Mysticism

Mystical Texts: The Cloud of Unknowing

The Cloud of Unknowing is a classic mystical text that was written by an anonymous English monk in the 14th century. It’s a guide to contemplative prayer but with an agnostic approach that’s very similar to Zen, once you get past the religious language. The main message of the text is that God is ultimately unknowable… Continue reading Mystical Texts: The Cloud of Unknowing

Mysticism

Cloud of Unknowing: We cannot know God with the intellect

Extract from chapter 4 of the classic mystical text The Cloud of Unknowing. Here our anonymous author explains why we can’t understand ultimate reality or the nature of God using our minds: Chapter 4: We cannot know God with the intellect “I must tell you a little more about this matter, as I see it,… Continue reading Cloud of Unknowing: We cannot know God with the intellect

Mysticism

Cloud of Unknowing: Techniques to get rid of distractions

Extracts from chapters 26 and 32 of the classic mystical text The Cloud of Unknowing. Here our anonymous author explains the work of contemplation and gives some tips on how to focus (and these tips work really well, in my limited experience): from Chapter 26: God will pierce the cloud of unknowing “Set to work,… Continue reading Cloud of Unknowing: Techniques to get rid of distractions

Mysticism

Julian of Norwich: Revelations of Divine Love

Julian of Norwich was a mystic and anchoress of the 14th century and wrote Revelations of Divine Love, the first book to be written in English by a woman. Not much is known about her life, but she was born in about 1342 and may have been from a wealthy family that lived in Norwich.… Continue reading Julian of Norwich: Revelations of Divine Love

Mysticism

Julian of Norwich: Creation as tiny as a hazelnut

This extract from Revelations of Divine Love is chapter 5 from the first revelation. Here Julian discusses the nature of the creation and marvels at how small it is when seen within the eternity of God’s existence. She goes on to express the impossibility of finding peace within something so small and limited. “At the… Continue reading Julian of Norwich: Creation as tiny as a hazelnut

Mysticism

Julian of Norwich: How can anything be amiss?

This extract from Revelations of Divine Love is chapter 11 from the third revelation. Here Julian discusses how God acts within the creation and that nothing happens by accident because it’s all his doing. God does everything so it’s all good. She sidesteps the question of sin at this point, but comes back to it… Continue reading Julian of Norwich: How can anything be amiss?

Mysticism

Julian of Norwich: The problem of evil

This extract from Revelations of Divine Love is chapter 32 from the thirteenth revelation. Here Julian discusses the problem of evil and carefully skirts around the teachings of the church. She explains the importance of faith and offers a reminder that we can’t know how God achieves his plan. What seems impossible to us, isn’t… Continue reading Julian of Norwich: The problem of evil

Mysticism

Julian of Norwich: On the importance of prayer

This extract from Revelations of Divine Love is chapters 41 and 42 from the fourteenth revelation. Here Julian discusses the difficulties and importance of prayer. She shows that prayer comes from our divine nature in union with God and that God is the essence of everything. From chapter 41: God is the foundation of our… Continue reading Julian of Norwich: On the importance of prayer