Mysticism in World Religions
Saturday, May 2, 2015, 6:34 PM
All of us, occasionally, walk with our heads down while we are engrossed in our thoughts. Today, too many of us might walk - or drive - with our heads up when talking on our cell phones. In either case, and as a result, we are less conscious of our surroundings here and what is happening now. That can be dangerous; it can also limit both our human and spiritual awareness. We must have our “heads up” - in this place at this time - to live life fully and divinely, too.
When mothers say “mind your manners” they mean to be aware of how we behave, usually because other people are watching. Mindfulness is one basic principle of Buddhist practice, especially during meditation. They should not only sit with their body erect - meditators with their heads down may be asleep - they must also maintain an awareness of the flow of their sentiments, thoughts and sensations. They then realize that all of them are impermanent.
When a physician asks for your symptoms, you must be mindful of what your body is telling you. Your auto mechanic will say the same about your car. When we do not have our “heads up” about our life as lived, we cannot know how to improve it. Some spiritual persons speak of heads up literally; they say that they feel more at one with the world while their head is lifted, while either standing, walking or sitting. That is often quite effective, yet it is not always easy to do.
“Pay attention!” is a more forceful idiom than heads up. We could be aware someone has entered the room, still must be attentive to recognize who that person is. Mystical realization is frequently said to be an awareness of the divine. Attentiveness is integrating that awareness into our active consciousness in daily living. By literal definition, attentive means both “paying attention; observant” and “mindful of the well-being of others; considerate.”
In the latter usage, attentiveness means to keep our heads up to the needs of others. Earth revolves on its axis; the world does not revolve around “me.” Whether it be politically, financially, socially, or even psychologically, other people are more important to all of this life than our individual, ego self. Spiritually, the divine essence does pervade all of existence. Soul is in every person, which unites them with all other people and all of existence always.
To “clear your head” means to become more attentive to what is happening around you. To “clear your mind” is to become more conscious or aware of what is going on inside you. A clear mind will better see the oneness in all; a muddled mind will only see “me” and “them,” often without understanding either. A heads-up attitude could describe someone who has a positive outlook and is open to new ideas. Both attributes are required on the mystical quest.
Heads-up could also mean to live for this moment, here and now. Too often, our minds are rehashing the past or anticipating the future; meanwhile the present is not attended to properly. What we do right here, right now becomes a memory of yesterday and impacts tomorrow. Done poorly, life as lived today would end in becoming a “has-been,” or will continue as a “wannabe,” without accomplishing a lot. The divine is in us; we must be actively in the divine.
(19 of 30 quotations from "the greatest achievement in life," my free ebook on comparative mysticism)
Saturday, April 25, 2015, 5:23 PM
Too many devotees jump from one religion to another, alternate from going it alone to studying with a spiritual teacher, and/or move from one guru to the next in search of the one true way. There is no “one true way”; there are now about seven billion ways. You must probe the depths of your inner self; other people can only guide you on the path. The trials and experiences along the way may vary.
Even if you do stay with one religion throughout your search, and study with one spiritual teacher for many years, you will still try a little of this and a little of that. Each faith has many approaches to mystical consciousness and aspirants seldom find the right path on their first choice. Qualified teachers usually integrate a variety of methods for each student - according to their levels of dedication, abilities and awareness - gradually changing them as they progress.
For most seekers, and for most mystics, it is necessary to balance a little of this life with a little of the eternal life. Emotionally, we cannot be so devoted to divine Love that we neglect to love our family and friends. Mentally, our thoughts cannot be so concentrated on divine Truth that we overlook those many truths about mundane living. Physically, we cannot to be so absorbed in divine Reality that we ignore everyday realities. Or vice versa.
A little of that eternal life should be integrated into a little of this life. If our spiritual insights are limited to periods of meditation or contemplation, they might temporarily enlighten us but they will not transform us. The perpetual mystics, who some call saints, have been completely transformed in every aspect of their being. They live in the divine every moment. Our learning must be incorporated into our being if we are to progress toward eternal oneness.
“A little goes a long way.” Add a few drops of red wine to a glass of water and all of the liquid turns pink. Add a few drops of divine insight to this life and you begin to live in that glow. While it may be a waste of fine wine, it is an excellent use of the soul. Most doctors say that drinking a glass of red wine each day is good for your heart. Most of the spiritual teachers recommend that we drink in a little divine spirit daily to add heart to our lives. It enhances our being.
Few things in life are all this or all that; most are a little alike or a little different. Your inner self is the spiritual essence of the eternal life; your unconscious mind hides repressed memories of this life. Both are usually not in our consciousness, yet can be reawakened to affect daily living. Surface soul is like this self’s reflection in the divine; conscience opens soul’s depths to reflect the divine essence in this self’s life.
You may graduate from a university with a degree. Intuitive insights will gradually lead you to the divine, with different degrees of consciousness. Brief direct experiences themselves will enhance your insights into this life and then allow you to live intuitively in the divine here and now. By bringing the inner spirit outside, your outer daily living reveals what is inherent within. A little of that hidden, true being will create a lot more of this apparent becoming.
Living a little better life today, and adding a little more spirit every day, will eventually become eternal life in the divine*. We are already in the divine, infinitely and eternally, but must consciously experience it, actuate it and be in that awareness in this life. It is to be presently in the Reality which is present in all transient realities.
*Divine life is not to be studied, prayed for or dreamt; it is to be lived here and now.
(18 of 30 quotations from "the greatest achievement in life," my free ebook on comparative mysticism)
Saturday, April 18, 2015, 7:17 PM
Many people sought their soul, their true self, their innermost being. Most others, of course, have not even tried. Mystics, when beginning their quest, searched to no avail until they accepted that it is here and now. It was so obvious that they had overlooked it.
You cannot find the soul; it is not a place or a thing to find. The soul, however, can be experienced. Have you seemed to be judging your self? When the ego self gets angry, does the inner self wonder why? When your mind thinks strange thoughts, does the true self acknowledge that they are strange? When the self reflected in the mirror behaves badly, is the self within the mirror aware that it is wrong? It can sometimes be a painful evaluation. This self-critic is your conscience...innate, not the learned superego*; it is the outer edge of the soul, underlying a ripple in the divine ocean.
You cannot even realize “your soul” because it is not yours; it is the divine within you. From that metaphorical ocean, the divine is observing life on shore. On its surface, each soul reflects one mortal self walking on the beach we call this life. The divine essence, the inner depths shared by all souls, is usually detached from activities of worldly selves, like an audience to a play, but may sometimes intervene in emergencies or to guide lost egos back onto the path.
When you do realize soul, accepting the divine influx, it can act as a spiritual guide to the manifest ego self which has a name, a shape and moves in a variety of circumstances. In this play of life, all of the characters have a part and script to keep the divine production flowing. Most of them use their theatrical persona as a mask to hide their inner uncertainty. Many of these actors just want to be stars, not in the supporting cast. Others forget their lines while thinking about personal problems. Some do not come on stage or do not act on cue, which then upsets the performance of everyone else. True mystics play their roles soul-fully...exactly as directed.
Finding the soul, even if that was possible, is less significant than living in the soul. Most of us live in our immediate emotions, our extended minds and our ever present bodies until death. Few of us live through the soul, constantly aware of the divine essence in us. It is the spiritual life which gives true purpose to our human lives. It is spiritual life which continues after this brief stay on Earth. It is the spirit in each of us which unites us with the spirit in All: all people, all sentient beings, all seemingly inanimate objects, and the divine.
Is divine union a broad expansion of mind or the spiritual string which binds material life together? In metaphors, both and partly. When cosmic consciousness, or only yours, is completely aware of universal matter, or that which you can perceive, they transform into One divine essence, or that essence you can be aware of in this life. When that divine essence is manifested, it is partially apparent as matter and consciousness, including you. Does this describe the eternal cycle of existence and the evident, however temporary, thing we call this life? Who knows? Knowing is not being. Who can understand? Understanding will not bring it. You do not need either to be it. Be that which is, not just what you think it is.
Mystical oneness is a not full consciousness of this Universe and becoming the divine. It is universal consciousness felt while sharing in divine unity. This is not a faith or belief; it is the certainty of direct experience. When this realization is maintained, even at the time of mortal passing, we no longer cling to worldly desires and will continue in immortal bliss. The sense of ego self and separate individuality are forgotten to rest in that peace of the eternal and infinite One. Our apparent beginning and becoming then cease in the Reality of being. This is the greatest achievement in life.
*Superego considers how others judge you, as learned from parents and community.
Note: This essay is not based on books; it was suggested in talks with 10 mystics.
(17 of 30 quotations from "the greatest achievement in life," my free ebook on comparative mysticism)
Source : suprarational.org/gail2012.pdf