The Cloud of Unknowing: The Classic of Medieval Mysticism

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9780486432038: The Cloud of Unknowing: The Classic of Medieval Mysticism

An exploration of the nature of reality, mysticism begins with the individual struggle toward a clear vision and culminates in a transformed consciousness. This marvelous guide to the contemplative life originated with the reflection of an unknown fourteenth-century priest who believed that a "cloud of unknowing" separates people from God. This cloud, he maintained, cannot be penetrated by intellect —only by love.
The Cloud of Unknowing offers an approach to contemplative life that finds holiness at a level deeper than physical experience and beyond language or image. The author advises placing all thought and mental imagery behind a metaphorical "cloud of forgetting" while seeking to love the divine. Hidden from the infinite consciousness by a "cloud of unknowing," divine love can be reached through monologistic prayer — a single-word prayer, like a mantra, that assists in abandoning all extraneous thought. Seekers can thus attain an inner silence, where they may "be still and know the sacred."
The author's spiritual gifts, combined with his humorous and straightforward approach, offer a view of divinity that never loses the common touch. Written in everyday language and edited by a popular authority on mysticism, this venerable work can be understood and appreciated by any reader.

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Written by an anonymous English monk during the late fourteenth century, The Cloud of Unknowing is a sublime expression of what separates God from humanity and is widely regarded as a hallmark of Western literature and spirituality. A work of simplicity, courage, and lucidity, it is a contemplative classic on the deep mysteries of faith.

"Lift up your heart to God with a humble impulse of love and have himself as your aim, not any of his goods ... Set yourself to rest in this darkness, always crying out after him whom you love. For if you are to experience him or to see him at all, insofar as it is possible here, it must always be in this cloud and in this darkness." –– The Cloud of Unknowing

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