What Is Mysticism?

A mystic is essentially a person who seeks a deeper understanding of a transcendent truth that transcends only rational understanding and knowledge. What unites such people is the belief that this transcendental truth exclusively transcends our rational understanding of knowledge and that the desired insight can or cannot be achieved. A number of spiritual and religious mysteries may or may not have been initiated, but what unites them all is the belief in the transcendence of human experience, which we normally associate with rational knowledge such as logic and reason.

The word mysticism comes from the Greek word myste, which refers to the beginning of a secret cult. In the general view, a mystic is often a person who practices esoteric practices, but not necessarily a religious or spiritual leader. The Greek word myste means “to connect with God” (mystikos) or “mysticism,” from the Greek for “secret cult” and the Hebrew for mysticism. A person who successfully aspires to and attains such a communion can be called a mystic, but he must also be humble and understanding. In other words, the mystic does not need or have a particular label or group to belong to. When the knowledge of the mystics is complete, they stand on their own, nourished by a self-shining light.

The essential nature of the expression of the mystic is truth, and reality can be understood as a higher consciousness which embraces and permeates all. The mystics of history have awakened and are permeated by an exceedingly beautiful reality which no just man can recognize without the help of the Divine and the knowledge of his own nature. In Christianity God and his consciousness are at the center, in Buddhism enlightenment is at the center and in Islam there is the divine nature of the soul and its relationship to the universe and all life. Postmodernism claims that there is again room for belief in the Divine and the Invisible, and this again allows room for belief in the Divine Invisible. We could say that we should be spiritual, not religious, but explore and practice transcendental meditation and yoga. There are no limits to what we can feel and study, be it the nature of life itself, the universe or even the existence of other beings.

The basic premise of mysticism: the desire to discover a god-filled world. Mysticism is a form of belief in the existence of the Divine and the Invisible, not only in God but also in other beings. Believers seek a connection between the divine, the invisible and even the non-physical worlds. The followers follow practices that are intended to promote this experience, such as yoga and meditation on mind and body. For mystics, the opaque rituals and traditions have no place in the world of spirituality. They do not believe that there is only one way or one right way to experience divinity. Although not everyone can experience the ultimate reality, every human being has the ability to experience unique deities to some extent.

A mystic feels connected to all living beings and is therefore ready to look beyond what is socially accepted. Mysticism has surprisingly many faces, and trying to define mysticism as the pursuit of transcendent truth becomes difficult. In many monotheistic and polytheistic faiths, the human being is usually concerned with a direct connection to God, which is often found through meditation and prayer. In Christianity, mystics often refer to this state as union with God. This state, called moksha, has parallels to Oneness, as it refers to a spiritual state in which reality is seen as an illusion.

Such efforts have long been possible within long-established religions such as monasticism, where the rules governing the daily life of monks and nuns provide an environment that encourages the cultivation of mystical states of consciousness. Such efforts can also be pursued within other forms of religious belief and cult, as well as within non-religious practices.

In contrast to rationalism, which considers reason to be the highest capacity possessed by man, mysticism refers to a changed state of consciousness, which reaches as far as religious ecstasy. It also referred to the ability to unite with God or other deities by finding ecstatic states of spiritual consciousness. While in rationalism all opinions and actions are based on reason and truth, and all truth is attained through a process of logical and critical thought, mysticism seeks to find spiritual truth that goes beyond analytical faculties.

The investigative aspect of the Kabbalah is to seek the hidden reality of the universe, a quest that is esoteric rather than mystical. Jewish mystical and esoteric traditions have been adopted and expanded over time and adopted by other religions, such as Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism and many other forms of mysticism. Investigative Kaballah is anti-rational in the sense that it is a rejection of rationalism and a search for truth and truth of God and other deities.

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