A Whiff of the Eternal


What if the sense of smell did not exist? After all, no one can hear, touch, or see the aroma of new ground coffee beans, or the misty balm of jasmine blooms. Without the sense of smell we would never know that scents existed. In fact, were there rumors of such things, we would dismiss them as myths.

But what if a few people had the sense of smell? Many would label them liars or lunatics. And those who believed them would be scorned as simpletons.

This is the way it is with the things of the Spirit. 1 Corinthians 2:14 tells us, “The natural man,” the person who believes only what may be experienced with the five external senses, “cannot discern them. They are foolishness to him, because they can only be spiritually discerned.”

After completing her monumental analysis of the world’s great mystics, the British psychologist and philosopher Evelyn Underhill concluded, in her classic study Mysticism, that throughout history there have been “spiritual geniuses;” people who consistently spoke of a spiritual realm and an infinite, loving God who could only be discerned via an inner (supernatural) sense that the Bible calls the spirit. Like great athletes, inspired musicians, or brilliant inventors, Underhill concluded, certain people are born with a genius for the spiritual, the ability to tune out the clutter of “reality” in order to perceive the ultimate Reality.

And the rest of us? We may never be spiritual geniuses, but if we are willing to follow their lead, to tune in with the humble receivers we have, we can grow stronger in discerning the things of the spirit. We may never be spiritual Michael Phelpses or Albert Einsteins, but we can draw nearer to our Creator. And that’s what He, like every parent, longs for, after all—our love.

So use what you have. And learn to savor God’s love.

You may just catch a whiff of the eternal.

About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
This entry was posted in For Pastors and Teachers, Quips and Quotes, Religion/Faith and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to A Whiff of the Eternal

  1. Fascinating post.

    This connects to the idea of spiritual gifts as well…there are people whose genius lies in kingdom talents I certainly don’t have.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. the20somethingexistentialcrisis says:

    Interesting post. I remember watching a documentary thing about people who could see colors normal people could not. I know there are spiritual things outside of my perception, which is why I haven’t completely abandoned religion, but I feel just from my experience and what I can perceive that there is something out there.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The beauty of the spiritual senses is that they can be developed in each one of us. It is as we build that personal relationship with Jesus that our spiritual senses are heightened and sharpened so that we can discern the Truth.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Interesting analogy. It is very fitting. I wouldn’t call myself a spiritual genius but I am definitely aware of the spiritual realm in a very real way. It’s aroma is delightful!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Nice piece of perception and reflection. Steve

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Been reading about Chritiam Mystics. Some beyond my understanding, some led a vey simple life.
    Gets into a realm the modern church generally wants to avoid, as the “spiritual realm” is not widely appreciated or addressed. Insightful post!! Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • mitchteemley says:

      Thanks, Rick. It’s true that the modern church, especially the more fundamentalist leaning groups, has become leery of mysticism. I think this is due, in part, to it’s hippie era association with eastern religions, and in part to its emphasis on the non-material. Funny that, just as quantum physics is beginning to explore the immaterial side of reality, the Church, which embraced it for millennia, is shying away from it, despite the fact that it is rooted in Scripture.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. This is good Mitch. Thanks for sharing it.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Like Mary’s hair after drying Jesus’ feet anointed from her alabaster jar, being close to God should give us the aroma of God’s anointing!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. gpavants says:

    Hi Mitch,

    You know I want to pass this on yo mind mom. She often talks about being sensitive to things and this might be a place to start. Like any gift from God it can be misused or not developed. This helps me understand her way of getting “vibes” and feelings about things. Our gifts and talents work best with the real designer of them in the center.

    Thanks brother,


    Liked by 1 person

  10. Cindy Dawson says:

    I love the smell analogy!!!

    Liked by 1 person

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