When one has traditionally thought of Mystics, it conjures up images of sack-cloth and caves, beards, and depravation. We also think of monasteries and convents and other forms of seclusion. That is no longer true, nor has it been for a few decades. As more and more people desired a deeper spiritual journey, but no longer felt inclined nor the need to withdraw from everyday living, a new path to the mystical union with God or the creative Source of Life began to emerge. People began to discover that the mysteries of life were contained in their normal and everyday existence, and surprisingly, the answers were being found within themselves during periods of silence. Mindfulness, meditation, journaling and dreams and synchronicities were beginning to open new avenues of insight and direction.
Many of us who began this new mystical journey in the late 1960’s onward, often found that everyday living provided an excellent playing field for trying out and polishing up skills that were being presented to us in our times of solitude. Since I was a practicing Christian, I began to see the Bible in a whole new context and saw new truths that my church was not teaching. Most of us also became aware, as time went by, that many of the same insights were also to be found in other spiritual traditions as well. We may have been on different paths, but we were all searching for the same end result. An understanding and union with something much bigger than just our small finite existence. We also learned to relate to and use some of the practices from other traditions which enhanced our own deeper journey.
I love Fr. Richard Rohr’s definition of a mystic. He says a mystic is: “One who has moved from mere belief or belonging systems to inner experience.” For far too long we embraced the system of hierarchy where we were taught what to believe, in spite of what we felt in our hearts or what we had personally experienced. One such area for me was in the area of intuitive dreams. From a very young age, perhaps about eight years old, I experienced prophetic dreams that told me of events I would not have had any way of knowing. My dreams also solved problems for me that I was too young or inexperienced to have known how to solve on my own. But the information I was given worked, and I became a believer in my dreams, although I was told they were “just a dream.”
One night, when I was sixteen years of age, I dreamed of my father lying in a coffin, and when I walked up to the coffin, his head dropped and I knew he had died. The next evening at six o’clock, he called for me to come help him, and when I arrived, he was in such pain that I called for an ambulance. However, before it arrived he fell unconscious in my arms and was dead before the arrival of the emergency squad. My father had just passed a physical exam the day before so he could go to work in the Veterans Hospital. We hadn’t the slightest inkling that a heart attack would take his life the next day! Despite being told that it had all merely been a “co-incidence,” I knew deep in my heart, these experiences went beyond the reach of mere happenstance. I just had no framework to put it all in then.
As time passed and experiences deepened, many of us were becoming aware that psychology, science and spirituality were not separate entities, but were in some strange way, inter-related and connected, and were different sides of the same coin. The disciplines, themselves, still struggle with trying to remain distant and unrelated to one another, but in actual practice, using all three in tandem often provides extraordinary insight. The Quantum Sciences are providing greater and greater insight into the inter-relatedness of the three as it has begun to speak of and investigate the concept of “Consciousness.” It’s exciting to see the new developments day by day as progress seems to accelerate in all directions.
This whole topic is much too extensive, important and exciting to cover in one single post. Next week we’ll explore this topic more in-depth as we look at many of the ways we can both descend and go deeper into our spiritual life, as well as ascend and reach higher levels of understanding and wisdom while still living in our world. It is possible for anyone, with the desire to do so, to begin to join the ranks of “everyday mystics.”
Book: Coming Full Circle through Changes, Challenges and Transitions (available at Amazon, Balboa Books or other bookstores.) www.facebook.com/changeschallengesandtransitions
Other book/s: Women Alone: Living a Joyous and Fulfilling Life. by Julie Keene and Ione Jenson (Hay House) Available on Amazon