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The philosopher is satisfied with a noble peace and does not run after mystical ecstasies. Whereas other paths often depend upon an emotionalism that perishes with the disappearance of the primal momentum that inspired it, or which dissolves with the dissolution of the first enthusiastic ecstasies themselves, here there is a deeper and more dependable process. What must be emphasized is that most mystical aspirants have an initial or occasional ecstasy, and they are so stirred by the event that they naturally want to enjoy it permanently. This is because they live under the common error that a successful and perfect mystic is one who has succeeded in stabilizing ecstasy. That the mystic is content to rest on the level of feeling alone, without making his feeling self-reflective as well, partly accounts for such an error. It also arises because of incompetent teachers or shallow teaching, leading them to strive to perform what is impracticable and to yearn to attain what is impossible. Our warning is that this is not possible, and that however long a mystic may enjoy these "spiritual sweets," they will assuredly come to an end one day. The stern logic of facts calls for stress on this point. Too often he believes that this is the goal, and that he has nothing more about which to trouble himself. Indeed, he would regard any further exertions as a sacrilegious denial of the peace, as a degrading descent from the exaltation of this divine union. He longs for nothing more than the good fortune of being undisturbed by the world and of being able to spend the rest of his life in solitary devotion to his inward ecstasy. For the philosophic mystic, however, this is not the terminus but only the starting point of a further path. What philosophy says is that this is only a preliminary mystical state, however remarkable and blissful it be. There is a more matured state--that of gnosis--beyond it. If the student experiences paroxysms of ecstasy at a certain stage of his inner course, he may enjoy them for a time, but let him not look forward to enjoying them for all time. The true goal lies beyond them, and he should not forget that all-important fact. He will not find final salvation in the mystical experience of ecstasy, but he will find an excellent and essential step towards salvation therein. He who would regard rapturous mystical emotion as being the same as absolute transcendental insight is mistaken. Such a mistake is pardonable. So abrupt and striking is the contrast with his ordinary state that he concludes that this condition of hyper-emotional bliss is the condition in which he is able to experience reality. He surrenders himself to the bliss, the emotional joy which he experiences, well satisfied that he has found God or his soul. But his excited feelings about reality are not the same as the serene experience of reality itself. This is what a mystic finds difficult to comprehend. Yet, until he does comprehend it, he will not make any genuine progress beyond this stage.


-- Notebooks Category 20: What Is Philosophy? > Chapter 4: Its Realization Beyond Ecstasy > # 125

-- Perspectives > Chapter 20: What Is Philosophy? > # 52






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