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On Cleaving To God
Chapter 4

How man's activity should be purely in the intellect and not in the senses

   Happy therefore is the person who by continual removal of fantasies and
   images, by turning within, and raising the mind to God, finally manages
   to dispense with the products of the imagination, and by so doing works
   within, nakedly and simply, and with a pure understanding and will, on
   the the simplest of all objects, God. So eliminate from your mind all
   fantasies, objects, images and shapes of all things other than God, so
   that, with just naked understanding, intent and will, your practice
   will be concerned with God himself within you. For this is the end of
   all spiritual exercises - to turn the mind to the Lord God and rest in
   him with a completely pure understanding and a completely devoted will,
   without the entanglements and fantasies of the imagination. This sort
   of exercise is not practised by fleshly organs nor by the exterior
   senses, but by that by which one is indeed a man. For a man is
   precisely understanding and will. For that reason, in so far as a man
   is still playing with the products of the imagination and the senses,
   and holds to them, it is obvious that he has not yet emerged from the
   motivation and limitations of his animal nature, that is of that which
   he shares in common with the animals. For these know and feel objects
   by means of recognised shapes and sense impressions and no more, since
   they do not possess the higher powers of the soul. But it is different
   with man, who is created in the image and likeness of God with
   understanding, will, and free choice, through which he should be
   directly, purely and nakedly impressed and united with God, and firmly
   adhere to him. For this reason the Devil tries eagerly and with all his
   power to hinder this practice so far as he can, being envious of this
   in man, since it is a sort of prelude and initiation of eternal life.
   So he is always trying to draw man's mind away from the Lord God, now
   by temptations or passions, now by superfluous worries and pointless
   cares, now by restlessness and distracting conversation and senseless
   curiosity, now by the study of subtle books, irrelevant discussion,
   gossip and news, now by hardships, now by opposition, etc. Such matters
   may seem trivial enough and hardly sinful, but they are a great
   hindrance to this holy exercise and practice. Therefore, even if they
   may appear useful and necessary, they should be rejected, whether great
   or small, as harmful and dangerous, and put out of our minds. Above all
   therefore it is necessary that things heard, seen, done and said, and
   other such things, must be received without adding things from the
   imagination, without mental associations and without emotional
   involvement, and one should not let past or future associations,
   implications or constructs of the imagination form and grow. For when
   constructs of the imagination are not allowed to enter the memory and
   mind, a man is not hindered, whether he be engaged in prayer,
   meditation, or reciting psalms, or in any other practice or spiritual
   exercise, nor will they recur again. So commit yourself confidently and
   without hesitation, all that you are, and everything else, individually
   and in general, to the unfailing and totally reliable providence of
   God, in silence and in peace, and he will fight for you. He will
   liberate you and comfort you more fully, more effectively and more
   satisfactorily than if you were to dream about it all the time, day and
   night, and were to cast around frantically all over the place with the
   futile and confused thoughts of your mind in bondage, nor will you wear
   out your mind and body, wasting your time, and stupidly and pointlessly
   exhausting your strength. So accept everything, separately and in
   general, wherever it comes from and whatever its origin, in silence and
   peace, and with an equal mind, as coming to you from a father's hand
   and his divine providence. So render your imagination bare of the
   images of all physical things as is appropriate to your state and
   profession, so that you can cling to him with a bare and undivided
   mind, as you have so often and so completely vowed to do, without
   anything whatever being able to come between your soul and him, so that
   you can pass purely and unwaveringly from the wounds of his humanity
   into the light of his divinity.
    







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