So, it was a relief to meet Paul Smith. His life and work are an authentic testimony to the fact that one can come into an abiding sense of divine union in this lifetime.
The Protestant reformation had a valid point in its rebellion against the practices it perceived to be idolatrous. After all, there is no God but God, and no earthly things - whether people, statues, or cathedrals - can substitute for the Eternal and Infinite nature of a God that always eludes the conscious understanding of our finite minds. Everything in this world remains imperfect, and it's good to be reminded of that.
I've found that using the Jesus Prayer throughout the day can be a simple, contemplative practice that has a powerful effect. The prayer goes back to the Eastern Orthodox spiritual fathers, whose collection of texts, The Philokalia, outlines many mystical practices used by hermits of the early church.
Going into deeper states can reach a point, and usually many points, where our own "mental picture" of God starts to seem as if it is in need of a new architecture. In fact, this is central to the journey of contemplation, for we are traveling through spaces within God and through God, and yet, as the old saying goes, it often appears that we live "without God" too. One of the gifts of the contemplative journey is the increased presence of the indwelling Spirit in our daily lives.