The word mysticism has many meanings. For our purpose it is defined as
the union between the individual and the Absolute. This broad definition will
cover the understanding of mysticism in the East and the West. The Absolute may
be taken as God or the Cosmic Principle or the Universe. Mystical experiences are
extra-ordinary spiritual experiences. They are beyond the realm of ordinary
human and physical experiences that cannot be examined and established on the
basis of certain strict criteria. They are purely objects of faith. From the
life of mystics we can talk about certain characteristics. They are simple and
humble. They are immersed in God experience. Mysticism involves a deep yearning
of the individual for God. It pre-supposes morality and asceticism or sadhana
(spiritual exercises). The three major components essential to mysticism are
purification, enlightenment, and union in total and unconditional surrendering.
Purification: Purification follows
a careful examination of conscience. In this thorough examination of conscience,
attention needs to be paid to the following questions: Am I at peace with
myself and the world? There are all sorts of immoral, unethical, unjust, and
unfair things happening around me and in the world. Am I doing all that I can
to correct the situations? Do I have any ill feelings toward anyone even though
others may have hostile feelings toward me? Do I spend time and energy to
clarify misunderstandings when they arise? Do I take initiative in working
through conflicts? Am I sincere and rigorous in my approach to people? Am I
free of prejudices and discriminations of any kind? Am I sincere in my search for
truth? Do I spare any effort in finding out the truth? Am I free of my own
selfish interests? I have started this process of purification not because I am
better or more accomplished, or more self-righteous than others. I have
willfully accepted the invitation of God and the Universe to embark on this process.
I have surrendered to this eternal energy flowing in me. One needs to be
indifferent to pain and pleasure, good times and bad times. With a great love
for humanity, one devotes oneself to humans in selfless love. One needs to be free
from inordinate affections and attachments. One needs to have an
Enlightenment: One needs to
have available information needed for conscience formation and holistic living.
Enlightenment comes from examination of facts, arduous reflection, and meditation.
Awareness of oneself, others, and the surroundings leads to greater insight and
wisdom. Mysticism is the interface between one’s consciousness and God-(Cosmic)
consciousness. It is heavenly bliss on earth; it is a preview, so to speak, of
beatific vision, moksha or nirvana.
Union in Surrendering: Union is
to a Higher Power; surrendering is unconditional and total. The union is
grace-filled. There is no human calculation, no bargaining. One has done
everything one humanly could. It is a time of grace and deep Faith coming out
of Hope and Love.
Mysticism is for all; it is not a prerogative of a few chosen ones. It
happens when one chooses to do what can be done. It is adjusted to everyone’s
unique circumstances and potential.