If right here and right now, you were a fully blossomed mystic — I mean of the same caliber as Julian of Norwich or John of the Cross — how would your life be different?
What would your day look like?
How would you be spending (or investing) your money?
How much time would you spend each day in prayer? In lectio divina? In works of mercy? In our postmodern/western equivalent to “chop wood, carry water” — i.e., cleaning the laundry and doing the dishes?
Would you be a member of the same church you are now? If you’re not currently a member of a church, would you seek one out? If you think you would be part of a different faith community than the one you’re in now, what would that look like? Meanwhile, how would your mystical consciousness change the way you think about and relate to faiths and wisdom traditions other than your own?
What about your interpersonal relationships? I don’t believe mysticism in itself changes our relationships, although it might add stress to dysfunctional or toxic connections. How would your immersion in the mystical life impact those you love? Would they be happy about this?
What about your messes: your addictions, your compulsions, your secrets? What would the mystical life impel you to do about them?
How would being a mystic impact your level of physical activity? Your overall health and commitment to keeping yourself healthy? How would it impact your diet? In other words, what would you have for breakfast? Dinner? Supper?
What about work? How would your professional life change? What would need to be different about who you are vocationally?
And how would the mystical path affect your creativity? What kind of creative work do you think mysticism would inspire in you? How would that be different from what you are now?
I’m asking you all these questions (and myself, too), for a very simple reason. I know I am nowhere near the level of consciousness of a Julian or a John. But I certainly admire them, and if it were God’s will to grant me the experience and strength of character to be a mystic like that, I hope that I would be worthy enough to receive such a gift. But I also don’t believe life is meant to be lived in the future: it’s for today, here, now. I know that I have no control over God’s gift of felt presence in my life; but I do have control over how I conduct my life in order to be disposed to receive God’s presence, in whatever form or degree God chooses to come to me.
To summarize: If I love the mystical tradition and admire the mystics, doesn’t, therefore, it make sense for me to live as if I were a mystic: starting today?
How we answer this question, it seems to be, will do much to shape our process of spiritual formation.