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Christian Mysticism

Mystical means simply having an experience beyond the five senses. When you experience love, it is an example of a mystical experience. When you feel a presence within you when you pray or meditate, that is a mystical experience. The feeling you get when you open to a consciousness that is much deeper or higher than you are used to is a mystical experience.

A mystical experience changes you at the very core of your being. What you used to know and think has been replaced with something higher and more profound than you could think up with your mind. When an emotional problem is healed or lifted from you, it is difficult to conceive of how that happens. Yet, many people have had the experience of not being troubled about a particular fear or condition any longer. The problem or illness just goes away. Others have felt a cosmic presence of the divine and have been moved to tears or released from a burden that is often unexplainable to the conscious mind. Experience like this is what the mystics experience every day. To the average observer, these experiences are extraordinary and rare. But many people report similar experiences that the mystics of past times have written about.

The Christian Mystics are dedicated to precisely these kinds of experiences that cannot be scientifically proven, but are mystically known and understood. Their experience of God within and other manifestations of the divine being, like light in and around the body, healing of various physical ailments and profound peace filling the heart and mind are common and normal. The experience of the Christ consciousness has the same transformative effect on the recipient in all cultures: joy, liberation from the constraints of the physical world and profound love and peace filling the person and emanating out to others. Real spiritual experience brings true wisdom.

A Christian Mystic is filled with the presence of Christ or with the love of God filling their soul and shining through their being. Most saints and sages regardless of their background are mystics. They have peered into the inner world in meditation, devotion and prayer and have had the experience of being embraced by the being of God that resides within each person. Whether a person believes in such things or not, the mystics see God within and knows that everyone has this divine center within them. It is not an opinion or a belief, as mystics are not that interested in such things. Real experience brings real transformation and complete change in a human being. This is why those who really know carry such a presence of peace that flows through them. The mystics and saints are the ones who have moved the conscience of the world and opened the hearts of those seeking the truth that God is within.

Mysticism comes from the Greek word ‘mystikos’ which means attaining a consciousness or having an experience that cannot be explained merely by the objective senses. Mystical experience is deeper than intellectual analysis, studying of scripture or reading ancient texts. Mystical experience drives one deeper to something that is profoundly moving and life changing. Sometimes real experiences are disturbing as in the case of seeing in the spiritual world the beings that live there. Anytime you experience something that cannot be explained by the objective faculties, there is something mystical about it.

If you have felt energy in a room, you are having a mystical experience. When you feel the presence of a divine being near you helping you, that is a mystical experience. If you have ever seen something around you that was not physically there, that is a mystical experience. If you feel the Holy Spirit or God blessing you, that is definitely a mystical experience. The defining signature of a mystical experience is that it changes you and deepens you in ways that thinking and discussing ideas cannot possibly do. Experience can only come from going through something. Mystical experience brings a person to the consciousness of knowing. Knowing is born of experience in this sense because you can only know something if you have experienced the nature of that something. One can guess what the pain might be like when you touch a scalding pot, but you will definitely know for sure when you touch it in reality. The real touch is the experience of the hot object and then you have experience getting burned. Before this, one can read about pain or listen to people talk about a hot object and the pain it might cause. But you will never know for sure.

The mystics of all the world religions are the courageous ones who desire to experience deep inner, spiritual realities for themselves. They are not satisfied with the scraps of speculative cerebral meanderings left on the road for the random traveler. The mystics have a burning desire to experience God within their own being and to know for sure. In the Christian tradition, the mystics, like St. John of the Cross, Catherine of Sienna, St. Francis of Assisi, St. Teresa of Avila, St. Anthony of Padua, Thomas a Kempis, give enlightening accounts of their mystical union with God. Their experiences were unusual for the traditional church believers and so they were persecuted for years until finally accepted by the Church. Buddhism has a mystical path in Zen; Hinduism has a mystical path in Kriya Yoga; Muslim has a mystical tradition in the Sufi, Judaism has the Cabala path and Christianity has the Christian mystics. The mystical side of these practices is that the person strives to purge themselves of all impure thoughts, desires and actions in order to prepare them for true mystical experience of God. The experience of union with the divine is the goal. You must purge out all negative tendencies and any obstructions to connection with God. Jesus’ words are clear, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” We take this statement as a formula for how to come into direct relationship with God. The next step is the intense increase of love and light that pours into the practitioner simply because of their one-pointed focus on the relationship with God within their own being. As this relationship develops and more light and love flood in, the disciple simply allows themselves to merge into union with God in the center of their being.

No words can capture the power and beauty of this experience which is why it is so hard for traditional Christians to relate to it. Belief and memorization have nothing to do with a real spiritual life. Real love for God is going to drive you into the fire of love with God and in that purity, God will make God’s home inside of you – right in the center of your being. You will feel completely loved and transformed. You have graduated from being merely a believer into one who experiences God. You now know for sure. Mystics are not understood because they are experiencing things that others have simply not dreamed of yet. Most mystics will talk less about their own personal experiences of love, ecstasy and God since the people around them do not understand and are not interested in knowing God and experiencing God. They are saddened by the suspicious world that would be completely healed and transformed if they opened to such experiences, but are not interested. (Unlearning)

Forgiveness Part 1

10/24/22

It is unevolved to harden your heart to another person. It lacks compassion and peace in your heart. There is no excuse for holding your heart stiff to another person. It shows you do not understand that God is inside that other person as well as God is in you. God loves what God made. So to stay in a permanent discord with another person is against God. The tendency for people to hold grudges based on stupid things like religion, making a career or family decision that you disagree with, or having an ideology that you disagree with, is against God’s commandment to love one another. You cannot love if you hate someone. You cannot love if you hold a grudge against someone for what they said, what they believe in, or how they behave. They may not know it offends you. They may not think it has anything to do with you. They are usually sincere and well-meaning in their intention to do good. Be patient with people and give them the freedom to make decisions like you would expect them to do for you. If someone is actually harming another person, you should tell them that it is hurting others. If it is criminal, then you should report it because they will do it to others besides you or probably already have. But forgiveness is much nobler than stubbornness or rigidity. Forgiveness is blessed because God cannot forgive you unless you forgive others.

Forgiveness means you release a person from owing you before they pay for their crime. You give before they ask for it. You wash your heart clean of the anger, the resentment and the hurt for whatever the other person did or said to you. In most cases, people are well-intentioned and actually are trying to do well by other people and to treat other people kindly. It is a rare individual who deliberately hates people enough to want to hurt them.  In times of anger and jealousy, a person can rage and really do some harm and actually intends to. But those instances are criminal and occasional. If you start with the premise that people are essentially good and that they they mean well, then you will not be so suspicious that people are out to get you or want to hurt you. This way you will be in a better frame of mind to forgive instead of holding a person accountable for your misinterpretation of what their motives were. You do not know the heart of another person unless you ask them what their intention was. Then you will have the understanding to feel where they were coming from and see it from their point of view. You cannot be forgiven unless you first forgive.  God cannot and will not forgive you if you harden your heart to others and continue to resent and hold grudges against them for imagined wrongs. Let those resentments go and wash them out of you. Start a new habit of thinking well of people and accepting that they mean well. Stop using your limited understanding to justify your anger and your fears about other people.  God is inside your sister or brother just like God is inside you.  Look deeper and then you will have no trouble forgiving.

Try this meditation:

Think of somebody really meaningful in your life, someone that’s been with you from the very beginning. Somebody who through all these years became what they are today by the choices and the decisions they made for their life. See the things they resisted, the things they complained about, the things they loved and the things they embraced.

See yourself in your present condition and look back on all the choices you made. Feel all the tension you threw into your body, and the fears that locked you down. Feel all the opinions that distorted your vision and the fierce ways you needed to be important. I want you to ask God for forgiveness for the choices that you made. If you

don’t know what you chose, ask God to show you. Ask God to show you what you chose versus what you could have chosen. Was nobody there? Or did you push them away? Did you avoid responsibility to make them pay? Forgive yourself for that and then ask God to forgive you.

Did you power trip your way through life or make everyone suffer who tried to get close to you? Did you try to be so hard to understand that you wouldn’t let anyone know you? Were you so difficult in receiving people’s love for you? Ask God to forgive you for that defensive maneuver.

Who are you under all the tricks? Ask God to forgive you for not wanting to know who you are; for hiding from yourself. Ask God to forgive you for acting like you knew things when you were just terrified. Now forgive yourself for each one of these things. Let God’s forgiveness soak in deeply so you can learn how to forgive yourself in the same way.

Say, “God forgive me for not forgiving other people and hardening my heart to them. Help me to forgive them now. Oh God forgive me for being mad that I have to change.”

Then forgive yourself for all the ways you avoided responsibility and growth.

(Jesus, Forgive Me)

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