To Convey the Unutterable?
The person who begins with certainty can easily be mistaken. Those whose personal characters require certainty, will inflict error. That fact is, ironically, certain. In contrast, he who has been absorbed transcendentally concludes with Unknowing, yet he is fulfilled, enjoying such inner calm and knowing, as his certaintiy- or allow it may be “hers”- that he , or she, is not troubled by any question of it. Within that ultimate dimension the soul husbanded by God is allowed expansion to the outward reach to the almost of infinity. Here our language might better speak of the, usually less clear, “the One”, for by now that word of Him is so muddied by dispute and claims, that even though for me the certainty of Him is not in doubt, the words focusing on the Person of Him generate controversy. Be glad the cosmos is constituted of awareness. That experience is wordless. The person wordlessly charting that domain has become a Euclid of the spirit.
I have told you I cannot nor would not speak in tongues. These are the excited noises of striving displaced, or vanity disguised as incomprehensible prophecy. Those noises are not the unutterable, they are noises that should never have been uttered. They are the sanctioned delirium of anima unleashed in the theater of their owner’s satisfaction, which, through entropic dissipation wander off to nothingness. These sounds die in the empty spaces of themselves. I offer you this as a teaching example of nonsense distorted into tongues so as to be uttered.
The potent ineffable is obviously invisible, and in that oxymoron bespeaks the requirement for a geometry of the holy. It is not a common requirement; There are some who are served by its announcement as release of a surplus of wonders. For them- I am one- we are but announcing that “it” occurs and is marvelous beyond all else, is above all things, excellent and free. We fumble with clarification. Even so if hearing the announcement is an invitation to experience, as I think it should be more often than it is, then seekers must be taught. Those who do that, the deeply religious, are spiritual guides who, when gifted, become framers of the otherwise unutterable. They teach possibilities and the Way. The solitary and the silent appear to be conditions of the Way, as are discipline, respect and modesty. If the experience overtakes the immodest, as it does, as it has now with me, it is the greater gift. The skepticism of others is, nevertheless, appropriate.
One must discuss this because there is much confusion when inner matters touching upon God are sought to be conveyed. The best facilitator is one’s own humanity attentive to another’s, where both are aware of the Other. Each must allow that occurs in various degrees of intensity, grace and is shaped by one’s initial condition. Trust, openness, rigor disallowing the substitution of theaters for vanity, are the least requirements. I have mentioned others above, as teachers have told me of these conditions. What other grander energies shape it is not, at this time, for us to know.
The wisdom of teachers, who have, by enlightened and serious paths, arrived better to elucidate the nature of the One, is critical as guidance and foreknowledge. It is not prerequisite for all, for some less schooled, but somehow prepared, may be chosen. Again, how the One whom we here call “God” makes choices, conditional or final I will not estimate. The wisdom outlined in the words, Logos or other, as for example the holy texts of Teachers across civilizations tell of their paths and, when we are compatible, well advises ours. I am no such teacher, but as a novice may tell you that further majesty, intensity, immensity, may await you.
Here as I write to you, I wish to be clear, for the state of my experience was clarity. I am unable to offer descriptions that clarify, but want you to know it was momentous. No tongue can convey it, nor any pen rightly set it forth. It, the moment, him of my understandings, simply is, and within me undeniable. I am brought to it in further passion shortly after the Appearance of which I have written, after baptism and reflections, these coming after earlier dissatisfactions, apprehensions, quest, doubt, and resolve. Now, as I tell you there was such moment, I can only offer conclusions, as formed by me not Other, for it was not a union generating rational explications. I shrug helplessly if you ask me further truths. Conclusions, yes, but what these may foreshadow I have only glimmerings.
I prospered from these signs; I must now test my will. What became for me overwhelming truth allows nothing supportive in argument, demonstration, and citation. Perhaps all of Christianity is comprised of these as proofs of the numinous. For us its name is God. My faith is that Christianity is wise as its beginning Word in prescience and also retrospect. Indeed the numinous must be Christianity’s very roots and the waiting intrinsic in mind and soul. That is my logic speaking, and an affectionate sentiment. I cannot pretend truths for others, at least until the experience matures in this world. I need time for that. I have it, having had an hint of eternity.
In the meantime I shall try to report the moment. Consider music, wild, rich, syncopating, listen to the trumpets. Consider rhythm, again music or in unison when riding with a horse. It is not intended vulgar to invoke the primary analogy, when between the legs of a reciprocating lubricating woman, the two of us heaving, sweating, sharing emissions of love and the devotionals of the utterly, magnificently irrational as the instance of it being. But there is no woman, there is no bed, the account is simply an analogy. I am speaking that which words cannot. I am painting pictures where there are no scenes. Allow its summary, I am swept away. Let me talk around it without a sip of drink, but drunk yes, wildly Dionysian, Bacchanalian overwhelmed and ecstatic, utterly quiet, I make no noise, I need not move, I am reverberating with energies, filled with music and colors, I am not myself but more by far than myself. I must call it “glorious” believe it sacred; there is vanity only in the retrospect of it where the “I” emerges to report. As not I the feeling is of tremendum and majestas, of self-annihilation, domination, total energy, wholly other, numinous, all of which in spite of the words I spill on this parchment out of a compulsion to report, are unutterable. It was as if the Other, the One, the word I use is “God” but there is no word within the experience, yet words are our only tools for sharing.
One approximation is I became an holy drunkenness, a cooling fire arising out of the crucible of the cosmos. The energy of it is in the Other, not in he who awaits, who welcomes embrace.. A readiness to receive is built within us, call it “soul” in its alerted waiting, God- ready state. We may become much through this experience, but when we are ordinary again, is inevitably compromised by that ordinariness. These fine words are afterward forms as to our conclusions, that the numinous is wholly Good and Other, but it is the daily work of our hands, exchanges by working ordinary words, that determine whether other people than ourselves comprehend. If others have no benefit, we are as selfish as we were before. That is a great and enduring danger, inward, autonomous, self-exalting.
Historically we were taught the mystical possibility in Dionysius who was and instructed in the mysteries as then conceived. We were taught their means by cave, torchlight, that wine was another and more dangerous path, by the priests of Eleusis. If we shivered in Hecate’s underground lair we knew from our shivering an awareness of the powers. We distinguished between light and dark, splendid and malign. If so we understood from the earlier history of the gods, that there are choices. We would not have known, but for the Hebrews, that come the One, we choose to be chosen. We have been given glimpses of unfinished paths in the mystery religions, we are now brought by single moments to know for what they presumably strove and, presque vue, almost-seen, or apprehended, but were unable to bring about. The experience recommends the quest. Dimensions will emerge, these within ourselves, in our intrinsic sharing, and as the names, or no names and meanings of God.
I cannot dispense the private anymore than your nose knows my smell of the rose. Yes, roses are fine fragrances most agree. But the alchemy of the rose, from its being to my beauty found in it, is within me. The capacity for the rose, and for appreciating this eternity’s moment is likewise within, whereas the spaces in which eternity lies are a geometry beyond us. One does not rule out that there may be, elsewhere, other eternities. Barriers between us and roses, between us and eternity grasped, grow from a self unwilling to conceive the beyond, including the Other. When we dissolve these barriers it is not to become dilute, or simplified, or undefended, it is to open experience to all roses. I do not expect this as a Christian norm. Too many will concentrated on the danger of thorns.
I, this stubborn S. Cornelius, commend to your criticism such histories as mine, that I took the poverty of roads to be the fault of surveyors and engineers. I had not lent myself to the task of searching horizons, or assisting builders. We are, all of us together,when aggregating our lives in awe, trust and kindness, learning ever better designs for roads. You will know, I cannot not, of what your longer history has taught of destinations and their best reaching. You and I, in this time-erasing moment when we are together, are both alert to the reality that at all times and in all places, such excellent roads must be protected from brigands, of which there are many wearing many guises. The world has many brigands, thieves of all kinds treasures including faith. Pray be we not be brigands ourselves. To know we must look in an honest mirror. Best we own one, are one, for we must examine ourselves frequently. If we find ourselves open, accept the beauty of roses held close, we should be pleased with what the examination has yielded.
Forgive me all this talk. These first weeks being a private Christian have taught me that the Other knows and cares. Should some reality be that he is not and I am alone, my logic allows it but all of my experience denies it. . Were it true I would accept there is considerable imagination and delusion of our own manufacture. I conceive a group might do the same and, by the very numbers, exaggerate it. That would be painful, for I would conclude I make drama of myself, for myself, inventing worlds beyond where I have gone. I would be humbled to think that all my Christian doings and early quest are summed to illusion. I would be ashamed that any assembly elevated need into an art, and built an institution of imagined meanings, wrote a fiction of glory, gift and grace.. My Roman doubt allows all possibilities, yet I propose that in opening to the mystical experience, wherein self, having been joined to Other and projected into some kind of eternity, doubt does not exist.
Hold close the rose, inhale its fragrance, allow it to enjoy you. I am of this certain: I have inhaled fragrances. I am summed to a sweet exhaustion. I am the visitor and the visited. I am the guest and the host. We are, in being held close and deep inhaling, the rose and the star together.
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