Morning Trip (358)

“. . . Every religion in the world has had a subset of devotees who seek a direct, transcendent experience with God, excusing themselves from fundamentalist scriptural or dogmatic study in order to personally encounter the divine. The interesting thing about these mystics is that, when they describe their experiences, they all end up describing exactly the same occurrence. Generally their union with God occurs in a meditative state, and is delivered thought an energy source that fills the entire body with euphoric, electric light . . .

The most difficult challenge, the saint wrote in her memoirs, was to not stir up the intellect during meditation, for any thoughts of the mind—-even the most fervent prayers—-will extinguish the fire of God. Once the troublesome mind ‘begins to compose speeches and dream up arguments, especially if they are clever, it will soon imagine it is doing important work.’ But if you can surpass those thoughts, Teresa explained, and ascend toward God, ‘it is a glorious bewilderment, a heavenly madness, in which true wisdom is acquired.’ Unknowingly echoing the poems of the Persian Sufi mystic Hafiz . . . .”

—Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat Pray Love