mysticism

What Really Matters

What Really Matters

"There’s a tendency for us to think that to be a prophet or to do anything grand, you have to have a special gift, be someone called for. And I think ultimately what really matters is the resolve — to want to do it, to give your life to that which you consider important."

~ Enrique Martínez Celaya

A Way Through

A Way Through

"The quite cynical response would be to say, Why we love nihilism in pop culture is that it saves us having to be burdened with it. It saves us from feeling it. We can enjoy it in our rooms. We can get off on it. And then we let it go and we go back to work." ~ Simon Critchley 

To Be Fully Alive

Double-crested Cormorants traveling over Lake Champlain, July 6, 2014

Excerpt from "The Pursuit of Happiness" by Phillip Moffitt:

Herein lies the paradox common to mystical teachings in most spiritual traditions: In order to be fully alive, you also have to die. When you cling to the past or future, believing you are holding onto something precious, you are denying what is sacred about life. Your life, with its unique pains and joys, can only be reconciled in your surrender to the truth of your experiences as they arise one moment after another, never fixed, always moving. A beautiful sunrise, a baby's smile, a broken heart, cancer, the loss of love; open fully to the experiences of your life in all their mysterious manifestations. Meet each of these moments with compassion, loving-kindness, and your very best response. Then let loose of each in turn, for however beguiling in their beauty or their horror, they are truly only life dancing."

Read the entire essay...

Talking About The Indescribable

Reza Aslan speaking with Terry Gross about his new book, Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth (July 15, 2013):

People like Meister Eckhart professed this kind of understanding of the relationship between God and humanity, the relationship between creator and created. The purpose of the mystics, whether they're Sufis or Jewish mystics or Christian mystics or what have you, the purpose is to break down the wall that separates us from God to have an intimate divine union with God. And so that's why some of this language would sound familiar to a lot of people of different faiths....

I think that if you believe that our experience of the world goes beyond just the material realm, that there is something beyond, that there is a transcendent presence that one can commune with, then it's only natural to want to reach out to this transcendent presence, to want to experience it in some way. That's what religion does.

I mean, you have to understand that religion is nothing more than just a language made up of symbols and metaphors that allow us to describe to each other and to ourselves the ineffable experience of faith. I mean, when we talk about God we're talking about something that is, by definition, indescribable, indefinable. You need a way to talk about God and so what religion does is it provides a readymade language that allows you to be understood when you're talking to your own community.


See also (from Shinzen Young): 

To Get Back There

To Get Back There

"It is probably the case that our very ancient ancestors—before the arising of civilization, when we were still in a tribal state—lived an awful lot of their lives in a meditative state just naturally. 

And then, with the arising of civilization, that becomes lost and it's necessary to create conceptual frameworks and specific practice techniques to get back there."

~ Shinzen Young