This blog will showcase spirituality and mysticism from around the web, sharing the interesting discoveries I've made in articles, websites, audios and videos. I will use this as a platform to explore the deep and rich meaning and value within Christian mysticism, atheist mysticism, and Eastern mysticism (Buddhism, Taoism, Hinduism, Yoga, etc.).
What is “mysticism”? Wikipedia defines mysticism as “the knowledge of, and especially the personal experience of, states of consciousness, i.e. levels of being, beyond normal human perception, including experience of and even communion with a supreme being.”
As a pantheist I take “supreme being” to mean the oneness of the Cosmos. A worldview maintaining that all things are united together on a material and spiritual (energy) level. This worldview can be found in Taoism, in Zen, in Yoga, in certain sects of Christianity, and especially in physics.
This does not maintain a belief in the supernatural: Gods, angels, devils, miracles, evil. But a belief in the supernatural does not exclude one from mysticism. I personally do not believe in the supernatural, but believe reality is up for any interpretation.
Mysticism is a “personal” experience. It is not objective, but subject. Those who have tried to make mysticism objective have often only ended up ruining the experience or making a vast religion out of the event.
Judaism is an example of a religion formed from Abraham's mystical experience with God, Christianity formed from followers' mystical experience with Jesus Christ, Islam formed from Mohammed's mystical experience with God, and Buddhism formed from Buddha's mystical experience with meditation. On and on it goes, each religion losing much of the essence held in the original experience.
Spirituality is a bit harder for me to define. It's even more subjective, yet maintains at least some objective laws. Compassion and wholeness are premises of spirituality.
Wikipedia defines spirituality as: “an ultimate or alleged immaterial reality, an inner path enabling a person to discover the essence of his/her being; or the 'deepest values by which people live.'”
Spirituality, in my opinion, does not mean “spirit” in the sense of a soul, a supernatural phenomenon within the body. To me it means “self” in that the self is a being of energy, as well as a physical manifestation. On a scientific level, I'm speaking of the electric impulses and chemical reactions within the human body which propel us to life.
Spirituality is often more of an ideal than an experience, as mysticism is. Both are important and compliment one another. It is the way in which we reach out and touch the self, and the selves of others, and the Cosmos as a whole. If mysticism is a personal practice, spirituality is the personal law which guides the practice.
Christianity, Islam, Judaism, atheism, agnosticism, pantheism, paganism, Buddhism, Yoga, Hinduism, and Taoism all have deep levels of spirituality other than their usual religious or secular natures.
In coming posts I will discuss different examples of both mysticism and spirituality, showing differences and commonalities of various belief systems and personal experiences.