The mystic journey
"The beginning and end of all beings is the same, the difference only existing during the "journey"
" Each being is from Allah, and to Him each will return "
" As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be "
English Book of Prayer.
From the Gaelic.
IF one could fully realise that the sum total of humanity is God, one would understand that every soul, being part of God, must necessarily be withdrawn again unto God, at the end of manifestation, as the rays of light are drawn back into the Sun after being received by the earth ; man becomes bewildered because he confuses Time with Eternity, the limited with the Unlimited. At the beginning there is only God; and at the end there is only God; it is the stage between, called by sages the journey, with which the soul (as man) is concerned; in reality there is no beginning and no end, Eternity is a circle and the end and beginning are one; but the journey (taking place in time) has a beginning and an end; and the soul while experiencing it cannot realise any condition apart from end and beginning. This is natural, for the journey exists for that stage of being called man, midway between the highest and the lowest ; where he knows good and evil, heaven and hell, as separate and distinct. He is living, really speaking, in the condition of separateness ; and so long as the soul lives in this state he cannot understand the secret of unity ; to do so he must rise above the bondage of the " pairs of opposites " and attain to union with that Divine spirit which is the true centre of being of every man. In the mystic sense there is only One who journeys; although when reflected in many forms in a world of shadows, the One life appears to be many and separate each from each.
The personalities with which the soul clothes itself during the journey are important only so long as that time lasts ; the real object of man's innermost spirit is to finish the journey and go home ; it is interesting to take a journey and if one never left home and came into contact with different peoples and experiences, one would know very little ; but to whatever place, either beautiful or terrible, the journey may take any soul, and however far he may travel, there comes a time when he longs for his father's home. Whatever may have been his experiences during the long journey, whatever his shortcomings, he would still remain the child of his father, and his place in the father's home would still be his ; nothing can take away the birthright of the soul, but when he reaches that home the garments he wore during the journey would not any more be needed, lie has left them behind ; if they were beautiful and well made, they may be used by some other journeying soul, altered perhaps or added to ; possibly if ugly, disintegrated altogether into their constituent parts, to be formed and reformed into other articles, but as a whole—or a personality—lost.
The reason man finds it so difficult to understand the truth about life is that he identifies himself with the garments he wears instead of with his innermost self ; he must realise himself apart from any clothing whatsoever, whether woven of physical, mental, or even so-called spiritual material ; naked he came into the world of appearances, naked he must return. All souls come forth pure, having no distinctions -or differences (the physical reflection of this truth is mirrored in the nucleus of embryonic life in the womb), they return pure, having shed all coverings which, although absolutely necessary during the journey in Time, are no longer of any use in Eternity.
The reason that Mystics of all religions seek the path of wisdom upon which to travel instead of the path of ignorance, is, that they may obtain knowledge of God and of man, and perchance help other travellers also to understand, because when one has, by travelling the path of wisdom, become master of life and death, and all the other delusive pairs of opposites, he is able to transcend the stage in evolution, called man and attain to that unity in which is perfect freedom. He then becomes Hu-man, and can at will enter his father's house, and also live among the world of men; and for every one who attains to this state of perfection, thousands are helped; for by this uplift they are enabled to leave the path of ignorance for the way of devotion and by this means the whole evolutionary process is made shorter in time; and the way more easy even for those who are still treading the path of ignorance.
If all reach the same goal in the end what does anything matter?
If a number of people started upon a journey which they knew would last them a life-time, it would matter very much indeed to themselves, and also to those with whom they were travelling, under what conditions that journey was made and whether they possessed a true map of the different paths by which they might reach their destination : whether they knew whither the various byways would lead, the kind of clothes with which they should clothe themselves, and who were their companions upon the road ; most of all it would matter by which path they chose to travel and whether they carried a light to show the way when night fell.
If one understands that the mystic journey constitutes the whole of the life of man as man which can be made by three paths, ignorance, devotion, or wisdom, the answer to this question is not so difficult.
In endeavouring to put Eternal Truths into language belonging to time it must be remembered that only a fraction of reality can be conveyed ; words at best are but a cover for thoughts, and sometimes convey quite the opposite meaning when used to express intuitive thought. No words, either written or spoken, should be taken in their literal sense only, the inner meaning should be sought by the light of intuition.