reaction to the terms,
"mystic" or "mystical"
brings images of anti-
scientific, occult kooks,
mediums, etc. Quite the
contrary, we are here
addressing a specific
category of experience
having nothing to do
anthropomorphic idols and
personified images of
there exists a rare but ageless,
universal experience of the divine
that goes beyond all words or images.
Because the core of this experience
exists in all human eras and cultures,
it cannot be said to be a conditioned
product of any one culture or
For once we penetrate the thin veneer
of cultural myths, common aspects of
this experience emerge in those who
* An experience of being enveloped
in radiant light.
*A timeless feeling of eternity, of
being removed from time and space.
*A feeling of harmony and unity with
nature and the cosmos.
* Experiencing oneness with the
* A noetic certainty of cosmic purpose
that goes beyond all words and images.
*The feeling that mundane reality is
illusory compared to this true Reality now.
Though few have undergone this
extraordinary experience, it
can be triggered by
in the beauty of nature, or an
ecstatic moment in music, or
intensive religious rites, or
fasting and acetic practices.
However, optimal life-changing
beneficence can be attained only
through years of self discipline.
If the core of such experience is
not entirely a product
conditioning or of the particular
times, might we not still consider
it a rare form
psychosis? Agreed upon symptoms
of psychosis include: hallucinations,
delusions, loss of self control,
incomprehensible communication, and
behavior that is consistently
maladaptive, or self destructive.
Let us briefly examine the lives of some
known mystics to see if they had the
symptoms mentioned above.
The noted mystic,St. Teresa of Avila,
century nun, was said to be practical, industrious,
humorous, and attractive.
She journeyed far
to found many
convents. She left five volumes of
books and letters standing high in
the literature of mysticism.
Teresa's contemporary mystic, St. John of
the Cross, was also
a prolific writer of
note. He was of keen intellect
considered among the greatest poets
Spain. Earlier on,the 13th century
mystic, Meister Eckhart,
was another brilliant thinker
who left voluminous writings significant
Eckhart's teachings are thought
coincidentally similar to the 9th century
Hindu mystic, Sankara. Sankara
prodigy who left home at an early age,
and before his death at age
32 had spread
his now famous teachings throughout
None of the sample mentioned
hallucinated or wrote
deities. And each exhibited
extraordinary self discipline and
control. They were excellent
communicators, and their lifestyles
were that of personal growth
benevolence to others. These are
in fact the opposites of the psychotic
behaviors mentioned above. If
are psychotic mystics, the
forementioned examples show you
have to be psychotic to become
quite the contrary.
Then, aside from otherwise exemplary
behavior, perhaps just the ecstatic
experience in itself is a seizure-
like psychotic episode for the few
moments contact with reality is lost.
This question brings up an even bigger
question: Is true reality really
during the intensive mystical
experience? Or is a more truthful
reality - a noumenon beyond our
unaided senses and reason - being
revealed? Let's examine
question more deeply.
THE NATURE OF REALITY:
Galileo was the first scientist to
reveal the illusion of such
"secondary qualities" as color, sound,
taste, smell, heat, and cold.
stated these sensations exist only
within our senses and not outside
ourselves. Animals with other sensory
hookups will sense
differently - often more accurately.
He also spoke of more stable "primary
qualities" - e. g. extension, solidity,
motion and number.
With today's scientific instruments to
extend and amplify
our senses we know
color outside our eyes
manifests only in different
electromagnetic wave frequencies; and
visible light itself covers only a
narrow spectrum of electromagnetism
per se. We know sound outside
is really different vibrations
Taste and smell are but the textures
molecules. And heat and cold are
sensations of different molecular
In the light of today's science, what now
is the status of Galileo's
qualities?" Solidity is relative
temperature and can become liquid or
gaseous according to
the object's melting
point. And even the most "solid"
is composed of charged particles floating
in electrostatic space. Also,
seemingly stable extension in
geometry can be seen in Non-Euclidian
terms as stretching or shrinking relative
to its speed and mass in the universe.
Moreover, according to Godel even the
numbers of mathematics
are not ultimately
accurate. According to Einstein
and space are relative. And quantum
theories reveal the very stuff of reality
as charges or ripples in multidimensional
THE MYSTICAL EXPERIENCE REVISITED:
Now that we glimpsed the reality beyond our unaided senses and reason, we find the mystical experience may not have lost touch with true reality after all. The mystic often experiences light - the purest form of energy. Unlike our mundane sense of reality the mystical experience exists outside relative space/time to perhaps glimpse eternity. No wonder "normal " reality then seems illusory.
So what now of the truths that go beyond
words and images? Science has
three-dimensional models in explaining
the ultimate realities of the micro
macro-cosmos. Instead, extra dimensions
and invisible forces are described in
equations that cannot be put into words.
So even objectively there are no ultimate
words or images.
And what of the feeling of harmony, oneness, and unity? Physicists are now strongly
on the trail of the
grand unified theory of everything
- the ultimate equation that will unite relativity and quantum theories and
cover all nature's forces as one
whole. And we are part of
emerging from the same energy
of the same sub-particles and stardust.
are genetically and ecologically
tied to it all .
So the tie-in of the most profound
subjective experience with the most
reaching objective knowledge may be more
than analogical. It may be homological
since we are an integral part of that
whole. There may be
rare times when the human being can actually experience his or her source of being. Subject and object may, in their
ultimacy, be but two sides
to the same door....
Let me leave you with a final thought:
After studying the way the universe
expands, scientists state the
the cosmos is everywhere. This
center exists also within you.....