𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐂𝐥𝐨𝐮𝐝 𝐨𝐟 𝐔𝐧𝐤𝐧𝐨𝐰𝐢𝐧𝐠 ~ Christian Mysticism (2023)


Selected excerpts from the text, "The Cloud of Unknowing" - formatted for meditation/contemplation. A number of translations have been used but most were taken from Carmen Acevedo Butcher's translation.

The Cloud of Unknowing is an anonymous work of Christian mysticism, most likely a Carthusian monk, written in Middle English in the latter half of the 14th century. The text is a spiritual guide on contemplative prayer in the Late Middle Ages. The underlying message of this work suggests that the way to know God is to abandon consideration of God's particular activities and attributes, and be courageous enough to surrender one's mind and ego to the realm of "unknowing", at which point one may begin to glimpse the nature of God.

The Cloud of Unknowing draws on the mystical tradition of Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite and Christian Neoplatonism, which focuses on the via negativa road to discovering God as a pure entity, beyond any capacity of mental conception and so without any definitive image or form.

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With an empty mind and open heart.

Let yourself be naked before grace.

Let your mind rest in this dark awareness of God in all of this naked existence.

It is not who you are or what you've been that God sees with merciful eyes, but what you want to be.

Contemplative prayer, when done right, is the respectful love and ripe fruit.

It’s, the cloud of unknowing, the hidden love-longing offered by a pure spirit.

It, takes you into silence, far from thoughts and words.

It makes your prayer very short., In it.

You learn how to reject and forget.

The world.

God cannot be known by reason, nor by thought, caught, or sought by understanding.

But God can be love and chosen by the true.

Loving will of your heart.


The most ignorant person on earth can experience union with God in perfect love by practicing contemplation in the beauty of humility.


This work until you feel the delight of it.

Be, very careful how you spend your time.

There is nothing more precious.

In, the twinkling of an eye, heaven may be won or lost..

This work.

[Of contemplation] is far from any fantasy, false imagining, or strange opinion;, for these are produced not by the stirring of love, but by a proud, ingenious and fanciful intellect.


A proud, ingenious intellect must always be overcome if the work of contemplation is to be truly undertaken in purity of spirit.

The universes, which are amenable to the intellect, can never satisfy the instincts of the heart.

By love, God can be embraced and held, but not by thinking.

No matter.

How sacred, no thought can ever promise to help you in the work of contemplative prayer, because only love—not knowledge—can help us reach God.

Sometimes God may send out a ray of divine light, piercing this cloud of unknowing between you and the Divine and letting you see some of the ineffable mysteries.

You’ll feel on fire.

With this love.

I can’t describe this experience.

It’s beyond words.

My foolish, human tongue, can’t describe God’s, grace.

Even, if I dared, I would refuse, and that’s that.

So Lift up your heart to God, with a gentle stirring of love.


First time you practice contemplation, you’ll only experience a darkness, like a cloud of unknowing., You won’t know what this is.

You’ll only know that in your will, you feel a simple reaching out to the Divine.

When I say: ‘darkness’, I mean the absence of knowing.

Whatever, you don’t know and whatever you’ve forgotten are ‘dark’ to you, because you don’t see them with your spiritual, eyes., For the same reason, by ‘cloud’ I don’t mean a cloud in the sky, but a cloud of unknowing between you and God.”.

You must also know that this darkness and this cloud will always be between you and God.

Whatever you do.

We cannot penetrate this cloud of unknowing with any thoughts or through the intellect, but we can penetrate these clouds through love.

We may “shoot humble impulses of love” through the cloud and thereby access God, not with our thoughts but with our love.

This is an echo of Gregory.

The Great’s, well-known phrase, “Love itself is a kind of knowing.” So, be sure you make your home in this darkness and in this cloud of unknowing.

Stay there as long as you can, crying out to God over and over again with pure love.

It’s, the closest you can get to God here on earth, by waiting in this darkness and in this cloud.

Work at this diligently and God’s mercy will lead you there.


You are to experience God or to see God at all, insofar as it is possible here.

It must always be in this cloud.” So, I encourage you—bow eagerly to love.

Follow, its humble stirrings in your heart.


It guide you in this life and it will bring you safely to eternal bliss in the next.

Love is the essence of all goodness.

Without it, no kind work is ever begun or finished.

Simply put, love is good, will, in harmony with God.

Simply, sit, relaxed and quiet.

Center all your attention and desire on God, and let this be the sole concern of your mind and heart.


You want to gather this focus into one word, making it easier to grasp, select a little word of one syllable, not two., The shorter, the word, the more it helps the work of the spirit.

God or love works, well.

Pick, one of these or any other word you like.

As long as it is one syllable.

Fasten to your heart., Fix your mind on it permanently.

So nothing can dislodge it.

Don’t analyze, words at length because studying them isn’t the same as doing the work of contemplative prayer.

Only grace gives this gift.

Be as simple in your loving contemplation of God’s being as you are in the naked contemplation of your own self.

Don’t, analyze, God’s being or yours.

Let go of thinking, and worship the Divine, with all that you are, as you are, embracing it fully, for its own sake, only, nothing more, because the happy essence both of God and of you is God.


You want to make this cloud an integral part of your life, so you can live and work there.

You must do one more thing: complete the cloud of unknowing with the cloud of forgetting.


The cloud of unknowing above you and between you and God, add the cloud of forgetting beneath you, between you and creation.


The cloud of unknowing makes you feel alienated from God, that’s only because you’ve not yet put a cloud of forgetting between you and everything in creation., When I, say ‘everything in creation’, I mean not only the creatures themselves, but also everything they do and are, as well as the circumstances in which they find themselves.

There are no exceptions.

You must forget, everything.

Hide, all created things, material and spiritual, good and bad, under the cloud of forgetting.

As long as you’re thinking about anything, it’s, an obstacle between you and God, and the more you have in your mind.

That is not God, the further you are from him.


Let go of every clever, persuasive, thought.

Put it down and cover it with a thick cloud of forgetting.


Mind is always distorted in some way, warping, our work; and at its worst.

Our intellect can lead us to great error.

When, distracting thoughts, press down on you when they stand between you and God and stubbornly demand.

Your attention, pretend you don’t even notice: them.

Try, looking over their shoulders, as if you’re searching for something else, and you are.


Something else is God, hidden in a cloud of unknowing.


This the work of contemplation will start getting easier for you., When, tried and understood.

This spiritual technique is nothing but an intense longing for God, the desire to feel and see the Divine as we can here.

This longing is true.

Love and love always deserves the peace it wins.


You can sit and do nothing.

Then you can do virtually anything.

There’s another trick.

You can try, if you want., When, exhausted from fighting your thoughts, when you’re unable to put them down, fall down before them and cower like a captive or a coward, overcome in battle.

Give up.

Accept that it’s foolish for you to fight them any longer.


This and you’ll find that in the hands of your enemies, you are surrendering to God.

Let yourself feel defeated.


Your failure.

And always keep this plan in mind because when you try, it, you’ll discover that you melt like water.

During contemplative prayer steer, clear of withdrawing into yourself.


Also don’t want you outside, above, behind or on one side or the other of yourself.

‘Where then,’ you ask, ‘will I be? If I.

Take your advice, I’ll end up “nowhere”!’ You’re, right., Well, said.

That’s, exactly where I want you, because nowhere physically is everywhere.


Make sure that your contemplative work is fully detached from the physical.

Obviously, during contemplative prayer, your body’s five senses and your soul’s powers will think that you are doing nothing because they find nothing to feed on, but don’t.

Let that stop you—keep on working at this ‘nothing’.

As long as you are doing it for God’s love.

Persevere in contemplation with a renewed longing in your will to have God, remembering that your intellect cannot possess him.

For I would rather be nowhere.

Physically, wrestling with this obscure nothing, than be a powerful, rich lord, able to go wherever I want, whenever I want, always amusing myself with every ‘something’ that I own.

So, abandon the world’s ‘everywhere’ and ‘something’.

In exchange for this infinitely more valuable nowhere and nothing.

Don’t be bothered that your intellect is unable to comprehend.


I love it even more for its inscrutability.

Its infinite worth makes it incomprehensible.


Remember that you can more easily feel this.

Nothing than see it.

It can be experienced, but not grasped.

That’s, why it seems completely hidden and totally dark to those who’ve only been looking at it for a very short time.

Let me clarify ‘dark’ here.

When, a person experiences this nothing, the soul is blinded by an abundance of spiritual light and not by actual darkness or by an absence of physical light.

So, who labels this ‘nothing’? That would be the outer self.


Inner self calls it ‘all’, because experiencing this ‘nothing’ gives us an intuitive sense of all creation, both physical and spiritual, without paying special attention to any one.


So, work diligently in this nothing, which is nowhere.

Put aside, your exterior ways of knowing, such as your five senses and their objects of interest, because I’m telling you that this contemplative work can’t be accomplished by them.


Has none of these dimensions.

In fact, nothing spiritual! Has these characteristics.

So, stop trying to work with your body’s senses in any way.

Abandon them entirely.

Those people who start the inner work of contemplation, with the belief that they’re supposed to hear, smell, see, taste or touch spiritual things, inside or outside, are truly misled.

They work against nature, taking the wrong approach.

Although God has ordained that our body’s senses should teach us about all external and physical things, I mean that in no way do the senses’ various positive activities help us understand: spiritual things.

Whenever we hear or read about something that our bodies’ superficial senses cannot describe to us in any way.

We can be sure that this thing is spiritual and not physical.

We have the same experience in contemplative work when we use our spiritual sense in our struggle to know God.

It doesn’t matter how much profound wisdom we possess about created spiritual beings;.

Our understanding cannot help us gain knowledge about any uncreated spiritual being, who is God alone.


The failure of understanding can help us.


We reach the end of what we know, that’s, where we find God.


Why St.

Dionysius said that the best, most divine knowledge of God is that which is known by not-knowing.

When, your soul is engaged in contemplation.

It doesn’t worry or feel doubt.

It’s totally at peace, because it knows exactly what it’s supposed to do.


When practicing this prayer, your soul is purified and transformed.

You become discerning.


You no longer want to wander from the path as much.

Go forth and gently conquer, then.

Be, humble and passionate in this work.


Contemplation begins on earth, but continues in eternity.

Love, never ends.


𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐂𝐥𝐨𝐮𝐝 𝐨𝐟 𝐔𝐧𝐤𝐧𝐨𝐰𝐢𝐧𝐠 ~ Christian Mysticism? ›

The Cloud of Unknowing (Middle English: The Cloude of Unknowyng) is an anonymous work of Christian mysticism written in Middle English in the latter half of the 14th century. The text is a spiritual guide on contemplative prayer in the Late Middle Ages.

What is the significance of cloud of unknowing? ›

The “cloud of unknowing” refers to that state of being that is not of the sensible or the mental nor is it unified with God. Zen calls this samadhi, a largely thought-free state in which all is gathered into one.

What is the cloud of forgetting cloud of unknowing? ›

Clouds of Forgetting, Clouds of Unknowing is a work of musical contemplation, an attempt to consecrate a small time and space for extraordinary listening.

What is the cloud of unknowing meditation? ›

The Cloud of Unknowing is a mystical Christian work from the fourteenth century. As a detailed insight into the "work" of contemplation, it contains many useful hints and tips for the meditator wishing to grow in union with the Divine.

Is there such a thing as Christian mysticism? ›

Christian mysticism. Mysticism is the sense of some form of contact with the divine or transcendent, often understood in Christian tradition as involving union with God. Mysticism played an important role in the history of Christian religion and emerged as a living influence in modern times.

Is cloud of unknowing biblical? ›

The Cloud of Unknowing (Middle English: The Cloude of Unknowyng) is an anonymous work of Christian mysticism written in Middle English in the latter half of the 14th century. The text is a spiritual guide on contemplative prayer in the Late Middle Ages.

What is the opening prayer for the cloud of unknowing? ›

GOD, unto whom all hearts be open, and unto whom all will speaketh, and unto whom no privy thing is hid. I beseech Thee so for to cleanse the intent of mine heart with the unspeakable gift of Thy grace, that I may perfectly love Thee, and worthily praise Thee. Amen.

What is the cloud of unknowing love quote? ›

It's the cloud of unknowing, the hidden love-longing offered by a pure spirit. It's the Ark of the Covenant.

What is the cloud that hasn't moved? ›

Unlike most other clouds that are carried along by the wind, lenticular cloud, as it is sometimes called, appears fixed in space, never moving from the spot where it has formed.

What is the deepest state of meditation called? ›

Samma-samadhi, "right samadhi," is the last of the eight elements of the Noble Eightfold Path. When samadhi is developed, things are understood as they really are. Samma-samadhi is explicated as dhyana, which is traditionally interpreted as one-pointed concentration.

What is the top secret of meditation? ›

The secret to meditation is finding the technique that most quickly helps the meditator focus their mind. This requires experimentation and time for the mind to grow used to the new technique.

What is the unknowing prayer for Thomas Merton? ›

“My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so.

What is the mystical path of Christianity? ›

'Mystical Christianity' looks at the development of a form of Christianity that, rather than being based around a higher power, focuses on the power from within. God may still be worshipped as Father and Son, but the Holy Spirit is more prominent in this branch of Christianity.

Do mystics believe in God? ›

Transcending the spiritual

Western mysticism's perception of God as utterly transcending both material and spiritual creation has led to descriptions of him as the Ineffable, the Infinite, the God beyond being, the God beyond being and nonbeing, and the God whose essence can never be known.

What are the 4 aspects of mysticism? ›

William James' four characteristics of mystical experience: ineffable, noetic, transient and passive.

What does cloud mean in Hebrews 12 1? ›

The use of this word is rather unusual in the New Testament. It is the only time in the entire Bible, Old and New Testament both, that the word “cloud” is used metaphorically to refer to a mass of people. (Other words for “cloud” refer to God being both manifested, and hidden, by a cloud!)

What does God say about the clouds? ›

So it is that the first mention of the topic of clouds in the Bible is found in Genesis 9:13 which states: “I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth.” The bow here is the Rainbow which appears after the rain or storm clouds and it is here that God designates Page ...

What is the cloud of God? ›

The word “glory” refers to the majesty and splendour of God. The Hebrew word literally means “weight.” In the Old Testament, God's glory appeared in a visible form manifested as a cloud or pillar of fire. The cloud came down on Mt. Sinai and filled both Moses' tabernacle and Solomon's temple.

What are the 3 symbols of the Holy Spirit? ›

The symbols of the Holy Spirit are: Dove, Fire, Oil, Wind and Water. The Dove: This can be seen in the description of the baptism of Christ (Matt. 3:16; Mark 1:10; Luke 3:22; John 1:30-34).

What are the 7 manifestations of the Holy Spirit? ›

The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit are wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord. While some Christans accept these as a definitive list of specific attributes, others understand them merely as examples of the Holy Spirit's work through the faithful.

What does a black cloud mean in the Bible? ›

Text: 1 Samuel 16:14-16, 23. An evil cloud refers to an evil aura. Everyone in life has an aura. It is a distinctive atmosphere surrounding a person; it could either be from God or from a demon.

What is the hidden God prayer? ›

HIDDEN God, devoutly I adore Thee, truly present underneath these veils: all my heart subdues itself before Thee, since it all before Thee faints and fails. Visus, tactus, gustus in te fallitur, sed auditu solo tuto creditur; credo quidquid dixit Dei Filius: nil hoc verbo Veritatis verius.

What is the prayer to release souls from purgatory? ›

Eternal Father, I offer Thee the Most Precious Blood of Thy Divine Son, Jesus, in union with the Masses said throughout the world today, for all the Holy Souls in Purgatory, for sinners every where, for sinners in the universal church, those in my own home and within my family. Amen.

What is the prayer to the Holy Spirit that never fails? ›

Prayer Come, O Blessed Spirit of Fortitude, uphold my soul in time of trouble and adversity, sustain my efforts after holiness, strengthen my weakness, give me courage against all the assaults of my enemies, that I may never be overcome and separated from Thee, my God and greatest good. Amen.

What is the famous line in endless love? ›

Jade Butterfield : My first love was everything all at once. The kind you never fall back from. Never try to. Never want to.

Who said there is always light behind the clouds? ›

Quote by Louisa May Alcott: “There is always light behind the clouds”

What is true love quotes by Khalil Gibran? ›

Love gives naught but itself and takes naught but from itself. Love possesses not nor would it be possessed; For love is sufficient unto love. When you love you should not say, “God is in my heart,” but rather, “I am in the heart of God.”

What is the rarest cloud on Earth? ›

Called noctilucent clouds (meaning "night-shining" clouds in Latin) or NLCs, these strange-looking patterns in the sky are the highest, driest, coldest and rarest clouds on Earth, according to a 2018 study of the phenomenon.

Why is everyone shifting to cloud? ›

Lowered operating expenses. Because the cloud requires less infrastructure to maintain, you require fewer staff and fewer resources to maintain it. Moving to the cloud helps you reduce your operating costs in the long run. 3.

Can we live without the cloud? ›

The Short Answer: Clouds play an important role in both warming and cooling our planet. Clouds give us a cooler climate on Earth than we would enjoy without clouds. However, as Earth's climate warms, we won't always be able to count on this cooling effect.

Which is the powerful meditation in the world? ›

Yoga Nidra: The most powerful meditation technique to restore the body and mind.

What happens when you enter a deep state of meditation? ›

Going deep means your mind is going from surface awareness to subtle awareness, and ultimately to no awareness. As your mind travels through the various degrees of awareness, you'll be thinking various thoughts, many of which won't have anything to do with meditation.

What religion is known for meditation? ›

Perhaps unsurprisingly, many Buddhists and substantial numbers of Hindus say they meditate regularly, according to Pew Research Center's 2014 Religious Landscape Study. Indeed, two-thirds of Buddhists and one-third of Hindus in the survey say they meditate at least once a week.

What are the dark sides of meditation? ›

You might begin to feel detached from what's happening. You might begin to feel separate from your thoughts and feelings. You might begin to feel trapped in your head. You might also get the feeling that your mind is deluding you into thinking you're in control when, in truth, things are being determined for you.

How to see God through meditation? ›

Calling to God as light is one of the ways how we can connect to God through meditation. Spend time in meditation gazing intently and with deep devotion at the point between the eyebrows, and you will see and feel His response there.

What happens at the highest stage of meditation? ›

Nirvikalpa samadhi: This is the stage of complete absorption when your body, mind, and object of meditation become one, and your connection to the material world ceases to exist. In some Hindu yoga traditions, this highest state of samadhi is called sahaja samadhi or asamprajnata samadhi.

What is the something's lost prayer? ›

Something's lost and must be found! Dear St. Anthony, please come around: something is lost, and it cannot be found. Let me rather lose all things than lose God, my supreme good. Let me never suffer the loss of my greatest treasure, eternal life with God.

What is the pain of unanswered prayer? ›

On the cross, Jesus also experienced the pain of unanswered prayer (see Matthew 27:46). When he asked his Father why he had forsaken him, no answer was given. That silence is the ultimate answer to all our prayers. God's refusal of his Son on that day made it possible for us to be saved.

What is the paradox of prayer? ›

Authentic reflection is only a mirror of prayer, the longing for something certain, like a tree. Our ecological ideations are pretexts for paradoxical prayer, because we utter those words and intentions while we are in the act of both living and dying. Yet, instinct guides us toward something better, not worse.

What religion believes in mystic? ›

God-mysticism is basically that of the spirit returning to its infinite base, which is ' The Ultimate Divine. ' God-mysticism is common of most forms of Eastern mysticism, but more characteristic of the West. This aspect of mysticism is found in religions such as: Christianity, Islam, Judaism, and Hinduism.

What is the difference between mystic and spiritual? ›

Mysticism entails acts where a person feels a union with a perceived Supreme being (or beings) and is usually thought to entail a particular doctrine of belief. Spirituality does not involve the extrasensory perception that mysticism does, and spirituality is not tied to any formal belief system.

What are the divine creatures in Christianity? ›

Numerous legendary creatures are attested in Christian mythology. These include the Behemoth, Leviathan, Angels, Demons, Nephilim, Re'em, Ziz and dragons.

What are the three types of mystics? ›

There are three types of mysticism in the history of Judaism: the ecstatic, the contemplative, and the esoteric. Although they are distinct, they frequently overlap in practice.

How do you know if you are a mystic? ›

"A mystic is a person who has a direct experience of the sacred, unmediated by conventional religious rituals or intermediaries," Mirabai Starr, author of Wild Mercy: Living the Fierce and Tender Wisdom of the Women Mystics, tells OprahMag.com. Starr has both written about and translated original mystical texts.

Are Pentecostals mystics? ›

Pentecostals can be understood as contemporary Christian mystics, and doing so can aid one in both understanding and caring for them. The task of understanding them is facilitated by this category in that it allows one to inhabit a different mindset from what is typical in contemporary settings.

What is the root of mysticism? ›

Etymology. "Mysticism" is derived from the Greek μύω, meaning "I conceal", and its derivative μυστικός, mystikos, meaning 'an initiate'.

What do mystics seek? ›

The gnostics of late antiquity, Hindu mystics, and Buddhists have sought liberation from ignorance through the apprehension of truth, and Christian and Sufi mystics seek consolation in God.

What is negative mysticism? ›

In Christianity: Negative mysticism: God and the Godhead. The most daring forms of Christian mysticism have emphasized the absolute unknowability of God. They suggest that true contact with the transcendent involves going beyond all that we speak of as God—even the Trinity—to an inner “God beyond God,”…

What is the biblical significance of the pillar of cloud? ›

The pillars are said to have guided the Israelites through the desert during the Exodus from Egypt. The pillar of cloud provided a visible guide for the Israelites during the day, while the pillar of fire lit their way by night.

What is the significance of cloud? ›

Today, cloud technology means that companies can scale and adapt at speed and scale, accelerate innovation, drive business agility, streamline operations, and reduce costs.

Why did God set a rainbow in the cloud? ›

God has not just seen a natural phenomenon and been reminded of the covenant; God has intentionally placed the bow in the clouds to serve as a reminder of the covenant and a reminder of the promise to refrain from destructive action towards the earth.

What does Exodus 13 21 mean? ›

Exodus 13:21–22 Reminds Us that God is Always With Us

Sometimes we want to obey God, we want to follow his will, but we're not sure exactly what the right decision is to make in every circumstance.

What is the veil of clouds quotes? ›

The veil that clouds your eyes shall be lifted by the hands that wove it, And the clay that fills your ears shall be pierced by those fingers that kneaded it.

What are the three purposes of clouds? ›

No matter what shape or size they are, clouds are essential to life on Earth. During the day they help protect us from the sun's intense heat. At night they act as a blanket to keep us from getting too cold. They also provide precipitation and signal weather changes and patterns.

What is the most important element of the cloud? ›

Scalability, security, cost savings, integration/connectivity, and stability/availability are all important elements of cloud-based applications.

What do clouds teach us? ›

Laying and watching the clouds teaches us to slow down and live in the moment. This is an important skill for children to learn. It helps to stay connected to yourself and be not just in touch with your emotions, but also in control of them. Patience takes practice, and watching clouds is a great way to practice.

What is the prayer to release all souls from purgatory? ›

Eternal Father, I offer Thee the Most Precious Blood of Thy Divine Son, Jesus, in union with the masses said throughout the world today, for all the holy souls in purgatory, for sinners everywhere, for sinners in the universal church, those in my own home and within my family. Amen. St.

What is wordless prayer? ›

Silent prayer is, quite simply, the practice of sitting in silence, quieting one's own thoughts, and making oneself present to God.

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