In Love With The Mystery
A plug for the wonderful book by Ann Mortifee.
A friend lent me a book yesterday with the suggestion that I have a look through it. The book is entitled In Love With the Mystery by Ann Mortifee, with beautiful accompanying photographs by Courtney Milne, a well-known Canadian photographer.
Last evening I did just that, sitting with the book and going through it at random. It’s possible to do that with this book because its style is aphoristic rather than discursive, short nuggets of wisdom brought back from Mortifee’s practice of “deep listening”. The book nonetheless does have something of a plan, significantly divided into four sections that reflect “the 4 stages of life’s path”, those four stages for Mortifee being “Mysterious Journey”, “Sacrificing Resistance”, “The Listening Heart”, “In Love with the Mystery”.
So, given my own concern with the fourfold vision and the fourfold path, I’m already intrigued. This arrangement is the arrangement of a mandala, and like a mandala one can enter it at any point. Gradually, step-by-step, you realise that you are inside this mandala of the fourfold path. You are walking and waking the mandala with her. That’s quite a refined accomplishment for literature of this type. If the mandala is the sphere of the integral consciousness, then you are drawn inside this hyper-sphere of the integral.
There are many beings living within us —
the child who demands attention, the warrior
with courage to meet circumstances, the victim
full of self-pity, the seeker reaching for under-
standing, the coward unable to face reality.
All these beings vie within us for supremacy.
One by one we must include and integrate
them into our vaster Self. Not one of them
can be ignored or left behind, for each is an
aspect of the whole. Only through integration
can we know true mastery.
Mastery is about inclusion rather than exclusion.
When we can accept all parts of our nature
without flinching, when we can allow others
and circumstances to be what they are, when we
can receive what life brings without complaint,
then we will have integrated our smaller self into
our Higher Self. It is the work of our Eternal
Nature to include, within its timelessness, the
finite time-bound aspect that we are living now.
This is the Mastery of Self-Realization.
The arrangement of the book is aphoristic. If you are one who prefers aphoristic style to essay, this book will please you, I think. If Rumi described his own poetry as “sips” of the sacred, Mortifee’s aphorisms could well be described as “dips” into the Infinite.
Enter the Silence
There is a great teaching in the heart of Silence.
Learn to sit without need for thought or action.
Life passes swiftly and in the end; it is what
has awakened within us that will remain.
All actions disappear, all adventures fade.
But wisdom gleaned through reflection
lasts long after life is gone. Allow contemplation
to visit you often and wisdom will become
your companion. Enter the Silence daily
and the Silence will enter you.
If the book isn’t destined to become a classic of the Wisdom Tradition, it should be. To my mind, it has all the potency of the Buddhist classic The Perfection of Wisdom or anything by Rumi. Mortifee’s aphorisms are like the jewels of a crown, the crown being the invisible hyper-plan or meta-structure of the overall work — a mandala. Any one of the statements quoted here could be unpacked further and in depth
One With All
There is a unifying current,
a life force that flows in and through
all things. It is this essential and conscious
energy that binds all of life together.
The person we think our self to be
is merely a momentary manifestation
of this ongoing life current. Once we
realize this to be true, our attachment
to our particular personality begins
to weaken. We see ourselves as one
with all things, no more or less important.
To my mind, In Love With The Mystery is a clear example of a contemporary mind awakening to the integral consciousness or “overview”, awakening to the logic of the mandala. And the logic of the mandala is a fourfold logic.
Our body is fashioned to feel the Presence,
to intuit the Essence, and to become one
with the Animating Principle. When we
go inward, a world that is still and potent
awakens. This is the threshold through
which we must pass to arrive at the
transcendent. Through the body of form
we are able to gain access to the formless
Soul, our connection with that which
is beyond all knowing.