|The gift of 'discerning spirits'.|
A Wisp of ‘Learning the Unknowable’
As I’ve grown older, I’ve come to the realization that there are some things we cannot learn until we are ready…and there is no certainty that we will ever be ready.
This is more than having the prerequisites to learn a science as in taking Chemistry 101 before you take course 102. This has more to do with being able to see something that is there in front of you to see but which you have no possibility of seeing.
It’s like a poem or an abstract painting that you will never understand until you have experienced x, y and z. It’s like a feeling you can only have if no one points it out. It’s like the feeling you get when someone you care about says “I love you” with sincerity and without being asked. This is not a feeling you can get by asking for it. These are not things you can see by looking for them.
Yesterday I just happened to write about this phenomena. It was a post about learning things that are unknowable and how that can change a person and a person’s writing.
In a true mystic experience the individual loses the ‘I-think’ (ego) that centers all his thoughts and makes him an individual and makes his thought, his thoughts. The individual dissolves and becomes one with the universe (or one with the experience).
The problem for mystics is trying to describe this experience which is beyond the realm of possible individual human experience. By definition the individual did not exist at the time of the experience so his ability to communicate that experience is not a logical possibility in rational terms. This is why mystics turn to poetry and why mystic poetry from all cultures and ages tends to read the same.
Yesterday morning I wrote the “Learning the Unknowable” post. Last night I read an acknowledgement in Mary Nealy’s “Ten X Plagues” which expressed something very close to the ineffable message I was trying convey in that post. It seemed such a good example of the Eastern belief that “when the student is ready, the teacher will appear” that I will quote from Mary’s acknowledgement to "Ten X Plagues” below:
“When an idea comes to me while reading my Bible, I try to pay very careful attention to that, because I believe God sometimes speaks to us in a voice so still and small that it amounts to not so much a voice as an idea. From this idea (the gift of discerning spirits*) a book was born. I’m dedicating this book to the God who gives me ideas.”
As much as I’ve read the Bible, the phrase ‘gift of discerning spirits’ from Corinthians 12:8-10,* never registered with me. I was never ready to entertain what those words meant. At some point Mary Nealy was ready to explore this 'gift' . After reading just four pages of "Ten X Plagues” , I am totally captivated with the story.
(You can read the first pages here.)
*"To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another various kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:" Corinthians 12:10