For those who seek to nurture spiritual-mindedness, a spiritually-centered consciousness, a revival of the mystic is called for. By this I mean an experiential spirituality that is grounded in direct experience of the ineffably mysterious.
The way of following decrees, dogma, and dictates from a book, from an external priesthood, or from a mandate proffered as ‘God’s way’ is woefully insufficient to introduce you to what you seek. They may play their part for a time, as they certainly did in my life, but in order to evolve, to mature, to transcend, they must be discarded as primary sources.
There is no way around this. Many will argue with what I say from the view of the apologist adhering to and defending their agreed upon doctrine or cherished church; or from that of the atheist who does not see a need, and indeed sees only folly, in acknowledging and accepting the hard-to-prove, non-linear realm of spirituality and mysticism; or from any other point of view on which to build a defense and disagreement.
Well, I got it. That may work for you. However, I, and an increasing number of others, know better. And I do not apologize. I do not apologize because I am not attacking religion or its adherents. I’m only sharing that religion, as taught to and then practiced by 99% of devotees, is ineffective.
So I’m writing to those of you who acknowledge this realm of spiritual consciousness while recognizing the folly of organized religion and who may be seeking viability in some alternative that promises more as well as to those who may have no idea where to turn.
I do not claim to offer guidance, only words of encouragement and personal experience.
I was once a bible-toting, bible-quoting adherent to a number of Christian sects or branched variations – Catholic, Baptist, Protestant, Adventist, Yahwist (sacred name, Torah-observant, messianic), and Metaphysics. I also looked into Islam, Buddhism, Taoism as possible grounds of being.
First off, do you see already how silly I sound? I do. I’m referring to the labels I once carried and mistook for my Self. And there are plenty of other labels we carry and take seriously enough to take offense, argue, decree, defend, differ, differentiate, debate, dismiss, deny, discount, disavow, divide and even destroy. Labels that have nothing to do with the Self – that universal ‘beingness’ where we all exist as ONE – have become the focal point of mal-educated, misguided minds.
It’s like taking the green grass growing all over the Earth and coating it in different colors throughout the world and then declaring that this grass is not the same as that grass and that this grass is the true grass, not that grass!
And that’s all our beliefs and religions are – labels, tags, markers. You were not born a Christian or Muslim or Mormon or Atheist. You acquired these through agreement. They are accretions, added to our way of being in this world, not intrinsic or essential to it. To argue otherwise is only an attempt at defending the indefensible.
So then, what is a ‘mystic’? Who the heck knows! Ask 100 mystics (if you can even find one!) and you’ll get 100 different answers…..and a unity of purpose. What this means is you won’t find a ‘mystic’ by seeking a ‘mystic’ and a ‘mystic’ won’t identify herself as one. ‘Mystic’ is just another label.
We know the names of some of the better-known ‘mystics’ – John of the Cross, Hildegard de Bingen, Teresa of Avila, Paramahansa Yogananda, Baal Shem Tov, Rumi, and numerous others. In truth, I’ve never read any writings by them or about them except for Rumi, a few of whose poems I’ve read and enjoyed. I refuse to read any of it because I don’t want to be influenced by the experiences of others.
The individual’s ‘mystical’ experience comes without precedent, reference points or training. The experience is a response to an inner urge for direct communion, realized union, with Creator, Spirit, the Oneness of All. There is no school or program or prescribed path to the experience.
There is only the desire, the openness, the yearning, the seeking, the fasting, the praying, the listening, the seeing, the unseeing, the hearing, and, above all, through all, in all – the silence.
Contained in the engagement of desire and action is a unity of purpose within ‘mysticism’. That purpose, uniting the One with the All, is simply to have a direct experience of and with the realm of what is believed to be the mysterious, inexpressible Divine leading to the realization, via the experience of and with the Divine/Oneness, of oneself as the Divine and Oneness. That is, to experience one’s Self as an expression of the Divine. What I feel, Creator feels. What I see, Creator sees. What I think, Creator thinks.
What Creator is, I am.
An experience that defies or, more tamely, eludes language and logic is no less valid than a scientific ‘truth’ arrived at empirically. How, why? Because it is all personal, even the shared realizations and conclusions within a group or community. How you approach a matter of agreement or disagreement with an idea or an experience is ultimately determined by you alone, regardless of whether the path of arrival, especially in a group context, is by consensus, coercion, or convincing.
Why? Because, ultimately, our reality, individual and shared, arises from language. If there is no word, or words, for it, to describe it, can you say that it exists? You cannot.
I’ll prove it right now. Describe what you’ve never experienced or heard of. Exactly! You can’t!
So then, the fact that a ‘mystical’ experience occurs, is sensed and felt, and then framed in language that approaches, if not describes or explains the experience, speaks to the possibility that the ‘mystical’ may not be so mysterious after all. Approaching it from the realm of the rational, the logical, the causal, we seek a straight line that will lead us to a box of four 90 degree corners and well-defined containment. That ain’t happenin’.
However, just as the box is formulated in a universe of mathematics and form, all arising from language, so anything else that can be lassoed linguistically falls within the same set of observable, definable ‘stuff’.
‘Mysticism’, while eluding the linear, rational terms with which we view and define our world, still arises from a language of some kind – foreign but distinct and knowable. Foreign because it calls to us from a different land, distinct because the calling can be ‘heard’ (the experience), and knowable because it exists. We just have to have the passport, the ticket, and the vehicle to reach that land in order to know it. That means having to leave the familiar land of our present orientation and be willing to journey as ‘strangers’ to a ‘strange’ shore where that part of us which is universal, one with the All, can flourish as a natural-born citizen.
What is the currency with which we obtain the ticket? And what is the passport? And the vehicle??
This I can share….and this I will leave to you to answer.
The experience is the key. The experience holds the answers. The mystery is the answer.