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What is Mysticism?
Various Dictionary Definitions of Mysticism
mys·ti·cism (mîs-tî-sîz´-em) noun
Immediate consciousness or experience of the transcendent, ultimate reality, God, Divine, Enlightenment, Illumination, Satori, Samadhi, Nirvana, Cosmic Consciousness, SelfRealization, Transformation, Religious Conversion, Peak Experience… A belief in the existence of reality or realities beyond ordinary perceptual or intellectual apprehension and directly accessible to subjective experience Anything related to religious mysteries, occult rites and practices Any mysterious, strange, obscure experiences, or vague, groundless speculation
Definitions of mystic
A person who had a personal mystical experience Anything relating to mysticism Relating to religious mysteries or occult rites and practices Inspiring a sense of mystery and wonder Mysterious, strange, obscure
Various Names for Mystical Experience
Vedanta, Hinduism, Yoga
Samadhi (Self-Absorption), or Moksha (Liberation) Self-Realization, God-Realization Kensho (‘no-self’ realization), Moksha (Liberation) Enlightenment, Nirvana, Satori (Zen)
Wu Wei (non-dual action); The Ultimate Tao Cosmic Consciousness (Richard Bucke) Objective Consciousness (Gurdijeff) Fana (Sufism) Ascension to Light, Illumination, Liberation Oneness, At-one-ment, Union with God
Characteristics of Mystical Experience
Sense of Unity, Oneness with All External: sense of oneness with “other”, the Universe Internal: fading of ego into pure awareness Transcendence of Time & Space Positive feelings: joy, bliss, love peace Sense of numinous (supernatural presence) Sense of certitude and reality of the mystical experience Sense of paradox (I am All; All is This; All is One) Ineffability (inability to describe the experience in words) Transience (the experience does not last) Change of attitude & behaviour
Different types of Mysticism
Two Ways, generally
Inwardly, going within (contemplation, meditation) Outwardly, searching for external unity
Two Ways, in various Religious teachings
Via Affirmativa (kataphatic mysticism) Via Negativa (apopathic theology) The Way of Effort The Effortless Way – the Way of Grace
Two Ways, according to Chinese sage Mencius
Love (in Hinduism Bhakti) Lack of Love
Various Disciplines Dealing with Mysticism
Philosophy & Metaphysics
Plato, Plotinus, Spinoza, Fichte, Schelling, Hegel…
Freud, Jung, Maslow…
Religion & Mysticism
Western: Judaism (Kabbalah), Christianity (Meister Eckhart, St John of the Cross), Islam, (Sufism: Kabir, Rumi), New Age Mysticism… Eastern: Advaita Vedanta, Buddhism, Taoism, Zen…
The Goal of the Spiritual / Mystic Path
To achieve a nondual way of experiencing this World, Reality, Universe, Divinity, God – i.e. a transpersonal experience of Nonduality, Oneness, Mystic Union, Liberation, Enlightenment…
How to Achieve This Goal?
The best way to achieve this Goal is by asking and finding the answer to the question
Who am I? Why?
It is the fastest way to realize the nonduality of ‘I’ and ‘not-I’.
Stages towards Enlightenment, Self-Transcendence, Return to the Source, Mystic Union
5 4 3 2 1
The Unitive Life / Enlightenment (no self)
The Dark Night of the Soul
Self-knowledge / Purgation
Awakening / Conversion
Two Ways of Realizing True (No) Self
Dualistic (Common perception, cognition & action)
I + Not-I = All
Dualistic Vedanta, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Nicol C. Campbell’s School of Truth, Theosophy…
Non-Dualistic (Nondual perception, cognition & action)
Via Positiva: expanding / inflating sense of Self to ∞ Vedanta…
Via Negativa: colapsing / reducing sense of Self to 0 I=0 Advaita Vedanta (Neti-Neti), Christian Mysticism, Sufism, Taoism, Mahayana Buddhism (anatta = no-self), Cha’n, Zen (no-way, no-mind, no-action)…
(methods or “medicines” to end human suffering)
so·te·ri·ol·o·gy (so-tîr´ê-òl¹e-jê) noun The theological doctrine of salvation, especially as effected by Jesus, but here also meanimg: by other saviours (“doctors”) like Buddha, Mohammed, Sri Ramana Maharshi, HPB, MBE, Osho… From Greek sotêrion, deliverance from earthly suffering and ignorance; sotêr savior + logy study of.
Materialistic: Communism, Capitalism… Religious: Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish, Christian… Mystical: Kabbalah, Sufism, Rosicrucianism, Theosophy, Christian Science, Yoga, Taoism, Ch’an, Zen…
In most religious and mystical traditions, great emphasis is placed on Knowing Thyself as the way of deliverance, liberation of man from ignorance and suffering. 12
“Steps” to Enlightenment, Satori, Knowledge of Self, Vidya, Jnana
Ordinary, unenightened person, ajnani I am my name, gender, nationality, personality, body, emotions, mind, intellect, soul, ego; feeling and thinking “I” & “mine” (selfishness) v. “others” Deliverance, Enlightenment, Satori, Self-Realisation, Moksha, Liberation… I am no-thing; there is no “i”; no-self I am / is not a thing or object Enlightened person, jnani I am Everything, Self, One, One Self, One-with-All, Love, Witness, Being…
one, self, ego, i
I, Self, One, Paradox
Mysticism as the Common Ground of all Religions
Zoroastrianism Islam Christianity Judaism Taoism Buddhism Hinduism Sufism Via Negativa Kabalah Mahayana, Zen Tao Mysticism Yoga, Advaita
Quotes from Buddhist Mysticism
The One Mind alone is the Buddha, and there is no distinction between the Buddha and sentient being, only that sentient beings are attached to form and so seek to attain Budhahood externally. By the very seeking they lose it, for that is using the Buddha to seek Buddha, and using the Mind to grasp Mind. - Huang Po If you run away from the Void, you can never be free from it; if you search for the Void, you can never reach it. - Niu-tou Fa-Yung
Quote from Sufi Mysticism
Clothe thyself in the garment of nothingness and drink the cup of self-annihilation.
- Attar, 12th Century Persian Sufi Mystic
Quotes from Christian Mysticism
Meister Eckhart The eye that I see God with is the same eye God sees with.
As long as I am this or that, or have this or that, I am not all things and have not all things. Become pure till you neither are nor have this or that; then you are omnipresent, and, being neither this nor that, are all things.
St John of the Cross In order to arrive at being everything, desire to be nothing.
Quotes from Hindu Mysticism
There is some Absolute Entity, the eternal substratum of the consciousness by which this universe is pervaded, but which nothing pervades, which shining, all this universe shines by Its reflection... This is the innermost Self, the primeval Purusha, whose essence is the constant realisation of infinite Bliss... — Shankaracharya.
The Golden Rule in All Religions
Buddhism (Udanavarga 5.18) Hurt not others with that which pains yourself. Christianity (Mathew 7.12) Do for others what you want them to do for you. Confucianism (Analects 15, 23) Is there any one maxim which ought to be acted upon throughout one’s life? Surely the maxim of loving-kindness is such: Do not unto others what you would not like them do unto you. Hinduism (Mahavaratas 1517) This is the sum of duty: do naught to others which if done to thee, would cause thee pain. Islam (Traditions) No one of you is a believer until he desires for his brother that which he desires for himself. Jainism (Yogashastra 2.20) In happiness and in suffering, in joy and grief, we should regard all creatures as we regard our own self, and should therefore refrain from inflicting upon others such injury as would appear undesirable to us if inflicted upon ourselves. Judaism (Talmud) What is hurtful to yourself do not do to your fellow man. This is the whole of the Torah and the remainder is but commentary. Go learn it. Taoism (T’ai Shan Kan Ying P’ien) Regard your neighbour’s gain as your own gain, and regard your neighbour’s loss as your own loss. Zoroastrianism (Dadistan-1-dinik 94.5) That nature is good when it shall not do unto another whatever is not good for its own self. 19
The deepest truth cannot, like other objects of study, be put into words: from long intercourse and close intimacy with the facts, it comes suddenly into existence… – Plato. Be still, and know that I am God. – Psalms.
Those who know don’t speak – those who speak don’t know. – Zen.
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