Temple of the Jedi Order: First church of Jediism

Sunday Sermon - Vocation

What would you say if someone was to ask you the following question: who are you? You could reel off a list of personality traits, of interests, even a psychological profile. But what about the question: what do you do for a living? So many people work to pay bills, satisfy commitments, conform to an ideal, but is that all? Are you following the call of the Force, whispering to you and guiding you to where you need to be – if not, then you may find that it ends up shouting or even pushing until the decision is almost forced out of you.

In days gone by, people would find their profession and make it their world. A blacksmith, for example, would always be a blacksmith. They would train, work and live for that very purpose. There was no separation between what they did and who they were. Nowadays it is less common to find such a dedication to a particular field and the pressures of modern life contribute to that feeling of isolation from one's true purpose. Working to live has replaced living to work.

There may be times in your life when you are faced with the possibility of doing things your own way and this need not be something so major as a career choice. Every interest we have plays a part in our enjoyment of life, every thing that lifts our hearts brings us closer to an acceptance of our true selves. You might not be able to quit your job and follow your dream but that doesn't mean that you can't chase it in your spare time. Hobbies, sports, activities: these are all ways of exploring our needs.

Let's look at the concept of “vocation”. From the Latin meaning “to call”, this term originated in Christianity. According to the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America: “the word refers to our many callings as God's baptized people - whatever our places and opportunities in life, we are called to serve others with love “. The same is true of ourselves – if we follow our heart and listen to the ways of the Force, we can open our entire being to a compassionate and rewarding experience of our own divine essence.

Today we have the opportunity to experience an example of this: one of our brothers in Jediism is committing himself to serving the Force and administering to our community. As an Ordained Minister, he will be expected to provide support and supplication where needed. The Force has led him to this place and he has answered that call with diligent study and dedication, embodying the Jedi Tenets of Focus, Knowledge and Wisdom. By taking the Oaths of Ordination and trusting in the will of the Force, he is following the flow wherever he is guided.

Take a moment to examine the signs in your own life – is there something that you always wanted to do but were afraid to attempt? Do you feel that you should be living a life that's different from your own? Realising this is the first step towards the eventual goal of satisfaction, of truly being at one with the Force. In Taoism, an Eastern form of philosophy and life-guidance, the Way (known as the Tao) is likened to a river or stream that knows exactly where it needs to be; like water, the Force will find a way of being exactly what it should at any given time. We have many ways of resisting this current – perhaps we fear the consequences, maybe our logic and reason conclude that it's not in our interest, maybe it just seems too hard to contemplate. As Jedi, we strive to be guided by our emotions but not controlled by them and throwing rocks of self-made restrictions into the river only serves to make a big splash, covering ourselves with the cold spray of confusion.

Through diligent application of techniques such as meditation, self-examination and communing with the Force, we can achieve all that we need to and become the person that we should be, embodying our highest potential at every moment. Whatever we do, whatever we are, there is a place for us in this astounding and amazing Universe. When the the call comes, how will you answer it?

May the Force Be With You

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    • Today we had a discussion about intuition and where it comes from. Spoiler: (16:57:53) Lykeios: okay! the topic is intuition (16:57:58) Lykeios: first of all, what is intuition? (16:58:07) Rosalyn_J: oh my (16:58:33) Rosalyn_J: I like to think of it as sort of like a "gut feeling" (16:58:52) Parnerium: Thoughts, feelings, or impressions that you have but can't attribute directly to deductive/inductive reasoning (16:59:17) Rosalyn_J: but I think that those can be conditioned so that we end up having certain "gut feelings" based on culture, how we were raised etc (16:59:52) Lykeios: interesting, so you feel like intuition comes from our culture and how we were raised? (17:00:19) Rosalyn_J: I think our intiuition can be conditioned yes (17:01:25) Lykeios: sounds about right to me. I think our intuition changes over time. at times it is stronger...at other times it is little more than a background sensation (17:02:07) Parnerium: I think it's important to note that "stronger" doesn't mean "more correct" (17:02:08) Lykeios: so, Par, where do you think these thoughts, feelings, or impressions come from if they don't come from reasoning? (17:02:47) Lykeios: oh right, I just meant stronger in that we "hear" our intuition more at certain times (17:03:42) Rosalyn_J: I think its important to distinguish how we intuit from what we intuit (17:03:56) Parnerium: From subconscious analysis. Basically, the exact same thing as conscious reasoning just done without you thinking about it explicitly. (17:04:06) Rosalyn_J: the gut feeling is a physical response to a mental stimulation (17:04:28) Rosalyn_J: even if you cant directly say how it happened (17:05:27) Parnerium: So if my eyes take in that somebody who walked into the room is physically tense, has shifty eyes, and there's a suspiciously shaped lump in their pocket but I don't consciously notice those things, I may get a "gut feeling" that said person is up to no good (17:05:41) Lykeios: so intuition comes from our subconscious? (17:06:17) Rosalyn_J: you somehow learned to spot those things (17:06:26) Rosalyn_J: they didnt just come out of thin air (17:06:28) Rosalyn_J: tv (17:06:30) Rosalyn_J: parents (17:06:35) Parnerium: I don't think all of that is learned (17:06:35) Rosalyn_J: friends (17:06:44) Rosalyn_J: eh? (17:07:23) Lykeios: so we have an in-built intuition that doesn't come from learning? (17:08:06) Parnerium: Some it it, like being physically tense, isn't necessarily learned. If you throw something at a baby they'll flinch. Not because they learned that when things grow quickly larger in their field of vision that means it's getting closer and will hit them. That knowledge is just part of being born human with senses and a brain. (17:08:20) Rosalyn_J: Its possible intuition may be in your DNA (17:08:28) Rosalyn_J: or some responses (17:08:37) Rosalyn_J: as a part of evolution (17:09:06) Rosalyn_J: you see something shift in the grass, you intuit that its a snake, your posture will change (17:09:14) Rosalyn_J: and you will prepare to flee (17:09:26) Lykeios: interesting! so our intuition could be an evolved trait? (17:09:44) Rosalyn_J: its because your body has learned these responses over generations (17:10:24) Parnerium: Yes. Our intuition is built in part from evolved responses, part from learned responses. (17:10:39) Rosalyn_J: those are both learned (17:10:47) Parnerium: How so? (17:11:02) Rosalyn_J: you have the benefit of learned responses that you yourself did not learn but your ancestors did (17:11:23) Rosalyn_J: they are programmed into your dna via evolution (17:11:32) Parnerium: Ah okay. I'm differentiating between what I as an individual have learned and what I as an individual am equipped with from birth (17:11:39) Rosalyn_J: increasing your chances of survival (17:11:47) Temple Bot: Gwinn has been logged out (Timeout). (17:12:09) Parnerium: Wanting to flee from motion in the grass isn't learned in the same sense that feeling uncomfortable around black people is learned (17:12:40) Rosalyn_J: its a fear respone with the same outcome (17:12:59) Rosalyn_J: the snake does no more harm than the black person (17:13:03) Parnerium: But how the response got there is different. And it matters when it comes time to assess your intuitive responses. (17:13:34) Rosalyn_J: you can learn not to be afraid of snakes too (17:13:42) Parnerium: Because wanting to give snakes a wide berth is reasonable (see: fairly high chance of venom) while doing so with black people is not (17:14:02) Rosalyn_J: depends on how one views a black person (17:14:40) Parnerium: Okay. But either way, it matters whether your intuition is from social conditioning or more primitive responses. (17:15:05) Rosalyn_J: I contend that those are the same (17:15:10) Lykeios: why does it matter? (17:15:30) Rosalyn_J: one particular conditioning happened a long time ago another not so long ago (17:15:38) Parnerium: See, that's not how I see it (17:15:49) Parnerium: Because inherited conditioning isn't happening on an individual basis (17:16:00) Lykeios: there are some psychologists that believe racism is actually an evolved trait (17:16:23) Rosalyn_J: social conditioning isnt happening individually either (17:16:30) Rosalyn_J: it happens as a society (17:16:39) Parnerium: No, it happens individually (17:16:42) Rosalyn_J: otherwise we wouldnt have this problem (17:17:06) Parnerium: A society will create the environment for it to happen, but the change for me as a person happens on an individual level (17:17:15) Rosalyn_J: We as a society accept a narrative (17:17:30) Rosalyn_J: we do not question it as long as it relates to our survival (17:17:49) Rosalyn_J: if society can get you to fear something it can also get you to hate something (17:17:49) Parnerium: The change for genetics is a slow moving process over generations, applicable to every individual with the right combination of genes. (17:18:26) Rosalyn_J: there are some cultures who are not afraid of snakes (17:18:38) Parnerium: Okay, let's talk about snakes (17:18:51) Rosalyn_J: they know that they, like any other animal, only attack when threatened (17:19:07) Parnerium: If I see rustling in the grass, my intuitive fear is not about it being a snake. (17:19:18) Parnerium: That would not be intuitive. That's conscious thought. (17:19:31) Rosalyn_J: whats the intuition? (17:19:37) Rosalyn_J: I may get bitten? (17:19:54) Rosalyn_J: or I am afraid? (17:19:58) Parnerium: The intuitive reaction is "there is likely something alive in the grass; it may be a threat" (17:20:12) Rosalyn_J: ah (17:20:22) Parnerium: Whether it's a snake, a rabbit, or a chihuahua isn't intuitive (17:20:36) Parnerium: So if I am not afraid of snakes, once I see that it is a snake I will no longer fear it (17:20:50) Parnerium: But all cultures have a reactive fear of "unknown moving thing approaching me" (17:21:05) Rosalyn_J: I get you (17:21:53) Rosalyn_J: so the idea, if we move it towards humans (17:22:20) Rosalyn_J: we have "unknown approaches who does not look like me, may be a threat" (17:23:13) Lykeios: you mean if an unknown human is approaching and doesn't look like you? (17:23:21) Rosalyn_J: yes (17:23:31) Parnerium: So I think it's useful to determine if my response is "unknown person doesn't look like me" or "unknown person looks like a group that is specifically threatening to me" (17:23:32) Rosalyn_J: why I think this is sort of the same (17:23:58) Rosalyn_J: is that we are fed narratives all the time (17:24:03) Lykeios: yes, and that is how many psychologists think racism is an evolved trait. we evolved a mistrust of those who do not look similar to us (17:24:06) Rosalyn_J: about certain sets of people (17:24:19) Rosalyn_J: homeless people I give a wide bredth (17:24:22) Rosalyn_J: why? (17:24:34) Rosalyn_J: and they are the only ones (17:24:39) Parnerium: If it was just that natural response, than all people of different races would earn that "different than me" response. But if it's ONLY black people, then that is coming from idea I have about black people, specifically, independent of natural "other" apprehension (17:24:46) Rosalyn_J: those and maybe the inebriated (17:25:13) Rosalyn_J: but people are learning a different narrative too (17:25:25) Rosalyn_J: about latinx (17:25:32) Rosalyn_J: about those from the middle east (17:25:40) Parnerium: Exactly (17:25:51) Rosalyn_J: but they are learning that (17:26:00) Rosalyn_J: from who? (17:26:05) Parnerium: And they are not learning fear of rustling grass (17:26:08) Rosalyn_J: not from their encounters (17:26:17) Rosalyn_J: from the narrative of society (17:26:51) Rosalyn_J: so I would contend that it is not individual (17:27:05) Parnerium: I think we're arguing different things (17:27:23) Rosalyn_J: each day we turn on our computer or our television, if we are not careful we are sucked into the narrative (17:28:01) Rosalyn_J: we inundate ourselves with it and suddenly we intuit "something rustles in the grass" (17:28:42) Parnerium: Societal messages are what teaches these responses. They aren't coming from the individual experience. But societal messages only impact individuals. One person takes in the society message and develops a world view from it. Another person can hear the same things, but because of other experiences or knowledge, does not develop a world view from it. (17:29:21) Parnerium: So from individual to individual, thoughts and intuitive responses to middle easterners are different (17:29:53) Rosalyn_J: only if they have experiences (17:29:58) Parnerium: But that's not true for genetic markers of humanity, like rustling grass (17:30:10) Rosalyn_J: you learn not to fear the snake by interacting with the snake (17:30:17) Parnerium: It's not the snake (17:31:14) Rosalyn_J: the point is, if people keep themselves isolated by their own "whatever" they dont have to venture out (17:31:15) Temple Bot: Luce_Stellare has joined the chat. (17:31:26) Rosalyn_J: they can just accept the narrative whole sale (17:31:39) Rosalyn_J: and most people are not taught to venture out (17:31:41) Rosalyn_J: not really (17:31:50) Parnerium: I'm advocating differentiating for that reason (17:32:00) Rosalyn_J: we may work or go to school with different people (17:32:16) Rosalyn_J: but most of the time our friends have our world view (17:32:46) Parnerium: If I look at a response and can trace it back to a narrative, that's going to warrant a different set of actions from me than if I can trace it back to a basic human reaction for self preservation. (17:33:11) Lykeios: but is there always time to track back where our intuition comes from? (17:33:17) Rosalyn_J: the thing is, how often are people going to do that? (17:33:22) Lykeios: isn't it often we intuit something and react immediately? (17:33:23) Rosalyn_J: I feel threatened (17:33:30) Rosalyn_J: must neutralize (17:33:39) Rosalyn_J: it happens in the blink of an eye (17:33:40) Parnerium: We're analyzing intuition right now (17:33:50) Parnerium: So I'm interested in useful ways to do that (17:33:58) Rosalyn_J: we are doing it without being under a percieved threat (17:34:15) Parnerium: Whether that analysis happens in the moment isn't wholly relevant to setting up analytical systems for this conversation, right now (17:34:34) Rosalyn_J: why not? (17:34:53) Lykeios: but we don't always know where our intuition comes from...sometimes it's just a feeling we get about a situation (17:35:14) Parnerium: Because this conversation is not in a moment of reacting to intuition (17:35:30) Parnerium: Talking about intuition is different than any one of a million examples where it is experienced (17:36:01) Rosalyn_J: I think the best way to deal with intuition is to realize that its a conditioned response (17:36:11) Rosalyn_J: conditioning is not bad (17:36:25) Rosalyn_J: sometimes it saves lives as in your first example (17:36:27) Parnerium: Theorizing about where intuition comes from and how it works and what it is are all different than "what do you do when you feel intuition?" (17:36:52) Lykeios: what DO you do when you feel intuition? Do you trust your intuition? (17:36:56) Rosalyn_J: take it with a grain of salt (17:37:24) Parnerium: If you're going to take it with a grain of salt, what is that salt? For me, that salt would be "where did this intuition come from?" (17:37:45) Rosalyn_J: true (17:38:22) Rosalyn_J: I would also say work to purposely widen your range of experiences (17:38:31) Rosalyn_J: it may make for better intuition (17:38:37) Parnerium: Does it come from natural human response? Does it come from a societal narrative? If narrative, do I agree with that narrative? If natural response, is that a response that is still relevant in my modern life? (17:39:14) Parnerium: Also, if narrative, what other impacts is that narrative having on both my conscious and unconscious responses? (17:42:01) Lykeios: so you don't think making decisions based on intuition alone is a good idea? sounds like you feel like you should examine your intuition before acting on it (17:42:11) Parnerium: Not necessarily (17:43:22) Parnerium: In urgent situations, its better to act on your intuition than not act at all. But after you act, it's a good idea to assess your reaction when you do have time. (17:44:03) Parnerium: That way, if it is built on a faulty premise, you can work on undoing that natural response so it doesn't drive you to actions you'll regret later down the line (17:44:13) Rosalyn_J: that is an interesting point (17:44:35) Rosalyn_J: we say urgent but that is a different thing from person to person (17:45:17) Luce_Stellare: Intuition is a double edged sword to me, when it comes to humans and their character and potential actions -- my initial opinion may future color my actions towards them until they kind of act towards me in the way that I've made a path to them (17:45:51) Luce_Stellare: at the same time, if I meet someone and am close enough to smell them, if I don't trust their smell I know they are bad news.....like a dog thing? (17:46:10) Luce_Stellare: That one is always right lol (17:48:23) Temple Bot: Rosalyn_J has been logged out (Timeout). (17:48:24) Lykeios: interesting (17:48:25) Parnerium: And if somebody is close enough that you can smell them and you feel like they're bad news, getting them...not that close is something I would classify as "urgent," lol. But that intuitive response doesn't actually dictate any action. So you still have a choice. Walking away would be a reasonable thing to do before you think about why exactly you felt that way (to which the answer would be "because they smelled like bad news"). But shooting them, on the other hand, would not be a reasonable thing to do before thinking through the reaction. (17:48:58) Parnerium: So that's what I mean by assessing the intuition (17:50:00) Lykeios: makes sense to me (17:50:32) Luce_Stellare: oh no I wouldn't shoot them lol (17:50:43) Lykeios: I should hope not...haha (17:50:43) Luce_Stellare: i just usually exit right :D (17:52:59) Parnerium: I'm trying to imagine somebody arguing in court that they shot somebody because "they didn't smell right" (17:53:16) Luce_Stellare: objection, your Honor, on the grounds of wtf (17:53:19) Luce_Stellare: LMAO (17:53:22) Luce_Stellare: SUSTAINED (17:53:45) Luce_Stellare: Please advise the witness that she is not a canine (17:54:37) Temple Bot: Rosalyn_J has joined the chat. (17:55:02) Rosalyn_J: wow (17:55:12) Rosalyn_J: sorry my computer went wonky (17:55:29) Lykeios: lol. that is an amusing image...but I believe it could happen in America...I can imagine some trigger happy person shooting someone because they didn't smell right (17:55:37) Lykeios: it happens, welcome back :) (17:55:43) Luce_Stellare: lyke you ain't lying (17:55:51) Rosalyn_J: smelled of alcohol (17:55:55) Rosalyn_J: marajuana (17:55:57) Luce_Stellare: there was a guy in florida, ______________ (17:56:00) Rosalyn_J: sigarretes (17:56:10) Rosalyn_J: wow my spelling ftl (17:56:35) Rosalyn_J: looked at them with shifty eyes (17:56:55) Luce_Stellare: was black YEAH I SAID IT (17:57:12) Luce_Stellare: ouch sorry lol (17:57:24) Luce_Stellare: on a lighter note, i did a 5K today for the first time (17:57:35) Lykeios: do you guys mind if I post the discussion about intuition to the forums? (17:57:36) Rosalyn_J: nicely feckin done!!! (17:57:37) Parnerium: "Black guy is a threat because they're black" is honestly my go to intuition example (17:58:08) Rosalyn_J: I dont even know if that qualifies as intuition Also, here's a resource about intuition that was shared in the chat after I finished copying it: plato.stanford.edu/entrie​s/intuition/
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So it is through and by these two great changes in your attitude towards things - first, the change of attention, which enables you to perceive a truer universe; next, the deliberate rearrangement of your ideas, energies, and desires in harmony with that which you have seen - that a progressive uniformity of life and experience is secured to you, and you are defended against the dangers of an indolent and useless mysticality. Only the real, say the mystics, can know Reality, for "we behold that which we are," the universe which we see is conditioned by the character of the mind that sees it: and this realness - since that which you seek is no mere glimpse of Eternal Life, but complete possession of it - must apply to every aspect of your being, the rich totality of character, all the "forces of the soul," not to some thin and isolated "spiritual sense" alone. This is why recollection and self-simplification - perception of, and adaptation to, the Spiritual World in which we dwell - are the essential preparations for the Jedi life, and neither can exist in a wholesome and well-balanced form without the other. By them the mind, the will, the heart, which so long had dissipated their energies over a thousand scattered notions, wants, and loves, are gradually detached from their old exclusive preoccupation with the ephemeral interests of the self, or of the group to which the self belongs. You, if you practise them, will find after a time - perhaps a long time - that the hard work which they involve has indeed brought about a profound and definite change in you. A new suppleness has taken the place of that rigidity which you have been accustomed to mistake for strength of character: an easier attitude towards the accidents of life. Your whole scale of values has undergone a silent transformation, since you have ceased to fight for your own hand and regard the nearest-at-hand world as the only one that counts. You have become, as the mystics would say, "free from inordinate attachments," the "heat of having" does not scorch you anymore; and because of this you possess great inward liberty, a sense of spaciousness and peace. Released from the obsessions which so long had governed them, will, heart, and mind are now all bent to the purposes of your deepest being: "gathered in the unity of the spirit," they have fused to become an agent with which it can act. What form, then, shall this action take? It shall take a practical form, shall express itself in terms of movement: the pressing outwards of the whole personality, the eager and trustful stretching of it towards the fresh universe which awaits you. As all scattered thinking was cut off in recollection, as all vagrant and unworthy desires have been killed by the exercises of detachment; so now all scattered willing, all hesitations between the in-drawing and outflowing instincts of the soul, shall be checked and resolved. You are to push with all your power: not to absorb ideas, but to pour forth will and love. With this "conative act," as the psychologists would call it, the true contemplative life begins. Contemplation, you see, has no very close connection with dreaminess and idle musing: it is more like the intense effort of vision, the passionate and self-forgetful act of communion, presupposed in all creative art. It is, says one old English mystic, "a blind intent stretching . . . a privy love pressed" in the direction of Ultimate Beauty, athwart all the checks, hindrances, and contradictions of the restless world: a "loving stretching out" towards Reality, says the great Ruysbroeck, than whom none has gone further on this path. Tension, ardour, are of its essence: it demands the perpetual exercise of industry and courage. We observe in such definitions as these a strange neglect of that glory of man, the Pure Intellect, with which the spiritual prig enjoys to believe that they can climb up to the Empyrean itself. It almost seems as though the mystics shared Keats' view of the supremacy of feeling over thought; and reached out towards some new and higher range of sensation, rather than towards new and more accurate ideas. They are ever eager to assure us that man's most sublime thoughts of the Transcendent are but a little better than his worst: that loving intuition is the only certain guide. "By love may He be gotten and holden, but by thought never." Yet here, you are not to fall into the clumsy error of supposing that the things which are beyond the grasp of reason are necessarily unreasonable things. Immediate feeling, so far as it is true, does not oppose but transcends and completes the highest results of thought. It contains within itself the sum of all the processes through which thought would pass in the act of attaining the same goal: supposing thought to have reached - as it has not - the high pitch at which it was capable of thinking its way all along this road. In the preliminary act of gathering yourself together, and in those unremitting explorations through which you came to "a knowing and a feeling of yourself as you are," thought assuredly had its place. There the powers of analysis, criticism, and deduction found work that they could do. But now it is the love and will - the feeling, the intent, the passionate desire - of the self, which shall govern your activities and make possible your success. Few would care to brave the horrors of a courtship conducted upon strictly intellectual lines: and contemplation is an act of love, the wooing, not the critical study, of The Force. It is an eager outpouring of ourselves towards a Somewhat Other for which we feel a passion of desire; a seeking, touching, and tasting, not a considering and analysing, of the beautiful and true wherever found. It is, as it were, a responsive act of the organism to those Supernal Powers without, which touch and stir it. Deep humility as towards those Powers, a willing surrender to their control, is the first condition of success. The mystics speak much of these elusive contacts; felt more and more in the soul, as it becomes increasingly sensitive to the subtle movements of its spiritual environment. "Sense, feeling, taste, complacency, and sight, These are the true and real joys, The living, flowing, inward, melting, bright And heavenly pleasures; all the rest are toys; All which are founded in Desire, As light in flame and heat in fire." But this new method of correspondence with the universe is not to be identified with "mere feeling" in its lowest and least orderly forms. Contemplation does not mean abject surrender to every "mystical" impression that comes in. It is no sentimental aestheticism or emotional piety to which you are being invited: nor shall the transcending of reason ever be achieved by way of spiritual silliness. All the powers of the self, raised to their most intense form, shall be used in it; though used perhaps in a new way. These, the three great faculties of love, thought, and will - with which you have been accustomed to make great show on the periphery of consciousness - you have, as it were, drawn inwards during the course of your inward retreat: and by your education in detachment have cured them of their tendency to fritter their powers amongst a multiplicity of objects. Now, at the very heart of personality, you are alone with them; you hold with you in that "Interior Temple", and undistracted for the moment by the demands of practical existence, the three great tools wherewith the soul deals with life. As regards the life you have hitherto looked upon as "normal," love - understood in its widest sense, as desire, emotional inclination - has throughout directed your activities. You did things, sought things, learned things, even suffered things, because at bottom you wanted to. Will has done the work to which love spurred it: thought has assimilated the results of their activities and made for them pictures, analyses, "explanations" of the world with which they had to deal. But now your purified love discerns and desires, your will is set towards, something which thought cannot really assimilate - still less explain. "Contemplation," says Ruysbroeck, "is a knowing that is in no wise . . . therein all the workings of the reason fail." That reason has been trained to deal with the stuff of temporal existence. It will only make mincemeat of your experience of Eternity if you give it a chance; trimming, transforming, rationalising that ineffable vision, trying to force it into a symbolic system with which the intellect can cope. This is why the great contemplatives utter again and again their solemn warning against the deceptiveness of thought when it ventures to deal with spiritual intuitions; crying with the author of The Cloud of Unknowing, "Look that nothing live in thy working mind but a naked intent stretching" - the voluntary tension of your ever-growing, ever-moving personality pushing out towards the Real. "Love, and do what you like," said the wise Augustine: so little does mere surface activity count, against the deep motive that begets it. The dynamic power of love and will, the fact that the heart's desire - if it be intense and industrious - is a better earnest of possible fulfilment than the most elegant theories of the spiritual world; this is the perpetual theme of all the Christian mystics. By such love, they think, the worlds themselves were made. By an eager outstretching towards Reality, they tell us, we tend to move towards Reality, to enter into its rhythm: by a humble and unquestioning surrender to it we permit its entrance into our souls. This twofold act, in which we find the double character of all true love - which both gives and takes, yields and demands – is assured, if we be patient and single-hearted, of ultimate success. At last our ignorance shall be done away; and we shall "apprehend" the real and the eternal, as we apprehend the sunshine when the sky is free from cloud. Therefore "Smite upon that thick cloud of unknowing with a sharp dart of longing love" - and suddenly it shall part, and disclose the blue. "Smite," "press," "push," "strive" - these are strong words: yet they are constantly upon the lips of the contemplatives when describing the earlier stages of their art. Clearly, the abolition of discursive thought is not to absolve you from the obligations of industry. You are to "energise enthusiastically" upon new planes, where you shall see more intensely, hear more intensely, touch and taste more intensely than ever before: for the modes of communion which these senses make possible to you are now to operate as parts of the one single state of perfect intuition, of loving knowledge by union, to which you are growing up. And gradually you come to see that, if this be so, it is the ardent will that shall be the prime agent of your undertaking: a will which has now become the active expression of your deepest and purest desires. About this the recollected and simplified self is to gather itself as a centre; and thence to look out - steadily, deliberately - with eyes of love towards the world. To "look with the eyes of love" seems a vague and sentimental recommendation: yet the whole art of spiritual communion is summed in it, and exact and important results flow from this exercise. The attitude which it involves is an attitude of complete humility and of receptiveness; without criticism, without clever analysis of the thing seen. When you look thus, you surrender your I-hood; see things at last as the artist does, for their sake, not for your own. The fundamental unity that is in you reaches out to the unity that is in them: and you achieve the "Simple Vision" of the poet and the mystic - that synthetic and undistorted apprehension of things which is the antithesis of the single vision of practical people. The doors of perception are cleansed, and everything appears as it is. The disfiguring results of hate, rivalry, prejudice, vanish away. Into that silent place to which recollection has brought you, new music, new colour, new light, are poured from the outward world. The conscious love which achieves this vision may, indeed must, fluctuate - "As long as thou livest thou art subject to mutability; yea, though thou wilt not!" But the will which that love has enkindled can hold attention in the right direction. It can refuse to relapse to unreal and egotistic correspondences; and continue, even in darkness, and in the suffering which such darkness brings to the awakened spirit, its appointed task, cutting a way into new levels of Reality. Therefore this transitional stage in the development of the contemplative powers - in one sense the completion of their elementary schooling, in another the beginning of their true activities - is concerned with the toughening and further training of that will which self-simplification has detached from its old concentration upon the unreal wants and interests of the self. Merged with your intuitive love, this is to become the true agent of your encounter with Reality; for that Simple Eye of Intention, which is so supremely your own, and in the last resort the maker of your universe and controller of your destiny, is nothing else but a synthesis of such energetic will and such uncorrupt desire, released to you by The Force.

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