“Stanzas Concerning an Ecstasy Experienced in High Contemplation”

“Stanzas Concerning an Ecstasy Experienced in High Contemplation” 
By St. JOHN OF THE CROSS

I only come across Dr. Saint John of the Cross this morning in a paper submitted to Academia.edu by Michael McGlynn, an Associate Professor of Literature at National Taiwan University.

Hitherto I had only ever come across St.John in earnest, turgid religious literature I never bothered to finish. Had I persevered I may have made my first discovery not only of St.John but of the word mystic, as well as my first introduction to the experience of a mystic in this, one of St.John’s most famous poems where he validates the mystical experience of Reality (MER) as transcending all human mental, physical, ability to know or express ultimate existence.

That I didn’t, suggests to me I was not meant to find out and understand for myself the meaning of my direct mystical experiences of Reality until now, much later in life.

I cannot express how profoundly moved, humbled and blessed I am by this late, validating discovery. I recognise every word, in its most metaphysical sense.

Enjoy:


Stanzas Concerning an Ecstasy Experienced in High Contemplation 

By St. JOHN OF THE CROSS

I entered into unknowing
Yet when I saw myself there
Without knowing where I was
I understood great things;
I shall not say what I felt
For I remained in unknowing
Transcending all knowledge.

That perfect knowledge
Was of peace and holiness
Held at no remove
In profound solitude;
It was something so secret
That I was left stammering,
Transcending all science/knowledge.

I was so overwhelmed,
So absorbed and withdrawn,
That my senses were left
Deprived of all their sensing,
And my spirit was given
An understanding while not understanding,
Transcending all science/knowledge.

He who truly arrives there
Cuts free from himself;
All that he knew before
Now seems worthless,
And his knowledge so soars
That he is left in unknowing
Transcending all science/knowledge.
   
This knowledge in unknowing
Is so overwhelming
That wise men disputing
Can never overthrow it,
For their knowledge does not reach
To the understanding of not understanding,
Transcending all science/knowledge.

And this supreme knowledge
Is so exalted
That no power of man or learning
Can grasp it;
He who masters himself
Will, with knowledge in unknowing,
Always be transcending.

And if you should want to hear:
This highest knowledge lies
In the loftiest sense
Of the essence of God;
This is a work of His mercy,
To leave one without understanding,
Transcending all science/knowledge.

Mysticexperiences.net

3 thoughts on ““Stanzas Concerning an Ecstasy Experienced in High Contemplation”

  1. Wonderful! What yearning we humans have for such a state, and not without reason given the human condition. I think increasingly about such experiences. The desire certainly explains my love of fairy stories and the science fiction of Ian Banks. The trick of course is to live in that blissful state permanently. Perhaps that is how the Christians envisage heaven. Hopefully they will cut a heathen or two in on the deal! A

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  2. That is a marvelous verse. St. John of the Cross is one of my favorite mystics. Two more quotations from him:

    “The soul lives by that which it loves rather than in the body which it animates. For it has not its life in the body, but rather gives it to the body and lives in that which it loves.”

    “All that the imagination can imagine and the reason conceive and understand in this life is not, and cannot be, a proximate means of union with God.”

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  3. Such comforting, creative sharing of the existence of the Transcendent experience!

    Makes you wonder where humanity gets its overwhelming admiration of its exaggerated freewill from, ie: ideologies and all that kind of unrealistic hubristc clutter. (Ye olde Spirit versus Matter struggle?).

    Thank you, Ron.

    Keith.

    Liked by 1 person

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