The state of conversion


William James who was one of the founders of modern psychology and a student, scholar of religious experience, wrote a great book called The Varieties of Religious Experience, in Britain in the 19th century, which he used to describe different kinds of conversion experience. He identified certain common traits in that experience, but what I would just like to quote him on is a very short phrase. He describes conversion, the state of conversion as the ‘permanently patient heart with the love of self eradicated’. The permanently patient heart with the love of self eradicated – ‘self eradicated’ meaning self-centeredness, egocentricity that has been dissolved. And this state of conversion can be characterised, according to William James, and I think most of us would be able to point to some level of personal experience to verify this – some of the symptoms of the state of conversion the state of being in breakthrough is a state of assurance, kind of reassurance that, as Mother Julian said, everything will be well and every kind of thing will be well.

(The Art of Waiting by Laurence Freeman OSB)

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