A Word about Mysticism


It is almost regrettable that the word "mysticism" has been chosen to apply to the form of spiritual expression that we are about to describe. It evokes -- as the root of the word suggests -- something mysterious, even weird. In fact we are simply talking about an experience, an awesome experience to be sure, but one that has often been felt by perfectly normal, ordinary, rational people.

Classically, mysticism has been used to describe a direct experience, or even union, with God. God does not mean the same thing to everyone in every culture, however. He may be a she; personal or impersonal; outside of us or inside of us; or, the whole concept can get so abstract that the word "God" cannot apply at all. While there is no single term to accommodate all definitions, the term "Divine" will be used here as being preferable to contrived jargon or no terminology at all.

While the mystical experience often takes on different forms, it is generally regarded as an area of commonality in the field of comparative religion. The mysticism that we are about to examine here makes this abundantly clear. We frequently see instances of communion, or even complete unity with the Divine. Most significantly, the language used to describe the mystical experience of light and ecstasy across religious traditions is almost exactly the same as those who have reported the same encounter in near-death experiences.




Divine Encounters
A Word About Mysticism

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