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Are you a mystic??

 
 
Reply Sun 23 May, 2010 10:19 pm
What Is Mysticism?


More and more people have been asking me lately "What do you mean by the word mystic?" There seems to be quite a lot of blurry, confused notions and outright misconceptions about the word. And yet, it is perhaps one of the most important words pointing toward a fundamental truth about who we are at the soul of matter. Mysticism is about how we can come to live within the fullness of our true nature.
In a very real sense, because mysticism concerns the essence of life, it is

audacious to even try and define it. Words are insufficient, often in the way of understanding.

That to which the word "mysticism" refers, is a quality of

A mystic is one who, above all else in life, desires to know, not in the intellectual sense of knowing, the deepest Truth of existence. A mystic is one who senses more to life than making a living or being of service in the world although these things are both necessary and good. The mystic, however, is looking beyond an exclusive or preoccupied focus on these survival or self-actualization to something more.

He is looking to discover the deepest truth of our being as incarnate souls; to understand our greatest potential as reflections of God; to realize our wholeness within the ground of all. The primary interest in life for the mystic is to discover truth, to know God, to see into mans whole nature. The mystic sees all of life as an abundant opportunity to discover, realize, and express the Divine.

Mysticism springs from an insatiable curiosity for understanding the essential questions of life: matters of God, creation, the infinite and the human potential for knowing truth. The mystic is in reality the ultimate scientist who, looking beyond the apparent or obvious in all matters, asks,

"Is this that I am seeing reality or the illusions that stem from fear?" "What existed before this sense of reality?"
"What existed before my mental constructs, my beliefs, my self identity?" "Who is this that observes and is self-reflecting?" "What is at life's very source?"

Mysticism: Why it's so often misunderstood

Mysticism is terrifically misunderstood by mainstream culture. It always has been. Many people incorrectly think mysticism is some kind of odd occult or a mystic someone who studies magic or renounces life and goes off to live in a cave.

Nothing could be further from the truth.
The reason this has often been confused though is not so surprising. The mystic is one who undergoes a radical shift in conscious understanding and that often looks, sounds, or seems very mysterious to our accustomed ways of thinking and being.

The mystic consciously enters into the sacred journey that all the world's great religions speak of in various ways. Some call it becoming awakened, enlightened, or born again. It is an inner journey that requires a deconstruction of the conditioned illusions of separation so that the true freedom of living can emerge.


It is the true meaning of being born anew. It is the process and realization of letting die our stale and conditioned habits and beliefs so that we may live in the fullness of each new moment of creation. It is the understanding that conditioned patterns, belief systems, and memory are not living, but dead moments already. It is the realization that true living can only be lived in a freedom that moves with the current of creation, forever open to each moment teaming with new potential.


To let go the illusions of ego identity and stand naked before our true original nature, often requires a removing of oneself from typical ways of living and thinking at least for a time. In the sacred literature, this is often referred to as entering the wilderness, facing the dark night of the soul, annihilation of the ego, or dying to oneself to be born again. It is a process of fundamental transformation of conscious understanding that the mystic takes on.

The journey it takes to successfully deconstruct the layers of conditioning that block true awareness, and what emerges from this inner journey of realization or awakening can often look and sound very mysterious, if not down right confusing, to the uninitiated and linear mind. But in truth it is the deepest meaning upon which all the world's great religions have their original foundation.

It is the journey to discovering and experiencing direct relationship with/as God or the source of all creation. It is each individual soul coming to directly know itself within the divine. It is the fulfillment of our purpose, "I and my father are one."

Great Mystical Teachers of the Present and Past

Throughout all of history, mystics have been our way showers, those who go before, those who see beyond, those who seem to so often speak in riddles. They are those who have "lifted the veil" of worldly illusion to experience a deeper truth and wisdom of Being. The mystic is not so much concerned with survival as with coming to realize the full potential of being.

The mystic is seeking direct realization of truth even within a dynamic of evolving mystery. The mystic finds the eye of the needle and enters into the realization of the kingdom of heaven within.

Every religion the world over, both of the east and west, orthodox and liberal has at its origin the way-showing wisdom of one or more great mystics. Indeed, all the men and women throughout recorded history who have had the greatest spiritual integrity and direct authority are rightly called mystics: Jesus of Nazareth was a true mystic, as was Gandhi, Meister Eckhart, Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross, William James, Thomas Merton, Sri Aurobindo, Sri Ramakrisna, Lao-tse, Shankara, Vivikananda, Abraham, Job, Carl Jung to name a mere few. There are scores more of men and women poets and artists.

Commonality among the World's Mystics

If you study the life of past mystics you'll find they share several things in common:

First, they all speak of an induction or of a need to learn/realize a new level of understanding. They all speak of a fundamental shift in consciousness be it called awakening, realization, divination, or being born again.

Second they all tell of making a journey into and through a despair process of being "undone" as the precursor to this fundamental shift in consciousness, be it through experiencing 40 days and nights in the wilderness, starving under the boddhi tree, facing the dark night of the soul, or the hero's journey. There is a journey of metamorphosis that all mystics have undergone in some way.

Third, it is an inner journey that must be taken up and navigated alone.

This is a hallmark of the mystic's realization: The reason the journey must be alone is because that which must be faced, seen, and surrendered in order that something new can emerge, is only possible through sustaining the fear and despair process of being alone and meeting the ultimate and fundamental fear of "non-being" and annihilation.

Fourth, they all seem to realize the frustration of being misunderstood by those who have not yet been through the awakening journey -- "those who have ears to hear, let him hear."

A great deal of the mystical writings are devoted almost exclusively to the fact that fundamental spiritual truth cannot be understood by the intellect nor correctly put into words. Forever, the great spiritual teachers have tried through the insufficiency of words to point toward that which can ever and only be experienced and known on a level that is before and beyond the mind.

This is something unfathomable to those who have not yet had this breakthrough revelation - and particularly so in our contemporary culture that has become so overly reliant and blinded by the limiting paradigm of the scientific method that forever reduces our understanding of intelligence to that which is sensory, measurable and linear in nature. Life isn't only or always linear. In fact it rarely is, except in man-made constructions and habituated uses of the mind.

The Mysterious Language of GodThe Call to Remember

The mystic is really anybody who seeks to experience above all else, the direct expression of God/Source/Being in one's life. He or she is anyone with the deep desire and courage necessary to look - and see - beyond the obvious conditioning of our manufactured world view; to see beyond the illusions of our self-created identities, and find what lies forever before and all around us, as the One that is All. The path is one of surrendering all that we currently hold on to as belief, identity and intellect. What emerges is the full expression of being within the language of love.

Blessings and light

Alan
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TuringEquivalent
 
  1  
Reply Sun 23 May, 2010 10:44 pm
@Alan McDougall,
Do you need to be a theist to be a mystic? If so, what religion? Why should i believe in your religion, and not something else?
0 Replies
 
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Mon 24 May, 2010 02:13 am
@Alan McDougall,
Great description. Thanks for this post, it is a very succinct summary.

TuringEquivalent;167959 wrote:
Do you need to be a theist to be a mystic?


No. There are many mystical schools in Indian philosophy which are non-theistic or atheistic. Buddhism is not theistic (although many of its forms are not mystical either.) On the other hand, if you are prejudiced against the idea of god, as many are in this day and age, then this could be an obstacle in understanding the subject.
TuringEquivalent
 
  1  
Reply Mon 24 May, 2010 02:19 am
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;168009 wrote:
Great description. Thanks for this post, it is a very succinct summary.



No. There are many mystical schools in Indian philosophy which are non-theistic or atheistic. Buddhism is not theistic (although many of its forms are not mystical either.) On the other hand, if you are prejudiced against the idea of god, as many are in this day and age, then this could be an obstacle in understanding the subject.



Why is that? why is atheism an obstacle for an understanding of mysticism if theism is not necessary for mysticism?
0 Replies
 
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Mon 24 May, 2010 02:44 am
@Alan McDougall,
it isn't, necessarily. But you might have to be prepared for your initial assumptions to be challenged so it pays not to have dogmatic views one way or the other.

---------- Post added 05-24-2010 at 06:47 PM ----------

art of living your destiny
TuringEquivalent
 
  1  
Reply Mon 24 May, 2010 02:53 am
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;168021 wrote:
it isn't, necessarily. But you might have to be prepared for your initial assumptions to be challenged so it pays not to have dogmatic views one way or the other.

---------- Post added 05-24-2010 at 06:47 PM ----------

art of living your destiny


I am asking your a question. Why is this dogmatic?

You said it is an obstacle to understanding mysticism if you believe there is not god. Why is this an obstacle?
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Mon 24 May, 2010 02:55 am
@Alan McDougall,
Might not be. OK then, not an obstacle at all. I was wrong.

---------- Post added 05-24-2010 at 06:56 PM ----------

I don't want to spoil this nice thread by starting out with an argument.
Twirlip
 
  1  
Reply Mon 24 May, 2010 06:26 am
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;168027 wrote:
I don't want to spoil this nice thread by starting out with an argument.

Why not? What have you got against argument? Do you prefer dogma? Smile :devilish: Very Happy
0 Replies
 
richard mcnair
 
  1  
Reply Mon 24 May, 2010 06:37 am
@TuringEquivalent,
TuringEquivalent;168025 wrote:
I am asking your a question. Why is this dogmatic?

You said it is an obstacle to understanding mysticism if you believe there is not god. Why is this an obstacle?

Because the atheism of most atheists is inextricably linked with scientific materialism, which is a position that rules out anything mystical.
Twirlip
 
  1  
Reply Mon 24 May, 2010 08:08 am
@richard mcnair,
richard_mcnair;168078 wrote:
TuringEquivalent;168025 wrote:
I am asking your a question. Why is this dogmatic?

You said it is an obstacle to understanding mysticism if you believe there is not god. Why is this an obstacle?

Because the atheism of most atheists is inextricably linked with scientific materialism, which is a position that rules out anything mystical.

Although I think you're probably right in saying that something like this (depending on what exactly you mean by "scientific materialism") is true of most atheists, it isn't true of all. (For instance, I continued to be an atheist long after ceasing to believe that science and mathematics and logic were the only intelligent forms of knowledge.)

What I suspect might be true of almost all atheists (including myself, even to some extent still now that I am no longer an atheist) is that they subscribe* to a certain construction of the individual self, and this construction is an obstacle to understanding mysticism.

(I make no claim to understanding much about mysticism myself. In any hierarchy of such understanding, I would be on about the lowest rung, the one just above the level of no understanding at all.)

*What, I hear you ask, do I mean by the form of words, "subscribe to a [certain] construction of [anything]"?

I don't know how to say exactly (it is itself a somewhat mystical statement, albeit prosaically and clumsily put), but I am suggesting that most atheists (and I myself, still, to a large extent) take for granted - as part of the furniture of the world, so to speak, rather than as some theoretical or intellectual construct or concept - a particular idea of the individual human self, which is just as unclear as anything said by any mystic, but which escapes their own critical scrutiny because it is unformulated (and if contemplated at all, then relegated to mere 'psychology', far beneath the dignity of high philosophy).

If I knew how to put this better, I would probably be less confused (and more of a mystic) myself.
GoshisDead
 
  1  
Reply Mon 24 May, 2010 11:19 am
@Twirlip,
Nice descrition Alan.
I would have to say that I am Mystic Inchoate.
0 Replies
 
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Mon 24 May, 2010 03:46 pm
@Twirlip,
richard_mcnair;168078 wrote:
Because the atheism of most atheists is inextricably linked with scientific materialism, which is a position that rules out anything mystical.


That is what I meant in my earlier posts.


Twirlip;168090 wrote:
I am suggesting that most atheists (and I myself, still, to a large extent) take for granted - as part of the furniture of the world, so to speak, rather than as some theoretical or intellectual construct or concept - a particular idea of the individual human self, which is just as unclear as anything said by any mystic, but which escapes their own critical scrutiny because it is unformulated (and if contemplated at all, then relegated to mere 'psychology', far beneath the dignity of high philosophy).


This is what the mystics and sages refer to when they say 'the world'. That expression is not referring to Planet Earth. It is your world, the world of imputed meanings, constructed relationships, and so on, within which most of us live.
TuringEquivalent
 
  1  
Reply Mon 24 May, 2010 06:22 pm
@richard mcnair,
richard_mcnair;168078 wrote:
Because the atheism of most atheists is inextricably linked with scientific materialism, which is a position that rules out anything mystical.



So, are you saying that scientific materialism is inconsistent with "mystical"?
What is this "mystical"? Suppose you mean "mystical experience", then i don ` t see a contradiction. Here is why: A person can have a mystical experience, but this experience can be explain by the physiological, physical, or chemical understanding of the brain by some sort of brain scan( MRI etc...). Suppose you mean "mystical" by something existing independently of what science tell us, then there would be something that exist! Is this part of science? YES! Here is why: Whatever this thing is, we do have empirical evidence for it, since it is the source that which cause the mystical experience in human test subjects. Thus, it is part of science. Therefore, Scientific materialism is consistent with "mystical".
0 Replies
 
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Mon 24 May, 2010 06:56 pm
@Alan McDougall,
Fair enough. There are some interesting authors and books on this very topic. Go to amazon and do a search on 'Zen and the Brain'. There is too much research in this area to summarize on the Forum, but if you find something interesting there, more than happy to discuss.

---------- Post added 05-25-2010 at 10:58 AM ----------

TuringEquivalent;168304 wrote:
A person can have a mystical experience, but this experience can be explain by the physiological, physical, or chemical understanding of the brain by some sort of brain scan( MRI etc...)..


but I would also argue against the notion that just because parts of the brain lights up when certain things that happen, all that is happening is the brain lighting up. If you say it is, I think this is a wrong view. The experience - any experience - takes place within a brain, within a body, within an environment. It is impossible to locate the experience in the brain alone. In fact one of the points that comes out of all of those books you will find is that the brain itself is only one player in the theatre of mystical insight.
0 Replies
 
richard mcnair
 
  1  
Reply Mon 24 May, 2010 07:06 pm
@Twirlip,
Twirlip;168090 wrote:
Although I think you're probably right in saying that something like this (depending on what exactly you mean by "scientific materialism") is true of most atheists, it isn't true of all. (For instance, I continued to be an atheist long after ceasing to believe that science and mathematics and logic were the only intelligent forms of knowledge.)

What I suspect might be true of almost all atheists (including myself, even to some extent still now that I am no longer an atheist) is that they subscribe* to a certain construction of the individual self, and this construction is an obstacle to understanding mysticism.

(I make no claim to understanding much about mysticism myself. In any hierarchy of such understanding, I would be on about the lowest rung, the one just above the level of no understanding at all.)

*What, I hear you ask, do I mean by the form of words, "subscribe to a [certain] construction of [anything]"?

I don't know how to say exactly (it is itself a somewhat mystical statement, albeit prosaically and clumsily put), but I am suggesting that most atheists (and I myself, still, to a large extent) take for granted - as part of the furniture of the world, so to speak, rather than as some theoretical or intellectual construct or concept - a particular idea of the individual human self, which is just as unclear as anything said by any mystic, but which escapes their own critical scrutiny because it is unformulated (and if contemplated at all, then relegated to mere 'psychology', far beneath the dignity of high philosophy).

If I knew how to put this better, I would probably be less confused (and more of a mystic) myself.

Yes, I know scientific materialism isn't the position of all atheists, hence where i said 'the atheism of MOST atheists'.
I think the position of scientific materialism on the self would be that it doesn't actually exist. If you are a materialist, then you would probably in the end conclude that the self doesn't actually exist, and the illusion of 'self' or 'mind' is caused by just an aggregate of the parts. Check the part in republic (I can't remember where exactly) where socrates argues against the idea that 'the soul is a harmony' for a nice refutation of this.

---------- Post added 05-25-2010 at 02:14 AM ----------

TuringEquivalent;168304 wrote:
So, are you saying that scientific materialism is inconsistent with "mystical"?
What is this "mystical"? Suppose you mean "mystical experience", then i don ` t see a contradiction. Here is why: A person can have a mystical experience, but this experience can be explain by the physiological, physical, or chemical understanding of the brain by some sort of brain scan( MRI etc...). Suppose you mean "mystical" by something existing independently of what science tell us, then there would be something that exist! Is this part of science? YES! Here is why: Whatever this thing is, we do have empirical evidence for it, since it is the source that which cause the mystical experience in human test subjects. Thus, it is part of science. Therefore, Scientific materialism is consistent with "mystical".

Materialism is the view that all that exists is matter. Scientific materialism would be I suppose someone with this view that also believes that all knowledge can be understood by the scientific method.

Apparently mystical experience can be explained by such things, however no-one has done so to anything like a convincing degree. If mystical experiences are what they appear to be to the subject of them, then this refutes materialism, because they are experiences of higher realities.

Idealism is the contrary monistic position to materialism which says that 'mind' or 'consciousness' or 'spirit' is the absolute thing that exists, not matter, and the external world as we experience it doesn't exist wholly independently of our minds. And this would be the position of the mystic, the opposite one to materialism, and science would just be a study of the patterns of the shadows on the wall of platos cave.
Twirlip
 
  1  
Reply Mon 24 May, 2010 07:18 pm
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;168229 wrote:
Twirlip;168090 wrote:
I am suggesting that most atheists (and I myself, still, to a large extent) take for granted - as part of the furniture of the world, so to speak, rather than as some theoretical or intellectual construct or concept - a particular idea of the individual human self, which is just as unclear as anything said by any mystic, but which escapes their own critical scrutiny because it is unformulated (and if contemplated at all, then relegated to mere 'psychology', far beneath the dignity of high philosophy).

This is what the mystics and sages refer to when they say 'the world'. That expression is not referring to Planet Earth. It is your world, the world of imputed meanings, constructed relationships, and so on, within which most of us live.

Please bear with me, for a moment, while I fly off at a tangent: one which I can only excuse as being personally important to me (even if to no-one else), and as touching on my reason (even if no-one else's reason) for being interested in philosophy at all.

There is an informal, commonsense, lay notion of 'madness', 'mental illness', 'mental disturbance', etc., independent of any medical or psychological theory, to the effect that a person is mad, mentally ill, mentally disturbed, etc., insofar as they are out of touch with 'reality'.

'Reality' here can refer either to the actual world, universe, cosmos, etc., in which we all live, move and have our being, or else it can refer to socially constructed 'reality', which varies with culture and history, is essential to each of us, is 'real' in its own way, yet should not be confused with the one world, universe, cosmos, etc., even though unreflective common sense does persistently confuse these two concepts.

Because of this ambiguity in the concept of 'reality', the notion of madness, mental illness, mental disturbance, etc. is correspondingly ambiguous, and complex questions and opinions arise as to whether the notion means anything at all, and if so, which of these two meanings it has, and whether the socially constructed 'reality' can in any way be assessed against the one real 'reality', in respect of its sanity, mental illness, mental disturbance, etc. (Quis custodiet ...)

Does the conception of 'the world' according to mystics, sages, etc. - according to your understanding of the matter - bear on this ambiguity in the meaning of 'reality' at all, and if so, how?

P.S. Perhaps my question is not yet clear. I am not sure whether there is not yet a further ambiguity, a third sense of 'the world', in which 'the world' is human-centred (or more generally, person-centred, because it seems unreasonable and arrogant to imagine that humans are the only persons in this huge universe), yet also absolute, independent of culture and history; and what we mean by 'sanity' is the ability to live in this world, which is not merely relative and culturally parochial, yet is ordinary and humdrum and not at all grand or apparently mystical (or for that matter scientific).

(Excuse me if this only confuses things further! But it is often very hard indeed to know exactly what people have in mind when they speak or write of 'the world', and I sensed a possible fruitful uncertainty as to what you may have meant by the phrase in the present context.)
0 Replies
 
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Mon 24 May, 2010 07:57 pm
@Alan McDougall,
HI Twirlip - please, no apologies necessary. I do recall a similar point in a dialog about a month back where I offered a model of the bell curve of normality. I can't find it again now and don't want to spell it out again. But in brief, the idea was that madness falls short of normality, while mystical awareness surpasses it. As with most normal distribution curves the majority are in the middle of the bell, which we call 'normality'. So, briefly, sub-normal, normal, super-normal. See Abraham Maslow for elaboration on super-normality and 'peak experiences'.

Note that mystical states and the writings about them are by no means homogenous, there is an enormous diversity of mystical traditions, from the highly orthodox (e.g.Catholic devotionalism) to the highly radical (Bengali tantrism) and many points between. It is not as if all mystics say the same things even though there are certain commonalities.

I am referring in my interpretation of 'the world' to the ideas 'Maya' and 'samsara' which are Hindu and Buddhist terms (respectively) for the nature of 'ordinary perception' or 'the world' as most of us will understand it. It is a very deep topic, of course. There is a sense also in ancient and medieval philosphy that the world of everyday perception is illusory and not to be trusted. It is very difficult for the modern outlook to appreciate that as the scientific outlook is very much that the natural realm is the only real one. I see this all the time on the Forum.

I am sure that the scientific outlook is perfectly sound, insofar as I am a realist, I believe that the material world is pretty much as it appears. But 'my world' is something super-imposed upon that, it is the network of relationships, understandings, and so on against which the physical universe itself is really the backdrop (and something we hardly ever really notice.) 'My world' is after all my career, relationships, posessions, feelings, emotions, fears, and so on, with myself at the centre of it, as a kind of axis about which all of this rotates.

I would suggest that one reading of the mystical is that it is to 'see through' this whole structure of 'me and mine'. When you state it baldly like that, it does not sound like much, so it should not be taken literally (or lightly).

Lovely quote of an old English mystic Thomas Traherne
Quote:
You never enjoy the world aright, till the sea itself floweth in your veins, till you are clothed with the heavens and crowned with the stars.
Hope that makes sense, have to sign off for a while.
Twirlip
 
  1  
Reply Mon 24 May, 2010 08:50 pm
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;168366 wrote:
[...] in brief, the idea was that madness falls short of normality, while mystical awareness surpasses it. As with most normal distribution curves the majority are in the middle of the bell, which we call 'normality'. So, briefly, sub-normal, normal, super-normal. See Abraham Maslow for elaboration on super-normality and 'peak experiences'.

I think I reject this model of the situation, but it might be interesting to discuss the model and the situation in depth some time (in another thread).

I'm inclined to think that both the mystic (or genius) and the madman (or neurotic) come into contact with the real reality, and the mystic/genius finds some way to survive the encounter, while the madman/neurotic fails to do so, and the ordinary/normal [wo]man finds a way, through conformity to socially constructed reality, to avoid the encounter.

But my inclination to think of the situation in that way is probably itself an indication of my own poor mental balance, and the truth probably integrates my picture of the situation with yours, in that the ordinary/normal person and the mystic/genius both have access to what I confusedly referred to, in my P.S., as a "third sense of 'the world'", and the madman/neurotic is, to a greater or lesser extent, cast out of this ordinary experience of healthy human living, whereas the mystic/genius rises above it, to those "peak experiences" you referred to, comprehending ordinary human life but also transcending it.

I know that that is very poorly expressed, but I think there is some common ground here, and that a clearer mapping of that common ground is quite easily achievable - if you want to have a go, and if you don't think that I'm just nuts!

What's probably still missing from the picture is a third category of deviance - a deviation not from society, to be sure, but from sanity - a deviation from the (real, not socially constructed!) 'norm' or 'average', a deviation which is not actual insanity or neurosis, on the one hand, nor mysticism or genius or sagacity, on the other hand, but excessive social conformity, on the third hand. Smile

So we need something a little more complex than the one-dimensional picture presented by a bell curve; and also a little more complex than my own rather narrow and depleted view of the world, presoccupied with questions of conformity versus non-conformity, and largely ignorant, not only of mystical or peak experiences, but also of many ordinary and valuable human experiences.

P.S. The picture is probably a lot simpler, but also deeper, than the above muddled account suggests. Unless you take into account "the dark night of the soul", there tends to be an understandable positive bias to mystical experiences. But if there is mysterious evil as well as mysterious good in the universe (as is suggested, for instance, by Alan's scary recent post in another thread about near-death experiences and hell or the void), then it is reasonable to suppose that there are 'trough' experiences as well as 'peak' experiences, and that both 'peak' and 'trough' experiences bring you into closer contact with reality, in one sense, but one characteristic which distinguishes the former from that latter is that it involves an expansion of consciousness - transcending but still including the individual self (often called the 'ego' in this context, if I'm not mistaken) - whereas the latter, 'trough' kind of experience involves a contraction of consciousness, a loss of the individual self or ego, a loss not in the mystical way, but in the terrible way of 'mental illness' (of one kind of another).

If God is a kind of source of personality and consciousness, a kind of superconsciousness, then the Devil is a kind of sink of personality and consciousness, a kind of subconsciousness. So although both 'peak' and 'trough' experiences bring you closer to reality, in one sense, it is only in the former kind of experience that you fully retain your consciousness and self in doing so. A contact with reality in which you lose yourself (and not in the mystical sense of ego-loss) is not really a contact with reality!

(I know this is very vague and woolly; I also know that vagueness and woolliness are to a large extent to be expected in discussions of mystical matters, for reasons already expressed by Alan; however, I can never be satisfied with being vague and woolly, and do not mean to rest content with words such as these.)

P.P.S. I'm expecting kennethamy to pop up in a moment asking me to distinguish between "vagueness" and "woolliness". Smile
0 Replies
 
sometime sun
 
  1  
Reply Mon 24 May, 2010 10:00 pm
@Twirlip,
It may have been said;
Can a mystic be a mystic by knowing how to be a mystic?

Is it a job description that one can work towards?

If you know what a mystic is can this mean you can easierly become one?

Is there not something mystical, mysterious, mythological about being a mystic?

How then can one train to be mystical, a mystery or mythic?
0 Replies
 
Reconstructo
 
  1  
Reply Mon 24 May, 2010 11:02 pm
@Alan McDougall,
I think of the "Satanic" state of mind to be something like the maximum absorption in the self-abstraction. Saddam Hussein said that he didn't care about what people thought of him now. He was thinking of those 500 years in the future who would read about him in history books. He was that absorbed in his personal glory. Talk about a lack of presence in the here and now.....

Let's not deny the pleasure of the ego-absorption. It's even a form of love. But it's a rigid state that is merciless toward any threats to the little prince's status. To what degree was Hitler absorbed in a grandiose fantasy of himself which also included the greatness of Germany. He probably thought of himself as the Ultimate German. And this is how the self-fetish can relate to the world. Everything is a tentacle of ye old great self, that old dragon the devil.

The opposite of this would be an openness, an utter lack of fixity, a recognition of the self as nothing but a construct, an abstraction, a boring biography. Not boring in itself, but boring as an abstraction. When two good friends get together, they talk about something that neither of them can claim. They talk of a shared beauty. Well, I think that a focus on unclaimed shared beauty is related to the mystical. But maybe I shouldn't suggest this, because I don't personally want to adopt the term. Forgive my noisy intrusion!
 

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