21 Running, Working, Experiential Definitions of Mysticism

meditationFrom Matthew Fox’s The Coming of the Cosmic Christ (1988):

By exposure to each of these “definitions” the reader will begin to feel and make connections with his or her own mysticism, for the purpose of defining mysticism here is to elicit the mystic within each person…

  1. Experience: a trust of the universe, a trust of what is and what occurs to us, yes, a trust of oneself
  2. Non dualism: the end of alienation and the beginning of communion, the end of either/or relationships and the beginning of unity
  3. Compassion: “the keen awareness of the interdependence of all living things which are all part of one another and involved in one another” (Thomas Merton)
  4. Connection Making:  by symbols, stories, myths, music and colors, form and ritual–we connect with one another’s deep and often unspoken experiences of life’s mysteries
  5. Radical Amazement: awe is the opposite of taking life for granted
  6. Affirmation of the World as a Whole:  neither neutral nor bitter or cynical
  7. Right-Brain: synthesis over analysis and verbalization

  1. Self-Critical: letting go of projection onto others, but also avoids the internalization of self-hatred
  2. Heart Knowledge: awakening the heart is awakening the body (body prayer, bodily art, breathing meditations)
  3. A Return to the Source: getting lost in enchantment and grace, even in the midst of our toughest work
  4. Feminist: Theologian Dorothee Soelle tells how a “hidden feminist” inside her resisted the “so-called scientific language devoid of a sense of emotional awareness”
  5. Panentheistic: all things in God and God in all things
  6. Birthing Images: inherited language is not adequate for the task of naming the deep experiences of life
  7. Silence: that suspended moment at the well, at the source of being, of images of creativity–that power from which the words come and from which they derive their power
  8. Nothingness and Darkness: emptiness is as real as fullness, subtraction and letting go are as authentic and necessary a means to truth as are addition and adding to
  9. Childlike Playfulness: letting our unselfconsciousness have the stage for a while
  10. Psychic Justice: wrestling with the wars we carry in ourselves as we struggle for justice in the world
  11. Prophetic: always interfering with injustice
  12. Being-With-Being: rooted not at the superficial levels of righteousness or guilt or compulsion or winning but at the level of being–in silence, in experience, in awe, in connection making, in nondualism
  13. True Self:  each self is a unique mirror of divinity and therefore each person births a unique creation when he or she lets the true self be born
  14. Globally Ecumenical: unleashing the wisdom from all of the world’s great religious traditions

One thought on “21 Running, Working, Experiential Definitions of Mysticism

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s