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The Cloude of Unknowyng [PDF / EPUB] The Cloude of Unknowyng Widely considered a hallmark of Western literature and spirituality, The Cloud of Unknowing is an anonymous English monk s sublime expression of what separates God from humanity Originally written in Widely considered a hallmark of Western literature and spirituality, The Cloud of Unknowing is an anonymous English monk s sublime expression of what separates God The Cloude PDF/EPUB or from humanity originally written in the th century, now part of the HarperCollins Spiritual classics series, this beautiful contemplative resource, has been embraced for hundreds of years for its simple, engaging style and spiritual truths As the unknown author assures us, if you are to experience Him or to see Him at all, insofar as it is possible here, it must always be in this cloud The Cloud of Unknowing.

About the Author: Anonymous

Books can be attributed to Anonymous for several reasons They are officially published under that name They are traditional stories not attributed to a specific The Cloude PDF/EPUB or author They are religious texts not generally attributed to a specific author Books whose authorship is merely uncertain should be attributed to.

10 thoughts on “The Cloude of Unknowyng

  1. says:

    This beautiful, extraordinary and timeless book by an anonymous 14th century author is one of the greatest mystical treatises of any time in any religion It is to be most warmly recommended to all true and sincere students of mysticism It radiates the warmth of St Francis de Sales, touches in a uniquely loving and gentle way on the sufferings on the soul immersed in the dark night of the spirit, offers guidance on ways of contemplation and the attainment of true humility, which, as the author asserts, is the prerequisite of self knowledge preparing the way for the love of God which the purified soul must enter through the cloud of unknowing This book is my steady companion along with Jean Pierre de Caussade, Rumi and The Hidden Words of Baha u llah.

  2. says:

    Perci anche se bene talvolta pensare in particolare alla bont e alla perfezione di Dio, e per quanto questo possa rivelarsi illuminante e costituire una parte della contemplazione stessa, tuttavia nel nostro lavoro tutto ci deve essere ricacciato in basso e ricoperto da una nube d oblio E tu devi camminarvi sopra con vigore e con zelo, sotto la spinta di un devoto e gioioso slancio d a, nell intento di perforare quell oscurit che ti sovrasta Colpisci, dunque questa fitta nube della non conoscenza con la freccia acuminata del desiderio d a e non muoverti di l , qualunque cosa capiti.

  3. says:

    An esoteric medieval Christian text17 January 2015 Well, most authors that I know want as many people to read their book as possible, yet with this guy whoever he was, though it is believed that he was a monk opens, and closes, the book with who he doesn t want to read this book, which is basically anybody who does not have some intense spiritual epiphany Okay, the version I read was a translation from the Middle English text, and I am told in the introduction that a lot of the beautiful and flowery language has been lost in the translation not surprisingly so I am unable to really comment on the poetic form However, I must say that I am probably one of those people that he didn t really want reading this book because, well, I didn t think all that much of it In a way, I am not surprised that it was written by a monk because the entire book is an exposition on God that is the Christian god and seems to be stuck entirely in the esoteric world Personally, I really do not find any benefit from reading such books that have no connection to the world in which we live, not to say that I do not like esoteric writings some of them can be quite good but this seems to be clearly written by somebody who had no understanding of what the world was like outside the walls of his monastery The reason that I rate the book so low is because I find good Christian writers are able to actively engage in the world around them, and while I do not necessarily agree with what a lot of them write, I do know that the good ones live in the world and interact with real people, as opposed to the monks of the medieval world who shut themselves away to spend their lives contemplating the nature of God It reminds me of the story of this guy back in Roman times who built himself a column and sat on top of it so that he could escape sin, yet it did not matter how high the column was he could not escape the world It is not that I have a thing against the monks of the medieval world though because they were active in preserving many of the texts that have been passed down to us from the classical world of the Greeks and Romans Without these monks we would not have Homer or Cicero nor would have we have, surprisingly, Aristophanes though it was suggested that as they transcribed his plays they would make comments about how dirty some of them were As for this book though, while it may be short, it is probably one to give a miss because, beyond giving us an idea of how some monks spent their life contemplating God, there is not really all that much that I got out of it.

  4. says:

    Fleshly janglers, open praisers and blamers of themselves or of any other, tellers of trifles, ronners and tattlers of tales, and all manner of pinchers, cared I never that they saw this book.This book was not meant for me, and it certainly was not meant for YOU And so I do the devil s work in summarizing and introducing it here After a short description of the work I will entertain you with a mangled version of text snippets.The Cloud of Unknowing can be fairly seen as a philosophy of ignorance, or so it would seem to those of us who are beastly and unghostly The author writes to the true contemplatives of the church, and advises that the best way to God, for those who are able, is to direct their full attention, love, and effort to addressing themselves, in all meekness, to the cloud of unknowing that permanently stands between them and their God To do so effectively, one must give no thought or concern to this earth, the people in it, the past, sin, or even oneself or the goodness of God That s right, even God s good works, the lessons of the scripture, miracles and God s goodness are distractions that stand in the way of addressing ourselves to the naked God himself It is a great travail, with both ecstasies and torments, and yet God can never be fully known in this life But if we are in condition to receive his grace, and God grants it, we can be oned with God to the degree that it is permitted within this life, and that oneness, if it be achieved, is the only thing to persist in the eternal, while the duration of this life is so brief.The lessons of this book place the work within a worldwide mystical tradition that goes well beyond Christianity, and if I stretched I d probably find connections to Taoism, some versions of Sufism, various monist traditions, TM, or some other sort of thing I m a little lazy at the moment, and I m sure the anonymous author of this work would not want me to be excessively curious or deceived by a devil inspired wit.Language Reading this was a good experience in terms of exposure to a dialect of Middle English It seems accessible than Chaucer s dialect, though it was written in the same era and the authors may have been contemporaries I don t know anything about how the original manuscript came to the form that I got off of the sacred texts website It seems likely that someone at some time modernized some spellings while retaining the Middle English grammar and diction.Musings The author engages in an interesting bit of grammar analysis to arrive at one part of his philosophy He spends some time relating a lesson from the story of Martha and her sister Mary not to be confused with the various other Marys of the New testament Jesus visits the two sisters, Martha makes herself busy in preparing to feed and entertain Jesus, and Mary only sits at his feet adoring him Martha asks Jesus to tell Mary to make herself busy in helping, but Jesus excuses Mary and says she has chosen the best part The author of Cloud notices that Jesus did not say the better part So the best being superlative implies than two options There must be three parts, of which Mary chose the best This, by analogy, the author extends to the idea that there are nominally two lives in the church, the active life and the contemplative life, as most contemporaries certainly acknowledged, but that these two lives actually consist of three parts True active service, as good works, is the first part of active life Contemplation of the mysteries, God s work, scripture, and such, is ghostly active, but not bodily active It is a sort of hybrid, and thus is the second part of active life as well as the first part of contemplative life Friars and monks do this, so it is common to both lives in the church But loving God in himself, and thus becoming meek, while pushing down all concerns of the world below the cloud of forgetting is the second part of contemplative life, the third of all the parts, the only part of life that has a chance to persist eternally, and is surely the best The author also goes to lengths to ensure that we don t take literally certain metaphorical statements, or interpret bodily what is meant ghostly And thus there are a few chapters warning us not to misunderstand such words as in and up He speaks of the fact that, when Jesus bodily and ghostly ascended to heaven, his going up was only the most seemly way to appear to earthly viewers, but he could well have proceeded to his destination in any direction, or no direction In this way, the author steals a jump on 20th Century string theorists by implying an extradimensional physics I m sure that was not his intent.I could probably make an infinity of additional observations the relationship between ghostly and bodily resembles method acting, achieving results by not caring about results is like good poker play, and the bodily workings of the contemplative are like the jnani whose outer self carries out its tasks mindlessly while the true self is realized , but instead I will do a work that is part Godly and part devilish or who knows I will practice obscurantism by presenting a completely mangled quilt work of some of the text s most bizarre, interesting, or mysterious passages It s devilish surely, but perhaps I am also doing God s work by keeping you ignorant of the true content of this work that was never really meant for you, because you re not ready LOOK up now, weak wretch, and see what thou art Keep thou the windows and the door, for flies and enemies assailing All men living in earth be wonderfully holpen of this work, thou wottest not how Whoso heareth this work either be read or spoken of, and weeneth that it may, or should, be come to by travail in their wits, shall fall either into frenzies, or else into other great mischiefs of ghostly sins and devils deceits through the which he may lightly be lost, both life and soul, without any end It is but a sudden stirring, and as it were unadvised, speedily sprinting unto God as a sparkle from the coal Such a proud, curious wit behoveth always be borne down and stiffly trodden down under foot I would leave all that thing that I can think, and choose to my love that thing that I cannot think Love may reach to God in this life, but not knowing All the whiles that the soul dwelleth in this deadly body, ever is the sharpness of our understanding in beholding of all ghostly things, but most specially of God, mingled with some manner of fantasy for the which our work should be unclean Yeah, and if it were lawful to do as it is not put out thine eyes, cut thou out thy tongue of thy mouth, stop thou thine ears and thy nose never so fast, though thou shear away thy members, and do all the pain to thy body that thou mayest or canst think all this would help thee right nought Yet will stirring and rising of sin be in thee Meekness in itself is nought else, but a true knowing and feeling of a man s self as he is And therefore swink and sweat in all that thou canst and mayest, for to get thee a true knowing and a feeling of thyself as thou art They say, that God sendeth the cow, but not by the horn Virtue is nought else but an ordained and a measured affection, plainly directed unto God for Himself Although it be good to think upon the kindness of God, and to love Him and praise Him for it, yet it is far better to think upon the naked being of Him, and to love Him and praise Him for Himself As it were a cloud of unknowing, thou knowest not what, saving that thou feelest in thy will a naked intent unto God Ween not, for I call it a darkness or a cloud, that it be any cloud congealed of the humours that flee in the air, nor yet any darkness such as is in thine house on nights when the candle is out Thou art well further from Him when thou hast no cloud of forgetting betwixt thee and all the creatures that ever be made Time is made for man, and not man for time Man shall have none excusation against God in the Doom, and at the giving of account of dispending of time, saying, Thou givest two times at once, and I have but one stirring at once In one little time, as little as it is, may heaven be won and lost Proud scholars of the devil and masters of vanity and falsehood, there be two manner of lives in Holy Church Ofttimes it befalleth that some that have been horrible and accustomed sinners come sooner to the perfection of this work than those that have been none Some of those that seem now full holy and be worshipped of men as angels, and some of those yet peradventure, that never yet sinned deadly, shall sit full sorry amongst hell caves Cherishingly dry thine ghostly eyen as the father doth the child that is in point to perish under the mouths of wild swine or wode biting bears And no wonder though thou loathe and hate for to think on thyself, when thou shalt always feel sin, a foul stinking lump thou wittest never what, betwixt thee and thy God the which lump is none other thing than thyself Sit full still, as it were in a sleeping device, all forsobbed and forsunken in sorrow This is true sorrow this is perfect sorrow and well were him that might win this sorrow Yet in all this sorrow he desireth not to unbe for that were devil s madness and despite unto God I tell thee truly, that the devil hath his contemplatives as God hath his Truly I mean no unworship to her nor to them They travail their imagination so indiscreetly, that at the last they turn their brain in their heads, and then as fast the devil hath power for to feign some false light or sounds, sweet smells in their noses, wonderful tastes in their mouths and many quaint heats and burnings in their bodily breasts or in their bowels, in their backs and in their reins and in their members And they say that they be stirred thereto by the fire of charity, and of God s love in their hearts and truly they lie, for it is with the fire of hell, welling in their brains and in their imagination This is because they have but one nostril ghostly As I have conceived by some disciples of necromancy, in what bodily likeness the fiend appeareth, ever he hath but one nostril, and that is great and wide, and he will gladly cast it up that a man may see in thereat to his brain up in his head The which brain is nought else but the fire of hell, for the fiend may have none other brain and if he might make a man look in thereto, he wants no better For at that looking, he should lose his wits for ever Who that will not go the straight way to heaven, they shall go the soft way to hell.Have no wonder thereof, for it is the condition of a true lover that ever the he loveth, the he longeth to love That perfect stirring of love that beginneth here is even in number with that that shall last without end in the bliss of heaven, for all it is but one Then shalt though feel thine affection inflamed with the fire of His love, far than I can tell thee, or may or will at this time For of that work, that falleth to only God, dare I not take upon me to speak with my blabbering fleshly tongue and shortly to say, although I durst I would do not Rather it pierceth the ears of Almighty God than doth any long psalter unmindfully mumbled in the teeth If thou ask me what discretion thou shalt have in this work, then I answer thee and say, right none It is the condition of a perfect lover, not only to love that thing that he loveth than himself but also in a manner for to hate himself for that thing that he loveth Surely what beastly heart that presumeth for to touch the high mount of this work, it shall be beaten away with stones Stones be hard and dry in their kind, and they hurt full sore where they hit They hurt full sore the silly soul, and make it fester in fantasy feigned of fiends Shortly, without thyself will I not that thou be, nor yet above, nor behind, nor on one side, nor on other Where then, sayest thou, shall I be Nowhere, by thy tale Now truly thou sayest well for there would I have thee Lo Ghostly friend, in this work, though it be childishly and lewdly spoken, I bear, though I be a wretch unworthy to teach any creature, the office of Bezaleel making and declaring in manner to thine hands the manner of this ghostly Ark Not what thou art, nor what thou has been, beholdeth God with His merciful eyes but that thou wouldest be.For EXTRA BONUS MATERIAL see comments shortly

  5. says:

    Reading any medieval Christian mystic is difficult, but this made Theresa of Avila and John of the Cross look easy I think part of the trouble I had was with a poor translation that left lots of old English words in old English That said, if you are into mystic writings then you ought to check this one out I enjoy reading a chapter or so of such books each day There are many nuggets in it that are water for the soul For at the first time when thou dost it, thou findest but a darkness and as it were a cloud of unknowing, thou knowest not what, saving that thou feelest in thy will a naked intent unto God This darkness and this cloud is, howsoever thou dost, betwixt thee and thy God, and letteth thee that thou mayest neither see Him clearly by light of understanding in thy reason, nor feel Him in sweetness of love in thine affection And therefore shape thee to bide in this darkness as long as thou mayest, ever crying after Him that thou lovest Anonymous 2010 10 07 The Cloud of Unknowing Kindle Locations 507 510 Kindle Edition for it sufficeth enough, a naked intent direct unto God without any other cause than Himself And if thee list have this intent lapped and folden in one word , for thou shouldest have better hold thereupon , take thee but a little word of one syllable for so it is better than of two, for ever the shorter it is the better it accordeth with the work of the Spirit And such a word is this word GOD or this word LOVE Choose thee whether thou wilt, or another as thee list, which that thee liketh best of one syllable And fasten this word to thine heart, so that it never go thence for thing that befalleth This word shall be thy shield and thy spear, whether thou ridest on peace or on war With this word, thou shalt beat on this cloud and this darkness above thee Anonymous 2010 10 07 The Cloud of Unknowing Kindle Location 630 Kindle Edition love may reach to God in this life, but not knowing And all the whiles that the soul dwelleth in this deadly body, ever is the sharpness of our understanding in beholding of all ghostly things, but most specially of God, mingled with some manner of fantasy for the which our work should be unclean And unless wonder were, it should lead us into much error Anonymous 2010 10 07 The Cloud of Unknowing Kindle Locations 677 679 Kindle Edition if thou wilt stand and not fall, cease never in thine intent but beat ever on this cloud of unknowing that is betwixt thee and thy God with a sharp dart of longing love, and loathe for to think on aught under God, and go not thence for anything that befalleth Anonymous 2010 10 07 The Cloud of Unknowing Kindle Locations 736 738 Kindle Edition Meekness in itself is nought else, but a true knowing and feeling of a man s self as he is Anonymous 2010 10 07 The Cloud of Unknowing Kindle Location 756 Kindle Edition.

  6. says:

    In The Cloud of Unknowing, an anonymous 14th century monk, a master of the practice of Christian contemplation, explores both the philosophy theology behind the practice and the method of practice itself He writes particularly for an unidentified younger monk who is considering the call to a contemplative life The little book about 100 pages is the first such work in the English language, and has become a classic, influencing such later masters as St John of the Cross and Teilhard de Chardin In down to earth but articulate prose that is often beautiful, the monk admonishes, warns, and encourages his younger colleague, from a decidedly Augustinian view of the world The true contemplative must, he says, when he practices contemplation, shut out the external world and all thoughts of that world and turn his mind entirely on the God of pure love But there s a hitch The God of love, of all creation, cannot be known, cannot be conceived of with the human mind, which Augustine tells us is utterly depraved and cannot do anything pure And so, in contemplation, the human mind confronts only a dark cloud of unknowing, to which the soul must cry out in love, persisting, demanding for love s sake that the cloud reveal the God it hides But God can only be experienced in the heart, through love, and only when God chooses to reveal God s self to the open heart of the contemplative And that is why all thoughts, images, desires of the outside world must be left under a cloud of forgetting The cloud of unknowing and the cloud of forgetting becomes the repeated refrain of the monk Just as the cloud of unknowing lies above you, between you and your God, so you must fashion a cloud of forgetting beneath you, between you and every created thing He offers much practical advice on how to reach this state of mind, and at the same time, sometimes with humor, he tempers the young monk s aspirations, calling for patience and a level head Anyone interested in meditation Christian, Buddhist, or whatever should read The Cloud of Unknowing It s a classic of the genre for good reason.

  7. says:

    Not a book for amateurs or spiritual touristsonly for serious readers with enough foundation to relate constructively to the message Can be confusing at times I would recommend to someone with enough time for meditation and reflection in solitude and not to read on a vacation especially with your family your melancholic introspection may become annoying or while waiting for your flightyou may miss your flight Certainly a book to have on your shelf to go back to

  8. says:

    As I described under The Way of The Pilgrim , The Jesus Prayer or The Prayer is a short, formulaic prayer esteemed and advocated within the Eastern Orthodox church , , Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner The prayer has been widely taught and discussed throughout the history of the Eastern Churches It is often repeated continually as a part of personal ascetic practice, its use being an integral part of the eremitic tradition of prayer known as Hesychasm Greek , hesychazo, to keep stillness It is similar to the repetitive recital of the rosary, the use of prayer beads, chanting, or a mantra The prayer is particularly esteemed by the spiritual fathers of this tradition see Philokalia as a method of opening up the heart kardia and bringing about the Prayer of the Heart The Prayer of The Heart is considered to be the Unceasing Prayer that the apostle Paul advocates in the New Testament St Theophan the Recluse regarded the Jesus Prayer stronger than all other prayers by virtue of the power of the Holy Name of Jesus.Ties to a similar prayer practice and theology appear in this fourteenth century work of an unknown English monk The Cloud of Unknowing will teach you that what separates you from God is all your thoughts and hopes and ideas about what God is You must let go of all your internal dialogue and pass through the cloud of unknowing by emptying yourself of everything Simple repetitive prayer can help by emptying the mind.

  9. says:

    If you can sit and do nothing, then you can do virtually anything This is the heart of contemplation.

  10. says:

    This is a book of spiritual counsel by an anonymous 14th century spiritual director In mediaeval English a spiritual director would have been called a ghostly father or ghostly mother if a woman such as Julian of Norwich The one being directed would be called a ghostly friend A ghostly reader such as myself never actually finishes such books because they have no plot the ghostly realm is timeless Actually what the author calls unknowing is what we Christians refer to as centring prayer it doesn t differ from Buddhist and Hindu practices that we know as Zen or TM except in the terminology It is basically a simple means to open your mind entirely to God.

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