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April 2018 – Mystical Glimpses

Volume 14, Chapter 4, “Inspiration and the Overself: Introduction to Mystical Glimpses”

In the first para of this chapter, PB calls a glimpse “a transitory state of mental enlightenment and emotional exaltation,” and in the second para he says, “It is an experience of self-discovery, not the discovery of some other being, whether a guru or a god.” Para 36 calls the glimpse, “the highest form of self-recognition., the discovery of who and what we really are.” In para 41 a glimpse is described as “a moment in most men’s lives when they are close to an understanding of the world’s real nature.”

I read PB’s use of self as calling attention to the inward and individual experience of a glimpse, “a certitude that God is present in each person’s life.” (para 38) PB even says, “At present this mystic experience is a fugitive one in the human species. But because it is also the ultimate experience of that species, there is no reason why it should not become a common one in the course of evolutionary development.” (para 55) An interesting statement in para #59 reads, “What today is believed abnormal will, in a civilization ahead of ours, be regarded as quite natural. I refer to the transcendental experience.”

“We cannot know God in the fulness of his consciousness but we can know the link which we have with God. Call it the soul, if you must, or the Overself if you prefer, but to catch a glimpse of this link is to be reborn.” (para 86) PB writes, “Everyone has the experience of doing, few of being. Yet that is the most precious, most important of all life’s experiences.” (para 75)

“To enter into Heaven is to enter into the fulfilment of our earthly life’s unearthly purpose. And that is, simply, to become aware of the Overself. This holy awareness brings such joy with it that we then know why the true saints and the real ascetics were able to disdain all other joys. The contrast is too disproportionate. Nothing that the world offers to tempt us can be put on the same level.” (para 79)

“What we know is so little that it ought to make us intellectually humble. But that little is nevertheless of the highest importance to us. For we know that the Overself is, that the passage to its stillness from the ego’s tumult is worthwhile, and that goodness and purity, prayer and meditation help us to find it.” (para 121)

The last part of Chapter 4 is called “Glimpses and Light.” It describes visions of light and individuals who have written about their own experiences. It contains this beautiful quote: “The very nature of sunshine – all light – and the very condition in which sunrises and sunsets occur – stillness – help us to understand why Light and the Overself are bracketed together. ‘Your own consciousness shining, void, inseparable from the great body of radiance, is subject neither to birth nor death, but is the same as the immutable light, Buddha Amitabha’ [Buddhist Sutra].” (para 172) A future e-teaching will consider in more depth the topic of “Glimpses and Light.”