The Aspiring Mystic

Practical Steps for Spiritual Seekers

Are you an Aspiring Mystic?

From Thomas Merton to Paramahansa Yogananda, from Rumi to William Blake, from Hildegard of Bingen to Joan of Arc, the most compelling and fascinating spiritual figures in every age and every culture are the mystics, those men and women who attain enlightenment, union with God, or an on-going sense of Divine presence in their lives. How can spiritual seekers in today’s world learn from the great mystics — and perhaps even cultivate our own share of mystical awareness?

Carl McColman never set out to be a mystic; but when he was sixteen years old, a mysterious incident at a church youth camp set him on a lifelong pursuit of mystical knowledge. His quest took him to the austerities of medieval Christianity, the mental discipline of Zen Buddhism, and the earthy spirituality of shamanism and tribal religions. Along the way, he began to identify the key universal themes and practices of mysticism. This book — the first non-sectarian handbook for serious mystical seekers — presents a simple but powerful introduction to practical spirituality.

Written in a conversational and at times humorous style, the book blends personal anecdotes with stories and insights from various mystical traditions. Woven throughout the text are “practical steps” — easy to follow suggestions of specific actions anyone seeking a mystical spirituality can do. With tips on how to practice meditation, find a supportive community, let go of negative attachments, and discover why love matters more to mystics than extraordinary experience, the sensible advice in this book can help anyone transform their life from the mundane to the mystical.

Chapter titles:

  • The Point of Departure
  • Extraordinary Moments
  • Healing the Wounds
  • Knowing What You Want
  • Don’t Go It Alone
  • The Landscape of Letting Go
  • Relating to the Mystery
  • The Way of Transformation

The Aspiring Mystic is Carl McColman’s second book, published in 2000. Carl notes, “My first book, Spirituality, was very theoretical, so for my second book I wanted to write something a bit more down-to-earth and practical. I wanted to share a bit more of my own journey as a student of mysticism, and to invite my readers to dare to believe that the mystical path is for everyone. A little book like this can only offer a brief introduction to a topic as vast as mysticism, but I hope that readers will find it whets their appetite for a life-long love affair with the wisdom, beauty, and meaning of the mystical way.”

The Aspiring Mystic is out of print. New copies are no longer available. Used copies are often available online. Follow these links to search:

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Praise for The Aspiring Mystic:

“Anyone who is an aspiring mystic should read this book. It is a wise yet practical guide for the sacred journey into the mysteries of the soul.”
Denise Linn, author of Sacred Space

“By focusing on process, the actual activity of mysticism, rather than theology, McColman reaches a level of inclusiveness that I would not have thought possible … The Aspiring Mystic is wise, informative and a pleasure to read. I strongly recommend it!
Judy Harrow, author of Wicca Covens


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