The Mystic Heart


"Natural mysticism has an inner dimension of consciousness itself. Some nature mystics acquire this realization through intense inner experience. ... In his novel Following Darkness, [Forrest] Reid records what is presumably his own experience:


'It was as if I had never realized how lovely the world was. I lay down on my back in the warm, dry moss and listened to the skylark singing ... It was a kind of leaping, exultant ecstasy, a bright, flame-like sound, rejoicing in itself. And then a curious experience befell me. ... The whole world seemed to be within me. It was within me that the trees waved their green branches; it was within me that the skylark was singing; it was within me that the hot sun shone; and that the shade was cool. A cloud rose in the sky, and passed in a light shower that pattered on the leaves, and I felt its freshness dropping into my soul, and I felt in all my being the delicious fragrance of the earth and the grass and the plants and the rich brown soil. I could have sobbed for joy.'


Forrest Reid's description is a unitive experience in the midst of nature, an advaitic container with surrounding nature as the content. It emphasizes the unity of the person with the natural world but the locus of this unitive perception - its direction ... is within. This within the self ... means that it is happening in consciousness, that all reality is mind-dependent. The dualism of the inner and outer breaks down under this intense immediacy of perception. An identity with consciousness itself surfaces and one simply knows everything in the range of perception as within." (pp183-184)

Wayne Teasdale


A marvelous book explicit with Wayne Teasdale's personal experiences and deep understanding of the wide-ranging nature of mystical experience and how this translates to religious concepts.