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The miscellaneous writings of Mark Bridgeman

Love and Mysticism

Anyone who has been following my posts on this site will know and understand that I’ve become more philosophical over the years. I’ve spent most of my life finding meaning via moments of epiphany, the interpretation of dreams and visions because I was unsatisfied with the stock answers given to me by religion.

The rejection of religion made a philosopher out of me, this, in turn, drove me into the sciences.

In order to understand the big things in the universe, you have to look at the very small and vice versa so that’s cosmology and quantum physics took care of right there. Then there’s also the things in between from the very small to the very large, from bacteria to blue whales, everything that exists factors into the equation.

I can’t understand it all though, no one person can hold the entirety of all human knowledge in their minds, at best a dedicated polymath could only manage a fraction of it all, a mere mortal like me even less…

Thus by extension, it must be true that no human being can manage to contain the knowledge of God, perhaps at best a tiny fraction of it, limited by our senses and our ability to understand.

When I was young I made the mistake of thinking that my moments of epiphany were applicable to all, it’s like being shown a path up the mountain and believing that there’s only one path and that everyone would do well to use it. Yet mountains can be climbed in all directions and there are many paths to the top. Some are deep, some are shallow, some easy others are hard. Meanwhile, all you can see is your own path down the mountain, you can’t see the summit, not yet. You can piece together your own path and the lessons it’s taught you and you might be able to glean the way to the summit, but that’s it. Your experience will change with every step.

Climbing the mountain is a good analogy for the spiritual life. Others might climb a similar path or a different path entirely, but the view from the top will ultimately be the same. All religions of quality preach about Love, the love that people should have for each other, the love of all living things and the love of God radiating from high like a blissful and divine sun, shining love on all things below it.

All prophets of God ultimately preach about love. Love is the secret power of the entire universe, which itself is a manifestation of love on a cosmic scale. The core of God’s being is love.

I remember reading some years ago that the ancient Jewish mystics used to perceive God as a cloud of the purest white light, that the essential core of God’s being is love, to become God-like is to become loving, not the cloying type of selfish love that seeks to hold and restrict others, but the gentle and everlasting love that comes from wishing the people that you hold dear to you the best and most bountiful happiness. The love that takes pleasure in and is supportive of their choices for good or for bad. The same love that is forgiving and compassionate, righteous not vengeful or punitive, because the desire to control other people, manage their lives, prevent them from making choices that might be good for them and then seeks to punish them for exercising their free will and making those choices anyway is not love; that’s merely attachment that plenty of people have been conditioned to think is love. Sex is also not love, but loving sex can be great!

Love does not seek to restrict or hold back, love is the ultimate in friendly blessings, the purest and noblest of all human feelings. To be loving is to be close to God.

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”

Saint Paul (Saul of Tarsus) 1 Corinthians 13 – New International Version.

“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.

God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

We love because he first loved us. Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.”

1 John Chapter 4 – God’s Love and Ours – New International Version.

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