Richard Maurice Bucke's book, 'Cosmic Consciousness: A Study in the Evolution of the Human Mind
' is a study of the mystical vision of many great religious and secular figures including The Buddha, Jesus Christ, Walt Whitman and Baruch Spinoza. Published in 1901, it is a perennial title, with a great deal of inspiring prose for the spiritually inclined.
John Ypes, 'St John of the Cross' is a Catholic saint famous for the coining of 'The Dark Night of the Soul
' and is also said to be one of the greatest poets, religious or secular, in the Spanish language. As a student of religion in the early 80's, I was really moved by this poem, which provides an account of a mystical experience and the 'unknowing', of going beyond all knowledge and all science. It is not presented as a case for Catholicism, and I am not a Catholic. Nevertheless I pay homage to St John of the Cross as a great mystic and poet and am moved by the vividness of this account.
"I entered, but I knew not where, and there I stood, not knowing, all science transcending.
I knew not where I entered, for when I stood within, not knowing where I was, I heard great things. What I heard, I will not tell; I was there as one who knew not, all science transcending.
Of peace and devotion, the knowledge was perfect, in solitude profound; the right way was clear, but so secret was it, that I stood babbling, all science transcending.
I stood enraptured in ecstasy, beside myself, and in my every sense no sense remained. My spirit was endowed with understanding, understanding nought, all science transcending.
The higher I ascended, the less I understood. It is the dark cloud illumining the night. Therefore he who understands knows nothing, ever all science transcending.
He who really ascends so high annihilates himself, and all his previous knowledge seems ever less and less; his knowledge so increases that he knows nothing, all science transcending.
This knowing that knows nothing is so potent in its might that the prudent in their reasoning can never defeat it; for their wisdom never reaches to the understanding that understands nothing, all science transcending
This sovereign wisdom is of an excellence so high that no faculty nor science can ever unto it attain. He who shall overcome himself by the knowledge which knows nothing will always rise, all science transcending.
And if you would listen, this sovereign wisdom does consist in a sense profound of the essence of God; it is an act of His compassion, to leave us, nought understanding, all science transcending."
Quoted in Cosmic Consciousness, R.M. Bucke