Kenneth G. Mills

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Kenneth George Mills (1923–2004) was a Canadian mystic, artist, composer, designer, metaphysical/philosophical speaker and author. An exponent of the oral tradition, he gave spontaneous lectures and poetry for over 37 years. At the same time, he became noted for his accomplishments in music, particularly as the conductor of the choral ensemble The Star-Scape Singers. He excelled at composing, painting and design and has been described by some as a New Age polymath, a man for all seasons, and a Renaissance man.

Mills was born in St. Stephen, New Brunswick in January 1923. He attended Mount Allison University in Sackville, New Brunswick. Trained from the age of 7 in music, he became a concert pianist, with debuts in Toronto in 1952 and New York City in 1961. Though he chose to end his career as a concert pianist in 1963, he concentrated on teaching piano and adjudicating young musicians for another ten years. Living in Toronto, he began teaching spontaneously to those who requested that he do so, ultimately offering many thousands of hours of metaphysical/philosophical lectures and meetings over his lifetime.

Mills extended his musical interests in 1976 when he formed the a cappella vocal ensemble The Star-Scape Singers. He and his singers would eventually give concerts throughout Eastern and Western Europe and the United States. Mills also engaged in musical composition, creating both choral and orchestral works. In addition, he explored various types of designing, and in 1993 created a line of haute couture fashions. His interest in painting yielded more than 200 large canvases. He was recognized for mentoring and sponsorship of artists in all these disciplines, and he continued his mentoring and spontaneous speaking until shortly before his death in October 2004.

The boundless energy, innovation, and love that characterized Kenneth G. Mills’ multifaceted creative expression came forth from his unswerving fidelity to his original vow, a vow that he made within himself that he would speak of his realizations if asked about them directly. These insights became a vocalization dedicated to sharing limitless possibilities with those who questioned the apparent state of affairs in their lives and in the world.

Trained for 25 years as a concert pianist, Kenneth Mills encountered a major turning point in his life in 1967 when he received an identical message from two people within a few weeks: “You must learn to speak the Word again!”

Not entirely understanding the scope of this unusual message, Dr. Mills decided, “Since I of myself can do nothing, I will move with the statement from Psalms ‘May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in the Light of the One Altogether Lovely.’ I will speak if I am asked, and otherwise I will appear to speak like everyone else.” Very soon thereafter, people began seeking him out to ask about their deepest questions and concerns; ultimately, the questioning became so frequent and the numbers so many that he turned to public lecturing to accommodate this. He began speaking publicly in 1968 and gave many thousands of hours of impromptu lectures.

He defined his spontaneous speaking, which he called Unfoldment, as “an impromptu performance under the impelling of divine ideas. It is a projection from another dimension or plane of consciousness, causing those prepared to hear to awaken to the higher or greater possibilities of living beyond the limits of three dimensions and translating what seems to be the ordinary into another level of consideration.”

He also often spoke in poetry, offering some 3,000 extemporaneous poems during his lifetime. Many of Mills’ spontaneous lectures were recorded and transcribed. Ultimately, a number of them were gathered together and published as books or as spoken word recordings, described by one reviewer as offering metaphysical ideas which are “provocative and deeply inspiring.” A reviewer of one of his poetry books observed that Mills’ universal themes “revolve around wonder, light and love,” while an endorsement on another of his books described Mills as having fun with the language and the sounds of words. It has also been pointed out that Mills’ lectures and books “give a universal, metaphysical perspective on some of the most perplexing problems faced by men and women today.”

Mills’ philosophy always possessed for him strong musical implications. “The purpose of Music is to reveal to man his innate at-one-ment with a harmonic state of Being”, he said. When three singers (from the vocal group The Free Design) asked him for help with their voices in 1976, Mills soon found himself re-engaging the world of concertizing. Within a short time, the three singers were joined by seven others, and the a cappella vocal ensemble he called The Star-Scape Singers was formed. These singers were ultimately acclaimed in the United States and abroad as creators of a renaissance in choral art.

Star-Scape made their American debut at Carnegie Hall in 1981, ultimately performing seven different concerts there between 1981 and 1986. New York City critics described them as “an instrument of bright and extraordinary varied capacity” and “a vocal ensemble of rare distinction.” In 1983, the Singers embarked upon their first tour to Europe, performing at several large choral festivals, and on subsequent tours at many of the great halls and cathedrals of both Western and Eastern Europe. One critic in Munich described their work with Mills as “phenomenal, artistic, one-of-a-kind vocal art.” Mills and the ensemble made a total of seven lengthy European and Soviet tours. While on tour in 1984, they were asked to make a recording for broadcast on Radio Vatican, inaugurating the World Year of Music in 1985. One of their performances of The Fire Mass, considered the ensemble’s major work, at Roy Thomson Hall in Toronto was broadcast nationwide by the (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) in 1988.

In 1989, the Earth-Stage Actors, a New York–based ensemble, began to dramatize excerpts from Mills’ publications. Critics have called these dramatizations “a theatre of philosophy” and “modern-day Shakespeare.”

The special genius of this man found expression in unique and diverse forms. In February 1993, Mills began to draw and paint for the first time. He soon became a prolific painter of large canvasses, creating more than 200 in less than three years. Most of his paintings depict huge flowers or otherworldly landscapes, and they have been recognized for the bold use of color and their energy. The paintings have been exhibited in both Canada and the U.S., and some are found in private collections.

Mills also ventured into the realm of fashion design. Ultimately, he created an elegant line of haute couture fashions, Moulins Originales, many of which were debuted in a fashion show titled The Integrity of Elegance. This showing was captured on a pioneering high-definition television recording at New York City’s Ed Sullivan Theater in February 1993. Another showing of Mills’ designs occurred at the Design Exchange in Toronto during the PRIME Mentors’ 10th Anniversary Celebration, in 1997.

Kenneth Mills’ extensive musical training also found expression in his own keyboard compositions and the release of four CDs. This music reveals the soul of one who defies the limitations of what would seem to be mere electronic keyboards and allows heart-feeling to come forth; this is well described by composer John Lissauer: “His ideas flow uninterrupted from his soul to his fingers to our very fortunate ears.”

Some of these extemporaneous compositions were recorded by members of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra under the conductorship of Mark Skazinetsky. In 1992 he was awarded a MedArt Special Recognition Award “for the outstanding healing power of his art.”

Kenneth Mills’ life unfolded through a deep interest in music, the arts, and education, as well as in health, architecture, fashion, landscaping, and interior design. As he said, “Life is music and music is life.” There are countless expressions of it! Before passing in October 2004 at his home in Ontario, Canada, Dr. Mills produced the memoirs of his rich and enlightened life, The Candy Maker’s Son.


Quotes from Kenneth G. Mills:

“The purpose of this unfolding Path is to reawaken in man the glory of his own essence, thus the Divine Self cognizing its own Allness.”

“The joy of Being is unconfined; the belief of time has you codified. The joy of Being wraps the mind in the cocoon of Light, and there it binds all thoughts to One, and One in Act gives you a day of Light, and that is Fact.

Enjoy the Being, unconfined, and you find the shackles of the mind drop and tinkle, as tears to the ground are traced as a cloud, which yields its unknowing when I is found.

Enjoy the Fact and let fiction fail to seduce you into its earthbound wail. And then you will see, as you escape the course, the unconscious sea, for the whale of sorts gives you now the chance to stand on Holy Ground, and the perennial Facts of Being revealed: I unbound!”

“By exalting one another, we reveal our faults in order to fill them with the Cement of Love and allow a surface once again to be polished for the Dance with God.”

“We don’t think it takes time to think right. It doesn’t; it only takes a willingness to accept without thought. To think that you have to understand is one of the thorns in our educational process. It is one of the great omissions to think that the cane can’t be used, because there is nothing that can, be achieved without discipline and it doesn’t come by talk! Discipline is really, in Essence, the ability to manage the self, or self-management. Discipline is only achieved through blood, sweat, and screams!”

“Art is living stopped for a moment of wonder.”

“An artist is usually the handyman in the service of inspiration.”

“Creativity is the very source and the wonder of your experience.”

“The fire of the diamond of true Identity is always there; it just needs the Master’s crafting to reveal it.”

“It doesn’t take time to think right. It only takes the willingness to do so.”

“What is sound? Sound is what can alter your state, and it can be said, “Your words changed my life.” It was Sound that changed your life; the words held your attention so that your mind didn’t interfere with the ever-presence of That which IS!”

“You see more and more why healing is happening through music. It’s because music causes a reorganization of the tonal structure, and Man is in essence a vibration.”

“The whole force-field of Light rests on unity.”

“Commitment is never an act of moderation!”

“This is an adventure to restore the unlimited possibilities of attainment, so that others may realize that Reality and an Ideal are ever at hand to sustain such an accomplishment in the world.”

“The Education of tomorrow will bring before the public the need to reach a way of alignment to a universal Pitch of all-inclusiveness.”

“When each of us opens the mind to behold a moment of beauty, perhaps in the guise of a cherished object or friend, it is like being graced by the fragrance of a magical presence. A wonder-filled intoxication suddenly causes everything to fade save what we love and worship as beautiful. Thoughts subside and float peacefully in the gentle wake of the attention that is captured and carried like a babe into itself to revel. . .and reveal. We are at peace, at one with ourselves, and the heart sings in recognition.”

“The past is nothing but a dream to the Now, and the value of any dream is in the waking up from it. So, in reviewing your past as it has been brought to your conscious attention, evaluate it in such a way that it blesses you now. In the blessing of the Nowness is the potential of the individual released, and a sense of poise, balance, and stability arises in the experience. In the growing awareness of right identification will be the fulfillment of the present incarnation.

The joy of Being who and what you are far transcends the concern and the challenge of trying to meet, through the personality channel, the commitments of the earth day. The man of God’s creating walks in the Light of Day, which is the radiance of happiness and joy. There is no darkness or night in this concept of the Divine Day, which is where you live and move and have your Being.

Whenever anything contrary to this State of Beingness confronts you, ask for that suggestion’s identification. If the suggestion does not belong to your inherited storehouse of Divine Life, Truth, and Love, and the glory of Being at-One with your Primal Cause, then admit it not, because it will only distress and upset you. The satanic influence that we have to contend with today is not like that of times long ago and far away, when it was supposed to have worn two horns and a pitchfork. The diabolical suggestion of today is very subtle because it appears not external to you but calls itself a condition of you, and when it can relate to you by your conscious acceptance of it, the erroneous suggestion rams and pierces you. Allowing yourself to be swung among the vacillating conditions of mind and ego creates all there is to the life force of this entity called the devil. God is a word meaning “good.”

Therefore, if Good is all there is and none besides, where is evil going to hide? Now, if you live from the standpoint of knowing who you are and what you are, you will transcend the process of leading a double life, and you will find the One Life manifested. Thus, you no longer have life dammed. To live in the bosom of the Father and to acknowledge Him is your freedom from being cast about in the turbulent world picture, where you seem to live and move and have your Being. You are primarily a spiritual-mental Consciousness and are only seemingly walking around with a body. The relationship that seems to exist between the spiritual-mental Consciousness and the body (they are really one) fulfills the need for those who think they need an objective sense or identity to satisfy and sustain their yearnings for the Higher Self. True, we see the body manifested, but it is really supported by the attributes of the God-Child which you really are.

Now the child on the human level is the means of maintaining the race, especially the race of family or the race of lineage. You may “suffer it to be so now,” but the Child of God’s creating is a little bit different. He is not a child of a day or a year; He is of eternity. The Child of God’s creating is the Child of Being. Thus, when you dwell in this state, you are bearing your child in a sense of humility to the feet of the Fatherhood and Motherhood.

The problems that confront people today are of their own making. Most people love to create problems. They apparently cannot stand prosperity, peace, and tranquility. Whenever they have the time for leisure, they don’t seem to know what to do with it! They go on creating and thinking a fictional world and then call it a factual one. For instance, the paper world of commerce and finance can be not only blown away and burned away, but it can also be washed away, and even more simply than that, it can be thought away. So, you arrive at what is left after the dollar sign (false sense of substance) has had its day. And you will find that the peaceful mind can come to grips with its own inherent value or substance, because in the Substance of peace, man has the opportunity of coming to the recognition of his Divinity within. It is stated in one of the great inspirational books, the Bible, “My peace I give unto you; not as the world giveth, give I unto you.”

And the nation that cannot stand the peaceful existence pursues other levels of existence that can satisfy, within its own framework of reference, a logic of good and evil. Individuals who cannot stand a sense of peace or stillness manufacture a sense of busy-ness and consequently never have time to light on the Tree of Life. The sense of turmoil or distress within a person is like a magnet; it draws distressful conditions to him. In the Age in which we seem to live there is a new potential open to people like you, because of the Force that launched the earth into its orbit and said, “Peace, be still. ” Know that I AM; I AM Mind, and as Mind, all that “I” have is thine. Claim your heritage, claim your legacy, and be still. In this stillness may you enjoy the rhythmic harmony of Being at-One with the Music of the Spheres. The Universe of Mind and of God-Man is a harmonious one in which are played, in a harmonically balanced and rhythmic way, the various themes and tunes that are easily identifiable. These “tunes,” or resounding , ageless Truths, will never lose their identity in the creation of man, his church, or the universe. In this understanding of creation as it IS and not as it seems to be lies your freedom, your health, and your wealth. It’s the same old story of Truth in all its glory. You and only you will write the final cadence.”

“What a glorification comes in the form of a personification! The trick is, it’s never in person. It’s only evidenced as person but never found in it. Are you material? “You.” of course! But what I AM is only known when you are not what you think. So simple. Practice! Be obedient to Principle and see the wonder of Unfoldment. As you unfold, you find yourself enfolded.”

“No Strawberry is ever the same, but each one brings a touch of Fire to the vine prepared to receive it. Each Mark of uniqueness brings a Wonder for others to behold upon the Vine of Conscious Awareness. Why do you limit your uniqueness by thinking in the framework of relativity?”

“A talent is never ego-oriented; it appears that the ego allows a talent to transcend its presence and reveal the more genuine condition of Being. Then, all of the circuitry becoming your incredible self- constituted form starts to reverberate with the tonal reference becoming your genius. It is like realizing that there is but One Thought. If there is One, then that is it. One is the Thought, so that’s the One Thought; there’s none other. I AM is not a thought; I AM is an overtone of the Celestial Diapason of Being.”

“It’s the most amazing thing, our freedom is under our nose! It’s the very aspect of awareness, and the people never get that point. They take years to arrive at the point of awareness – – where it can be arrived at by looking at a tulip! If you look inside it, you will see the crown for your rejoicing because you have seen the power that resides as a part of your awareness.”

“When you have a clear intention, the variations that confront you are multitudinous and many, and frequently enigmatic. What are not acceptable are indolence, apathy, or a phlegmatic condition. An apathetic people is a conquered people, for their minds are so sedated that they do not perceive the energy of newness before thought.”

“What is the purpose of being a Song? Claim it, because it will mean that you will get rid of your tin ear! If you are a Song, you cannot help but bear a melody, and it may be without words. If you are a Song, people cannot help but feel your choiceless Presence.”

“Your garment is wrapped and ribboned with Wonder and Love. How do you know when anyone walks with Love? They bestow a Grace just in their passing.”

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Nikola Tesla

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Nikola Tesla (July 10, 1856 – January 7,1943), was an American electrical engineer, physicist, scientist, and a world-renowned inventor in groundbreaking technological discoveries. He made revolutionary developments in the field of electromagnetism in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. Tesla helped usher in the Second Industrial Revolution. Tesla had patents on alternating current (AC), including the polyphase system, electric motor, radio, and the Tesla coil, with major contributions in establishing radar, remote control, robotics, and adding to the expansion of theoretical physics and nuclear physics. Tesla’s inventions included the AC hydroelectric power system, fluorescent lighting, and wireless communication.

Some say he was a man born out of time, a man born too soon, that his inventions changed the world, and that he was an unappreciated genius who wanted to give free energy to people. The son of an Orthodox priest, Tesla was a mystic who had out-of-body experiences from the time he was seven years old. The defining event of young Nikola’s childhood was the day he witnessed the death of his older brother Dane in a riding accident. In the years following the tragedy, Tesla (the son and grandson of Serbian Orthodox priests) began seeing visions of the air around him “filled with tongues of living flame.”

As an adolescent Tesla learned to exercise his willpower to control the visions. While still a child, he saw a photograph of Niagara Falls and prophesied that one day he would harness the power there (which he did). He came up with his idea for alternating current (AC) in a vision he received while watching a sunset in a park in Budapest. Another example of one of his prophetic ideas was his realization that matter and energy were interchangeable, an inspiration he received years before Einstein demonstrated the same idea with his Theory of Relativity.

He is a person some would describe as “spiritually open.” He was not limited by his Orthodox upbringing to reject ideas originating in other faith traditions. For example, Tesla had a warm relationship with Swami Vivekananda, the Indian sage who came to the United States to speak at the Parliament of World Religions in 1893. See:

In an essay entitled: “Tesla and Ancient Vedic Philosophy and the Properties of Space”, the author Arjun Walia wrote:

We’ve seen a very interesting trend (especially within the past decade) of modern-day science catching up to an ancient understanding about the true nature of reality, its make-up, how it functions and how we can work with it to bring about change on our planet. For anybody to label the merging of ‘spirituality’ and science as pseudoscience means they have not properly investigated it. Spiritual concepts of our ancient world are directly intertwined with modern-day science, more so quantum physics, and Nikola Tesla was well aware of this.

“All perceptible matter comes from a primary substance, or tenuity beyond conception, filling all space, the akasha or luminiferous ether, which is acted upon by the life giving Prana or creative force, calling into existence, in never-ending cycles all things and phenomena.”– Nikola Tesla, Man’s Greatest Achievement, 1907

As you can see, Tesla was aware of ancient concepts and the correlation it had with the science he was working on using sanskrit worlds like “akasha,” and “prana” to describe the force and matter that exists all around us.

As mentioned, Nikola Tesla had correlations with Swami Vivekananda (1863-1902), who was one of the most famous and influential spiritual leaders of the philosophies of Vedanta (one of the six schools of Hindu philosophy, the term originally referred to the upanishads, a collection of philosophical texts in Hinduism) and Yoga. He was the chief disciple of Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and the founder of Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission. He is a giant figure in the history of the Hindu reform movements.

“Mr. Tesla thinks he can demonstrate mathematically that force and matter are reducible to potential energy. I am to go and see him next week to get this new mathematical demonstration. In that case the Vedantic cosmology will be placed on the surest of foundations. I am working a good deal now upon the cosmology and eschatology of the Vedanta. I clearly see their perfect union with modern science, and the elucidation of the one will be followed by that of the other.” – Swami Vivekananda

Tesla began using the Sanskrit words after meeting with Swami, and after studying the Eastern view of the true nature of reality, about the mechanisms that drive the material world. Eventually, it led him to the basis for the wireless transmission of electrical power, what is known as the Tesla Coil Transformer. During this year he made the following comments during a speech before the American Institute of Electrical Engineers.

“Ere many generations pass, our machinery will be driven by a power obtainable at any point in the universe. This idea is not novel…We find it in the delightful myth of Antheus, who derives power from the earth; we find it among subtle speculations of one of your splendid mathematicians….Throughout space there is energy. Is this energy static, or kinetic? If static our hopes are in vain; if kinetic – and this we know it is, for certain – then it is a mere question of time when men will succeed in attaching their machinery to the very wheel work of nature.”

The Vedas are a group of writings that consist of hymns, prayers, myths, historical accounting, science and the nature of reality. They date back at least 5000 years, and are not so different from other ancient texts that dive into the same matters from all across the globe. The language used is Sanskrit and its origins are unknown.

“Swami Vivekananda was hopeful that Tesla would be able to show that what we call matter is simply potential energy because that would reconcile the teachings of the Vedas with modern science. The Swami realized that in that case, the Vedantic cosmology (would) be placed on the surest of foundations. Tesla understood the Sanskrit terminology and philosophy and found that it was a good means to describe the physical mechanisms of the universe as seen through his eyes. It would behoove those who would attempt to understand the science behind the inventions of Nikola Tesla to study Sanskrit and Vedic philosophy.” – Toby Grotz, President, Wireless Engineering

Apparently, Tesla was unable to show the identity of energy and matter, this did not come until Albert Einstein published his paper on relativity, which was known in the East for the last 5000 years.

“All the powers in the universe are already ours. It is we who have put our hands before our eyes and cry that it is dark.” – Swami Vivekananda

Tesla’s vision of the wireless transmission of electricity and free energy has been postponed for almost one hundred years now.


Nikola Tesla discovered the basic operation of the alternating-current motor after a vision appeared to him in Budapest’s City Park, where he quickly drew his mental images in the sand with a stick. Young Tesla had arrived in Budapest from Prague with a promised job to assist Tivadar Puskas and his team at their telephone center, just being built at the time. With support from his relatives, he managed to get a job, but was plagued with an extreme form of hyper-sensitivity. His health condition in this period was described in The Autobiography of Nikola Tesla, which was published decades later:

“In Budapest I could hear the ticking of a watch with three rooms between me and the time-piece. A fly alighting on a table in the room would cause a dull thud in my ear. A carriage passing at a distance of a few miles fairly shook my whole body. The whistle of a locomotive twenty or thirty miles away made the bench or chair on which I sat, vibrate so strongly that the pain was unbearable. The ground under my feet trembled continuously. I had to support my bed on rubber cushions to get any rest at all. The roaring noises from near and far often produced the effect of spoken words which would have frightened me had I not been able to resolve them into their accumulated components. The sun rays, when periodically intercepted, would cause blows of such force on my brain that they would stun me. I had to summon all my will power to pass under a bridge or other structure, as I experienced the crushing pressure on the skull. In the dark I had the sense of a bat, and could detect the presence of an object at a distance of twelve feet by a peculiar creepy sensation on the forehead. My pulse varied from a few to two hundred and sixty beats and all the tissues of my body with twitchings and tremors, which was perhaps hardest to bear. The whistle of a locomotive twenty or thirty miles away made the bench or chair on which I sat, vibrate so strongly that the pain was unbearable. A renowned physician who have me daily large doses of Bromide of Potassium, pronounced my malady unique and incurable.”

But a cure was found in the end: Tesla’s friend and helping companion, Antal Szigety (or Szigeti in other sources) was said to get him exercise, which brought his vigor back. They went for walks in a park nearby, the park where Tesla had his miraculous vision while citing Goethe’s Faust:

“At that age, I knew entire books by heart, word for word. One of these was Goethe’s ‘Faust’. The sun was just setting and reminded me of the glorious passage, ‘The glow retreats, done is the day of toil; It yonder hastes, new fields of life exploring; Ah, that no wing can lift me from the soil Upon its track to follow, follow soaring! A glorious dream! though now the glories fade. Alas! the wings that lift the mind no aid Of wings to lift the body can bequeath me.!’ As I uttered these inspiring words the idea came like a flash of lightening and in an instant the truth was revealed. I drew with a stick on the sand, the diagram shown six years later in my address before the American Institute of Electrical Engineers, and my companion understood them perfectly.

The images I saw were wonderfully sharp and clear and had the solidity of metal and stone, so much so that I told him, ‘See my motor here; watch me reverse it.’ I cannot begin to describe my emotions. Pygmalion seeing his statue come to life could not have been more deeply moved. A thousand secrets of nature which I might have stumbled upon accidentally, I would have given for that one which I had wrested from her against all odds and at the peril of my existence…”


In another example of Tesla’s flashes of insight, he wrote:

“One day I went alone to the river to enjoy myself as usual. When I was a short distance from the masonry, however, I was horrified to observe that the water had risen and was carrying me along swiftly.… The pressure against my chest was great and I was barely able to keep my head above the surface.… Slowly and gradually I became exhausted and unable to withstand the strain longer. Just as I was about to let go, to be dashed against the rocks below, I saw in a flash of light a familiar diagram illustrating the hydraulic principle that the pressure of a fluid in motion is proportionate to the area exposed and automatically I turned on my left side. As if by magic, the pressure was reduced.”

Tesla never married; he said his chastity was very helpful to his scientific abilities. However, toward the end of his life, he told a reporter, “Sometimes I feel that by not marrying, I made too great a sacrifice to my work …” There have been numerous accounts of women vying for Tesla’s affection, even some madly in love with him. Tesla, though polite and soft-spoken, did not have any known relationships.

Tesla was asocial and prone to seclude himself with his work. However, when he did engage in a social life, many people spoke very positively and admiringly of Tesla. Robert Underwood Johnson described him as attaining a “distinguished sweetness, sincerity, modesty, refinement, generosity, and force.” His loyal secretary, Dorothy Skerrit, wrote: “his genial smile and nobility of bearing always denoted the gentlemanly characteristics that were so ingrained in his soul. Tesla’s friend, Julian Hawthorne, wrote, “seldom did one meet a scientist or engineer who was also a poet, a philosopher, an appreciator of fine music, a linguist, and a connoisseur of food and drink.”

Tesla was a good friend of Walter Russell, Francis Marion Crawford, Robert Underwood Johnson, Stanford White, Fritz Lowenstein, George Scherff, and Kenneth Swezey. In middle age, Tesla became a close friend of Mark Twain’s; they spent a lot of time together in his lab and elsewhere. Twain notably described Tesla’s induction motor invention as “the most valuable patent since the telephone.”

Near the end of his life, Tesla walked to the park every day to feed the pigeons and even brought injured ones into his hotel room to nurse back to health. He said that he had been visited by a specific injured white pigeon daily. Tesla spent over $2,000, including building a device that comfortably supported her so her bones could heal, to fix her broken wing and leg. Tesla stated,

“I have been feeding pigeons, thousands of them for years. But there was one, a beautiful bird, pure white with light grey tips on its wings; that one was different. It was a female. I had only to wish and call her and she would come flying to me. I loved that pigeon as a man loves a woman, and she loved me. As long as I had her, there was a purpose to my life.”

Tesla had a profound respect for Buddhism, and became a vegetarian in his later years, living on only milk, bread, honey, and vegetable juices. On 7 January 1943, Tesla, 86, died alone in room 3327 of the New Yorker Hotel, impoverished and in debt.

Tesla wrote a number of books and articles for magazines and journals. Among his books are My Inventions: The Autobiography of Nikola Tesla, compiled and edited by Ben Johnston; The Fantastic Inventions of Nikola Tesla, compiled and edited by David Hatcher Childress; and The Tesla Papers. Tesla’s legacy has endured in books, films, radio, TV, music, live theater, comics and video games. The lack of recognition received during his own lifetime has cast him as a tragic and inspirational character, well suited to dramatic fiction. The impact of the technologies invented or envisioned by Tesla is a recurring theme in several types of science fiction. On Tesla’s 75th birthday in 1931, Time Magazine put him on its cover. The cover caption “All the world’s his power house” noted his contribution to electrical power generation. He received congratulatory letters from more than 70 pioneers in science and engineering, including Albert Einstein.


For an extended online biography of Tesla, with a number of informative links, see:

A comprehensive website devoted to Tesla can be found here:

A well-regarded documentary by PBS on Tesla called “Tesla: Master of Lightning”, can be found here:

Some quotes from Nikola Tesla:


“If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency and vibration.”

“The day science begins to study non-physical phenomena, it will make more progress in one decade than in all the previous centuries of its existence.”

“If your hate could be turned into electricity, it would light up the whole world.”

“My brain is only a receiver, in the Universe there is a core from which we obtain knowledge, strength and inspiration. I have not penetrated into the secrets of this core, but I know that it exists.”

“I do not think there is any thrill that can go through the human heart like that felt by the inventor as he sees some creation of the brain unfolding to success . . . Such emotions make a man forget food, sleep, friends, love, everything.”

“What we now want is closer contact and better understanding between individuals and communities all over the earth, and the elimination of egoism and pride which is always prone to plunge the world into primeval barbarism and strife… Peace can only come as a natural consequence of universal enlightenment…”

“Everyone should consider his body as a priceless gift from one whom he loves above all, a marvelous work of art, of indescribable beauty, and mystery beyond human conception, and so delicate that a word, a breath, a look, nay, a thought may injure it.”

“Our virtues and our failings are inseparable, like force and matter. When they separate, man is no more.”

“Let the future tell the truth, and evaluate each one according to his work and accomplishments. The present is theirs; the future, for which I have really worked, is mine.”

“It is not a dream, it is a simple feat of scientific electrical engineering, only expensive — blind, faint-hearted, doubting world! […] Humanity is not yet sufficiently advanced to be willingly led by the discoverer’s keen searching sense. But who knows? Perhaps it is better in this present world of ours that a revolutionary idea or invention instead of being helped and patted, be hampered and ill-treated in its adolescence — by want of means, by selfish interest, pedantry, stupidity and ignorance; that it be attacked and stifled; that it pass through bitter trials and tribulations, through the strife of commercial existence. So do we get our light. So all that was great in the past was ridiculed, condemned, combated, suppressed — only to emerge all the more powerfully, all the more triumphantly from the struggle.”

“Be alone, that is the secret of invention; be alone, that is when ideas are born.”

“Fights between individuals, as well as governments and nations, invariably result from misunderstandings in the broadest interpretation of this term. Misunderstandings are always caused by the inability of appreciating one another’s point of view. This again is due to the ignorance of those concerned, not so much in their own, as in their mutual fields. The peril of a clash is aggravated by a more or less predominant sense of combativeness, posed by every human being. To resist this inherent fighting tendency the best way is to dispel ignorance of the doings of others by a systematic spread of general knowledge. With this object in view, it is most important to aid exchange of thought and intercourse.”

“When we speak of man, we have a conception of humanity as a whole, and before applying scientific methods to the investigation of his movement we must accept this as a physical fact. But can anyone doubt to-day that all the millions of individuals and all the innumerable types and characters constitute an entity, a unit? Though free to think and act, we are held together, like the stars in the firmament, with ties inseparable. These ties cannot be seen, but we can feel them. I cut myself in the finger, and it pains me: this finger is a part of me. I see a friend hurt, and it hurts me, too: my friend and I are one. And now I see stricken down an enemy, a lump of matter which, of all the lumps of matter in the universe, I care least for, and it still grieves me. Does this not prove that each of us is only part of a whole?

For ages this idea has been proclaimed in the consummately wise teachings of religion, probably not alone as a means of insuring peace and harmony among men, but as a deeply founded truth. The Buddhist expresses it in one way, the Christian in another, but both say the same: We are all one. Metaphysical proofs are, however, not the only ones which we are able to bring forth in support of this idea. Science, too, recognizes this connectedness of separate individuals, though not quite in the same sense as it admits that the suns, planets, and moons of a constellation are one body, and there can be no doubt that it will be experimentally confirmed in times to come, when our means and methods for investigating psychical and other states and phenomena shall have been brought to great perfection. Still more: this one human being lives on and on. The individual is ephemeral, races and nations come and pass away, but man remains. Therein lies the profound difference between the individual and the whole.”

“Life is and will ever remain an equation incapable of solution, but it contains certain known factors.”

“Today’s scientists have substituted mathematics for experiments, and they wander off through equation after equation, and eventually build a structure which has no relation to reality.”

“Invention is the most important product of man’s creative brain. The ultimate purpose is the complete mastery of mind over the material world, the harnessing of human nature to human needs.”

“Nature may reach the same result in many ways. Like a wave in the physical world, in the infinite ocean of the medium which pervades all, so in the world of organisms, in life, an impulse started proceeds onward, at times, may be, with the speed of light, at times, again, so slowly that for ages and ages it seems to stay, passing through processes of a complexity inconceivable to men, but in all its forms, in all its stages, its energy ever and ever integrally present. A single ray of light from a distant star falling upon the eye of a tyrant in bygone times may have altered the course of his life, may have changed the destiny of nations, may have transformed the surface of the globe, so intricate, so inconceivably complex are the processes in Nature. In no way can we get such an overwhelming idea of the grandeur of Nature than when we consider, that in accordance with the law of the conservation of energy, throughout the Infinite, the forces are in a perfect balance, and hence the energy of a single thought may determine the motion of a universe.”

“From childhood I was compelled to concentrate attention upon myself. This caused me much suffering, but to my present view, it was a blessing in disguise for it has taught me to appreciate the inestimable value of introspection in the preservation of life, as well as a means of achievement. The pressure of occupation and the incessant stream of impressions pouring into our consciousness through all the gateways of knowledge make modern existence hazardous in many ways. Most persons are so absorbed in the contemplation of the outside world that they are wholly oblivious to what is passing on within themselves. The premature death of millions is primarily traceable to this cause. Even among those who exercise care, it is a common mistake to avoid imaginary, and ignore the real dangers. And what is true of an individual also applies, more or less, to a people as a whole.”

“If you only knew the magnificence of the 3, 6 and 9, then you would have the key to the universe.”

“I am part of a light, and it is the music. The Light fills my six senses: I see it, hear, feel, smell, touch and think. Thinking of it means my sixth sense. Particles of Light are written notes. O bolt of lightning can be an entire sonata. A thousand balls of lightening is a concert. For this concert I have created a Ball Lightning, which can be heard on the icy peaks of the Himalayas.”

“What one man calls God, another calls the laws of physics.”

“The gift of mental power comes from God, Divine Being, and if we concentrate our minds on that truth, we become in tune with this great power.”

“The scientific man does not aim at an immediate result. He does not expect that his advanced ideas will be readily taken up. His work is like that of the planter — for the future. His duty is to lay the foundation for those who are to come, and point the way. He lives and labors and hopes.”

“Every living being is an engine geared to the wheelwork of the universe. Though seemingly affected only by its immediate surrounding, the sphere of external influence extends to infinite distance.”

“Most certainly, some planets are not inhabited, but others are, and among these there must exist life under all conditions and phases of development.”

“You may live to see man-made horrors beyond your comprehension.”

“But instinct is something which transcends knowledge. We have, undoubtedly, certain finer fibers that enable us to perceive truths when logical deduction, or any other willful effort of the brain, is futile.”

“There is no conflict between the ideal of religion and the ideal of science, but science is opposed to theological dogmas because science is founded on fact. To me, the universe is simply a great machine which never came into being and never will end. The human being is no exception to the natural order. Man, like the universe, is a machine. Nothing enters our minds or determines our actions which is not directly or indirectly a response to stimuli beating upon our sense organs from without.”

“Our first endeavors are purely instinctive prompting of an imagination vivid and undisciplined. As we grow older reason asserts itself and we become more and more systematic and designing. But those early impulses, though not immediately productive, are of the greatest moment and may shape our very destinies. Indeed, I feel now that had I understood and cultivated instead of suppressing them, I would have added substantial value to my bequest to the world. But not until I had attained manhood did I realize that I was an inventor.”

“Its not the love you make. It’s the love you give.”

“Within a few years a simple and inexpensive device, readily carried about, will enable one to receive on land or sea the principal news, to hear a speech, a lecture, a song or play of a musical instrument, conveyed from any other region of the globe. The invention will also meet the crying need for cheap transmission to great distances, more especially over the oceans. The small working capacity of the cables and the excessive cost of messages are now fatal impediments in the dissemination of intelligence which can only be removed by transmission without wires.”

“When a child is born its sense-organs are brought in contact with the outer world. The waves of sound, heat, and light beat upon its feeble body, its sensitive nerve-fibres quiver, the muscles contract and relax in obedience: a gasp, a breath, and in this act a marvelous little engine, of inconceivable delicacy and complexity of construction, unlike any on earth, is hitched to the wheel-work of the Universe.

The little engine labors and grows, performs more and more involved operations, becomes sensitive to ever subtler influences and now there manifests itself in the fully developed being — Man — a desire mysterious, inscrutable and irresistible: to imitate nature, to create, to work himself the wonders he perceives.

Inspired to this task he searches, discovers and invents, designs and constructs, and covers with monuments of beauty, grandeur and awe, the star of his birth. He descends into the bowels of the globe to bring forth its hidden treasures and to unlock its immense imprisoned energies for his use. He invades the dark depths of the ocean and the azure regions of the sky. He peers in the innermost nooks and recesses of molecular structure and lays bare to his gaze worlds infinitely remote. He subdues and puts to his service the fierce, devastating spark of Prometheus, the titanic forces of the waterfall, the wind and the tide. He tames the thundering bolt of Jove and annihilates time and space. He makes the great Sun itself his obedient toiling slave. Such is his power and might that the heavens reverberate and the whole earth trembles by the mere sound of his voice.

What has the future in store for this strange being, born of a breath, of perishable tissue, yet Immortal, with his powers fearful and Divine? What magic will be wrought by him in the end? What is to be his greatest deed, his crowning achievement?

Long ago he recognized that all perceptible matter comes from a primary substance, or a tenuity beyond conception, filling all space, the Akasha or luminiferous ether, which is acted upon by the life-giving Prana or Creative Force, calling into existence, in never ending cycles, all things and phenomena. The primary substance, thrown into infinitesimal whirls of prodigious velocity, becomes gross matter; the force subsiding, the motion ceases and matter disappears, reverting to the primary substance.

Can man control this grandest, most awe-inspiring of all processes in nature? Can he harness her inexhaustible energies to perform all their functions at his bidding? more still cause them to operate simply by the force of his will?

If he could do this, he would have powers almost unlimited and supernatural. At his command, with but a slight effort on his part, old worlds would disappear and new ones of his planning would spring into being. He could fix, solidify and preserve the ethereal shapes of his imagining, the fleeting visions of his dreams. He could express all the creations of his mind on any scale, in forms concrete and imperishable. He could alter the size of this planet, control its seasons, guide it along any path he might choose through the depths of the Universe. He could cause planets to collide and produce his suns and stars, his heat and light. He could originate and develop life in all its infinite forms.

To create and to annihilate material substance, cause it to aggregate in forms according to his desire, would be the supreme manifestation of the power of Man’s mind, his most complete triumph over the physical world, his crowning achievement, which would place him beside his Creator, make him fulfill his Ultimate Destiny.”

“While I am not a believer in the orthodox sense, I commend religion, first, because every individual should have some ideal — religious, artistic, scientific, or humanitarian — to give significance to his life. Second, because all the great religions contain wise prescriptions relating to the conduct of life, which hold good now as they did when they were promulgated.”

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Lester Levenson


Lester Levenson (1909 – 1994) was an American mystic, entrepreneur, and spiritual teacher, who founded the “Sedona Method” of emotional release and self-realization.

In 1952, at age 42, Lester, a physicist and successful entrepreneur, was at the pinnacle of worldly success, yet he was an unhappy, very unhealthy man. He had many health problems including depression, an enlarged liver, kidney stones, spleen trouble, hyperacidity, and ulcers that had perforated his stomach and formed lesions. He was so unhealthy, in fact, that after having his second coronary, his doctors sent him home to his Central Park South penthouse apartment in New York City to die.

Lester was a man who loved challenges. So, instead of giving up, he decided to go back to the lab within himself and find some answers. Because of his determination and concentration, he was able to cut through his conscious mind to find what he needed. What he found was the” ultimate tool for personal growth” — a way of letting go of all inner limitations. He was so excited by his discovery that he used it intensively for a period of three months. By the end of that period, his body became totally healthy again. Furthermore, he entered a state of profound peace that never left him through the day he died on January 18, 1994.

“I began by asking myself, ‘What do I want out of life?’ And the answer was happiness. Investigating further, I went into the moment when I was feeling happiest. I discovered something which to me was startling at the time. It was when I was loving that I was happiest. That happiness equated to my capacity to love rather than to being loved. That was a starting point.”

Lester had realized two truths that literally saved his life. The first was that his own feelings were the cause of all his problems, and not the world or the people in it, as he had previously thought. He also realized his own feelings were what he had struggled so hard and long against. And this struggle was what had destroyed his health and caused him to suffer in every way.

The second truth he discovered was that he had the inborn ability to let go of his feelings. He discovered how to completely discharge them and their negative influences from his life. Instead of struggling with them by suppressing, coping and venting as he had previously done, he discovered how to totally release them. This put an end to his struggle! He found permanent happiness. And, he found the more he released his feelings, the happier and healthier he became. In fact, within three months he was completely well, and he stayed well for over 40 more years!

Lester shared his discoveries with others. What Lester discovered firsthand is that we are all originally unlimited beings, bound only by the concepts of limitation that we hold in our minds. These concepts of limitation are not true; furthermore, because they’re not really true, they can easily be released or discharged. Lester’s experience made him understand that not only could he practice this technique himself, he could teach others how to do it as well. As a result, he began working with people, both in small groups and individually.

Since his discoveries happened so quickly and without warning or preparation, he had no language to describe his discoveries and what he was experiencing. The first place he looked for an appropriate language to use to help others was in the Bible. And he became good friends with several evangelical ministers. He then went on to read many books both from the west and the east in order to find the right language to be of service. He eventually settled on his own unique way of describing his experience and his own unique ways of sharing this experience in a useful way with others.

“In realizing how much I wanted to change things in this world, I saw how it made me a slave of this world; I made the decision to reverse that. And in the process of following out these two directions–actually unloading all the subconscious concepts and pressures in those directions–I discovered I was getting happier, freer, lighter, and feeling better in general.”

Lester believed strongly that personal growth was not dependent on any external source, including a teacher, and he did not want to be anyone’s guru. But, because of how elevated people felt around him, despite his protestations and attempts to keep it from happening, many of Lester’s students insisted on seeing him as a guru. So, in 1973, Lester realized that his teachings needed to be formalized into a system that he could allow others to teach—leaving him out of the equation. A way to transform his techniques for personal growth into a non-sectarian do-it-yourself system was devised, which is now called the Sedona Method, endorsed by people such as Lama Surya Das, who wrote: “The Sedona Method is a wonderful contribution to the field of self-acceptance and transformation. This is like an accessible, western form of Buddhist teachings that can free our hearts and minds from our self-made limitations and the old stories we tell ourselves.”


The story of Lester’s realization, in his words:

“I was at the end of my rope. I was told not to take a step unless I absolutely had to because there was a possibility that I could drop dead at any moment.

This was a terrible, shocking thing to suddenly be told that I couldn’t be active anymore, having been so active all my life. It was a horrible thing.

An intense fear of dying overwhelmed me, the fear that I might drop dead any minute. This stayed with me for days. I went through a real, horrible, low, spinning period there, in the grip of intense fear of dying or of being a cripple for the rest of my life in that I wouldn’t be able to be active. How could I take care of all that, and me. I felt that life would not be worthwhile any more.

This caused me to conclude with determination, ‘Either I get the answers, or I’ll take me off this earth. No heart attack will do it!’ I had a nice easy way to do it, too. I had morphine the doctors gave me for my kidney stone attacks.

After several days of this intense fear of dying, I suddenly realized, ‘Well, I’m still alive. As long as I’m alive, there’s hope. As long as I’m alive, maybe I can get out of this. What do I do?’

Well, I was always a smart boy, always made the honor roll. Even got myself a four-year scholarship to Rutgers University at a time when scholarships were very rare through competitive examinations. But what does this avail me? Nothing! Here I am with all this brilliance, as miserable and scared as can be.

Then I said, ‘Lester, you were not only not smart, you were dumb! Dumb! Dumb! There’s something wrong in your intellect. With all your knowledge, you’ve come to this bottom end! Drop all this knowledge you’ve so studiously picked up on philosophy, psychology, social science, and economics! It is of no avail! Start from scratch. Begin all over again your search for the answers.

And with an extreme desperation and intense wanting out-not wanting to die, I began to question, ‘What am I? What is this world? What is my relationship to it? What do I want from it?’


‘Well, what is happiness?’

‘Being loved.’

‘But I am loved. I know several very desirable girls with beauty, charm and intellect who want me. And I have the esteem of my friends. Yet, I’m miserable!’ I sensed that the closest thing related to happiness was love. So I began reviewing and reliving my past love affairs, looking at the points where the little happiness that I had were. I began to pull up and dissect all my high moments of loving.

Suddenly, I got an inkling that it was when I was loving that I had the highest feeling!

I remembered one evening, a beautiful balmy evening, in the mountains when I was camping with Virginia. We were both lying on the grass, both looking up at the sky, and I had my arm around her. The nirvana, the perfection of the height of happiness was right there. I was feeling how great is love for Virginia! How wonderful is knowing all this nature! How perfect a setting!

Then I saw that it was my loving her that was the cause of this happiness! Not the beauty of the setting, or being with Virginia.

Then I immediately turned to the other side. Boy it was great when she loved me! I remembered the moment when publicly this beautiful, charming girl told the world that she approved of Lester, she loved Lester-and I could feel that nice feeling of approval. But I sensed that it was not as great as what I had just discovered. It was not a lasting feeling. It was just for the moment. In order for me to have that feeling continuously, she had to continue saying that.

So, this momentary ego approval was not as great as the feeling of loving her! As long as I was loving her, I felt so happy. But when she loved me, there were only moments of happiness when she gave me approval.

Days of further cogitation gradually revealed to me that this was correct! I was happier when I loved her than I was when I got that momentary ego-satisfaction when she loved me. Her loving me was a momentary pleasure that needed constant showing and proving on her part, while my loving her was a constant happiness, as long as I was loving her.

I concluded that my happiness equated to my loving! If I could increase my loving, then I could increase my happiness! This was the first inkling I had as to what brings about happiness. And it was a tremendous thing because I hadn’t had happiness. And I said, ‘Gee, if this is the key to happiness, I’ve got the greatest!’ Even the hope of getting more and more happiness was a tremendous thing, because this was the number one thing I wanted-happiness.

That started me on weeks and weeks of reviewing my past love affairs. I dug up from the past, incident after incident when I thought I was loving, and I discovered that I was being nice to my girlfriends, trying to get them to love me, and that that was selfish. That was not really love. That was just wanting my ego bolstered! I kept reviewing incidents from the past, and where I saw that I was not loving, I would change that feeling to loving that person. Instead of wanting them to do something for me, I would change it to my wanting to do something for them. I kept this up until I couldn’t find any more incidents to work on.

This insight on love, seeing that happiness was determined by my capacity to love, was a tremendous insight. It began to free me, and any bit of freedom when you’re plagued feels so good. I knew that I was going in the right direction. I had gotten hold of a link of the chain of happiness and was determined not to let go until I had the entire chain.

I felt a greater freedom. There was an easier concentration of my mind because of it. And I began to look better at my mind. What is my mind? What is intelligence?

Suddenly, a picture flashed of amusement park bumper-cars that are difficult to steer so that they continually bump into each other. They all get their electrical energy from the wire screen above the cars through a pole coming down to every car.

The power above was symbolic of the overall intelligence and energy of the universe coming down the pole to me and everyone else, and to the degree we step on the gas do we use it. Each driver of the cars is taking the amount of energy and intelligence that he wants from that wire, but he steers his car blindly and bumps into other cars, and bumps and bumps.

I saw that if I chose to, I could take more and more of that overall intelligence.

And so I dug into that. I began to examine thinking and its relationship to what was happening. And it was revealed that everything that was happening had a prior thought behind it and that I never before related the thought and the happening because of the element of time between the two.

When I saw that everything that was happening to me had a thought of it before it happened, I realized that if I could grab hold of this, I could consciously determine everything that was happening to me!

And above all, I saw that I was responsible for everything that had happened to me, formerly thinking that the world was abusing me! I saw that my whole past life, and all that tremendous effort to make money and in the end, failing, was due only to my thinking!

This was a tremendous piece of freedom, to think that I was not a victim of this world, that it lay within my power to arrange the world the way I wanted it to be, that rather than being an effect of it, I could now be at cause over it and arrange it the way I would like it to be!

That was a tremendous realization, a tremendous feeling of freedom!

I was so ill when I started my searching; I had one foot in the grave. And when I saw that my thinking was cause for what was happening to me, I immediately saw my body from my chin down to my toes as perfect. And instantly, I knew it was perfect! I knew the lesions and adhesions of my intestine due to perforated ulcers were undone. I knew everything within me was in perfect running order.

And it was.

Discovering that my happiness equated to my loving, discovering that my thinking was the cause of things happening to me in my life gave me more and more freedom. Freedom from unconscious compulsions that I had to work, I had to make money, I had to have girls. Freedom in the feeling that I was now able to determine my destiny, I was now able to control my world, I was now able to arrange my environment to suit me. This new freedom lightened my internal burden so greatly that I felt that I had no need to do anything.

Plus, the new happiness I was experiencing was so great! I was experiencing a joy that I had never known existed. I had never dreamed happiness could be so great.

I determined ‘If this is so great, I’m not going to let go of it until I carry it all the way!’ I had no idea how joyous a person could be.

So, I began digging further on how to extend this joy. I began further changing my attitudes on love. I would imagine the girl I wanted most marrying one of my friends, or the boy I would want her to marry least, and then enjoy their enjoying each other. To me, this was the extreme in loving, and if I could achieve it, it would give me more of this wonderful thing that I was experiencing.

And so I worked on it. I took a particular fellow, Burl, and a particular girl, and I wouldn’t let go until I could really feel the joy of their enjoying each other.

Then I knew I had it-or almost had it.

Then later on, I had further tests of this in talking to people who were opposing me no end when I was trying to help them. I would consciously feel the greatest love for them when they were attacking me. And the joy of loving them was so wonderful, I would, without any thought, thank them so profusely for having given me the opportunity of talking with them, that it threw them into a dither.

The glory of knowing what you are. It’s a tremendous experience, it’s an ecstasy, a euphoria. There are no real words to describe it because, well, we’re in an age where these things are not experienced and therefore not understood, so how can there be words for things that are not understood?”

There are no words to describe these feelings, they’re so beyond present understanding. So you pick the words you know best to describe it and that’s it. Paramahansa Yogananda uses the words ‘ever-new joy welling up every second,’ and that’s a practical way of describing it. At first, it’s a joy that spills over every second, just keeps pouring out, pouring out-you feel as though you can’t contain it. Later on, it resolves itself into a very profound peace, the most peaceful peace you could ever imagine. It’s a delicious peace which is far more comfortable than ever-new joy. But please, get the ever-new joy!”

It’s very easy to get stuck in the ever-new joy state. That’s what they call the ananda sheath. It’s the last veil we have to remove. It is the last wall we must break through. When you start this ever-new joy, it’s so good you just want to continue it. Also, you have no feeling of need to change, everything is so wonderful. But it isn’t the final state. The final state is the peace that passeth all understanding. It’s a deep, deep peace. You move in the world, the body moves, but you have absolute peace all the time. Bombs could be dropping all around you and you have that perfect peace, regardless of what’s going on.”

Additional quotes from Lester Levenson:

“If we want to be loved, the way to get it is to love. It is not only the very best method, but it is the only method. To receive love we must love because what we give out must come back. If I love you, I feel wonderful. If you love me, you feel wonderful. It’s the one who loves who feels great. So wanting to be loved is getting into a direction that can never be satisfied. The happy one is the one loving, the one giving.”

“Givingness is an attitude. We can always maintain an attitude of love. Most people who give are not giving lovingly. They’re giving because of the recognition they think they will get for giving: ‘Look at Me; I’m doing good’.”

“If I give a starving person a meal, in a few hours they will need another meal again. However, if I give them the principle of how to produce for themselves, then they will never go hungry again.”

“This thing called love is your basic nature. All the love in the universe is in your basic nature. You will discover that happiness-your happiness-equates to your capacity to love, and conversely all your miseries equate to your need to be loved. Just love, love, love and you will be so happy and healthy and prosperous. Remember, you need to release your non-love feelings. Try it, you will like it.”

“One of the things that happened in my process to love all was I discovered my identification with others. I saw that we are all related, we are all inter-connected. Each mind is like a radio broadcasting and receiving station; that we are all tuned into each other unconsciously-that we are just not aware of it. I also saw that life was meant to be beautiful…meant to be happy all the time with no sorrow. And to be with perfect health. And so after reaching that high point of understanding in 1952, I have wanted to help others to discover what I had discovered.”

When we get in tune, our capacity to love is so extreme that we love everyone with an extreme intensity that makes living the most delightful it could ever be.”

“Some of us are seeking happiness where it is and as a result are becoming happier. And others are seeking it blindly in the world where it is not and are becoming more frustrated.”

“If we could only just be, just be, we could see our infinity. We could see that we are the all.”

“The only growth there is, is the elimination of ego.”

“Growth is transcending yourself, your habitual self, which is none other than ego.”

“First, we start on the path to escape misery, then we taste the Self and want it because it tastes so good.”

“On this path you constantly give up trouble.”

“What you do to yourself, it being of your own doing, only you can undo it.”

“The best place to grow is right where you are, the best time is now.”

“Be proud of your spiritual accomplishments. Be happy with them. Be proud of them to yourself.”

“It takes more than faith. It takes knowledge. You start with faith, but you must convert it to knowledge. You must test it out, and then you know it.”

“You can get understanding without having to put it into words.”

“There isn’t anything that happens that can’t be used. there’s no incident that can’t be used as a teacher.”

“We are all Gods acting like goddamned fools.”

“All unhappiness is caused by our trying to be limited, to be an ego. The more we are our Self, the happier we are. We will never be completely happy until we are completely being our Self.”

“The original state for all Beings is Love. Out troubles are due only to our covering over thus natural state.”

“My definition of real is: That which never changes is real. The reality is changeless. It is absolute — truth never changes. It is always true.

Let me give you an illustration that comes from the East: You’re walking along the road at dusk and there’s a rope on the ground. You imagine it to be a snake. Then you get all wrought up and involved in the fear of that snake and what it can do to you.

Now the snake represents the world. The rope represents the reality. The rope is harmless, emotionless and changeless.

But that snake is a terrible, dangerous thing.

The world is like that snake, an imagining, an illusion. All questions of the world are like questions about the snake. Will the snake attack me? How can I protect myself from the snake, and so forth and so on.

It’s all about something that really isn’t! The reality is the rope The reality of the world is the Beingness behind it.

When you get your realization, the world doesn’t disappear, but your knowledge of it changes completely. Instead of the world being separate, out of your control, you discover that it only exists because of your Beingness. You’re image-ing the whole thing.

Then you see it as a dream, while before it seemed to be so real to you. That’s the difference before and after realization.

But as long as you think the rope is a snake, you’re involved with it.”

“That place where there is no more ego, there we find god, there we find our very own self. And I repeat, in order to do this it must be a full time occupation. And it can go on no matter what we are doing. In the background we can always have this subject sort of in the back of our mind, always seeking who am I, what am I. Always using some method or other.

What happens if we don’t use this method? We are going along with the delusion, we are going along with the ego play and strengthening it. Anyone who is not growing is going the other way. Anytime during the day that we are not on this subject we are going the other way. And we cannot make the goal if we spend three, four hours a day on the subject and twenty hours a day on the ego. What we gain in the three, four hours we more than lose in the twenty hours.

So if we want realization, and there isn’t anyone who cannot get it this lifetime, we must make it fulltime. When we do it becomes easier as time goes on. We’ve developed a habit of looking for and letting go of the ego. It gets to be a joy because every time, every time we let go of a bit of ego we are a bit happier, our world becomes a much nicer place, our miseries get less and it’s more noticable during the low points that our bottoms just don’t go down as far as they used to before.

And if you want to check your growth, check it on your low points. And some day that low point is up in the realm of happiness. So when you go down you’ll go down to happiness and when you move up you move up into the so-called ecstacies. Then you’re what I call over the hump. No one has to tell you to follow this path when you get that far, you know without question that this is the way, this is the happiness that you had always been seeking. This is everything that everyone is seeking but some of us, some of them, are seeking it in the wrong direction. But now that we have found the right direction we never let go of it.

So every time we let go of a bit of ego, we let go of a bit of unhappiness. And bit by bit every day, all day, continuing this process you will discover relatively rapid results.

And letting go of ego is the way to all this.”

“Every thought we have is necessarily a thought of limita¬tion. Let go of thought, – get still.

The methods are, as we know, to get quiet. Quiet the mind. The moment the mind is quiet enough, this infinite Being that we are becomes self-obvious. So the method is very simple: quiet that mind enough so that you see this infinite Being that you are. Now the moment you see it, the moment you see this infinite Being that you are, you’ll immediately go to work to undo the re-maining thoughts that you are not it. And when there are no more thoughts, there’s only the infinite Being left.

Very oddly, what you are seeking is the very closest thing to you. Every time you say “I” that’s It. When you say “I,” you’re talking about the infinite Being. When you say “I am a body” you’re saying “I, the infinite Being, am a limited body with a lim¬ited mind.” It’s really as simple as all that. But simplicity does not mean it’s easy to let go of the habits that you have been hang¬ing onto for eons.

This, that everyone is seeking, the thing that every¬one calls happiness, is nothing but the infinite Self that we are. Everyone, in his every act, is seeking this infinite Self that he is, calling it by other names: money, happiness, success, love, etc. Having been told this, -and again, we’ve been told this many times before, – why don’t we just be what we are and stop trying to be what we are not, – a limited body? Can anyone answer that? Why don’t we stop being limited?

Q: Because we can’t.

Lester: You mean an infinite Being can’t stop being limited?

Q: Because we don’t want to.

Lester: Right. We don’t want to!

Q: The infinite Being doesn’t want to?

Lester: Yes. I, the infinite Being, think I am a lim¬ited body, and I’ve been doing this so long that I, the infinite Being, don‘t want to let go of constantly assuming I am this limited body. Does that make sense?

Q: Yes.

Lester: Every time you say “I” without going any fur¬ther, you’re talking about the infinite Being that you are, but you immediately add to it “am this body.” If you would only just say “I-I-I” from here on, you’d get full realization, because as you’re saying “I-I-I” you’re concentrating on “I” and not saying, “I am a little body with needs.”

So there’s no one who is not every moment experiencing the infinite Being that he is. As long as he experiences an “I” he is experiencing this infinite Being that he is.

However, you don’t want to see that. You want to be the body. So, what is required? First, saying to yourself “I am not this body, I am not this mind; then what am I?” If we reject this body and mind enough, what we are becomes self-obvious.

We can never become an infinite Being because we are that. We can just let go of the concepts that we are not it. We can just let go of the concepts that we are a body, a mind. The first thing needed is the desire to let go of this limited beingness that we think we are. A very strong desire to be the infinite Being that we really are is the only thing that we need to get there quickly.

But, as he said, we don’t want it. If we really want¬ed It, we would have It. There is a difficulty, of course, and what is the difficulty? It’s the habit; it’s the unconscious habitual think¬ing; it’s the mind. So we attack it by attacking this unconsciously very-thinking mind. The mind is the only cover over the infinite Being that we are. We must stop thinking long enough to see what we are, and that “long enough” can be just one second. If you would stop thinking for one second (thinking includes the unconscious thinking too), -if you would stop thinking for one second, the tre¬mendous liberating shock of seeing what you are, would cause you to use this infinite power that is yours, to scorch the mind. The mind can be scorched in large amounts, each and ever-y time we will, just for a moment, drop into that unlimited state of no think¬ing.

I guess the next question is: How do we create the de¬sire for it? If the desire is strong enough, anyone can see and fully be the infinite Being in a matter of weeks, months, a few years. If anyone of you had a strong desire to see this infinite Being that you are and just kept that desire only, in a few months you would see and remain as the infinite Being that you are. You would stop im-agining yourself to be a limited body. So the key is desire.

When you desire to be a body-beautiful, a body-healthy, all these thoughts prevent you from seeing the infinite Being that you are. You simply must exchange all your desires for the one desire to discover your infinite real Self, I’d like some questions now on what I’ve said so that I can get closer to your wishes.

Q: While doing “What am I?” I looked at the stars and I got an idea that I could be the stars. Then I talked to someone else and they said. “No. you don’t do that.” And I thought. “Well, for God’s sakes. I am going to find out how to do it!”

Lester: You’re talking about a method called Self In¬quiry, which is really the very top method. The final question we all have to answer is: What am I? And when that answer comes, that’s It. So why not pose that question at the beginning? When you pose the question “What am I?” whatever answer the mind gives cannot be right because the mind is the cover over your real Self. The mind is the thing that limits you. The method is to hold only the question “What am I?” If another thought comes in. quickly stop it by saying to yourself. “To whom is this thought? Well, to me. Well, what am I?” And you’re right back on the track.

Q: I see. Thank you.

Lester: Now there are just a rare few on our planet who can successfully use that method. Therefore I suggest we use it this way: always seek the answer to “What am I?” No matter what you do during the day, whether in meditation, reading and so forth, in back of your mind always keep that question poised and posed, ready and waiting for an answer: “What am I?… What am I?” I use “what” rather than “who” because “who” is a personal pro¬noun and tends to lead us into being the body. “What” is more im¬personal. But this question should always be held. No matter what path we follow, no matter what method we use, we should always hold in the background “What am I?” And if we do that, eventually we must see the full answer.

Q: Pertaining to that, how many times does one ask the question?

Lester: Every time a thought, a stray thought, comes into the mind, we must say, “To whom is this thought? Well, it’s to me. Then, what am I?” This will have to be repeated after each stray thought.

Q: But if no thoughts come then it is not to be said?

Lester: Right.

Q: You wait then for an answer.

Lester: Wait to see; you don’t wait for an answer, an answer would come from the mind.

Q: You wait to see?

Lester: Yes, you wait to see. The Self becomes self¬ obvious. All of a sudden It’s there and you realize It has always been there, that you have been looking away from it by deluding yourself into thinking you’re a body, a mind. And then you see yourself as all beingness. You become every person, every animal, every insect, every atom in the universe. That the beingness of the universe is only your beingness, is what you discover. It’s there; It’s there right now! But you are looking away from It all the time. When the mind is quieted enough, It’s there. It’s the “I” that I am, -that’s It. There’s nothing closer to you than that. Most of the time you are seeking It out there, through a body, and It isn’t out there; It’s the “I” in here, that is the infinite Being.

Holding only that question is not easy and therefore I suggest holding it in general. Get in the habit of always seeking what you are, no matter what method you’re using. And when qui¬etness of mind comes, to the degree that there’s no other thought on your mindbut “What am I?” this stilling of all the other thoughts makes your Self self-obvious to you. It’s right there where you are, wherever you are, – right where the “I” is.

So again, hold that question, – no matter what method you use, until the answer shows itself, until it becomes obvious.

Q: It seems very hard.

Lester: It’s hard to let go of the habit of thinking every moment that you are a limited body. We’re just bombarding our¬selves all the time with the thought: I am a body; I am a body; I am a body. This goes on all the time so that we don’t see the in¬finite Being that we are. It’s a constant bombardment of: I am a body with involvement.

Meditation is an attempt to quiet the mind by holding one thought so that other thoughts die away. By holding that one thought, – if we can get to the place where just that one thought is there. —that’s enough quieting to see the infinite Being that we are. There isn’t a method that doesn’t try to effect the quieting of the mind so that the infinite Being that we are can become self-obvious.

Q: When you say “self-obvious” what does your real Self feel like?

Lester: When you get toward the end, as Vivekananda said, you see that there never was anything but “I” all alone. Now, if there’s nothing but “I” all alone, then “I am everything, every¬one,” is your feeling. You look upon every other body as equally your body. You see everyone as you; just as you see your body as you, you see everyone as you.

The feeling is indescribable. It’s such an intense ex¬perience, far beyond anything that limitation today will allow, that you’ll never know it without experiencing it. But, from the level where we are, it’s the thing we call happiness. It’s joy unlimit¬ed, – infinite joy. At first it comes on as an elation; it’s over¬whelming; it’s hard to contain; it gets to be uncomfortable. You get slap-happy, punch drunk, ecstatic; it gets to be annoying. And then you work at it until it fall s a way and what’s left is a very deep, profound, delectable peace. It’s a peace that is so much better than the extreme joy that you had before, that you don’t look for that joy any more. The joy state is not the ultimate; the ultimate is the peace state. Every one of us can get a taste of it at times.

Q: Then it’s possible to come across this and then lose it?

Lester: Oh yes. Many people do. The first time we really drop into it, we are not able to maintain it because the habit of thinking takes over again. And the moment we’re thinking, we are thinking we are limited. Every thought must be a thing of lim¬itation.

Let go of the game of being limited; let go of the world. Don’t try to control it. Don’t try to enjoy it. Take all your joy from within. Then, what was formerly the game assumes a sameness picture. Everything becomes the same. If everything is the same, and it is in the Absolute Truth, where can there be a game? If you get caught up in a game, you’re caught up in an eternal illusion. The game will never end. And if you’re in the game, you’re away from your infinite Beingness. There is always a certain limitation in the game that will always keep you from being fully satisfied.

So there is a step above the game of playing we are bodies and that step is where everything becomes exactly the same. And that exact sameness is only you, your beingness. There is an infinite Oneness left and that infinite Oneness is you and is your beingness. It’s beingness being all beingness. And there’s no separation; there’s only beingness, being all beingness.

Now, of course it takes experiencing it to really know what this beingness is. I am convinced that the best description of the top state is Beingness being all Beingness.

Q: How can I increase my desire for It?

Lester: Only you can do it. No one can do it for you. This is the unique thing about it. You have to do it. The grace we hear of always exists. It’s the inner beingness that we are making us uncomfortable until we reestablish the original state. Desire for happiness is the grace. It’s always there. All we need to do is to recognize it and take it.

Q: How does God get made into man? Isn’t it somehow sacrilegious to try to change back?

Lester: No. Anyone who tells you that doesn’t want you to attain the top state. But it happens this way: It’s like going to sleep at night. You dream you’re born into a little infant body; then you are a week old, a year old; then twenty, then forty; and you dream you have problems and problems and problems. Re¬member, this is only a night dream. This goes on and on, and you get so tired of it that you dream the body dies. Then you wake up. Where did you ever change yourself while in that dream? You didn’t! You say it never was; it was all concocted in my mind, right?

That’s exactly how we do it in this waking state. This waking state is a sleep state. We are totally asleep to the reality of this infinite Beingness that we are. We are no more awake to the Truth right now than when we are asleep at night. We are just dreaming that we are awake. Actually this is a sleep state that we need to awaken from, and when we do, then we say, “Oh, my gosh, it never was! I never was a limited body! I was always that infinite Being that I am!”

So we mentally create a dream called the waking state of the world. However, it’s just a dream-illusion. But to recog¬nize that it’s a dream, you must wake up out of this state. Does that make sense? So the answer to “How did we do this?” is that we are dreaming it!

Q: Deliberately?

Lester: Yes, deliberately. You see, we start off as infinite Beings in a passive way.

We go down to the bottom, that’s where we are now, – then go back to the top and again see our infinity. But after going through that, there’s a positive know¬ingness of our infinity, whereas before it was a passive knowing¬ness.

It’s something like this: “Perfect health” is a meaning¬less term to someone who was born perfectly healthy and stays that way all his life; he doesn’t positively know what it is. And yet, it’s a nice state when he’s in it. But he’s passively healthy; he cannot fully appreciate it. However, if he got very sick and was on the verge of dying for many years and then reestablished the perfect¬ health state, then that perfect-health state would be far more mean¬ingful to him than it was before he got sick. And this is the silly thing we do to ourselves: We go from infinity down to where we are and back up to infinity with a positiveness of knowing the infinity that we are. But we pushed, on the way down, in a way that we lost sight of what we were doing. And if we look within, we’ll discover this.

Q: That’s the first time live heard a sensible expla¬nation of the whole mess. First time it’s ever been explained why we’ve been pulled down.

Lester: O.K., now go back up.

Q: Is there one person doing this?

Lester: There is one Beingness doing this. I think the best example of this is that of the ocean and the drops. We, the ocean of beingness, imagined little tiny circles around parts of us that we called drops; and this drop says. “I am separate from that drop and separate from all the other drops.” It’s an imagined cir¬cle around part of the ocean calling itself a drop. But actually every drop is the ocean. It has all the qualities of the ocean: it’s wet, it’s salty, it’s H2O, and so forth. I think that example might make sense. Or, it’s like a comb and each tooth says to the other. “I am separate from you.” It’s all one comb, and we are the teeth saying that we are separate, when in actuality it’s just one comb. Remember, you are the one infinite ocean of Beingness. It is the “I” that you are. Seek It. see It, and forever hold It!”

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Ignatius of Loyola


Ignatius of Loyola (Basque: Ignazio Loiolakoa, Spanish: Ignacio de Loyola) (c. October 23, 1491 – July 31, 1556) was a Spanish knight from a local Basque noble family, hermit, priest since 1537, and theologian, who founded the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) and, on 19 April 1541, became its first Superior General. Ignatius emerged as a religious leader during the Counter-Reformation. He is considered one of the Christian tradition’s profoundest mystics and perhaps its greatest mystagogue. However, his apostolic successes, as well as those of the Society of Jesus from his time to the present, have overshadowed the importance of his mysticism.

After being seriously wounded in the Battle of Pamplona in 1521, he underwent a spiritual conversion while in recovery, in which he was purportedly inspired to abandon his previous military life and devote himself to labour for God, following the example of spiritual leaders such as Francis of Assisi. After experiencing a vision of the Virgin Mary and the infant Jesus at the shrine of Our Lady of Montserrat in March 1522, he went to Manresa, where he began praying for seven hours a day, often in a nearby cave, and formulating the fundamentals of the Spiritual Exercises. In September 1523, Loyola reached the Holy Land to settle there, but was sent back to Europe by the Franciscans.

Between 1524 and 1537, Ignatius studied theology and Latin in the University of Alcalá and then in Paris. In 1534, he arrived in the latter city during a period of anti-Protestant turmoil which forced John Calvin to flee France. Ignatius and a few followers (Francis Xavier, Alfonso Salmeron, Diego Laynez, and Nicholas Bobadilla, all Spanish; Peter Faber, a Frenchman; and Simão Rodrigues of Portugal) bound themselves by vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. In 1539, they formed the Society of Jesus, approved in 1540 by Pope Paul III, as well as his Spiritual Exercises approved in 1548. Loyola also composed the Constitutions of the Society. He died in July 1556, was beatified by Pope Paul V in 1609, canonized by Pope Gregory XV in 1622, and declared patron of all spiritual retreats by Pope Pius XI in 1922.

Bernard McGinn defines a mystic as the person who is conscious of the presence of God. Ignatius deserves to be ranked among the great mystics of the Church including Catherine of Siena, Teresa of Avila, and John of the Cross. His early companions, especially Jerome Nadal and Juan Polanco, considered him a theologian whose learning was born of direct mystical experience.

Important evidence for his mystical experiences is found in Ignatius’ Spiritual Diary written while he was general of the Society of Jesus living in Rome. The Spiritual Diary testifies to the infused mystical gifts he received before, during, and after saying morning Mass. His mystical experiences involved the Trinity and the humanity of Jesus. Ignatius describes being drawn into the essence of the Trinity giving him insights into the Triune mystery. Throughout the diary, Ignatius describes receiving the gift of tears, spiritual peace, intense consolations, divine illuminations, visions, and feelings of love and joy.

Four foundational mystical events stamped Ignatius’ life. The first took place at Loyola during his long, boring recuperation from the shattering leg wounds received at the battle of Pamplona. Daydreaming for hours on end about the stories of courtly love he had previously found in the trashy literature of his day, he also pondered what he now read in the only literature at hand—the lives of the saints in The Golden Legend by Jacopo da Voragine and the Life of Christ by Ludolf of Saxony. Daydreaming about “worldly matters” quickly vanished and left him “dry and unhappy.” Reveries about imitating the saints in their holy follies not only consoled him, “but even after they had left him he remained happy and joyful.” The insight that some thoughts left him sad while others consoled him caused him to understand that joy is from God and sadness from the devil: “Little by little he came to perceive the different spirits that were moving him; one coming from the devil, the other coming from God.” From this seed grew his famous rules for the discernment of spirits.

The second significant mystical experience also occurred during his recuperation at Loyola: a vision of the Virgin Mary holding the Child Jesus. This transformative vision instilled in Ignatius such a disgust for his past life—especially for sins of the flesh—that it seemed to erase all the images that had been previously imprinted on his mind. From that hour, he wrote, “he never again consented, not even in the least matter, to the motions of the flesh. Because of this effect in him he concluded that this had been God’s doing.” It would be difficult to overemphasize the importance of Ignatius’ transformative visions for understanding his mysticism.

Recovering from his wounds, he went to Manresa where for almost a year he indulged his thirst for great penances and long hours of prayer. Severe depression, doubts, temptations, and scruples—alternating with great spiritual joys—filled his soul. So painful were the tortures from the scruples about his past sins that Ignatius almost committed suicide, and ill health from the severity of his penances brought him to the brink of death.

Ignatius later claimed that at Manresa God had treated him like a “schoolboy” in order to deepen his desire for selfless service of the “Divine Majesty.” It was here that indescribable and unforgettable mystical visions of the Trinity, Christ’s humanity, Christ’s presence in the Eucharist, and how the world was created indelibly penetrated his soul. These experiences contained such purity and certitude that Ignatius confessed: “if there were no Scriptures to teach us these matters of faith, he would still resolve to die for them on the basis of what he had seen.”

The third—and most important—event in Ignatius’s life took place on the banks of the nearby river Cardoner, where “the eyes of his understanding began to open” and he was infused with a comprehension of many things pertaining to both faith and learning. His understanding was enlightened to such an extent “that he thought of himself as if he were another man and that he had an intellect different from the one he had before.” Ignatius would claim only a few years before his death that the clarity he received in his understanding on this one occasion surpassed the sum total of all the numerous and great mystical gifts he had received throughout his entire life.

The fourth salient mystical event took place several years later when Ignatius and several of his companions were on their way to Rome to place themselves at the Pope’s disposal. In a small chapel at La Storta, some six miles north of Rome, Ignatius had a vision of the Eternal Father with his cross-bearing Son. Ignatius heard the Father speak interiorly to his heart saying: “I shall be favorable to you [plural] at Rome,” and to the Son, “I want you, my Son, to take this man as your servant.” Then Christ said to Ignatius: “I want you [singular] to serve us [Father and Son].” The graces at La Storta confirmed Ignatius’s trinitarian, Christ-centered, and ecclesial (a dimension of which has been called “hyperpapal” [Karl Rahner]) mysticisms, all directed to the service of God and neighbor.

To be with the trinitarian Christ so as to serve in his Church with discreet love is a good summary statement of Ignatius’ spirituality and mysticism. Another can be found in one of Ignatius’ key exercises, the “Contemplation to Obtain Divine Love,” in which I “ask for what I desire. Here it will be to ask for interior knowledge of all the great goods I have received, in order that, stirred to profound gratitude, I may be able to love and serve the Divine Majesty in all things.”

The book of the Spiritual Exercises written by St. Ignatius offers a structured 30-day retreat built around four “weeks.” These weeks represent Ignatius’ appropriation of the overarching narrative of the Bible that includes creation, the fall, and the life of Christ. Each week has its own structure and each day is divided into five prayer periods in which a person engages in meditations and contemplations on the truths of our faith and the life of Christ. Ignatius instructs the retreatant to pray for specific graces and offers points for the mediations and contemplations. For the person making the 30-day retreat, he or she is asked to pray five hours a day, keep a journal, attend daily mass, and meet a spiritual guide on a daily basis.

Anyone reading this description without undergoing the retreat itself would have reason to believe this is a highly rigid and regimented approach to spirituality. Those who emphasized the ascetical dimension of the Exercises,with a special emphasis on indifference, humility, and self-denial, offer further evidence for this claim. However, any person who has made the Exercises or guided another through them knows how personal and flexible they are. The error people make is to equate structure with rigidity, whereas the structure built into the Exercises is designed to adapt to the needs of the one making the Exercises. Ignatius tells us that the Exercises are to be adapted according to the capabilities of the one engaged in them. He says “careful consideration must be given to the individual temperament and capabilities.” Ignatius had great respect for the personal experience of the retreatant and warned directors not to get between God and the one making the Exercises. He believed spiritual fruit blooms when a person comes to an insight or a deep feeling on their own.

The opposition between head and heart is quite common in popular spirituality today, but it does not apply to the Exercises. The Exercises engage the total person, including the body, memory, intellect, imagination, desires, and feelings.

Knowledge is important in the Spiritual Exercises. For instance, the retreatant uses his or her understanding as they mediate on the sin of the world, praying for inner knowledge of our own sins and knowledge of the world. In the second week of the Exercises, we pray for an inner knowledge of the Lord. We also ask God for knowledge of the deceits of the enemy and knowledge of the true life revealed by Christ. At the conclusion of the Exercises, we are to pray for an interior knowledge of all the good we have received. Thoughts also play a role in discernment of spirits and decision-making. In each of these instances, knowing is a dynamic process that moves from the universal to the personal and from insight to feelings. Knowledge, especially interior knowledge, is a powerful source of motivation in the spiritual life. It can move a person to change his or her life. It can also motivate a person to love, follow, and serve Christ.

While knowledge plays an important role in the Exercises, so do all the other dimensions of human consciousness. Ignatius instructs us to pray for what we desire at every prayer period. He expects our prayer to generate powerful feelings such as remorse, confusion, abhorrence, love, and gratitude. The body is very important in Ignatian spirituality. We are invited to pray using different body postures. Ignatius also asks us to pray using our five senses. Throughout the Exercises, memory and imagination play a central role in entering into the life of Christ. For instance, using our imaginations, we enter into and experience all the important events in Christ’s life from his birth through his death and appearance to his disciples.

Ignatian spirituality has often been associated with asceticism, self-denial, humility, and indifference, but not love. Yet love—God’s love and our response to that love through service to our neighbor—is the real purpose of the Exercises. In our world, love is considered a feeling or a need—usually my feeling and need. Not so for Ignatius. He believed love is expressed in deeds characterized by mutual communication and self-giving. When two people love each other they share their personal concerns, listen to each other, ask favors or seek advice from each other. They share what they have. Ultimately, they share their very selves with each other. According to St. Ignatius, God’s love for us and our love for God operates on the same principle of mutual exchange. The Exercises tell the story of God the creator and redeemer loving the world and each of us. The story begins with the generous love of God the creator. We then hear of God’s freeing and forgiving love in Christ. God so loves us that he dwells with us and in us in Jesus. This story of God’s love culminates in Jesus’ kingdom, ministry, death, and resurrection. We are invited to enter into this story so as to experience God’s love in our own lives. Our response takes the form of growing gratitude, devotion to Christ, and loving service. Listening to the story of God’s love, entering into it and responding to it, fosters an ever deepening exchange of love between God and the person making the Exercises. The goal is to foster the “motive of pure love in the constant service of God our Lord” which enables us to “love and serve his Divine Majesty in everything.”


A large website dedicate to Ignatian Spirituality, with extensive links to related materials, can be found here:

Some quotes from Ignatius:

“God freely created us so that we might know, love, and serve him in this life and be happy with him forever. God’s purpose in creating us is to draw forth from us a response of love and service here on earth, so that we may attain our goal of everlasting happiness with him in heaven.

All the things in this world are gifts of God, created for us, to be the means by which we can come to know him better, love him more surely, and serve him more faithfully.

As a result, we ought to appreciate and use these gifts of God insofar as they help us toward our goal of loving service and union with God. But insofar as any created things hinder our progress toward our goal, we ought to let them go.”

“Love is shown more in deeds than in words.”

“Act as if everything depended on you; trust as if everything depended on God.”

“To give, and not to count the cost; to fight, and not to heed the wounds; to toil, and not to seek for rest; to labor, and not to ask for any reward, save that of knowing that we do thy will.”

“Laugh and grow strong.”

“He who goes about to reform the world must begin with himself, or he loses his labor.”

“Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty, my memory, my understanding, and my entire will, all I have and call my own. You have given all to me. To you, Lord, I return it. Everything is yours; do with it what you will. Give me only your love and your grace, that is enough for me.”

“If our church is not marked by caring for the poor, the oppressed, the hungry, we are guilty of heresy.”

“For it is not knowing much, but realising and relishing things interiorly, that contents and satisfies the soul.”

“There is no doubt that God will never be wanting to us, provided that He finds in us that humility which makes us worthy of His gifts, the desire of possessing them, and the promptitude to co-operate industriously with the graces He gives us.”

“Few souls understand what God would accomplish in them if they were to abandon themselves unreservedly to Him and if they were to allow His grace to mold them accordingly.”

“He who carries God in his heart bears heaven with him wherever he goes.”

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Joseph Sadony


Joseph Sadony (1877-1960), a modern mystic and pioneer in the art of direct perception, was born in Mountbauer, Germany. He came to the United States as a small boy and spent his youth with his folks in Kalamazoo, Michigan, before they moved to Chicago when he was a teenager. As a young man he walked hundreds of miles through the western Indian Reservations as part of a special investigation for President Teddy Roosevelt. He married Lillian Mary Kochem of Kentucky in 1906 and bought an eighty acre estate near Muskegon the same year. This was where he built his home, Valley of the Pines, which he had dreamed of in detail before seeing it. It was where he would spend his productive life, and build his research labs. Here he wrote, and ran his experiments until his death in 1960.

Joseph Sadony is all but forgotten in spiritual circles. His Gates of the Mind is now 35 years out of print and his research laboratories are fallen to ruin. His focus was on exploring intuition: trying to discover its source, how to develop it, and how to use it for the betterment of mankind. Long before the New Age movement, he advocated the intuitive human as the next step in our evolution and the salvation of our planet. His book mixes autobiography and thoughts on intuition. It paints a charming turn-of-the-century picture of a man who shunned ordinary education to follow the callings of his intuition and, in so doing, lived an extraordinary life.

Sadony had from early childhood a gift of seeing things directly, and for questioning everything, even his own existence. He never bought into the usual definitions of life, and had a hard time with conventional schooling. He dropped out of school for good at age thirteen and never went back, preferring to learn directly and from those who practiced what they taught.

“I lay in the dark; then suddenly something happened to me that I did not comprehend until years later, in memory. The vague distress of an internal conflict I could not understand suddenly vanished. In that moment I gained a new sense of identity. Yet I felt like a stranger in the bosom of my own family. Suddenly I didn’t know who I was, and lay there in the dark asking myself, “Who am I? Where am I? How did I get here?”

Fervently and deeply I wanted the truth, and I could see that none of the teachers knew the truth; none of the books told the truth. It was nothing but words, and words about words. Brick by brick, word by word, I saw the wall being built around us children to seal us for life into one room of our brain, with only two windows, our eyes, safely guarded with prison bars of words stronger than steel that also kept out most of the light; with every other gate of the mind carefully sealed by a word, so that no feeling could be arrived at, save through a word first, like putting gloves on our hands, shoes on our feet, spectacles on our eyes, muffs on our ears, and a woolen padding on every nerve end so we would be cut off from the quivering, life-giving pulsations of direct contact with the truth.

So I revolted; tore down the wall of words; threw off my shoes, both physically and mentally, and walked barefoot even where the stones were sharp and painful.”

He had what most would call an ability to predict the future, though he himself never described it as such. He simply would see or ‘feel’ the chain leading up to an event and could then point out the event before it happened. He never used his gift to profit or make things easier on himself, except for one unfortunate time when he gave a friend a tip on the future direction of the stock market, earning his friend money, but not a dime for himself. Nevertheless, he found that his power to ‘feel’ was taken away for exactly one year. He was left to rely on his thinking to carry him through until the sensing returned.

The following is his own account of this ‘feeling’ and how it worked:

All I knew as a child was that I had some sort of relation with what I could neither see, hear, smell, taste nor touch; and that relation was a “feeling.”

But I found that “thinking” and “imagining” first created a false feeling that lied to me. It was only when the feeling came first, without thinking, that the feeling was right. And my thoughts and imaginations were right only if they were induced by the feeling and not by association of thought resulting from what I saw or heard. Sometimes there was nothing in my experience to fit the feelings that came to me. Often I could not understand them at all in terms of word or ideas familiar to me. Still I “knew”; but I couldn’t explain it.

What puts the letters of the alphabet together to form words? What puts words together to form sentences of understanding?

No one could answer me. Nor could I. All I knew was that if I stroked a thing with my fingers until I felt that it was a part of me, like my foot, I could “feel” it, just like my foot.

There is only one way my foot can talk to me, and that is by a feeling. It may be pleasant or unpleasant, hot or cold; comfortable, tired or painful. My own memory tells me why, and what it means. I can’t see my foot; it’s in my shoe. I can’t see my foot even if it’s bare. All I can see is the dead skin outside. That’s all I can see of anything. All we ever see is the dead skin of things. We never see what anything really is. We can only “feel” it.

If people were going to insist on calling that “seeing,” very well then. I could “see” better with the ends of my fingers and with my eyes closed. Also I could “hear” better that way. To prove it, and to amuse my friends, I would hold my hand high, fingertips in the direction of a distant railway engine five miles away that none of my friends could hear or see. I would say, “It’s whistling, only you can’t hear it now.” Then, “It’s coming closer, closer now it’s going to whistle: one, two, three” and whooo came the shriek of the engine just after my third count.

“But how did you know?”

“I saw the engineer reach up to pull the whistle.”

“But how did you see it? We couldn’t even see the train yet.”

“With my fingers.”

“But you can’t see with your fingers!”

“Of course not. But that’s what you insist on calling it.”

He spent much of his adult life writing, either in his daily column for the local newspaper, or in editing and publishing The Whisper, an independent journal of Prevenient Thought. His book, Gates of the Mind, lays out his view of life and our possibilites, as well as describing his own. He also ran the Educational Research Laboratories in his home in Valley of the Pines as part of making his living, but mostly to advance scientific understanding and to verify his own intuitions. His work was for mankind, and he believed this was the practical way to live.

“Self-preservation is not a remarkable phenomenon, but race-preservation is. The man who will fight to preserve himself or his family is not a particularly interesting object of study, but the man who will live his life and give his life for the sake of mankind and human progress is manifesting the mystery that is the religion of mankind. What is the source of his ‘feelings’?”

While Sadony’s writings leave us with inspiration, encouragement, and hints as to our own intuitive abilities, he does not give much in the way of a system of how to come to these abilities. We are left to our own determination and desire. He left no school or followers, but thanks to the recent work of those who understand his work, his writings have been preserved to shed light on the mysteries of our own potential. He continually warned of the dangers of words and the unquestioned concept and belief, and instead points us to going within one’s own mind to find and follow our ‘ feelings’ as the way home.

“Actually I do not see ten thousand miles away with any form of ‘vision’ whatever. I do not ‘see’ the future. My reception or perception of these things is entirely formless, entirely a ‘feeling,’ entirely devoid of image, word, thought or concept. What makes it intelligible to myself or someone else is the activity of my imagination, which endeavors to symbolize, portray or interpret the ‘feeling.’

And what is the ‘feeling’? That is the one great mystery. That is the quest. That is the source of all inspiration, the fountainhead of all spiritual gifts, the heart and life of all religion. This is the foundation that science has provided for spiritual understanding: a physiological foundation for a nervous organization that responds to an unknown source or sources of energy in the form of ‘feelings.’ These feelings are neurological and physiological; not the activity of a special or occult sense, but the coordinated activity of the entire nervous organization. The reaction is one of selective stimulation of previously experienced and conditioned reflex arcs of memory. The imagination interprets the ‘feeling’ in terms of memories associated with similar feelings. Thus a complex feeling is broken down into its elements by symbolic representation in an imaginative composite of memory elements. Thereby we ‘understand’ it.”

Sadony felt the human being was like a radio and could be tuned to receive a feeling that would stimulate the brain’s imagination to produce a thought. It requires not the use of some mysterious faculty you do not possess, but rather the suspension of the use of your “intellect” (verbal memory, reason, etc.) until after your feeling of intuition has clothed itself imaginatively. Then harness it by “logic and reason,” by all means, if you can. But you must first learn how to stop thinking at will.You must learn how to “deconcentrate” instead of concentrating. You must make no strenuous “effort.” You can’t “force” it. You can’t “play” with it. You can’t “practice” it. Spontaneity is its most essential characteristic.

You can become a willing servant, however:

“The bargain that intuition seems to drive is that it will serve you if you serve it. You must obey your intuition to cultivate it, to develop it, and to retain the use of it. This is a voluntary act. In colloquial language, you have a hunch, and the hunch is an involuntary experience. Whether or not you obey it is up to you. If it is a real hunch, or intuition, you will inevitably regret it if you do not. These experiences will increase in frequency if you obey them, and if you don’t they will cease altogether. . . .

One must recondition the entire system of reflexes that constitute habit, so that neither habit nor sensory stimuli nor the influence or suggestions of environments, thoughts, desires or purposes of other people can interfere with the function or execution of your intuition or your relation between your inner self and that universal ‘something else.’ That must come before all else — “or else,” in the final transaction.”

Sadony also address prayer, which he refers to as the very life of intuition:

“Those who pray that the flame that envelops their entire house may be extinguished at once have been unbalanced by the shock of being caught unprepared. Prayer will not controvert common sense. Even God cannot help here, for God’s law was obeyed when the house caught fire. Why was it not prevented by the one in charge?

Prayer is a reminder to “tune in,” so that you will take care of the matches and gasoline before they become instruments of a big blaze. Prayer is a comforter. It is a hope restorer. But if a man thinks that God is going to listen to him when he pleads on his knees in prayer to save his life at eighty, after having forgotten Him for seventy-nine years, he is entirely ignorant of the nature and function and purpose of prayer. But if one has been sincere and fair in all his dealings, he has been praying all the time, and his prayers are answered before he knows it. And he is pleased. And so is God.”


Links to Sadonay’s writings:

From the introduction to Gates of the Mind:

“Throughout his life of eighty-three years the late Joseph Sadony, scientist, philosopher, inventor and poet, searched for the truth about man, God and the universe. “Seek the truth,” he said, “and when you have found it, follow it, for it is God.” Perhaps, more than any other man of our time, he found the truth for which all men, to greater or lesser degree, seek.

What Sadony sought—and found—was a universal law applicable to all science, nature and human nature. Through his studies of atomic energy, gravitation, electricity, light, heat, magnetism and other scientific matters, he determined upon the unity of all things: atoms, molecules, human beings, the world about us, and galaxies of stars. All, including the body and mind of man, are one, each and all constantly receiving and emitting radiant energy.

In his laboratories on his eighty-acre estate on White Lake, Michigan, near Muskegon, Sadony spent many years in scientifically proving his theories, many of which he knew intuitively. Behind his experiments and writings was the basic purpose to free the mind of man from the restrictions of environment, faulty thinking, false intellectual concepts and all other impediments to a true understanding of himself and the cosmos. He saw in man an extraordinary potential which such freedom could bring. His own intuitive abilities—powers which he said are possessed by everyone, though usually dormant—enabled him to predict future events accurately, to “see” happenings in far-distant parts of the world. On one notable occasion, through his mental powers he was able to influence and direct the captain of a ship to another ship in distress during a violent storm on Lake Michigan, with the result that many lives were saved. This dramatic rescue was documented, as were many of his “psychic” accomplishments, and presented on a nation-wide radio broadcast.

Although Sadony was well known to scientists, philosophers and world leaders—among his hundreds of correspondents he numbered Gandhi, Frankllin D. Roosevelt, Kipling, Tagore, King Gustav V of Sweden, King George VI of England and Admiral Byrd—he avoided personal publicity and was little known to the general public. This volume, a condensation of his autobiography, in which he explains his “gifts” and his theory of Radiant Energy, the source of all life, will come as a boon and deeply significant revelation to all seekers after truth.”

From Chapter 1, Gates of the Mind:

I was six years old we were still in Montabaur, when there began to be talk in the family about going to America. It was then that I began to be conscious of a world beyond the village limits, I climbed to the top of the hill to try to see some of it. I was alone, but I imagined that men were walking up the hill with me, and that I was one of them.

We all had on light, flexible suits of armor, like fish scales made of metal. There was a bright red cross on each breast, a sword in one hand and a Bible in the other.

It was fifty years before I found out, inadvertently, that the village of Montabaur and the hill I climbed that day were originally called Humbach; and that centuries before me the Crusaders had climbed that hill and looked down over the beautiful country, calling it “The Holy Land.” The hill reminded them of that Mount that Christ had ascended to pray, with Peter, James and John, where He was transfigured before them. So they christened it Mount Tabor, and henceforth the little village at its foot was called Montabaur.

I did not know this as I trudged along that day, surrounded by the creation of my own imagination, a company of Christian warriors with swords and Bibles.

When I reached the top I still could not see America. So I closed my eyes, but all I could “see” was a lot of Indians. That was of course because of what I had heard about America.

So far as I know now I had no knowledge of the Crusaders, or in any case of their relation to the hill at Montabaur. Of course it is possible there was a foundation for the “image play” with my remembering it. The fact is here unimportant as the purpose of these early recollections is more to provide the background and to portray the general nature of early thought elements as based on experience.

At present his is merely illustrative of a later problem: What distinguishes a “true” imagination from a “false” one as an element of imaginative experience when it is regarded as an established fact that we can think only with what we have acquired to think with? In other words, all imaginative experience is made up of combinations and recombinations of elements of sensory experience with a physiological foundation. Nevertheless it has been established by experiment that the separate parts or memory elements may be put together correctly or incorrectly to form a true or false internal representation of external events or conditions. What distinguishes between the true” and the “false” when immediate verification by observation or experiment is impossible?

The answer, later to be set forth more fully, is that the distinguishing characteristic of a “true” imagination is a “feeling” that must be felt in order to understand its nature.

I did not at first comprehend this, but now in looking back at many thousands of imaginative experiences of childhood and youth, I see that when the exercise of the imagination is either unaccompanied by any feeling whatsoever, or when the imagination produces a feeling as a result of its exercise (e.g., imagining Indians is followed by a feeling of excitement and anticipation), the imagination is not to be trusted unless a train of thought is followed back to determine its origin, and unless the logic and reason are sufficiently matured and trained to adjust and retouch the picture in accordance with experience, or reason based on observation and experiment.

On the other hand, if a certain type of “feeling” (which is a dominant experience throughout this record) precedes the exercise of the imagination, and in fact produces the imagination by selective stimulation and blending of memory elements to express, to clothe, to embody, or to interpret the “feeling,” we have then a type of spiritual inspiration and mental phenomena that merits further investigation, to which an introduction will be found in these pages.

My first experiences of a distinction in feeling associated with imagination were largely unrealized at the time, but preserved in memory. In climbing Mount Tabor, for example, the “feeling” came over me first that I was not alone. This caused met to imagine myself surrounded with companions all starting out together for some distant place to fight a battle. We would have swords but we would also have Bibles. The Cross would be our armor inside, but outside we would need armor of steel.

I did not then realize that these details characterized the Crusaders, who gave the hill historic background and a name. All the elements were familiar to me, but not the history. My memory contained swords, Bibles, Crosses, metal armor, and the idea of men who would use these things. Emphatically, I did not see the “spirits” of Crusaders walking up the hill with me. What I “saw” was entirely the product of my own imagination in which was composited various elements of memory acquired by previous sensory experience.

But these memory elements were selectively stimulated, assembled, and imbued with life by a “feeling” at a particular time, under a particular condition, at a particular place, which invested them with a meaning I did not myself comprehend until fifty years later. Whence and what the “feeling”? Why the particular mental imagery evoked by the feeling? Not in these few childhood cases alone, but in thousands upon thousands of cases extending through a lifetime: my own and the lives of many others whose experiences I have investigated.

That was the quest in which, symbolically at least, I set forth with a sword in one hand and a Bible in the other, to find the answer. I sought the truth, and as time went on I found that my imagination provided the truth in one instance and deceived me in another. It deceived me when I used my own reason and memory to speculate on things I didn’t know enough about. It deceived me when I concentrated or “tried.” It never deceived me when I didn’t try, and didn’t care, and had a “feeling” first that started my imagination going to piece together in a flash what was aroused from my memory by the feeling. What was the feeling?

I stress this because as time went on people who knew more about such things than I would say, ” The boy is psychic, ” or “He is clairvoyant.” “It must be telepathy or psychometry,” and so on.

And I knew they were all wrong. I possess no special, mystic, or occult sense that other men do not possess. My mental operations are limited entirely to what I have acquired and recorded by sensory experience. My imagination has only my own memory to draw on. I visualize something spontaneously past, present or future, near or far; it proves correct, with witnesses to verify it. My records contain thousand of such witnessed cases in which I was correct 98% of the time. What did I “see”? Nothing but a composite of my own memory elements of past experience.

Truly and literally it was “nothing but my imagination.” Still it corresponded with the truth. Why? Was it a good guess? Was it “coincidence”? Was it “chance”? These were questions to be answered by experimental research. At first I did not know. But time ruled out chance beyond all dispute. And I did soon find out that man’s most important thinking does not take place in the brain alone, but with the entire body and nervous system.

Truth is not to be found in man’s memory of words or his reflective visual or oral thinking. Words and memories of sights and sounds may be woven together into endless combinations. What gives them meaning? What determines the exact word or memory elements that will be combined in any given concept or idea or train of thought? What assurances have we that our ideas have any correspondence with reality at all?

Our only assurance from a scientific point of view is one based on experience, observation and experiment. How then is it possible to know things in the future, at a distance in the present and in the past, without opportunity for experience, observation, or experiment? I can only say that I have established this fact for myself, that I am writing this commentary on my early experience to introduce you to what I did and how I did it, so you too may establish the facts for yourself, without taking anyone’s word for it; mine or that of anyone else.

It requires not the use of some mysterious faculty you do not possess, but rather the suspension of the use of your “intellect” (verbal memory, reason, etc.) until after your feeling of intuition has clothed itself imaginatively. Then harness it by “logic and reason,” by all means, if you can. But you must first learn how to stop thinking at will. You must learn how to “deconcentrate” instead of concentrating. You must make no strenuous “effort.” You can’t “force” it. You can’t “play” with it. You can’t “practice” it. Spontaneity is its most essential characteristic. It cannot manifest in the realm of habit or “conditioned reflexes,” as in the case of instinct.

In the language of the New Testament, you must not try to move the spirit; you must let the spirit move you. This means that you must let the truth shape you, for the simple reason that you cannot shape the truth. Your relation to truth is direct, and not by reflective or verbal representation. You will find the truth neither in words nor in memories, but only in direct nervous coordination of the whole of your immediate sensory experience, internal as well as external.


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Robert Adams


In this series on the Writings of the Western Mystics, Classic and Modern, I have mostly refrained from including those individuals who are merely Western versions of Eastern mystics and sages, essentially espousing the same doctrines, methods, and traditions found in the testimonies of Eastern esotericism. The exceptions, such as Jean Klein, Arnaud Desjardins, Toni Packer, Llewyllyn Vaughn-Lee, and a few others, started with an Eastern base, but have later gone on to express their own particular and unique vision, coincident with the Western culture and environment in which they find themselves. Just so, although closely associated with classical Advaita Vendanta and his teacher Ramana Maharshi, Robert Adams presents an interesting enough cross-over voice in the historic evolution of Western mysticism towards a unified Global mysticism as to warrant inclusion in this series.

Robert Adams (January 21, 1928 – March 2, 1997) was an American mystic and teacher of Silence and Self-Inquiry. In his late teens, he was a devotee of Sri Ramana Maharshi in Tiruvannamalai, India. In later life Robert Adams held satsang with a small group of devotees in California, US. He mainly advocated the path of jñāna yoga with an emphasis on the practice of self-enquiry.

Robert Adams’ teachings were not that well known in his lifetime, but have since been widely circulated amongst those investigating the philosophy of Advaita and the Western devotees of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi. A book of his teachings, Silence of the Heart: Dialogues with Robert Adams, was published in 1999.

Robert Adams was born on January 21, 1928 in Manhattan and grew up in New York City, USA. Robert claimed that from as far back as he could remember, he had had visions of a white haired, bearded man seated at the foot of his bed, who was about two feet tall, and who used to talk to him in a language which he did not understand. He told his parents but they thought he was playing games. Robert would later find out that this man was a vision of his future guru Sri Ramana Maharshi. At the age of seven, Robert’s father died and the visitations suddenly stopped.

Robert said that he then developed a siddhi whereby whenever he wanted something, from a candy bar to a violin, all he needed to do was say ‘God’ three times and the desired object would appear from somewhere, or be given to him by someone. If there was a test at school Robert would simply say ‘God, God, God,’ and the answers would immediately come to him; no prior study was necessary.

Robert Adams claimed that at fourteen years of age he had a profound spiritual awakening. It was the end of term finals maths test and Robert hadn’t studied for it at all. As was his custom he said ‘God’ three times, but with a phenomenal and unintended outcome:

“Instead of the answers coming, the room filled with light, a thousand times more brilliant than the sun. It was like an atomic bomb, but it was not a burning light. It was a beautiful, bright, shining, warm glow. Just thinking of it now makes me stop and wonder. The whole room, everybody, everything was immersed in light. All the children seemed to be myriads particles of light. I found myself melting into radiant being, into consciousness. I merged into consciousness. It was not an out of body experience. This was completely different. I realised that I was not my body. What appeared to be my body was not real. I went beyond the light into pure radiant consciousness. I became omnipresent. My individuality had merged into pure absolute bliss. I expanded. I became the universe. The feeling is indescribable. It was total bliss, total joy. The next thing I remembered was the teacher shaking me. All the students had gone. I was the only one left in the class. I returned to human consciousness. That feeling has never left me.”

Not long after this experience, Robert went to the school library to do a book report. While passing through the philosophy section he came across a book on yoga masters. Having no idea what yoga was, he opened the book and for the first time saw a photo of the man he had experienced visions of as a young child, Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi.

At the age of sixteen, Robert Adams’ first spiritual mentor was Joel S. Goldsmith, a Christian mystic from New York, who Robert used to visit in Manhattan, in order to listen to his sermons. Joel S. Goldsmith helped Robert Adams to better understand his enlightenment and advised him to go and see Paramahansa Yogananda. Robert did so and visited Yogananda at the Self-Realization Fellowship in Encinitas, California, where he intended to be initiated as a monk. However, after speaking to Robert, Yogananda felt that Robert had his own path and should go to India. He told him that his satguru was Sri Ramana Maharshi and that he should go to him as soon as possible because his body was old and in ill-health. Sri Ramana Maharshi lived at Sri Ramanasramam in Tamil Nadu, South India.

With $14,000 of inheritance money from a recently deceased aunt, Robert Adams set off for India and his guru Sri Ramana Maharshi in 1946:

“When I was eighteen years old, I arrived at Tiruvannamalai. In those days they didn’t have jet planes. It was a propeller plane. I purchased flowers and a bag of fruit to bring to Ramana. I took the rickshaw to the ashram. It was about 8:30 a.m. I entered the hall and there was Ramana on his couch reading his mail. It was after breakfast. I brought the fruit and the flowers over and laid them at his feet. There was a guardrail in front of him to prevent fanatics from attacking him with love. And then I sat down in front of him. He looked at me and smiled, and I smiled back. I have been to many teachers, many saints, many sages. I was with Nisargadatta, Anandamayi Ma, Papa Ramdas, Neem Karoli Baba and many others, but never did I meet anyone who exuded such compassion, such love, such bliss as Ramana Maharshi.”

Robert stayed at Sri Ramanasramam for the final three years of Sri Ramana Maharshi’s life. Over the course of this time Robert had many conversations with Sri Ramana Maharshi, and through abiding in his presence was able to confirm and further understand his own experience of awakening to the non-dual Self. After Sri Ramana Maharshi left the body in 1950 Robert spent a further seventeen years travelling around India and stayed with well known gurus such as Nisargadatta Maharaj, Anandamayi Ma, Neem Karoli Baba and Swami Ramdas to name but a few. He also spent time with less well-known teachers such as Swami Brahmananda “the Staff of God” in the holy city of Varanasi.

In the 1960s Robert Adams returned to the United States and lived in Hawaii and Los Angeles before finally moving to Sedona, Arizona in the mid 1990s. He was married to Nicole Adams and fathered two daughters. In the 1980s Robert developed Parkinson’s Disease, which forced him to settle in one location and receive the appropriate care. A small group of devotees soon grew up around him and in the early 1990s he gave weekly satsangs in the San Fernando Valley, along with other surrounding areas of Los Angeles. These satsangs were both recorded and transcribed. After several years of deteriorating health, Robert Adams’ died at the age of sixty-nine from cancer of the liver on March 2, 1997 in Sedona, Arizona, where he was surrounded by family members and devotees.


For a more intimate appreciation of Robert Adams’ life by one of his better-known students, Edward Muzika, see:

Robert Adams did not consider himself to be a teacher, a philosopher or a preacher. What he imparted he said was simply the confession of a jnani (an awakened being). He said he confessed his and everyone else’s own reality, and encouraged students not to listen to him with their heads but with their hearts. Robert’s way of communicating to his devotees was often funny, and with interludes of silence or music between questions and answers. He stated that there was no such thing as a new teaching.

Adams did not write any books himself nor publish his teachings, as he did not wish to gain a large following, but instead preferred to teach a small number of dedicated seekers. However, in 1992, a book of his dialogues was transcribed, compiled and distributed by and for the sole use of his devotees.In 1999, a later edition of this book, Silence of the Heart: Dialogues with Robert Adams, was posthumously published by Acropolis Books Inc. As conveyed by the title of these dialogues, Robert Adams considered silence to be the highest of spiritual teachings:

“The highest teaching in the world is silence. There is nothing higher than this. A devotee who sits with a Sage purifies his mind just by being with the Sage. The mind automatically becomes purified. No words exchanged, no words said. Silence is the ultimate reality. Everything exists in this world through silence. True silence really means going deep within yourself to that place where nothing is happening, where you transcend time and space. You go into a brand new dimension of nothingness. That’s where all the power is. That’s your real home. That’s where you really belong, in deep Silence where there is no good and bad, no one trying to achieve anything. Just being, pure being.”

In his weekly satsangs Robert Adams would advocate the practice of self-enquiry as the principal means of transcending the ego and realising oneself as sat-chit-ananda (being-consciousness-bliss). Those in search of liberation from the manifest world will gain it only when the mind becomes quiescent. The world is in fact nothing other than the creation of the mind, and only by the removal of all thoughts, including the ‘I’ thought, will the true reality shine forth. Robert Adams taught self-enquiry in order to achieve this. After acknowledging to oneself that one exists, and that whether awake, dreaming or in deep sleep one always exists, one then responds to every thought that arises with the question “Who am I?”:

“What you are really doing is, you’re finding the source of the ‘I’. You’re looking for the source of ‘I’, the personal ‘I’. ‘Who am I?’ You’re always talking about the personal ‘I’. ‘Who is this I? Where did it come from? Who gave it birth?’ Never answer those questions. Pose those questions, but never answer them … do nothing, absolutely nothing. You’re watching the thoughts come. As soon as the thoughts come, in a gentle way you enquire, ‘To whom do these thoughts come? They come to me. I think them. Who is this I? Where did it come from? How did it arise? From where did it arise? Who is the I? Who am I?’ You remain still. The thoughts come again. You do the same thing again and again and again.”

Robert Adams did often have mystical visions, and in one such vision he gave a teaching as the Buddha. He visualised himself sitting under a tree in a beautiful open field with a lake and a forest nearby. He was wearing the orange garb of a Buddhist renunciate. All of a sudden hundreds of bodhisattvas and mahasattvas came out of the forest and sat down in a semi-circle around Robert as the Buddha. Together they proceeded to meditate for several hours. Afterwards, one of the bodhisattvas stood up and asked the Buddha what he taught. The Buddha answered, “I teach Self-realization of Noble Wisdom.” Again they sat in silence for three hours before another bodhisattva stood up and asked how one could tell whether they were close to self-realization. In reply, Robert as the Buddha, gave the bodhisattvas and mahasattvas four principles, which he named The Four Principles of Self-Realization of Noble Wisdom:

First Principle: You have a feeling, a complete understanding that everything you see, everything in the universe, in the world, emanates from your mind. In other words, you feel this. You do not have to think about it, or try to bring it on. It comes by itself. It becomes a part of you. The realization that everything you see, the universe, people, worms, insects, the mineral kingdom, the vegetable kingdom, your body, your mind, everything that appears, is a manifestation of your mind.

Second Principle: You have a strong feeling, a deep realization, that you are unborn. You are not born, you do not experience a life, and you do not disappear, you do not die … You exist as I Am. You have always existed and you will always exist. You exist as pure intelligence, as absolute reality. That is your true nature. You exist as sat-chit-ananda. You exist as bliss consciousness … But you do not exist as the body. You do not exist as person, place or thing.

Third Principle: You are aware and you have a deep understanding of the egolessness of all things; that everything has no ego. I’m not only speaking of sentient beings. I’m speaking of the mineral kingdom, the vegetable kingdom, the animal kingdom, the human kingdom. Nothing has an ego. There is no ego … It means that everything is sacred. Everything is God. Only when the ego comes, does God disappear … When there is no ego, you have reverence for everybody and everything … There is only divine consciousness, and everything becomes divine consciousness.

Fourth Principle: You have a deep understanding, a deep feeling, of what self-realization of noble wisdom really is … You can never know by trying to find out what it is, because it’s absolute reality. You can only know by finding out what it is not. So you say, it is not my body, it is not my mind, it is not my organs, it is not my thoughts, it is not my world, it is not my universe, it is not the animals, or the trees, or the moon, or the sun, or the stars, it is not any of those things. When you’ve gone through everything and there’s nothing left, that’s what it is. Nothing. Emptiness. Nirvana. Ultimate Oneness.


Some quotes from Robert Adams:

“When I say, “I am happy, I am sad, I am hungry, I am full.” Where does that I come from? Who gave it birth? What is its source? This procedure is called abiding in the I. You are tracing the I to its source by inquiring of yourself, “Where did it come from?” if you like, “Who am I?” This is abiding in the I.

You will soon discover that the I comes to life every morning as you awaken. The I comes to life and it becomes stronger as you go through the day. But if you abide in it, trace it and follow it you will realize that it really has no source. The I is like the water in a mirage. It appears to exist but it’s a non entity. You must discover this for yourself. It will be the greatest discovery you ever make. By discovering this you will have unbounded peace, unalloyed happiness, joy. Just by discovering the I has no source. It never existed. You were never born and you can never go any where when you die. For there is no where to go.

You are that which has always been and which will always be. Sat-chit-ananda. You are the ultimate Brahman, pure awareness. That is your true nature. That is you.”

“The planets spin in their orbits, the sun shines, the flowers grow. All these things happen without confusion, without chaos, everything is unfolding as it should but you come along and want to change things. You want to make this a better world in which to live…

Find yourself first then see if you want to change the world. Find yourself first then see if you want to change your life. Find yourself first then see if anything is missing from your life.

It all begins with you. It all begins with you. You are the one!”

“So take an honest look at yourself. Examine your thoughts. Realize that you’ve been thinking like this for years and years and years. It is your thoughts that bring you problems and troubles. You have believed all this time that thoughts are necessary, you have to have thoughts or you couldn’t exist, you couldn’t function.On the contrary, when your thoughts are transcended, transmuted the pure awareness takes over. The absolute reality and you will function much better than you did when you think. (Baby makes a noise.) As an example, that little baby does not have to think, it knows somebody takes care of it. Somebody will always take care of it it’s got nothing to think about. It has an inner faith that is unconscious that it will always be taken care of.

An apple tree cannot think, yet beautiful apples grow. Imagine for a moment if you will, an apple tree that can think and it’s like us. It’ll look around and it would say, “I don’t want to be near this tree it’s a different color than I am I don’t like it. I don’t like these flowers around me. I don’t like the color of my apples. I don’t like this and I don’t like that.” It would become fussy and irritable. And the tree would die by those very thoughts. But because the tree does not think the powers that be take care of it. And it grows into a beautiful apple tree with luscious apples. This is true of all of nature and babies.

It is only when we grow up and we become babbling idiots. And we start judging, choosing, coming to conclusions about good and bad, right or wrong, this or that. We start comparing and go through the whole nonsense. This is what keeps us back. This is what prevents us from waking up, our thoughts. If only we were like the tree, like a flower, it grows wherever you plant it, it doesn’t say to you, “I’d rather be planted across the street. Somebody else’s garden.” It accepts whatever is done to it and grows into a beautiful flower.

Take a look at yourself, all of your prejudices, all of your dislikes, all of the things you believe are wrong with the world. Who are you to believe anything is wrong with this world? Did you create this world? You had absolutely nothing to do with it. You find yourself as a guest. We have to co-habit with the trees, with the flowers, with the animals, with the minerals, with the people. We’re not here to change anything one iota. It is because of man changing things that he suffers. You have to learn to leave things alone, to leave ourselves alone. Do not be harsh with yourself. Start practicing this, being calm, peaceful, relaxed.”

“It is a rare privilege to be born as a human being, even though it is an illusory birth. But to be born as a human being is the only way you can find yourself. An animal, a tree, a mineral cannot do this. You have been given the rare opportunity of birth so that you may find self-realization, and unfold into your true nature. Do not use your time for anything else. This is the purpose of being in this birth, to become absolutely free and liberated. – Ponder this.

You do not know how much time you have left in this body. You may be called home tomorrow. You may leave your body tonight, this very hour. What have you been doing with your life? For it is this which determines where you go from here. This life is a continuum. It doesn’t end. It merely continues from where you left off. This is why people who commit suicide make a grave mistake, for they think they are going to become totally free and liberated. On the contrary, you will take a short rest, on one of the astral planes, and then you will continue where you left off. Your job is to find total realization, to become absolutely free, and not come around the circle again and again. Rebirth, problems, trying to get off the wheel, this is for children. Become free by inquiring, “Who is it that’s bound?” – Ponder this.

Do not believe that anything that has happened to you, to your body, to your affairs, has been erroneous. Everything that’s happened to you has been necessary. You are in your right place, going through the right conditions. You are with the right people. You are where you’re supposed to be. The wise person does not complain about their lot. They rise higher by self-inquiry, by explaining to themselves, inquiring within themselves, “How did I come here? What is my source? Who am I?” and becoming totally free and liberated. – Ponder this.”

“The universe is a university to educate the soul. Before we can go any higher and awaken, we have to have these little realizations where we begin to feel that there is nothing wrong. There is absolutely no thing wrong. All the good of the universe is yours. There is absolutely nothing wrong, nothing. If you can only live in the moment and feel what I’m saying, everything in this world, in this universe will become you. That’s why people like Jesus and others have been able to say, “All that I have is yours,” meaning that consciousness is bliss, and bliss is expressing itself as the world, as the universe, as yourself. Live in that bliss. Refuse to acknowledge anything else.

It appears that if you do not acknowledge something, something will go wrong in your life. But you are not made for something to go wrong in your life. There is absolutely nothing wrong anywhere, so how can anything go wrong in your life. Even those of you who believe God is running the show, God couldn’t be good and bad, or there would be a capricious universe in which we live. The moon would crash into the sun, wheat would grow one time and roses would grow another time from the same seed, when we live in a capricious universe.

There are not two powers here. There is one power and you can call that God. It is all-pervading. If it is all-pervading, and there is no place where it is not, how can there be a problem? For in order to be a problem there has to be God and something else. But all you’ve got to do is a little meditation, and you will see that there is only God as everything and there is no room for God and anything else.

So you say, “Where does sickness come from? Where does lack and limitation come from? Where does man’s inhumanity to man come from?” I have to ask you, who sees it? Who sees this? Most of the world’s populace. Most of the world sees lack, limitation, disease, man’s inhumanity to man, and this is why these things perpetuate themselves, and appear to be collectively everywhere in the universe.

But then there are the few of us who step out of the parade. And they hear the beat of a different drummer. That’s how it begins. They no longer acknowledge evil as a reality. It may be a fact, but whose fact? Those who are living in the dream world. And again all facts are subject to change. Therefore anything that’s a fact can never be reality. Reality presumes that it is the same for ever and ever without change. Harmony is reality. Love is reality. Joy is reality. Bliss is reality. You are reality, just the way you are, not when you think.

When you begin to think, you can argue with me and say, “How can I be reality when I’m experiencing this and experiencing that?” You’re thinking, that’s why you say this. But if you stay just as you are, in the moment, then you’re reality. As you begin to think about these things, you raise yourself higher and higher, and again, because you’re cleansing your personal consciousness from all past karma and samskaras, the inner Self, the guru within will lead you to the guru without, and when you sit in satsang you will hear all these truths which are spoken in the silence, and something will happen. You will begin to feel that there is no birth, there is no cause for this universe. It will just come to you. Situations are not what they appear to be. The universe is but a dream. It will come to you all by itself.”

“You have to reconcile yourself with the whole universe, the mineral kingdom, the vegetable kingdom, the animal kingdom, the human kingdom. When you have become friends with the entire universe, you will not have to do atma-vichara. You will not have to trace the I, or worry about the I. Just the reconciliation with the universe will free you. After all, when you love everything, unqualified, what else can you do? There’s nothing else. The total love of the whole universe kills the ego. For it is the ego that plays the other games with you, that makes you love someone special or hate someone special, that makes you despise certain animals and eat them, that makes you think poison ivy is worse than a rose, that causes you to qualify life. A Sage sees everything as equal. No thing is worse or better than any other thing. And just by hearing this, allowing it to go into your heart, feeling it, will lead you to an awakening.”

“Everyone has gone through many experiences in their lives. These experiences are good no matter how they may appear to you. I don’t care if it’s the most horrendous, horrible experience on earth. There is nothing wrong in the universe. Whatever you’re going through is necessary for your next step of unfoldment. If you believe it’s bad, or there’s something wrong, then you continue in that state, and you never grow out of it.

Then it appears as if you leave your body, when it’s time to leave your body, and you go through it again somewhere else. You go through the experience again and again until you give up your attachment to it. It makes no difference what the experience is. The only thing that matters is how you react to the experience. The experience is very necessary or you would not be going through it. When you understand this, you can only be happy.

Do not compare yourself with anyone. Do not believe that fate has dealt you a bad card and that you’re suffering mentally, or physically, or financially, or otherwise, and saying “Why did this happen to me?” You are not to blame. You’re identifying with the world, with the body, with the mind. This is the only reason you believe you’re suffering. No one really suffers.

If you really understood who you were, you would never believe that anything was wrong with your life. To believe something is wrong with your life is blasphemy.That is the only blasphemy that exists. When you believe you’re not in your right place. When you want to change. When you think somebody is doing something to you. When you have fears, that’s blasphemy. For what you are saying is this thing called God does not exist.

I use God synonymously with consciousness. You think God, consciousness, does not exist and that you have to struggle for yourself. You have to overcome burdens and you have to pay the price. Even the belief that it’s karmic is wrong. The best thing you can do is not react to anything, but to act from your heart with love, compassion, peace, and let the chips fall where they may.”

“We give everything a name, that’s the problem. We say this is cancer, this is poverty, this is an earthquake, this is a million dollars, this is a new home, this is a new car, this is a war, this is a dog, this is a cat. We have names for everything. What if we forgot about those names, and we stopped seeing things as something? What if we just observed things, watched things without giving them a name, without coming to a conclusion? What do you think would happen? You would transcend everything. Whatever you’re no longer attached to, gives way. Whatever you’re no longer holding on to, no longer holds on to you. And as you let go of your opinions toward person, place and things, you find that you’re growing, you’re evolving. You’re beginning to become something that is ineffable, something that cannot be explained, something that’s so wonderful, you never dreamed that something like this existed. Yet it does.”

“Never begin with the fact that you are a human being, having experiences, trying to become self-realized, but rather feel in your heart that you’re already self-realized trying to awaken to that fact.”

“We want to unlearn just about everything we’ve learnt since we were children. We want to become empty not so we can acquire new knowledge. Emptiness is the knowledge. Emptiness is another name for wisdom, for Jnana. Try to remember the more you remove the burden from yourself the greater will be the harmony and peace and happiness in your life. Due to the fact that this harmony and peace and happiness are your very nature. It is not something you have to find somewhere, try to remember this. You do not have to search or look or find any body to give you these things. You are that!”

“Do not debate, discuss, interpret nor pronounce your spiritual Path; simply devote yourself heart and soul to it, day and night, with humility. One who is progressing has no desire to pronounce it. Choose one Path and take it all the way. The point is to have a Direct Experience of God. Of the Unimaginable Beauty Within. The West thinks that spirituality is becoming ‘big’ and famous. That is the joke of the ego. In Reality, this is the opposite of spiritual Unfoldment. The saints and sages of all true religions have no interest in this. Utilize this time to transcend identification with your human-hood of personal suffering completely, and the Bliss, the love of True Reality, will come shining forth. There is a world of beauty, Supernal love, compassion, bliss indescribable. With which do you identify?”

“The most important thing: Love, Compassion and Humility. For what do you think your True Nature is?”

“Do not look for results. Because it’s your true nature, sooner or later the results must present themselves. But it comes without your help. You cannot help God. God does not need your help. Just be yourself. It’s difficult to be totally honest with yourself, yet this is exactly what you have to do. Forget about being a Jnani or enlightened, or having Self-realization.”

“There are many people who are going around claiming they’re enlightened, more than ever. It really makes no difference to me, but it’s amusing. It’s interesting. First of all, what does the word enlightenment mean? I’m not talking about a dictionary definition. To the path of Jnana, what does enlightenment mean? The answer is, there is no such word. No one becomes enlightened. There is no body, no I, no me, there is no thing that can ever become enlightened. The word enlightenment is used by the ajnani, by students.

Absolute Reality, Choiceless Awareness, Sat-Chit-Ananda, Parabrahman —those are all words that do not exist except to the student in order to explain that there is a state beyond the so-called norm. A state of total transcendence, and we give a name to this, enlightenment. When this actually happens or transpires in a person, the I has been totally destroyed, totally annihilated. The me no longer exists, and to that being, there is absolutely no one who became enlightened. That being is resting in his true nature, in nothingness, absolute nothingness.”

“No one can become enlightened. No one can be liberated, for the you that thinks it can be liberated doesn’t even exist. There is no you. There is no person. There is no human being who is a human being one day and the next day becomes liberated. There is only the liberated Self, and you are That.”

“There is not you as you appear. The appearance of you which you think you are is false. This is why I say all of your problems, all of your nonsense that you go on with, all your worries, all your cares, all your emotions, they do not exist. They never have existed and they will never exist. It is all the game of maya, the leela. It doesn’t exist. No one in this room exists. There is no you and there is no me. There is only the Self. And when the self becomes the Self, it is no longer the self. For there never was a real self to begin with. This is the reason why I emphasize, stop thinking. Your thoughts pull you deeper into maya, into illusion. Do not think of enlightenment or awakening, or being liberated, or finding a teacher who can help you. You are beyond help. No one can do anything for you.”

“Actually what happens is this. You begin to realize you are not your thoughts, you are not your body, you are not your mind, you are not the world, you’re not even liberated. You are nothing. As you begin to think this way, whatever has to happen in your evolution will transpire without your doing anything. If you are meant to be with a teacher, you will be with a teacher. If you are meant to be by yourself, you will be by yourself. Yet, you have absolutely nothing to do with these things. Remain in the no thought state. Leave the world alone. Leave people alone. Do not come to any conclusion. Do not judge anyone. Everything will take care of itself.”

“The worst thing you can ever do is to search for enlightenment, for liberation. This keeps you back. It keeps you back because there is a self that is searching. There is an I that is searching. There is a me that is trying to become something, and the whole idea is to remove something from your consciousness. Therefore, the process of realization is removal, not adding. Removing this and removing that. Removing all concepts and all preconceived ideas. Removing all of your thoughts, no matter what kind of thoughts they are. Good thoughts, bad thoughts, they all must go. And what is left will be nothing, no-thing. You are that. You are that no-thing.”

“There are many spiritual people you know who think they have a mission. They have come to save the world. They can’t even save themselves, and they’re looking to save the world. The world will go on the way it’s going on without your help, for or against. Leave the world alone.”

“There is a power and there is a presence which I like to call THE CURRENT THAT KNOWS THE WAY, that takes care of everything. It is all part of the grand illusion. And even in this illusion which appears in front of your eyes, there is a presence and a power that lifts you up. It will lift you up as high as you can allow it to. Until it lifts you up completely out of your body, out of your thoughts, out of the universe, to a completely new dimension.”

“You must always have gratitude for the way you are. Do not feel sorry for yourself. Love yourself just the way you are. By loving yourself just the way you are, you will transcend those things that have appeared to annoy you, to bother you, to cause you pain. They will all go. You’ll no longer be aware of them. Let go of everything. Have no desires whatsoever. Dive deep within the Self. Do not react to the outside world or to your body. ALL IS WELL.”

“When you are without thoughts, without needs, without wants, without desires, then you are God. You are the Universe. You are Divine Love. You are beautiful.”

“Consciousness, you may say, is the screen of reality and all of the images of the whole universe are superimpositions on the screen of reality.”

“The only freedom we’ve got is not to react to anything, but to turn within and know the truth.”

“Consciousness is self-contained, Absolute Reality. It is yourself, when you do not identify with the world. And that only happens to the average person just as they are falling asleep and just as they wake up.”

“There is only one I actually. That I is Consciousness. When you follow the personal I to the source, it turns into the universal I, which is Consciousness. Begin to catch yourself. begin to realize your divine nature. You do this by keeping quiet. The fastest way to realization is to keep quiet.”

“When you catch on to your awakening, the world does not change. You just see it differently, that’s all. You acquire a feeling of immortality. A feeling of divine bliss, so to speak, when things no longer have the power to affect you.”

“When you surrender you’re surrendering the ego. The way this is done, is by looking at the world with humility. Looking at the world with love and peace. Saying to yourself, “Not my will but thine”. Feeling that you have no will of your own any longer. You have no questions, you have no wants, you have no desires, you let them all melt in your heart. You leave it alone. You stop worrying, you stop fretting. You stop trying to accomplish things or to change things. By realizing there is a power greater than you. It’s available to you right now. As you do this you’re surrendering all of your wants, all of your needs, all of your fears, all of your stuff that you’ve been carrying on with all these years. You’re surrendering it all. Everything must go, everything.”

“There is a power that knows how to take care of everything, and will also take care of your body, so-called, if you stop thinking. But as long as you think I am the body, then you have to take care of your body, and watch it, and feed it aspirin and cold remedy and proper foods and do all kinds of strange things with your body.”

“As long as you are born of the flesh you have to suffer. This is the way of the flesh. Do not try to improve your life. You’re making a big mistake. For there is no question about it, if you use positive thinking and use your mind, you may appear to improve your life. But remember, this world in which you live is a world of duality. For every up there is a down. For every forward there is a backward. For every good there is a bad. Therefore, whatever improvement comes in your life, it will last for a while, then will subside, then you become miserable again. You’ll start sticking up for your rights and fighting for your survival. Then as you get what you want, you’ll be happy again. You’re like a yo-yo. You go up and down, up and down. And no matter how much I talk to you about this, you’re going to keep on doing this.”

“There is no thing in this world that is that important. As long as you believe it is important, you will never awaken. You can’t. For you are caught up in illusion. You are playing the game. You are still involved in the play. You’re feeling things. You’re reacting to things. You’re arguing about things. You’re debating things. You’re still not sure.”

“When something takes place in your mind or in your world, you become the observer. You become the witness. You do not react. You try to keep your mind centered in the now, in the moment.”

“Grass grows spontaneously, but we can imagine we are making it grow with our willpower. The same with the activities of our bodies.”

“Again the important point to remember is that you should keep asking yourself questions. Do not make statements. Ask questions to yourself. The mind hates that.”

“The no-mind state is where you come from practicing to the place in Silence where there are no thoughts to bother you any longer. You get there through Self-inquiry. That’s the fastest way. But that’s not Self-realization. Self-realization is when the mind is pulled completely into the spiritual heart. Liberation, moksha, Self-realization, is when the mind that’s left over in the Silence is pulled completely into the spiritual Heart. At that time the whole mind, the I, dissolves completely, and you are free.”

“If you understand this, and you practice this, you will become the happiest person in the world. For on the way to finding the I-Source you begin to feel happier and happier every day. The old thoughts melt away. The old you dissolves. You become free.”

“When you get up in the morning, immediately before the thoughts come, identify with the Self. Now how do you do this? Simply say to yourself, “I…I.” That’s all you have to do. “I…I.” You’re doing this before your thoughts come.”

“What was the first thing you did when you opened your eyes? You should have been aware that the I-thought has traveled from the Heart center to the brain. And now you are awake and you feel your body and you feel the world. You should not go any further. You should now attempt to work on yourself, where you send the I-thought back from the brain, back to the spiritual center, the spiritual Heart. You should immediately attempt to do this.”

“I keep calling it the I-thought. It’s a thought. There is no I. This gives you a clue.”

“When you abide in the I you’re abiding in the ego. The I is really the ego, the small I. It turns into the Self eventually.”

“All this begins by quieting the mind. By not allowing the mind to react to conditions and situations. I’m not only speaking of negative conditions and situations, I’m speaking of everything that arises in the mind.”

“What I’m trying to show you is, you cannot depend on anything in the world for your happiness or your peace. It’s a false premise.”

“Yet the better way is to still inquire, “Who Am I?” You never answer that question. You just ask the question and keep still. When you keep still, thoughts will come into your mind. Simply inquire, “To whom do these thoughts come? The come to me. I think these thoughts. Then who am I?” Who am I simply means, what is the Source of the I? From whence does the I arise? You follow the I back to the Source, which is the Heart center. And one day, the I will disappear, and you will be totally liberated.”

“When you stop searching and you calm down and you put your books away, and you confront yourself and see what you are all about, that will bring about bliss faster than anything you can ever imagine or ever do.”

“It’s only what you experience that matters to you. It’s not what you read. So what if you learn a truth that you haven’t learned before. So what if you say this teacher expresses it this way, and now I know it from this angle and that angle. I must remind you again. Knowing truth intellectually does absolutely nothing for you. You might as well take LSD. Because you only get psyched up.”

“How do you make progress? By using books for reference only. By practicing the methods I share with you. By practicing Self-Inquiry. By watching as you go through life’s experiences and not reacting. Watching yourself become depressed. Watching yourself become angry. Do not deny it, but observe it. And if you observe yourself correctly in that calm way, you can ask yourself, “Who becomes angry? Who is feeling depressed?” And follow it through. Do this over and over and over again, as many times as you have to. One day, the anger will leave you, the depressions will leave you, your thoughts will leave you. And you’ll just be.”

“I remind you again, the only difference between the sage and yourself is you see the world and you identify with it. You think it’s real. A sage sees the world and he knows it’s a superimposition upon Consciousness. So he identifies with Consciousness.”

“For you’re saying, “Aren’t we supposed to help the world?” You’re supposed to find out who you are. Your first and main job is to awaken. And then you will see if you want to help the world. What world?”

“Find out who this God is, from where this God came, and you will soon realize that you have created God in your image. There is no such God, but it’s better than nothing. It’s good to know you have a big daddy somewhere, who you can cry to, who you can scream at, and blame for all your problems. Yet, as we grow, as we unfold, as we let go of all this stuff we’ve been holding on to, something happens; we become lighter. The burden seems to disappear by itself. The only burden you’ve ever had is your mind.”

“Self-Inquiry is only to keep your mind from thinking. That’s all it is.”

“Whatever you’re no longer attached to gives way. Whatever you’re no longer holding to, no longer holds on to you.”

“The power that takes care of that knows how to take care of you. Don’t you see, there isn’t anything you have to do to help. In other words, God doesn’t need your help. All you have to so is to take a deep breath and say, “Take it God. I’m all finished with it. I will never worry again. I will never be upset over anything again.””

“But I mean when you are really in deep sleep and you wake up, if you catch yourself, you’ll see you feel good. You feel great. You feel wonderful. It’s only when you start to think, that the feeling changes. Check it out for yourself. Why? because deep sleep is really bliss.”

“Whenever you use the word “I” you want to catch yourself and say, “I is not me. Me is, Who am I?” Me is the question, “From what source does the I come?””

“When your thoughts take on a feeling nature you give them power. But when you refuse to take on that feeling nature, the thoughts disappear.”

“No matter how many times I tell you this, you’re still thinking, thinking, judging, judging, coming to conclusions, trying to work out your life. You have to let go. Totally, absolutely, completely. You have to let go so completely that you will feel no body, no mind, no pain, nothing.”

“As you look at the world without interpretation, as you look at the world without attachment, what the world is will be revealed to you.”

“Once you know there is no mind, there is no longer the experience you’ve got to go through. All experiences cease. But be aware that all experiences have come from the mind. In reality there are no experiences. The life you’re living now is an experience.”

“Never pray to God for release of your problems. Never pray to God to change your life, and to give you something better. This is wrong prayer. If you have to pray to God, pray to God to give you the strength and the wisdom and the courage that you need to be able to handle the situation that you’re in. This is correct prayer.”

“All you’ve got to do is let go of the personal I by not reacting to the condition, and automatically the real I comes along, for you are really the real I. This is your real nature. . . Can you imagine what would happen if you thought about this all day long, without forgetting? Why, you’d be enlightened in no time.”

“This is a first step. To have total faith and total trust in the Infinite, the One.”

“The realization [is] that everything you see, the universe, people, worms, insects, the mineral kingdom, the vegetable kingdom, your body, your mind, everything that appears, is a manifestation of your mind. Everything that your senses show you is an emanation of the mind. Think about that! Everything in this universe, person, place or thing, everything, your body, your thoughts, creation, God, everything you can think about, everything, and I mean everything, is a projection of your mind.”

“When you close your eyes, it goes away. When you sleep you transcend it. But when you are awake, the world exists. The world only exists because your mind exists, and your mind exists because your ego exists.”

“Then who am I? Keep silent for a while. You know it’s working when you start to feel a quiet, loving feeling. You start to feel a peace you have not felt before. You start to feel that all is well.”

“You don’t have to set aside a time for meditation. You can do it while you’re driving your car, while you’re at work, while you’re playing music. Just be aware of yourself, of who you really are, and realize the rest is a projection of your mind.”

“In the beginning, when you’re finding yourself, you realize that I exist. “I Am That, I Am” means I exist. Same thing. But then you find out who is the I that exists, and you follow it through.”

“How do you create a dream? Does it start with a beginning? As soon as you start dreaming, there’s no creation. The dream just starts. Everything is already there. The trees, the sky, the earth, the flowers, the grass, people, insects, birds, flowers, everything just appears. Does it die in the end? You just wake up, and it’s all gone.”

“And thinking every day that you are unborn, you have no personal life, and you do not exist, and you will not disappear, just thinking about these things does something to you.”

“And we cannot empty the mind by thinking. Only by observation.”

“See, all these years we’ve been dealing with a finite mind, with our own intellectual processes, with our own preconceived ideas, with our concepts. But I’m saying we have to transcend those, and use a new part of us that we’ve never used before. And that’s the self.”

“But if you put your energy into it, and you practice it every chance you get, and you put this first in your life, you will see amazing results. Amazing results. But you have to put it first in your life. Think right now. What is first in your life? Don’t tell me but just think. What comes first in your life? Can you take it with you when you die?”

“You may learn about the astral planes, the causal planes, reincarnation. You may learn about how to become positive in your life, how to attract the right mate, how to attract money, health, and all kinds of stuff. How to channel, how to do this, and it’s very exciting to the ego.”

“Whatever you think about, that you become ultimately. So you have to be very careful what you think about. Whatever you think about, you become. Think of the sage, you become the sage.”

“Even though I appear to be the body, and I am wondering what is going to happen to my body as I practice “Who am I?” somewhere deep inside the recesses of my heart, I know that I will come to the conclusion one day that there is no body.

In the meanwhile, what appears to be your body will be under the guidance of the universe. That’s the phenomena. The same power, which is called Ishvara, who looks after the universe, and causes the grass to grow, the flowers to blossom, the sun to shine, the fruit to grow on fruit trees, the wheat and barley that grows in the ground, and you are supplied and maintained and sustained by these things, the same power that does all this will take care of you as you appear, as an illusion.

I know it’s paradoxical again, for you’re saying to yourself, “How can an illusion take care of me?” The illusion takes care of the illusion, so it appears. But I say to you, persist in inquiring, “To whom does this come?” Who believes the world is real, and who believes the world is an illusion? They’re both concepts. They’re both wrong. Reality has no belief system. Reality is not maintained and sustained by anything. Reality is I-am. It is beingness. Not being this or being that, but pure beingness. And as long as I don’t understand what that is, because I’ve not experienced it, I will continue to ask, “To whom has this come? To me? Then who am I? Where did the I come from?”

One of these days you will fall into the Self, and you will disappear. There will be no body, no image, no concept, no I, no mind, no universe, no God, yet you will appear to be all of those things. That’s the paradox. You will appear to people as an ordinary human being, but you will know that you are the screen upon which images are super-imposed. You are not the images which keep changing. You are forever, eternal, unborn. You are the one. You are total freedom. Your real image will shine forth, and the whole universe will emanate out of you. You will not have normal feelings, but for want of a better word, you will become bliss. You have always been bliss. You have simply awakened to reality.

Again, what are you doing with your life now? What do you believe? What do you do every day? Do you allow the pressures of the world to cave in on you? Leave the world alone. Do not attempt to figure it out. Do not attempt to argue about it, whether it’s real or not. You must find it out for yourself. In the process all will go well for you, no matter how it appears. Your job is to find out your true reality, to surrender to yourself, to surrender your ego, your mind, your body, the world, the universe, God. Surrender all of that to your Self. Let it all go into your spiritual heart, on the right side of your chest.

Above all do not worry about anything. You are well taken care of. The Self which you are, knows when the time is right for you to discover your reality. Have faith in yourself. Know it’s there inside of you, awaiting your surrender. No longer will you fight this world. No longer will you react or respond to this world. No longer will you be frightened by this world. Your wants will become simple.”

“You realize that the [other] person does not belong to you. Belongs to God.”

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Rufus Jones

rufus jones

Rufus Matthew Jones (January 25, 1863 – June 16, 1948) was an American mystic, writer, magazine editor, philosopher, and college professor. He was instrumental in the establishment of the Haverford Emergency Unit (a precursor to the American Friends Service Committee). Rufus Jones was the foremost interpreter of mysticism and Quakerism as well as the most influential Friend of modern times. He is the only person to have delivered two Swarthmore Lectures.

In “Rufus Jones and Mysticism for the Masses”, Matthew S. Hedstrom wrote:

“Mystical union with the divine, according to Jones, was not a privilege reserved only for the great spiritual athletes. But Jones did not just theorize — he also popularized. His willingness to market himself to the masses was a critical stimulus towards the popular embrace of a mystical emphasis in liberal Protestant spirituality, both because of his own direct influence and because of his influence on even more popular writers such as Howard Thurman and Harry Emerson Fosdick. This middlebrowing of mysticism paved the way for the success of a wide range of mystical writers to come, starting with Thomas Merton and lasting into the New Age.

His simple and convincing style of speaking and writing, freely punctuated with apt quotations and humorous illustrations, won a worldwide audience for his message. In hundreds of editorials, articles, and pamphlets, and in 56 books, he presented the claims of a practical, everyday life with the everpresent Christ as Guide, Counsellor, and Friend.

Coupled with this talent in writing and speaking was a remarkable gift in organizing and guiding religious and humanitarian movements. He was the first editor of The American Friend, one of the organizers of the Five Years Meeting of Friends, one of the persons most responsible for the development of the American Friends Service Committee, and the one who conceived the idea of the Wider Quaker Fellowship. Much of his time, thought, and energy was devoted to work outside the Religious Society of Friends, particularly as a chapel speaker in American colleges.

Jones was born into an old Quaker family in South China, Maine. In 1885 he graduated from Haverford College in Pennsylvania, and stayed on to earn his M.A. there in 1886. From 1893 to 1912 he was the editor of the Friends’ Review (later called The American Friend); from this position he tried unsuccessfully to unite the divided body of Quakers. In 1901 Jones received another M. A., from Harvard.

For more than 40 years he taught psychology, philosophy, ethics, and the development of Christian thought, at Haverford College, profoundly influencing many generations of college students. He was an inspiring teacher and it was his work as a professor which meant most to him.

In 1917 he helped found the American Friends Service Committee. In 1927 Jones took a trip to Asia at the invitation of the YMCA. His main purpose was to address missionaries in China, but he made stops in Japan, India, and Palestine as well. While in India, Jones visited Mahatma Gandhi and the birthplace of the Buddha. This trip helped Jones formulate a new approach to missions—that of giving humanitarian aid to people while respecting other religions and not aggressively converting people to one’s own religion. In 1938 he went with George Walton and D. Robert Yarnall on a mission to Germany to try to find a peaceful way of dealing with the Nazis.

Jones worked hard at soothing some of the hurt from the 19th Century split among Friends and had some success. Jones wrote extensively on the topic of mysticism, which is one of the chief aspects of the Quaker faith.

He distinguished between negating or negative mysticism (making contact with an impersonal force) and affirming or affirmative mysticism (making contact with a personal being). He upheld that God is a personal being with whom human beings could interact. He wrote in The Trail of Life in the Middle Years:

“The essential characteristic of [mysticism] is the attainment of a personal conviction by an individual that the human spirit and the divine Spirit have met, have found each other, and are in mutual and reciprocal correspondence as spirit with Spirit.”

At the same time that he distinguished between negative and affirmative mysticism, he asserted that all negative mystics occasionally take the affirmative approach and that all affirmative mystics tread the negative path from time to time. He exerted a major influence on the life and work of theologian Howard Thurman, who studied with him in 1929-30.

Jones was a member of the Laymen’s Commission that toured mission fields in Asia and produced Re-Thinking Missions: A Laymen’s Inquiry after One Hundred Years (1932). The conclusions of this inquiry reflect his views as outlined above.

Jones died in Haverford, Pennsylvania.


Quotes from Rufus Jones:

“The one really big business in this world or in any world is the business of being a coordinator, a transmitter, of the love of God, the love of God revealed in a man like us.”

“The task of religion is not like that of laboriously endeavoring to teach an elephant to fly; it is rather the discovery of the potential capacities for flight in a being that was framed for the upper air.”

“There is in most of us a vast acreage of our inner estate which has never been touched by the plow. It remains uncultivated. We are this, we have been this, but how much more we might be. Coming to our self, our true self, and reaching out with divine help and the gift of Grace to win the whole of oneself is to be ‘spiritual-minded.'”

“The reason we can hope to find God is that He is here, engaged all the time in finding us.”

“But we cannot find Him with a little fraction of ourselves….It is the business of the whole self, it is the task of the entire life of man.”

“Our human nature is unmistakably double. There is something in us that the divine Spirit can make its appeal to, something that draws us upward and onward, something that makes our moral and spiritual life possible. It think that this divine spark in us…is the most significant thing about us.”

“Let a person’s inner being be fortified with a faith in God and all his creative powers are quickened, his marching strength is heightened and his grip on everyday things is immensely increased. It is as though he had tapped a hidden reservoir of power.”

“….mysticism ought to be thought of simply as the experience of direct communion with the soul of God.”

“Mystical experience…is no more difficult than any other supreme achievement.”

“The mystic is a person possessed of conviction, which for him amounts to an experience, that he has come upon the goal of life, that he has come back to the spiritual Source of his being….that he has in very truth found God.”

“…all great prayer is born out of intense earnestness and out of a consciousness that only God through us as a feeble organ of His will can accomplish what we seek and what we need.”

“…those of us who pray have the best of all evidence that prayer is a vital breath of life, for we come back from it quickened and vitalized, refreshed and restored….”

“There are no known limits to the creative and transforming effects of this cooperation of the spirit of a believing person with the Great Divine Companion.”

“Prayer will always rise or fall with the quality of one’s faith, like the mercury in the tube which feels at once the change of pressure in the atmosphere. It is only out of live faith that a living prayer springs.”

“Fortunately we do not need to understand vital processes and energies of life before we utilize them and start living by them.”

“But salvation is not a transaction; it is the formation of a new life. There is but one salvation for all mankind and that is the life of God in the soul.”

“The greatest single fact of history is the breaking in of the Life of God through this unique Life. Here at last the Love of God found complete expression.”

He is the yes of a new creation, with its inexhaustible implications and possibilities.”

“The thing we need primarily is an enlarged capacity of appreciation of the range and quality of His personality. We need once more to see Him.”

“…it seems to me tremendously important that Christ is as truly a revelation of man as He is a revelation of God. We see at last in Him what man was meant to be….We have seen God revealed in Christ. I wish now that we might learn to see the divine possibilities of man revealed in Christ.”

“The first stage of ‘entry into life’ for Jesus is learning to love. To start executing a ‘social program’ without the creative and motive power of a great love behind it is like building a factory and forgetting to attach the machinery to any driving energy that would turn the wheels.”

“If God ever spoke, He is still speaking. If He has ever been in mutual and reciprocal communication with the persons He has made, He is still a communicating God, as eager as ever to have listening and receptive souls. If there is something of His image and superscription in our inmost structure and being, we ought to expect a continuous revelation of His will and purpose through the ages….He is the Great I Am, not a Great He Was.”

“As the sap flows through the branches of the vine and vitalizes the whole organism so that it burst into the beauty and glory of foliage and blossom and finally into fruit, so through the lives of men and women, inwardly receptive, the life of God flows, carrying vitality, awakening love, creating passion for goodness, kindling the fervor of consecration and producing that living body, that organism of the Spirit, that ‘blessed community’ which continues through the centuries the revelation of God as love and tenderness and eternal goodness…”

“To be a teacher who knows how to enlarge the depth and scope of a person’s life is the best gift there is.”

“What needs to grow clear in the minds of all who are responsible for the training of youth, whether within or entirely outside the Church, is the fact that all genuine education must have a spiritual quality to it, – that is, it must have to do with the formation of personality, the building of character, the enlargement of life, the transmission of the supreme experiences of the race, and with setting free the higher potential powers of the individual.”

“The time is coming when every sound teacher will realize that it is fully as important to have expert treatment for children’s fears and mental ‘complexes’ as for their defects of eyesight and hearing.”

“To discover a truth involves the apostolic task of going out and doing it.”

“God’s work, the doing of His will, is extraordinarily inclusive – raising food on the land, ordering a nurturing home, taking care of a child with loving insight, speaking simple truth, spreading love abroad in any spot of the world, praying and working for the Kingdom of God, being heroic in quiet ways, saying the right word when others do not dare, walking straight forward in the path of duty – these are some of the ways of doing God’s will.”

“The whole atmosphere of service must be pervaded by a calm mind, by a spirit of reconciliation, by clear insight, by undeviating fidelity, and by respect for the views of life which are precious to those whom you are serving.”

“What these pillar Quakers were talking about when they used their various figures of speech – ‘inward light,’ ‘immortal Seed,’ ‘Christ within,’ – was their certainty that God was not remote, not a far-off sky-God, not merely a Creator at some distant ‘beginning,’ not a Being Who left us with nothing but a Book as a Guide on our hazardous pathway, but a God here and now present in us, as near as breathing; moving not merely on the waters at some far-away date, but operating directly and immediately in the soul of man here and now.”

“We have won an enviable place in the eyes of the world as the purveyors of relief. We have learned to meet and to take up the sufferings of the world…Now we need to give as serious and as creative thought and consideration to the renewal of the spiritual life and power of our Meetings and of our membership as we have given to the constructive tasks of the world.”

“The home is the most favorable place on earth for transmitting to the new-born child the spiritual gains of the race and for the formation of a well-organized moral and spiritual character. The greatest thing a true home produces is the cementing power of love and tenderness and the stabilizing quality of faith in eternal Reality. The restoration of the home as the spiritual nursery of the children God gives us, is the major task of our time.”

“No one, I am sure, will suppose that I think that a religious experience is a substitute for a sound economic, or social, or financial, or political solution of the world’s troubles. I only mean that we must deepen the quality of life and enlarge our faith in the scope of human destinies before any of the fine schemes on hand will work.”

“We shall not be able to rebuild our shattered world until we recover our faith in eternal realities, and we shall not do that until we discover spirit within ourselves.”

“The only flowing refutation of the materialism and secularism of our time is a personal life which demonstrates a source of spiritual power.”

“Mysticism has been for the most part sporadic. It has found an exponent now here, now there, but it has shown little tendency toward organizing and it has manifested small desire to propagate itself. There have been types of mystical religion which have persisted for long periods and which have spread over wide areas, but in all centuries such mystical religion has spread itself by a sort of spiritual contagion rather than by system and organization.

It has broken forth where the Spirit listed, and its history is mainly the story of the saintly lives through which it has appeared. The Quaker movement, which had its rise in the English Commonwealth, is an exception. It furnishes some material for studying a “mystical group” and it supplies us with an opportunity of discovering a test and authority even for mystical insights

No person can ever hope to gain an adequate idea of the religious movement which has been called by the name of Quakerism until he has discovered what is meant by the “Inner Light.” It is the root principle of an important historic faith, and it deserves a careful examination.

The term “Inner Light” is older than Quakerism, and the idea which is thus named was not new when George Fox began to preach it. But this idea received a meaning and an emphasis from the Quakers which make it their own peculiar principle and their distinct contribution to religious thought.

The Inner Light is the doctrine that there is something Divine, “something of God,” in the human soul. Five words are used indiscriminately to name this Divine something: “The Light,” “The Seed,” “Christ within,” “The Spirit,” “That of God in you.” This Divine Seed is in every person good or bad.”

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