Rigorous Work

I don't know about you, but one of my pet peeves about social media is the deluge of advice that comes my way from people I don't know or barely know.


You know, those one-line quotes that appear with a cosmic picture depicting something I'm supposed to be or do?


Lord knows I have my faults and need advice. Unsolicited spiritual advice, mass-marketed, drives me a bit kookoo. I know what you're thinking–short drive.


Nonetheless, the people who are sending this stuff out are, no doubt, well-intentioned. My question is are they well-trained? And do they walk their talk?


Some people are well-trained and are honestly trying to make a difference. Others are marketing themselves.


All of this reminded me of Evelyn Underhill. She wrote a classic book called Mysticism in 1911. Underhill spotted the problem a long time ago and was far more eloquent in assessing the potential damage done than I am.


Here, she lays out some thoughts that we would all do well to remember before we hit the send button on our next missive. I certainly will.


“Transcendental genius, then obeys the laws which govern all forms of genius… and indeed cannot develop its full genius without an educative processes of some kind. This strange art of contemplation… demands of the self which undertakes it the same hard dull work, the same slow training of the will, which lies behind all supreme achievement and is the price of all true liberty. It is the want of such training – such “supersensual drill” – which is responsible for the mass of vague, ineffectual, and sometimes harmful mysticism which has always existed: the dilute cosmic emotion and limp spirituality which hang, as it were, on the skirts of the true seekers of the Absolute, and bring discredit upon their science.”


© Patrick O’Neill 2012. All rights reserved.

Posted on July 20, 2012 and filed under Uncategorized.