is very true. If I see God more clearly, then I can see everything around me better. If a cloud is in front of the sun, it's a little harder to see the grass.

The mystics are the people with their heads in the clouds, but their feet are very solidly planted on the ground. Because they are focused on God as the root of all being, they can see all beings more clearly.

In addition, if the mystics really were amorphus, they wouldn't all be saying the same things. But they do. They talk about a God who cares, a love that is so real it burns like fire, and a darkness more comforting than the dawn. The more I see and experience, the more I find that they are right. Their map of life, though the road seems to take strange turns and switchbacks, turns out to be more accurate than the Thomas Guides drawn by businessmen who cannot see anything further away than the physical, and so don't even end up seeing the physical world clearly.

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