What is Mysticism?

I've been a student of mysticism ever since first reading Evelyn Underhill's Mysticism: The Nature and Development of Spiritual Consciousness back in 1979, right after I graduated from high school. Nearly three decades have gone by and I'm no closer than ever to being able to define mysticism.Sure, I know all the basic definitions: it is the experience of union with God. It's a form of spirituality grounded in ecstatic and altered states of consciousness. It's the interior, personal, and even … [Read more...]

Matthew 14:25

Matthew 14:25 says, "In the fourth watch of the night he came towards them, walking on the sea."Jesus, walking on the water.It occurred to me this morning that this single verse holds the key to the three basic types of faith: magical, rational, and mystical.The magical person reads Matthew 14:25 and says, "This proves that Jesus was the Son of God." The rational person reads this verse and says, "This proves that the Gospel is just a myth." The mystical person reads it and says, "This … [Read more...]

Mystics and Contemplatives

The ever-perceptive Phil Foster asks in a recent comment on this blog: Is there a difference between a mystic and a contemplative type? I’m certainly the latter but not the former. Phil, I think your second sentence in this quotation goes a long way toward answering the question. A "mystic" as I see it, is one who has been ushered into the mysteries — and it is God who does the ushering. So, while on one level we are all mystics (as William McNamara puts it in his book Earthy Mysticism, "A mys … [Read more...]