How to proceed in Contemplation;
Verily, the best work above all others.
Lift up your heart and mind to the Blessed One, stirring within your depths naught but Him alone. Focus exclusively on IT and no-thing else—this is to be your sole concern. Be no longer troubled about the created things of the world, whether human, animal, or lowly flora. This includes all your former loves and relationships. Just let them be and take no further thought or concern about them.
This is known as the Contemplative work of the Spirit that pleases the Unborn Lord above all else. All the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas and Dharma Protectors take great joy in this endeavor and hasten to assist you in your determined efforts. Mara and his evil minions are enraged when you engage in this work, and will stop at nothing to forestall and destroy it. Even though you may not understand how, but all the sentient beings and worlds are marvelously enriched by your labors. Yea, even the wretched souls in Avīci Hell are deeply touched and their agonies soothed by the effects of this contemplative work; in turn, you too are purified and made whole. Let it be made known that this is the sweetest of all exercises, most pleasing to the Blessed One above all others; yet most difficult to accomplish in itself and by yourself without the aid of divine agencies.
Stop wavering but proceed unhindered with great joy as your servant. In the beginning, you will experience only a lingering sense of nothingness hovering about your mind—a cloud of unknowing. Try as you might to overcome this, know that it is good and an invitation to be drawn ever more closely to your Unborn Lord. IT will abide undeterred betwixt you and the Divine Absolute. Above all, never fear IT but instead learn to be at home within IT. Return to IT again and again. It’s the closest way you can experience the Blessed One in this lifetime. So then, trust in IT wholeheartedly and you will soon come to that place that is reserved for you alone.
Early intimations within The Cloud that speak of the gentle stirrings of Divine Love that is experienced only in the Contemplative-Way. Once engaged in wholeheartedly, you will no longer feel the need for creature comforts but only solace in IT alone.
IT: this form of address will be found throughout the work and refers to the Unborn Lord, as well as that Cloud of Unknowing that works in ways of gentle darkness within your spirit. It refers to THAT which is Unborn, Uncomposed, Undying, and Uncreated.
The original author knew intuitively that this form of contemplative work alone offers great comfort, not only to the adept who is engaged in it, but through IT by extending Divine Grace to all others as well. The Work Alone can and does achieve this. It’s a two-way vehicle—both the one engaged in IT and others somehow mysteriously receive this form of grace.
Cloud of Unknowing: first reference to The Cloud within the work. As stated above, never fight against IT but welcome IT unequivocally. It’s only in this fashion, by returning to IT again and again that the doors of the unknowable and unnamable will be opened. IT alone will introduce the way of the via negativa that is the best course of sharing in that divine intimacy.