ADVENT WITH EVELYN UNDERHILL: Discipline

ADVENT WITH EVELYN UNDERHILL: Discipline

From The Life of the Spirit and the Life of Today

All normal men and women possess, at least in a rudimentary form, some intuition of the transcendental; shown in their power of experiencing beauty or love.  In some it is dominant emerging easily and without help; in others it is latent and must be developed in the right way.  In others again it may exist in virtual conflict with a strongly realistic outlook; gathering way until it claims its rights at last in a psychic storm.  Its emergence, however achieved, is a part – and for our true life, by far the most important part – or that outcropping and overflowing into consciousness of the marginal faculties which is now being recognized as essential to all artistic and creative activities; and as playing, too, a large part in the regulation of mental and bodily health.

All the great religions have implicitly understood – though without analysis – the vast importance of these spiritual intuitions and faculties lying below the surface of the everyday mind; and have perfected machinery tending to secure their release and their training.  This is of two kinds: first, religious ceremonial, addressing itself to corporate feeling; next the discipline of meditation and prayer, which educates the individual to the same ends, gradually developing the powers of the foreconscious region, steadying them, and bringing them under the control of the purified will.  Without some such education, widely as its details may vary, there can be no real living of the spiritual life.

 

 

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