willbulow's picture

"That a man shall not take ensample at the bodily ascension of Christ, for to strain his imagination upwards bodily in the time of prayer: and that time, place, and body, these three should be forgotten in all ghostly working."

This is the third chapter whose "title" warns us not to think in terms of physical direction in the performance of this work. As in the previous chapters, so here, we can find other things that could as well be taken as the topic. One I find in this case is, he mentions that there is more like a change than a local movement in this work. There seems to be a certain change of consciousness that's almost automatic, almost by definition the result of forgetting time, place, and body. Maybe here again, though, we should guard against thinking that this is the purpose. There should be no other purpose than drawing closer to God as we work in this exercise.

scott412's picture

in here or out there

There is no way to address a question like this in totality since there is no way to describe God in totality. God is always near us,it is we who distance ourselves from God. that is the purpose of spiritual practices such as fasting and saying short prayers over and over such as the Jesus prayer. through the exercises we put ourselves aside and allow God to act. In seeking God within we necessarily experience God in the out there. For the ancient mystics of the Eastern Orthodox tradition out there was often the experience of the un created light. That experience only occurs when one has sought God inside and with great love. Love is the prerequiste for all we do as mystics or those who pray unceassingly. Please forgive my spelling.

One warning though. One should not seek to experience visions for they are often detours that we are not to go on. The ancients warned against visions and ecstatsy. Also be careful of comparing what is of the Christian walk and other ways. There is only one way to God and that is Christ and him crucified. That must be your starting point and always your ending.