Many / One

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Mysticism, Its History and Challenge
Bruno Borchert
Borchert is the senior researcher on art and mysticism at the Titus Brandsma Institute, and a member of the Carmelite Order. In this book he takes us from Zoroaster to European alchemists, explores the Hellenistic world, the feminine world-view, and the experience of God shared by many saints and well-known mystics throughout the ages.

1 "The midpoint in each thing is the same creative Spirit. Everything flows from this Spirit and everything has a tendency to become one with the One again. This tendency is a cosmic stream, an impulse, a cosmic eros."

2 "The Soul is the image of God and, because it is His image, it comes to understand that it can be and must be united with Him whose image it is." William of Saint-Thierry (1085-1148)

3 "Love is the eternal knot and bond of the cosmos', Marsilio Ficino

4 "One can learn to experience timelessness, and can become aware of how nearly the deepest center in the I is one with the deepest center of the universe. This is sober 'ec-stasy' (or stepping out) from the time-bound to the timeless. The goal is absorption in Brahma in the same way all colors coincide in white light."

5 "Time is a stream of forms…in which the One manifests."

6 "The center of one's being coincides with the center of all things."

7 "Love is the basis of the existence of all things. It is the deepest motive of all that lives within us…This love is God."

8 "Love is always active and looking for what it can do. It cannot remain shut up in itself. Just as water…cannot stay locked in the earth, but seeks an outlet." St. Teresa of Avila

9 "The Soul is a way along which God travels to His freedom from His deepest point." Hadewych, 13th century Beguine

10 "All blades of grass, wood and stone, all things are One." Meister Eckhart

11 "The Soul (Atman) is below. The Soul is above. The Soul is to the west. The Soul is to the east. The Soul is to the south. The Soul is to the north. The Soul, indeed, is this whole world." The Chandogya Upanishads

12 "You are a principal work, a fragment of God himself, you have in yourself a part of Him." Marcus Aurelius, 'Meditations'

13 "First of all, we have to see God as the deepest ground of our being, concealed in the innermost recess of our nature….We must worship Him not only in our own being but equally in all that exists, firstly in our fellow men and women, but also in nature, in the universe, omnipresent and permeating everything with the work of His hands." Titus Brandsma, commemoration speech given in 1932

14 "Men and women are composed of parts of the universe. They are the cosmos in miniature. If we subject this microcosm that is ourselves to analysis, we discover how the great cosmos is structured."

15 "Bringing order out of chaos and giving form to the unformed – the essence of art – is a normal preoccupation of humanity."

16 "The multiplicity of things and events around us are simply expressions of one and the same ultimate reality, which rises above all ideas and images and is more than its manifestations."

17 "Often when I awake to myself and step from otherness into myself, I behold a most wondrous beauty. It is then that I believe most strongly in my belonging to a higher destiny." Plotinus, 'Enneads', IV: 8: 1

18 "A mystical experience is all-embracing…It is a realization – with one's whole being – that all things are one, a universe, an organic whole into which the self fits."

19 "God is central in each part of the universe, down to the tiniest atom."

20 "This [mysticism] is a phenomenon that seems to occur in all religions and cultures; it is different in external form, but in essence everywhere it is the same: it is the experimental knowledge that, in one way or another, everything is interconnected, that all things have a single source."

This body of quotes compiled by JoAnn Kite