“. . . 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 . . . .”
“Faith and prayer are important elements of my belief in God. Faith is my rock, but it is also the way I align my thoughts, my heart, and my actions to realize my goals. Prayer is the way I connect with the energy of God, it is also the way I clarify to myself what i am asking for. Thus, when I enter a challenging and uncertain situation I say, ‘I’m putting my trust in my faith, Dear Lord, and I am stepping out on Your Word.'”
“Like most humanoids, I am burdened with what the Buddhists call the ‘monkey mind’–the thoughts that swing from limb to limb, stopping only to scratch themselves, spit and howl. From the distant past to the unknowable future, my mind swings wildly through time, touching on dozens of ideas a minute, unharnessed and undisciplined. This in itself is not necessarily a problem; the problem is the emotional attachment that goes along with the thinking. Happy thoughts make me happy, but–whoop!–how quickly i swing again into obsessive worry, blowing the mood; and then it’s the remembrance of an angry moment and I start to get hot and pissed off all over again; and then my mind decides it might be a good time to start feeling sorry for itself, and loneliness follows promptly. You are, after all, what you think. Your emotions are the slaves to your thoughts, and you are the slave to your emotions.”
“If integrate means ‘to make whole,’ then its opposite is to fracture, disown, disjoin, detach, unravel, or separate. I think many of us move through the world feeling this way. The irony is that we attempt to disown our difficult stories to appear more whole or more acceptable, but our wholeness–even our wholeheartedness–actually depends on the integration of all of our experiences, including the falls.”
“There are two kinds of silence, it seems to me. One is that place where we tuck out thoughts and feelings. You can betray in silence, brood in silence, envy, pity, plot, year, admire, condemn, lie to yourself, lie to your conscience, forgive yourself, forgive others, all in silence. Love. You can love in silence. You usually do.
Which leads to the second kind of silence, where you find yourself from time to time, surrounded by, engulfed in–that greater silence, to which all other silences run, when you realize that we are all part of the same poem, the same vast poem that began in the first cosmic spark and will end at the last amalgamation of the stars–a limerick, a sonnet, a fucking epic to which surrender becomes a kind of understanding. It’s as if sound, all sound, constituted an intrusion of people invented because they could not stand the overwhelming power of that silence.”
–Roger Rosenblatt, Thomas Murphy