“Almost any religious system which fosters unearthly love is potentially a nursery for mystics…” — Evelyn Underhill
Mystical Alchemy of Love
This begs the question, what comes first, the chicken or the egg? Does religion foster unearthly love, or is it the person who has a connection to the divine substance of love? A nursery is a place where seeds and plants. But seeds exist elsewhere.
Love Does Not Conform
“…and Christianity, Islam, Brahmanism, and Buddhism each receives its most sublime interpretation at their hands. Attempts, however, to limit mystical truth—the direct apprehension of the Divine Substance—to the formulae of any one religion, are as futile as the attempt to identify a precious metal with the die from which converts it into coin.” — Evelyn Underhill
Regions often try to assimilate outspoken mystics. They want them to conform their opinions, practices and writings to the rules and boundaries of the religion. Often a religion will adopt selected writings of famous mystics who have died. They scrub their opinions to fit the religion. Some believe this is the case with Rumi. Rumi was the son of a famous Sifi Bahā ud-Dīn Walad, a theologian. So, it is logical that Isam would adopt his writings as theirs.
The Divine Substance of Love is Universal
The dies which, the mystics have used (to make these coins) are many. Their peculiarities and excrescences are always interesting and sometimes highly significant. But, the gold from which this diverse coinage is struck is always the same precious metal: always the same Beatific Vision of a Goodness, Truth, and Beauty, which is ONE. Hence, the substance must always be distinguished from the various forms under which we perceive it (from the various coins): for the substance from (which the coin has been made) has a cosmic and not a denominational importance.” — Evelyn Underhill
Love is the element from which they all variations come. The Greeks say there are eight kinds of love. They all emanate from the source. Through the mystical alchemy of love, they show up in many ways:
- Agape — Unconditional Love.
- Eros — Romanic Love. Eros is Greek God of love and fertility.
- Philia — Affectionate Love.
- Philautia — Self-love.
- Storge — Familiar Love.
- Pragma — Enduring Love.
- Ludus — Playful Love.
- Mania — Obsessive Love.
Champion of the Mystics
If the topic of mysticism interests you, then a must-have for your library is Evelyn Underhill’s book, “Mysticism: A Study in the Nature and Development of Spiritual Consciousness.” This work is a mixture of textbook and poetic prose. A noble effort filled with analogies and metaphors on every aspect of mysticism. Because of this complex writing style, it’s not “easy reading.” But, well worth the effort. You’ll find gems of wisdom and references for further investigation.
Evelyn Underhill was an English Anglo-Catholic writer and pacifist known for her many works on religion and spiritual practice. Christian mysticism was her passion in life and in her writing. It would appear from her writing that she considered herself a Mystic first, and then a Christian.
Questions and Issues for Mystics
What do you think of this perspective on the similarities, and differences between various belief systems? Why are religions are always attempting to place boundaries in the way of spiritual truth, even though it’s a futile effort? If any place fostering love is a “potential” place where mystics and mysticism can take root, why do we need institutions like religion in the first place? Can we foster love without it being centered around an Avatar or God? Is it possible to explore mysticism without religion as a backdrop?
It would appear Ms. Underhill sees love as a doorway to mystical. We agree. Anyone who has ever been “in love” can attest to the power of this emotion. Some believe that the virtues of heart; Love, Friendliness, Compassion, and Happiness are mystical energies manifesting through us. These energies originate from a place deep within the Universe. And, these virtues of the spirit are flowing to us and through us. If we can align with them. We can’t force them.
You can’t legislate the divine substance of love. But, we see institutions attempting to do this. We see referenced to love in all the Abrahamic religions. These are the religions of Semitic origin, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. However, the references to love are negated by references to gender discrimination and oppression, racial and ethnic prejudice, genocide and discrimination. It’s these latter references which take precedence in the formulation of practice and policy.
So, you can speak of love and peace. However, if your intentions are the opposite, then the results will show in your actions. Religions may attempt to place their stamp of ownership on some mystics. But, the mystics will always remain in a world of their own beyond the walls of doctrine and dogma.
Options for the Mystics
Remember, you don’t need a belief system to engage in spiritual exploration. The mystics path is something evolving and constantly changing with your needs. We recommend everyone learn as many spiritual technologies as possible. You never know which one you’ll need on the path.
The more you research and read about the divine substance of love, the more you will appreciate its depth. The mystical alchemy of love produces expressions in many forms of life, not just people.
There are other ways mystics use the processes of mystical alchemy. But the energy for all of them stems from this element.
Interested in spiritual exploration? Check out the blended learning process at the core of our teaching process. It reflects what Joseph Campbell called the Hero’s Journey. Our learning options include both face-to-face and virtual learning sessions. Please consider donating and supporting our mission. This helps others learn the knowledge for developing their own path.
Evelyn Underhill, Mysticism: A Study in the Nature and Development of Spiritual Consciousness.
Joseph Campbell & Joseph Campbell’s Book The Hero’s Journey, Wikipedia
Abrahamic Religions, Wikipedia
Different kinds of love, lifehack.org