It can only be with a sense of wonder, coupled with more than a little relief and gratitude, that I see myself at the present stage of my inner journey. It would be pointless to attempt to identify where it all began, but I am aware of the lowest point in my life where events took an upward turn. Of course that could be described as one starting point, but only one of many such beginnings. There must also have been many a preparatory starting point which was to lead me into ever deeper chasms of spiritual destitution, a state I had to endure before being ready to look in an upward direction.
The upturn in my spiritual fortunes began with some practical work on my personality traits, an experience which I may describe at some future date. What I wish to say here is that whereas many people who went through a similar ordeal reluctantly and painfully, I became fascinated with what I was discovering about myself. It must be said that some of my discoveries were far from pleasant, decidedly uncomfortable in fact, but that did not matter to me. The grand experiment was under way, and it was the collection of data and the possible good uses to which those data could be put that mattered to me. It was a journey of discovery.
At first sight this preamble may seem to have little relevance to the subject I wish to address here, but a start has to be made somewhere. Out of fumbling beginnings, something is bound to emerge. In my case, one of those emergent experiences was one which I struggled to accept in the early days, and even much later, only reluctantly. I was to discover that I was predisposed towards the mystical. It has been suggested that there are three points of entry to the study of spiritual wisdom. One point of entry is through the intellect and speculation; another through purely practical considerations; and, finally, the third entry point, the way of the mystic. Although my way began with a healthy dose of good practice, and additionally I love to think and speculate, my preferred way is that of the mystic. And a great deal naturally follows from that, not the least important being a profound conviction that there is that which I choose to name as God. This has nothing whatsoever to do with religion in its various forms, and certainly not the Church. I will go a step further and say that it has nothing to do those personages who, unfortunately in my view, have become the foci of religious personality cults.
When, recently, I found myself in that place of "brilliant Darkness" there was no doubt in my mind where I was or where I was headed. I was in the place of what has been described as the Eternal Self, the divine Ground, a description so often used by Meister Eckhart, the German 12th./13th. century mystic. And as Prof. Jacob Needleman once observed, the questions of the Self and of God may in the end be the same question, and that may lead to some very exciting possibilities. For now, instead of needing to struggle to find my place in the spiritual universe, I have abundant guides and pointers from many others who have passed this way, whatever their religious, deist or atheist orientations.
Life is never going to be the same as it was, even as it was a few short weeks ago. And when I consider that the overwhelming proportion of the physical universe is thought to be invisible Dark Matter and Dark Energy, and that symbolically reflects the "brilliant Darkness" of the Ground of my being, not only is that a salutary lesson for my visible ego but also an indicator of how much there is yet awaiting discovery and development in all sentient life. Is it not truly wonderful that we are able to take an active part in that process, rather than being dragged along, willy-nilly, uncognisant of the deeper realities within ourselves?