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The Mystics Essential Vision

A single vision carries me onward. Now in my seventies, part of me would just like to sit back and enjoy retirement. I love spending time family and friends. An introvert, I find public speaking stressful - travel, preparation, presentations, so why keep doing it? But this vision carries me forward. A vision I have sensed since early childhood. A vision that I later found confirmed in the mystical descriptions of countless others. Some became famous, most did not, but what mattered is what they saw.

Wordsworth famously described this vision in these words:

There was a time when meadow, grove and stream,
The earth, and every common sight,
To me did seem
Appareled in celestial light,
The glory and the freshness of a dream.

Then I lost the vision. As Wordsworth recalled,

It is not now as it hath been of yore; -
Turn wheresoe'er I may,
By night or day,
The things which I have seen I now can see no more.

But then I saw it again. In the words of Pablo Neruda,

…And something ignited in my soul,
fever or unremembered wings,
and I went my own way,
that burning fire
and I wrote the first bare line,
bare, without substance, pure
pure wisdom
of one who knows nothing,
and suddenly I saw
the heavens
and open.

As documented in nine books and numerous articles, this vision has been described by countless others: Jesus, Ramana Maharshi, Thich Nhat Hanh, Eckhart Tolle, Richard Bucke, Joseph Campbell, on and on. It's the best-kept secret on the spiritual path. And it won't let me go. My soul pushes me relentlessly onward to share it. I can't turn back. As Florida Scott Maxwell wrote in her eighties, "The ordeal of being true to your own inner way must stand high in the list of ordeals. It is like being in the power of someone you cannot reach, know, or move, but who never lets you go; who both insists that you accept yourself and who seems to know who you are."

What is this vision? The first account I ever read, the one that unfastened the heavens, said it all:

"The room in which I was standing looked out onto the backyards of a tenement. The buildings were decrepit and ugly, the ground covered with boards, rags, and debris. Suddenly every object in my field of vision took on a curious and intense kind of existence of its own; that is, everything appeared to have an inside - to exist as I existed, having inwardness, a kind of individual life. And every object, seen under this aspect, appeared exceeding beautiful. There was a cat out there with its head lifted, effortlessly watching a wasp that moved without moving just above its head. Everything was urgent with life…which was the same in the cat, the wasp, and the broken bottles, and merely manifested itself differently in these individuals… All things seemed to glow with a light that came from within them…I experienced a complete certainty that at that moment I saw things as they really were, and I was filled with grief at the realization of the real situation of human beings, living continuously in the midst of all this without being aware of it…I saw how absurd had been my expectations of a vision of God…For I had no doubt that I had seen God; that is, had seen all there is to see. Yet it turned out to be the world that I looked at every day."

I recognized this vision! It was what I had seen in early childhood. And I knew intuitively I could see it again. Trusting my intuition, I began developing the skill of mystical consciousness and soon I, too, witnessed what this man described.

And here's the point. You can, too. And if we saw who and where we really are, everything would change. We can awaken from the tyranny of thought and belief and discover the timeless truth that we are already in our divine home. This is the mystics' core vision:

We are divine beings in a divine world.

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