The Cloud of Unknowing

The Cloud of Unknowing

Clifton Wolters


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A classic of Christian mysticism, this marvelous guide to the contemplative life originated with the reflections of an unknown 14th-century priest who believed that a "cloud of unknowing" separates people from God. This cloud, the writer maintained, cannot be penetrated by intellect but only by love.
The Cloud of Unknowing offers an approach to contemplative life that finds holiness at a level deeper than physical experience and beyond language or image. The author advises placing all thought and mental imagery behind a metaphorical "cloud of forgetting" while seeking to love the divine. Hidden from the infinite consciousness by a "cloud of unknowing," divine love can be reached through monologistic prayer: a single-word prayer, like a mantra, that assists in abandoning all extraneous thought. Seekers can thus attain an inner silence, where they may "be still and know the sacred."
The author's spiritual gifts, combined with humor and a straightforward approach, offer a view of divinity that never loses the common touch. Written in everyday language and edited by Clifton Wolters, a popular authority on mysticism, this venerable work can be understood and appreciated by any reader.