What is a mystic?
[toughts from ~burning woman~ by Sha’Tara]
A very good question, especially in this crassly materialistic world.
According to the dictionaries, a mystic is someone who attains insight into mysteries transcending ordinary human knowledge.
A rather vague definition, is it not? Who has not, at some point, received insight, or been aware of insight that transcends the ordinary?
According to this view, we’re all mystics at some point and in some way.
Other definitions, even less valid in my opinion, say, “A person initiated into mysteries.”
This begs the question: what are mysteries?
“Something that is secret or impossible to understand.” “Something that arouses curiosity due to its obscure nature.” “Any truth unknowable except by divine revelation.” That really helps, doesn’t it!
I found this definition in a “religious” type dictionary: Mysticism:
[quote] “The term is difficult to define because of its often confessedly ineffable and inexplicable nature. It has no limits historically or geographically, nor can it be contained philosophically or theologically. It concerns the interior life of the spirit, that pilgrimage with the divine which begins outside its awareness and proceeds to the highest stages of personal development possible.
Immediate relation with the ultimate is the essence of mysticism. This may be a psychological or an epistemological experience in which the mystic, apart from a religious institution or sacred book, has religious knowledge directly from the divine. [skipping some] Prayer, contemplation and ascetic acts promote this experience.” [end quote]
Now that’s better. I can understand that, having experienced all of the above already. And that’s why I’m asking the question, because throughout my life I’ve thought of mystics as pretty useless types, and I don’t want to become a useless type! They are usually portrayed “united” with the “spirit” in some kind of trance and doing nothing for days, weeks, even years on end. Sure, they aren’t doing any harm, not even eating and just floating in the air (so I’m told, I’ve not seen this.)
In a world desperately out of balance such as earth, perhaps it is time to do that proverbial 180 degree turn and consider this aspect of life. Diametrically opposite to the “shop ’til you drop” syndrome that brings so much misery and so little happiness.
“I offer you a new life and you choose an old dream.” (The Beautiful Country)
Perhaps it is possible to have the new life through the old dream? Perhaps the very unthinkable act of turning away from all the un-needed thoughts, things and deeds promoted by the System can be considered a new life? Perhaps we all need to look at old dreams as a basis to begin this new life?
Practical mysticism! Life has taught me that I can have ultimate fulfillment by approaching each day with these two basic thoughts. One: I will go through this day without consciously, by thought or deed, causing harm or pain to anyone or anything. Two: I will approach this day prepared to do all the good I can possibly do without holding back anything — as if there were no tomorrow. Call it compassion from self empowerment.
There you have it: my concept of practical mysticism.