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Gregory of Nyssa Quote – “A balanced happiness, a steady tranquility…”

There are varying degrees of spiritual illumination, which accounts both for the varying outlooks to be found among mystics and for the different kinds of glimpses among aspirants. All illuminations and all glimpses free the man from his negative qualities and base nature, but in the latter case only temporarily. He is able as a result, to see into his higher nature. In the first degree, it is as if a window covered with dirt were cleaned enough to reveal a beautiful garden outside it. He is still subject to the activity of thinking, the emotion of joy, and the discrimination between X and Y.

In the next and higher degree, it is as if the window were still more cleaned so that still more beauty is revealed beyond it. Here there are no thoughts to intervene between the seer and the seen. In the third degree, it is as if the window were thoroughly cleaned. Here there is no longer even a rapturous emotion but only a balanced happiness, a steady tranquility which, being beyond the intellect, cannot properly be described by the intellect.

Gregory of Nyssa (circa 335 – 395)

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