A neighbor recently asked what church I attend. I said I don’t belong to a formal church. I’m a mystic.
“What do you mean? he inquired.
“I usually pray, meditate and worship God daily in the woods at my home,” I replied.
He narrowed his eyes and cocked his head. “Oh!” We changed the subject.
Talking about something else was a relief as the mystical path cannot be “taught” it must be experienced.
My first mystical experience happened when a friend taught me how to meditate in his living room three decades ago. Instead of describing meditation and its effects he said, “Niki, meditation can only be experienced.”
I nervously agreed. He told me to close my eyes and focus on my breath. Breathing in and out.
When my thoughts began to whirl his voice penetrated the silence, “If your mind wonders notice them and return to your breath. When I heard the clock ticking he said, “Notice the clock ticking and gently return to your breath.”
My mind grew still. A sudden wave of love, joy and peace washed over me.
I’ve no idea how long we meditated as I lost track of time. I also knew in that moment that I’d experienced this bliss before in the mountains and at the ocean.
The meditation helped me understand that prayer is talking and meditation is listening and to know God we need both.
My thoughts returned to my neighbor’s question, “What’s a mystic?”
Upon reflection I should have told him that mystics seek God through direct contact and believe knowledge comes from within. That mystics regard every person as a potential vessel for the word of God and that knowledge is not the accumulation of facts but the wisdom of the individual’s experience of God. That mystics focus less on sacred texts, precise ritual, formal creed and adhering to a written code of conduct.
All world religions have literalists, mystics and the followers that combine them.
Mystics believe we can talk to God through spiritual faith and that we can receive divine guidance from an inward light without the aid of intermediaries or external rites. Divine revelation is immediate and individual and that the word of God is received in our souls. Because mystics believe God is in everyone, meetings can be silent, without ritual or professional clergy.
Mystics do not believe in original sin as it is an insult to the Creator. Instead mystics believe in original beauty, excitement, grace and wonder.
The Kabbalah is the mystery teaching of Judaism. Gnosticism and Esoteric Christianity embody the mystery teachings of Christianity. The Upanishads and Hindu Tantras are the esoteric traditions of Hinduism. Sufism is the esoteric side of Islam and Enlightenment is the mystery teaching in Buddhism.
The mystery teachings draw inspiration and revelation from the sacred text of all religions.
The Revelations can be called God, Allah, Great Spirit, Jesus, Holy Spirit, Yeshua, Christ Within, Inner Light, Gnosis, Love and Enlightenment.
Most mystics embrace truth, social equality, universal peace, integrity, simplicity, reverence for all life, creation care, and pacifism.
Matthew Fox, the author of “The Original Blessing” and “The Coming of the Cosmic Christ” said all human beings are mystics and prophets until our religions and culture drives it out. He says a mystical experiences is where the distance between God and us is melted. We experience God in nature; in friendship, in love relationships, art, music, dance, stories and laughter. Fox says, “God is also present for the mystics in the darkness, in the pain and the suffering, not just the joy and the delight.” We even have unitive experiences with the poor and the oppressed and all the mystical experiences are available to everybody.
Most of the mystery teachings are in literal scriptures, however, over the years fear-ridden literalists shrouded the true esoteric meanings with their own agendas by fabricating a patriarchal hierarchy and establishing only one teaching as gospel fact.
The Dominican Monk, Meister Eckhart said, “God is pure Being, not a person ruling over us, but a Presence within us…that nothing outside ourselves, including the church, could be the medium through which to know God. He asked, “Why do you look without for that which is within.”
Mystics believe Jesus came to tell the world that the only God there is, is the God that is within every person.
Mysticism isn’t a theory or philosophy its a path of love. The mystical experience is the foundation from which all spiritual and religious traditions are born.