Wednesday, October 26, 2016
are all mystical experiences the same?
this notion is explored in this article which points out that neoplatonism is undergirding
roman Catholicism to some extent despite its official trinitarianism. however if all
mystics are experiencing the same and headed in the same direction, clearly that
proves that mysticism as usually understood is an illusion.
Because with radical distinct theologies etc. you cannot be all the same, and the
mystical experience and practice which may be compatible with or an outworking
of the theory of one or some, is alien to others regardless of how it is seen or
experienced as not alien.
There is a problem of apparent differences even among mystics, which is resolved
by theorists of this mystical ecumenism, by saying they can't express what they
experience so each gives a somewhat different impression in trying to express it.
But R. C. Zaehner in Mysticism: Sacred and Profane shows two things that refute
a. there are three (at least) styles of mysticism. theistic, monistic and "nature mysticism."
b. there was at least one man, Beaudelaire, who pursued the mystical paths each to their
distinct goal, so this one man experienced them. Unlike someone who experiences
illumination in one system and another in another and we can think they have experienced
the same inexpressible thing and apparent differences in description are an illusion.
Its not an illusion.
they are not the same, they don't lead to the same final condition, and.....
Beaudelaire died reconciled to the Roman Catholic Church and of the opinion that ALL
THE MYSTICAL SYSTEMS, EVEN THE THEISTIC ONE OF HIS PREFERRED
CHURCH, ARE DECEPTIONS. all are false.
now, the term mysticism is thrown around loosely. Even "mindfulness" is misapplied
now, when I first heard of it decades ago in a book on Buddhism, it was the first stage of
meditation where you are not abstracted from reality but hyper alert and hyper focused
on external reality and your relationship to it. That would be fine if it ended there, but
it doesn't. They go on to a next stage where they consider all this is illusion and keep going
to more and more abstraction.
Orthodoxy refers to mysticism meaning the living out in daily life of religion you don't
leave the holy when you leave church you bring it with you and try to conform your life
and such of the world as you can influence to it. (another term theosis or divinization has
nothing to do with becoming gods in the new age sense, but rather partaking of not
acquiring of or realizing one is made of the divine nature. participating in not becoming or
acquiring. gods in the sense of in God's family by adoption, by grace not by nature.
protestants would call this regeneration or maybe sanctification. "illumination" refers to
receiving baptism and Chrismation, the real baptism of and infilling by The Holy Spirit,
which is mostly imperceptible He gives you the power to lead a godly life.)
But the mysticism usually referred to by this term is one of altered states of consciousness.
it is not without reason that a comparison is made between some drug trips and mystical
experiences and illumination. the drugless trip is meditation where you learn to tweak your
brain without a drug doing it, altering your brain chemistry. most don't go to the point of
hallucination. A sense of adoration and awe and a lively sense of God being evident by His
creation and operative in it in maintaining it and enjoying His creation is not the same
thing as pantheism, but such a worshipful sense can be had by anyone in any religion
regarding a false god. The capability of experiencing the emotional reaction to God of awe
does not, therefore, guarantee your theology and biblical interpretations are correct.