The Cloud of Forgetting

DISCOURSE FIVE

During Contemplation all creatures great and small
Past, present and future
And all the works of those self-same creatures
Must be hidden in a Cloud of Forgetfulness

If you proceed to enter into this cloud as I have instructed you, keep foremost in mind that there is one more thing you need to do. Just as the Cloud of Unknowing is above betwixt you and the Unborn Lord, so should you also put a Cloud of Forgetting beneath you and all created things. You may imagine that you are somehow far and away from the Blessed One because of this Cloud of Unknowing. But in reality you are from IT if you do not place a Cloud of Forgetting beneath you and all creatures that are constantly vying for your attention. When I refer to all creatures, I am not merely referring to them alone but also to the myriad things they are associated with. Here I make no exception. You must never associate yourself with any creature, either material or spiritual and whether they be good or evil. Let there be no misunderstanding: you are to put all of them and their deeds out of your mind permanently—i.e., beneath that Cloud of Forgetting.  

Even though in the past these associations have brought you some good merit, in this Contemplative Work they are a total hindrance. Remembrance can be a wonderful thing since the eyes of the spirit attempt to bring a ray of spiritual understanding to all undertakings; but if this spiritual faculty continues to be focused on things below then it shall have no room for your charge of being Undividedly One with the Unborn Lord. A cluttered mind leaves no room for the Unborn.

At the same time, it will do you no good to focus on those Holy things above, such as the Bodhisattvas and all their marvelous works; or Blessed Arya Tara or Avalokiteśvara in their works of compassion; or the myriad spiritual beings such as the devas who inspire you ever onwards in spiritual awareness and growth; or even the joys of Nirvana. Even though you believe that they are necessary in your spiritual formation, they too will prove to be an obstacle in your Unborn Union. This also extends to the inestimable attributes of the Blessed One Himself; it is far better that you simply rest in naked attentiveness AS HE IS IN ITSELF alone.

Cloud of Forgetting: I can remember that even as a young man I suffered from an endless array of forgetfulness. Looking back on it now I can see that it was a good thing, since it allowed me the good fortune of focusing and contemplating on the holy things of spiritual nature. This chapter is short but of crucial value and insight, for the Contemplative Way does not involve the use of intellection in thinking about the Unborn, or about ITs identification through use of ITs faculty of action. Meister Eckhart himself stated that one needs to “forget about God”. To enter into the Cloud of Unknowing is to rise above even Mind itself, and the Cloud of Forgetting blinds mind’s awareness faculty from anything that is not of the Unborn. Both clouds are necessary. John of the Cross referred to the Cloud of Forgetting as the Dark Night of the Senses.

Past Associations: it’s a good thing to recollect all those beautiful people and things that brought you great joy in your past, but as stated they will be nothing more than a direct and ongoing hindrance to spiritual growth in the Unborn. You are called to make a choice: either for past associations, or for total and unequivocal Union with the Unborn, minus all the chatter.

This even concerns all those good spiritual associations you once had and hold to be very dear—in essence, they are as nothing compared to what will be “even beyond experience” itself in Divine Unionship. Once that union occurs, all former angst will be eradicated.

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