What is a Mystic?
A short definition
A mystic is essentially a person who pursues a truth or understanding beyond those normally associated with the human experience. A mystic may or may not be initiated into any number of spiritual or religious mysteries, and may or may not have achieved the insight they are pursuing. What links all mystics is the belief in, and pursuit of, a transcendent truth which surpasses exclusively rational understanding or knowing.
In the popular conception, a mystic is often a person who embraces esoteric practices, or studies magic or the occult. Although people who do these things may identify as mystics, not all mystics are involved in such practices. Mysticism has a surprising number of faces, and trying to define it beyond a pursuit of transcendent truth becomes difficult. There are, however, some major strains of mysticism which have common traits.
Nearly all religious traditions have their own strains of mysticism. In many monotheistic and some polytheistic faiths the mystic is usually concerned with finding a direct connection to God Himself, often through meditation or prayer. In Christianity mystics often refer to this state as Union or Oneness with God. In Islam this state is called Irfan, which literally translated means knowing. In Jainism a state called Moksha parallels this unity, referring to an ascendance to a spiritual state in which all reality is seen to be illusion.
Within many mainstream religions there are varying degrees of mysticism and mystic practices. There are also often separate groups, which may or may not be viewed as heretical by the mainstream religious establishment. Within Islam, for example, the Sufi tradition is a mystic tradition which espouses a Divine unity and rejects the dualistic conception of Self and God as distinct. Within Christianity, Gnosticism is viewed by many as a heretical mystic offshoot, and predecessor, to mainstream Christian churches.
Many modern mystic paths are heavily influenced by ancient Greek rites, most notably the Eleusinian Mysteries, dating from around the 15th century BCE. The Eleusinian Mysteries focused on a myth cycle involving Demeter and Persephone, invoking the concept of death, and the resurrection that can come by triumphing over death. The Eleusinian Mysteries remained intact for nearly two millennia, and over that time laid much of the groundwork for myth cycles other mystic faiths would adopt.
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New Age Spirituality
Metaphysics meets science and religion...
New Age Spirituality is in many ways a combination of metaphysical, scientific, and religious approaches to the human search for understanding of nature, the Universe, and human life...
The New Age (also referred to as the New Age movement, New Age spirituality, and Cosmic Humanism) is a decentralized Western social and spiritual movement that seeks "Universal Truth" and the attainment of the highest individual human potential. It includes aspects of Occultism, astrology, esotericism, metaphysics, alternative medicine, music, collectivism, sustainability, and nature. New Age spirituality is characterized by an individual approach to spiritual practices and philosophies.
The New Age movement includes elements of older spiritual and religious traditions ranging from atheism and monotheism through classical pantheism, naturalistic pantheism, and panentheism to polytheism combined with science and Gaia philosophy: particularly archaeoastronomy, astronomy, ecology, environmentalism, the Gaia hypothesis, psychology, and physics. New Age practices and philosophies sometimes draw inspiration from major world religions: Buddhism, Chinese folk religion, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism; with particularly strong influences from East Asian religions, Gnosticism, Neopaganism, New Thought, Spiritualism, Theosophy, Universalism, and Western esotericism. Additional terms for the movement include All is One and Mind-Body-Spirit.
The modern New Age movement emerged in a distinct form in the late 1960s and early 1970s, although its roots can be traced back to the 19th and early 20th centuries. It gained momentum in the 1980s and strengthened with the Harmonic Convergence event in 1987. Diverse individuals from around the world practice New Age spirituality.
What You Need to Know About Love
We are so entwined in the belief that real love can only involve suffering, and that without suffering true love can not exist. Also, we like imposing our conditions of love on others (it creates a false sense of security)... but we must realize love is not about wanting. It is about giving....
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