Mysticism

Experience

Anyone interested in mysticism may sooner or later face questions like this: what does it mean to have an experience of God? What is the nature of such experience? Read More »
sunrise, sky, blue

Twelve Ways to Approach Christian Mystical Spirituality

I cannot nail down a Christian understanding of mysticism in a single session of a class (or in a simple blog post), but hopefully I can offer some lines of thinking that can help readers and students to think about Christian mysticism in a manner that is consistent with how mysticism has been understood by Christian theologians, contemplatives and visionaries. Read More »
mountains, sunset, clouds

And Where, Exactly, Does Mysticism “Happen”?

When I was studying journalism in school, I learned that a good reporter seeks to ask some or all of these simply questions: Who? What? When? Where? Why? and How? So when I began to work on the articles for this website — for exploring the mystical life — it only seemed reasonable to begin with those same six questions. Read More »
church, faith, religion

Mysticism

Mysticism is the dimension of spirituality that goes deeper than belief, doctrine or dogma. It recognizes that spiritual reality cannot ever be fully comprehended by the limitations of human thought, language or logic. Read More »

Evelyn Underhill’s Historical Sketch of Mysticism

This essay originally appeared in Evelyn Underhill's Mysticism: A Study in the Nature and Development of Spiritual Consciousness (1911). As that book is now in the public domain, and as this article is an excellent best brief summary of Christian mysticism, at least through the 18th century (with some consideration of non-Christian mystics as well), I'm publishing it here for the benefit of the readers of this site.

The Characteristics of a Mystic

I know two elderly monks at the local monastery near where I live, both of whom have reputations as "real mystics." Indeed, I would agree with this assessment — they both strike me as genuine contemplatives, true living mystics. But they are very different from one another in some key ways. Read More »

Interfaith-Friendly Christianity

Contemplative and mystical spirituality often is comfortable, perhaps even prefers, positive and creative interaction between differing faiths. I think the reason for this is simple: contemplative spirituality tends to cultivate a sense of love and compassion, and looks to find the presence of God in all things. Read More »

Thomas Merton

Like so many great writers, Merton's influence and legacy has only grown after his death. Nearly forty years later, most if not all of his books remain in print, and he is widely regarded as the unofficial founder of the Centering Prayer movement as well as of serious interfaith dialogue between contemplatives of different religious traditions. Read More »

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