Direct Experience of Mystical Philosophers

Amy EdelsteinBlog, Contemplation, Cultural Development, Evolutionary SpiritualityLeave a Comment

As I have been preparing for my Spring Retreat I came across this quotation that I want to share,


Philosophy lives in words, but truth and fact well up into our lives in ways that exceed verbal formulation. There is in the living act of perception always something that glimmers and twinkles and will not be caught, and for which reflection comes too late. No one knows this as well as the philosopher. He must fire his volley of new vocables out of his conceptual shotgun, for his profession condemns him to this industry, but he secretly knows the hollowness and irrelevancy. His formulas are like stereoscopic of kinetoscopic photographs seen outside the instrument, they lack the depth, the motion, the vitality. In the religious sphere, in particular, belief that formulas are true can never wholly take the place of personal experience.
~ William James
William James wrote Varieties of Religious Experience in 1902. It was his seminal work on mystical states and stages. A champion of direct personal experience of the transcendent, he spent much of his professional and personal life exploring the edges of consciousness. He was creative and experimental, yet worked with all the rigors Harvard demanded.
What did James find on those edges? He discovered that individual after individual who is willing to tip into a state of free fall finds inner riches that can change the course of their lives. He charted and mapped those experiences, categorizing them, becoming one of the most renowned observers of the interior castle.
While James studied sensation and perception, his conclusions guide the curious not to fixity but to explore afresh for oneself. To ask: What is the mind-body connection? The James-Lang Theory of Emotion is one interpretation, contemporary mind-body holistic theory another, we do we find in our own experience? What is a process or evolutionary view that makes sense of the relationship between internal and external events? James had his own conclusions that grew into Functional Psychology. 
I have been conducting my own observational experiments of the experience of Spirit and the relationship between outer causes and inner revelations. I encourage you to do the same. Inner discovery looks different in different ages. It changes at different times of our lives. There is much to uncover. We have many hidden inner doors to open and step through.
To explore in this way, we need focus and an open space. I encourage everyone to create this in your own life. And of course, I encourage you to pursue your own deep transcendent experience.
And on April 24-26, I invite you to join me on retreat. We’ll be engaged in a depth and breadth of inquiry. And experience. Take advantage of this opportunity. Allow your sincerity, curiosity, and passion to come to the forefront. Find the beauty and rejuvenation that comes from spiritual inquiry. Discover what can happen when you spend time with others pursuing mystical intimations and higher human aspirations.
Register and get more info here.


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