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Why Do Mystics Talk About “Purgation” or “Purification”?

Traditionally, the mystical (or contemplative) life within Christian spirituality has been understood as involving three developmental stages: Purgation, Illumination, and Union. This three-step model of the mystical life goes all the way back to the earliest centuries of Christian history.

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Howard Thurman

When we consider also the rich mystical sensibility that characterizes Howard Thurman’s sermons and writings, it is clear that he is one of the great twentieth-century Christian contemplatives.

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Reclaiming the Bible as a Mystical Masterpiece

Part of the process of reclaiming mystical Christianity in our day will be the equally important task of reclaiming a mystical understanding of the Bible.

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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?

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Spiritual silence is not about the kind of silence that harms relationships or inhibits communication. Rather, the silence of spirituality is the silence of listening, pondering, meditating, contemplating. It can only be freely chosen; never imposed.

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111 Mystics

The following list of books represent those writings by 111 Pagan, Christian, Jewish, and Muslim mystics dating from the beginning of the common era to the present day. Please buy …

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My Original Mystical Booklist

Note from Carl: I began this list in 2007, and added to it here and there over the years. Eventually it seemed large and unwieldy, and so I created shorter, …

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My Loveliest Dream

It must have been sometime in the early 1980s. I was either still working on my Master’s or had just recently graduated, and my spiritual life was nurtured mostly by …

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February 5, 1977

Here is an excerpt from my book The Aspiring Mystic: Practical Steps for Spiritual Seekers (2000), which unfortunately is out of print, although used copies are fairly easy to find. …

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Sylvia B. McColman (1923-2007)

Sylvia B. McColman, 83, of Hampton, Virginia, passed from this life on January 4, 2007 surrounded by loved ones. She graced the lives of countless friends and acquaintances with her …

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